the same things happening to me all the time, even in my dreams

Justin Gotzis

The same things happening to me all the time, even in my dreams is a reenactment of an internet-sourced pedophile’s answer to the question “what would you do if I were there right now?” in Minecraft. 

This piece was deeply processed based. In order to source both the narrative and the space, I entered into a gay chat room which I have done work in in the past. This chat service is available on the surface web (literally the second result when you search gay chat), and features people brazenly advertising child pornography without fear of consequence. This space is also of particular importance to me, as I was systematically victimized and groomed by men met through the service during my mid-teens. 

In the chat room, I broadcasted myself as an underage teenager looking to engage in video chat roleplay with an older man. This posed a particular challenge in trying to find someone to work off of, as the men responding were deeply power hungry, and following any instructions from me was a relinquishment of said power. I became forced to shift the narrative, as to counteract the power imbalance I had to make them believe that I was powerless to my desires for them. I told the man that I wanted to pretend to be a “houseboy”, and that he should show me what he would have me do around his space. I then recorded the video of him walking around, and painstakingly recreated his room and hallway in Minecraft, after which I reenacted his desires.

I was interested in using Minecraft specifically because I feel as though it is a sort of biased simulacrum. Mineraft can replicate, but it can only replicate sterilely, which created several strange degrees of separation between the final video and the original conversation. The uncanniness is meant to reflect the absurdity and strangeness of my experience being simultaneously predated upon in the gay chat room and also spending copious amounts of time building to scale models of houses in Minecraft during my childhood. 

I took inspiration from several artists in the creation of this work. Angela Washko’s work inside of World of Warcraft was of particular importance, as that piece also deals with the complexities of entering into a virtual space with a set of intentions not reflected in the space’s design. I also took a lot of inspiration from Bunny Rogers, specifically her work regarding Columbine and CGI. I have been fascinated by Rogers’ work for the past year, and I tried to model the way she combines cultural elements to create a critique that is new and obscure. Laurel Nakadate was also deeply influential, as I found her methods of maneuvering through predator/”incel” spaces to be a good framework for my own behaviors in contacting men in this project.

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