Of art
and technology
9—19 May '24
Braga, Portugal

Hardly Working 

Total Refusal

gnration (Galeria um)

Free admission

This film is a political appropriation of video game media. Hardly Working is based on the universe of the game Red Dead Redemption 2, which features countless AI-controlled extras that are often overlooked by players.  

These non-player characters (NPC) populate the digital world as mere extras, creating a sense of normalcy and everyday life in the game world. 

Hardly Working observes four such NPC – a laundress, a stable boy, a street sweeper and a carpenter – with ethnographic precision, approaching them as what the philosopher Hannah Arendt termed animal laborans. That is, a working individual whose work reinforces the status quo rather than changing it.  

Activities such as sweeping a floor or sinking nails into wood become an inconclusive and absurd performance. NPC are Sisyphean machines, programmed to get stuck in the routines of everyday life without results. 

This work was developed in 2022 as part of a European Media Art Platform (EMAP) residency at Werkleitz – Centre for Media Art, Berlin (Germany). 

Total Refusal
Total Refusal describe themselves as a pseudo-marxist media guerrilla. They are a collective of artists, researchers, and filmmakers who upcycle the resources of mainstream video games to create political narratives in the form of videos, interventions, performances, and lectures.  

Susanna Flock lives and works in Vienna (Austria) in the field of video and video installation, focusing on internet phenomena. Adrian Jonas Haim does film and politics in Vienna. Jona Kleinlein lives and works in Vienna and focuses on various aspects of film, video games and installations. Robin Klengel is an artist and cultural anthropologist living and working in Vienna and Graz. Leonhard Müllner is a visual artist and media researcher based in Vienna. Michael Stumpf is a researcher whose works interlaces phenomenology and semiotics of media and culture. 

Hardly Working 

EMAP – European Media Art Platform is a project co-funded by the european union through the Creative Europe Programme.