SP: Now with the development of new weapons technology, also wars become so embedded in everyday life, which you quoted in your proposal by Paul Virilio as »Pure War.« Can you elaborate on this?
RK: In short, I understand Virilio is pointing to the fact that we as human society both have the tendency to want to distance ourselves from war – so by using technology, like drone fighting, we can achieve that, while also needing to sustain the ecosystem producing these distancing war technologies economically. This, quite naturally, leads to the society relying more and more on the production of these technologies (whereas they also start to serve different goals other than fighting (…)
»I believe the animations may seem quite abstract to the viewer who does not know this specific conflict, however I hope that they will develop some »emotional hook« depending on the video’s outcome.«
SP: What role do games play in the representations of violence?
RK: I believe games play a role first and foremost even in the conceptualization of violence itself. For example, I believe that as people become more and more fascinated by war games, they can adopt the same »virtual« mindset to view war in real life through the same lens. Meaning, if one is so used to launch attacks against strangers’ avatars in Fortnite, one can also find it easier to attack an unknown other by using a semi-autonomous weapon, like a drone or a kite. It even becomes something you want to get addicted to or get good at.
SP: How would you like your Web Residency project being used, and what effect can it ultimately have on the user?
RK: I view the project as two parts that make a whole. The first is the somewhat passive part: viewing the animations, which are drawn randomly. I believe the animations may seem quite abstract to the viewer who does not know this specific conflict, however I hope that they will develop some »emotional hook« depending on the video’s outcome. Or maybe they will simply get intrigued – why is this drone fighting a kite? What are they doing, is it a dance? Is it orchestrated sky magic? Then comes the second part, which I deem the active part. By seeing the option to choose a weapon, the viewer ultimately becomes a user, and needs to make a decision which weapon to choose. Then, ultimately, of course I wish that at least some users will try to print the model, or at least read the instruction manuals. In this way, I let them reverse-engineer the actual contemporary political/technological topic at play here. In any case, I have decided it is better this way, than stating early on what the real thing going on behind this project is. I want them to play, and think critically about things as they unfold. Finally, there will be a postscript explaining the background and history behind all of this project, which I hope some people will take the time to read.
The interview was conducted by Sarie Nijboer.