"The Intruder"

Natalie Bookchin


"The Intruder "
Development Date: 1999 
Tips: Shoot, score, catch, hit a ball or kill an alien! 
The Intruder is an Internet based art project that uses a series of ten arcade-like game interfaces to tell a short love story by Jorge Luis Borges. In combining these familiar scenarios with Borges' short and brutal tale of a tragic love triangle, The Intruder seeks to makes the metaphors in these interfaces - shooting, wounding, surveying (a woman's body) - grossly apparent. Players move forward through a linear narrative only by shooting, fighting, catching, or colliding. Instead of winning a point, a player is rewarded with a piece of the narrative, told in a voice-over. Playing transforms readers into participants, who are placed inside of the story, and must master the games, for which they are rewarded an unfolding narrative. Throughout The Intruder, players' subject positions shift, and they must play on different and opposing sides in the same story, sometimes assuming the position of the male character, sometimes controlling the female character. In some games, player must lose or receive a penalty in order to continue moving forward through the Borges tale. The story is told in 10 game scenarios that together present a loose parallel narrative of a history of computer games. The Intruder begins with a reconstructed version of one of the earliest computer games, Pong, and ends with a war game, that, like its real-life screen-based counterpart, serves to simultaneously reinforce and abstract violence- in this instance, the story's violent end. The Intruder draws attention to the inherent violence within early computer games, and enables players to reflect on the absence of meaning within most games.

Artist: Natalie Bookchin
Visit: http://www.metapet.net
Natalie Bookchin is an artist whose work focuses on the intersection of art, politics and the Internet. She has spent the last two years developing a free on-line computer game, Metapet, which will be launched on May 1 2003. In 1999-2000 Bookchin organized ; an eight month series of lectures and workshops on art, activism and the Internet at CalArts, MOCA in LA, and Laboratorio Cinematek in Tijuana. From 1998 to 2000 she was a member of the collective (R)TMark. She is based in Los Angeles and teaches at CalArts. (Honor Harger)