Molleindustria – All Work, No Play: Engaged video-games installation

Can a (video)game be used to critically address socio-political issues such as flexibility, precariousness, alienation and all the issues introduced by the Post-Fordist model of labour? Mainstream video-games are mass culture products that can sometimes address or depict social problems, but that never forget their main purpose: entertain a mass audience that, even when interested or actively involved in politics, may be disappointed to find politics in video-games.

The late Nineties have seen the emergence of many attempts to use the tools and the extended social platform provided by video-games to bring more serious topics in this arena, from game mods to performative interventions in online games. But when, back in 2003, Molleindustria made its appearance and started publishing its small Flash games, and its first statements, no one had yet made this point as clear: that “the ideology of a game resides in its rules”. You can change the skin of a game or force its engine to work in a way that turns success into failure, and photo-realistic violence into a generator of abstract beauty; but if you don’t change the way the game works, it will always be a celebration of strength, machism and victory. Only by making games that work in a different way, though still providing entertainment, we can start using this powerful medium to make people think about and critically engage current socio-political issues. [1]


Since then onward, Molleindustria – the “firm” name of Italian game designer Paolo Pedercini – has been one of the most prominent voices in the indie game scene, and one of the few that was able to design games that were at the same time played by thousands of gamers, used by activists to make some topics easier to understand and circulate, and shown in art circuits as a form of engaged interactive media art. According to media theorist Alessandro Ludovico (2007), “Rejecting the usual parody scheme, Molleindustria has established a sort of paradigm in defining political hacktivism embedded into a funny and ironic video game system. He uses video game rules to foster ideologies, and in his unique case the software reveals how politics can be argued within classic ‘point and click’ interaction, making high score on rising personal awareness. His aesthetic and attitude have found their way in targeting the singular conscience lost in the overcrowded mediascape.” [2]

At Filodrammatica gallery, Molleindustria will present a selection of games focused on topics of labour and presented in a setup that will allow the audience to engage each game according to their own modes of play. From the narrative and poetic works as Every Day the Same Dream (2009), a short game about alienation and refusal of labor, to the more recent Phone Story (2011), a game for smart phones about the social cost of electronic manufacturing; from To Build a Better Mousetrap (2014), a management game about innovation and labor, to Unmanned (2012), a game about the life of an unmanned drone pilot, passing by the documentation of MayDay NetParade (2004) a virtual demonstration organized in the occasion of the Euro MayDay that allowed everyone to reclaim that visibility that mainstream media, unions, parties are denying us.

[1] Cf. Paolo Pedercini, “Radical Game Design”. a-minima, veljača 2006., online (
[2] Alessandro Ludovico, “Molleindustria, videogame rules as a political medium”. Neural, studeni 2007.


Organization: Drugo more
Partners: Aksioma and FH Joanneum

Sponsored by: European Commission program Creative Europe, National Foundation for Civil Society Development, Kultura nova Foundation, Ministry of culture of the Republic of Croatia, City of Rijeka – Department for culture.
Program is realized as part of Masters & Servers, a joint project by Aksioma (SI), Drugo more (HR), AND (UK), Link Art Centre (IT) i d-i-n/The Influencers (ES).

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