Wrecking the Game: The Artist as Griefer


This paper aims at examining the anti-game practice of artists that assume a subverting behaviour inside video games. They hijack gameplay to turn it into a space for artistic intervention. The artists discussed in this paper are Kent Sheely, Marque Cornblatt, Justin Berry, and Alan Butler. Their practice shares similarities with the artistic interventions developed by Dada and International Situationist, two artistic movements that aimed at redefining the culture of their time thanks to subversive actions. The artists featured in this paper are defined griefers, deliberate hecklers. Their works are then analysed along with the concepts of counter-gaming and ludic mutation defined by Alexander Galloway and Anne-Marie Schleiner to better understand the characteristics of their subversive behaviour.