[ISEA2011] Workshop: James Morgan & Jenene Castle (Third Faction) – DPS: Demand Player Sovereignty

Workshop Statement

The DPS (Demand Player Sovereignty) workshop is a practicum in civil disobedience led by The Third Faction. The project acts to subvert the deliberate factional conflict within the Massively Multiplayer Online game “World of Warcraft” (WoW). The Third Faction Collective, will lead the participants in active engagement in the game environment. Attendees will learn about strategies for engagement from passive resistance to anarchical actions in game, positioning the player as a multi-dimensional agent of change.
•    methods: The proposed workshop is a tutorial and recruitment session for the DPS (Demand Player Sovereignty): a current intervention into the World of Warcraft community and online game environment which encourages real-world social change through in-world political action, activism, and philanthropy. Participants in the session will learn about online gaming interventions, the history of significant acts/performances/projects, discuss strategies, extending virtual action into the geophysical/”real world”, and practical experience about playing as an activist in MMORPG’s.
•    the problem:  The majority of contemporary game spaces/environments are guided either by a sophomoric narrative or absolute vacuum of storyline which results in a failure to engage the real social milieu that arises in and around the game. Despite the sterile environments of “official” state history, subcultures arise organically to conduct business, to act as pressure valves, and to promote/create acts of subversion. The resultant artifacts manifest as special vocabularies, player-defined caste systems, player lore, and black market economies.
•    a call to action: MMORPG’s must recognize the larger social environments which have emerged around their games and create the platforms for these communities to build on and around. We call upon Players to resist the intentionally dysfunctional conflict within World of Warcraft, deny the Terms of Service, and devote our game-lives to empower avatars/players to resist the hegemony. We likewise demand recognition that our avatars are an actual extension of our self in a virtual space, thus retaining inalienable Human Rights inside World of Warcraft.

  • Third Faction,  founded in 2008, is an affiliation of avatars/entities with a collective interest in exposing binary systems in virtual environments. Third Faction’s focus is to develop a democratized and non-hierarchical praxis as well as governance. This open system welcomes new membership. Current members include a global cabal of artists and performers whose work has been internationally (interdimensionally?) recognized and exhibited. Originating in World of Warcraft, the mission of the Third Faction engages many methodologies to critically examine narratives of the hegemony and society. The Third Faction holds these to the light of “reality” and questions the attitudes that generally pervade game environments. Recruitment for new interventionists, volunteers and agents, is conducted through the use of video, print propaganda, and public appearances/ installations and often becomes part of the work. Third Faction was invited by the Laguna Art Museum to create a program called /hug [pronounced Slash Hug] for the WoW: Emergent Media Phenomenon exhibition./hug is a non-governmental organization that provides philanthropic aid to the war torn world in the World of Warcraft. Many visitors performed their first acts of volunteerism inside the Massively Multiplayer Online environment and our sincerest hope is that they were able to continue this trend in other spaces of human interaction. thirdfaction.org