Rafi Abdullah
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Hot House:
...It’s All Fun and Games

“Hothouse is located at the work space shared between design studio Currency and art collective INTER—MISSION with the interest of opening and sharing our resources, whether that be space, equipment or knowledge. We are interested in providing a space for processes and experimentation. Hotdek is a programme that supports artistic and critical research processes and values space as a crucial condition of artistitc production. We hope to share and open our studio space as a resource to see more possibilities for thought, conversations and collaborations.”

For the residency, I spent some time exploring and researching into the notion of ‘gaming’ as a phenomena in aiding our understanding and navigation of the socio-political realities in contemporary living. I was interested to suss out what agencies and new knowledge-building potentials reside in ‘gaming’. Some strands of themes included: world-building, gaming platforms as communal spaces, contemporary ethics, gaming as strategies and methodologies, as well as alternative economies.

More on the design studio Currency:

More on the artist collective INTER-MISSION:


As part of the residency, I also spent some time talking to designer Atiqah Khalim and artist The Super System to try to understand people’s relationship with gaming — whether in an artistic and creative capacity or on a personal level — and our conversation unravelled across various topics concerning gaming: the possibilities of open world and gaming engines, technologies, stigma and ethics, communities/communality and more. Read the transcripts:

Transcript of Converastion with Atiqah Khalim
Transcript of Conversation with The Super System

More on Atiqah Khalim and The Super System:

It’s all fun and games… also took the form of an online sharing session of the thought lines that had unfolded during the hot desking period, facilitated through a livestream of an interactive online gameplay. Can ‘gaming’ serve as a platform from which new forms of knowledge building and sharing can propagate? 

Some cards shared includes: a CCTV image of Đoàn Thị Hươn, in a T-shirt that reads ‘lol’, who was used as an unsuspecting agent of assasination under the guises of a gameshow prank (here read as the manifestation of Metahaven’s propositions in their text ‘Can Jokes Bring Down the Government); a screengrab from the game Animal Crossing as a point of entry in thinking of games as platforms for communality; scenes from game shows that allude to potentialities of gaming as an artistic medium; and a scene of a prison’s virtual sweatshops as the setting of thinking through how games as platforms can also allow a replication of systems and structures of systematic marginalisation; amongst others.

The video above is a re-recorded session, without the live chat and live gameplay element originally included in the  realtime live stream presentation on Twitch. For the actual live stream, the game included instructions for the audience participation: 1) Best experienced on Twitch, 2) lurk around Instagram for the link, 3) figure out the answer to the random question at the start of each round, 4) choose a card variant, and a die number, 5) send your answer, card variant, and die number on the Twitch chat.