Final Writing Assignment
With a sharp jolt to the right for governments around the world seemingly put in opposition to the continual struggle for civil rights for marginalized groups across the globe, 2018 appears to be demarcating a turning point in humanity’s struggle to define itself and what exactly it is that we stand for. Simultaneously, philosopher Jean Baudrilliard’s predictions regarding the eventual nulling and potential disappearance of the distinction between “true reality” and simulation are now more relevant than ever as talks of “fake news,” the United States’ “reality show president,” and the breakneck development of Artificial Intelligence have all afixed themselves to the daily news cycle. Growing out of this particular moment, SUCKERS–a location-based docu-fiction Virtual Reality series–attempts to highlight both the blurring line between “real” and “fake” as well as showcase how popular narrative is used to oppress marginalized groups. Through a mixture of semi-directed interviews, written short stories, and completely unscripted conversations, SUCKERS puts individuals traditionally denied the right to a voice in the place of horror’s most classic monster, the vampire, in order to highlight how even today marginalized groups are made to play the role of villain as a way of robbing them of their humanity. The experience muddles the distinction between the “real” and “fictional” world by injecting unaltered news and history, such as the ongoing Malawian vampire purge, alongside stories fitted to the world of SUCKERS with “real-world” equivalents, like Weibo’s announced ban of vampire content and the following response from “The Voice of Vampires.” Additionally, the form of the series complicates this distinction further through the interaction of requiring audience members to track down QR codes around the city of Shanghai that link them to individual episodes shot in the locations in which they found the posters, forcing the audience to question the “realness” of their own realities.