Gaming as Everything: Challenging the anthropocene through nomadic performativity
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Butucea, V. (2020) 'Gaming as Everything: Challenging the anthropocene through nomadic performativity', Nordic Theatre Studies, 32(1), pp. 143–158.
In this article I will discuss David O’Reilly’s video game Everything (2017), suggesting that its unique dramaturgy portrays an ecology in which the human is seen as forging alliances and interconnections with the non-human. Set in a seemingly infinite open-world environment, the game revolves around the player exploring vast digital landscapes from the vantage point of multiple nonhuman avatars. Wondering about with no defined goal or direction, I played as animals, plants, rocks, continents, and even galaxies, shifting from one state to the next and making unexpected alliances along the way. Employing Audronė Žukauskaitė concept of “nomadic performativity” (2015), I will suggest that the game’s dramaturgy invites the player to imagine the human as deeply embedded in a wide system of interaction with non-human others, as an immanent part of an ecosystem, rather than a transcendental being outside of it. In articulating this idea, Everything puts forward a theatrical critique of the human domination and othering of the natural environment that underpins and drives the Anthropocene.