Sylvia Eckermann      works   video-documentations   catalogue   bio   articles   contact



fluID | arena of identities 2003


fluID - arena of identities is an unreal mod that focusses on the process of identity formation in virtual spaces, through metaphors grounded in the relationships between players and avatars.


This game is about finding your identity (if you have got one), to change your identity, to steal or borrow another person's identity or to destroy identities. What is an identity? It is the idea that single parts of yourself belong together. It is the idea that your past, your present and your future all belong to one single owner, called: YOU.

Of course this is an illusion. You are not the person you used to be. You differ from what you were yesterday. You change at every instance of a second. The fluID game puts you into a terrain of identities where you start as a perfect nobody. You have got no face, no name, no clothes, no sex, not anything which differentiates you from other players. Get on the road! Try to be someone!


fluID was shown at:
artgames Analogien zwischen Kunst und Spiel, Ludwig Forum für internationale Kunst, Aachen D 2006
ISEA KIASMA Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki FI 2004
GameArt Völklinger Hütte, Völklingen D 2004
games computerspiele von KünstlerInnen, hartware medien kunst verein, Dortmund D 2003
cyber@rt Bilbao E 2003
Selfware.politics of identities, Kulturhauptstadt Graz A 2003


Sylvia Eckermann, Mathias Fuchs: concept, 3D modelling, animation, textures, sounds, gameplay
commissioned by MiDiHy und MVD for
Unreal scripting: Christopher Beckford, Mark Walsh
additional modelling: Matt Bell, Todd Gantzler, Matt Vitalone
additional shots: Massimo Buffalardi



fluID | arena of identities, screenshots 




fluID | arena of identities Rebecca Cannon, Selectparks


When players first enter the game, they lack any distinguishing features. The objective of the game is to forge an individual identity by exploring the virtual terrains 'Narciss Lake', 'The Laboratory of Style', 'The Hall of Mirrors' and 'The Factory of Reproduction'. Gameplay becomes a process through which one defines the concept of identity.

The Cartesian notion that existence is founded by the presence of an unchanging, innate 'I' is undermined by the transient, ever-changing nature of the player‘s identity in the game. Like real life, from one moment to the next, identity is forming, eroding, renewing. Unpredictable identity breaks within the game cause moments of crisis which indicate the transience of contemporary identity. The SkinGun affords players the ability to steal elements of one another‘s identity.

Our mediated existence is a central aspect of fluID. That this mediation exists through shared experiences forged within mass media contexts is represented by fluID‘s Laboratory of Style. Here players may succomb to the temptation of an easily constructed identity - one which mimics advertising‘s cultural cliches. However, winning identities are dependent on individuality.

FluID is rooted in psychology and psycho-analysis, perhaps more so than any other game. Obsessions with self-identity can reach dangerous levels where, in Narciss‘ Lake, players may be so captivated by their own identity that they fall victim to offensive advances by other players.

The degree to which our perception of self identity is built upon visions we have of ourselves is weighed against the importance of other‘s perceptions of us. The quotients of the concept of identity fluctuate between first-person perspective; second-person fragments of one‘s own avatar stolen by other characters; and third person reflections across avatarial clones and classic distorted reflections The Hall Of Mirrors. Here, the mediated quality of computer based play reflects aspects of our relationship to game avatars; ie. the proximity of these identities to that of our own, ‚real‘, physical sense of self.

Mathias Fuchs' theoretical accompaniment to the game discusses digital interactivity as a more complex Lacanian mirror than can be found previously in film and literature. He outlines the complex relationship between game players and their onscreen avatars - whereby an identification of self with the abstracted, surreal game-based characters can, through the persuasive nature of the computer game, forge a false self-identity which marks a more truthful pattern of identity construction in modern life.   Rebecca Cannon, selectparks


fluID | arena of identities, installationview, Graz2003 A