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Sims and art meet in New York

'Mill of the Mind'
Becky Heritage, MFA Design and Technology
Mike Edwards, MFA Design and Technology
Inti Einhorn, MFA Design and Technology

"The Sims are out of control: impossible to corral, instruct and reason with. They need some serious positive reinforcement to get them to behave properly. An exhibition visitor walks into an almost uncomfortably small, government-issued, fully enclosed office cubicle. Everything seems to be in place: sterile environment, factory surplus chair, boring walls, a desk. However, the desk holds a large metal box with an array of small switches with voltage labels, and above the desk is a screen that displays a text laboratory with a test subject. Very similar to the Milgram experiment of the mid-1970's, 'Mill of the Mind' is a collaborative project to study the effects of the power of authority. Once inside the cubicle, the exhibition visitor is introduced to the experiment and then prompted to deliver a series of increasingly higher voltages to the Sims test subject. Will the visitor follow these commands as the test subject experiences increasingly higher levels of pain, or stand up to the voice of authority?"



Tyler's take: Milgram's famous experiment tested the level of cruelty that a subject under the influence of an authority figure could administer to another human being; the only thing this piece tests is the number of MFA students it takes to mod The Sims. The answer is three - and the three of them have successfully created a steaming pile of post-modern crap. This piece no more explores the capacity of human cruelty than American Idol explores good music, and it makes assumptions about office life that were likely inspired by watching Office Space and reading a few Dilbert strips. There is no subtlety, no irony, nothing but stereotypes and emptiness - a contrived waste of materials.

 

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