The potential of the contradictory in digital media: The example of the political art game PoliShot

Susan Grabowski, Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterBook chapterResearchpeer-review


When we created PoliShot, a political Dada game and interactive installation, we were confronted quite unexpectedly with the question of what is morally or ethically tolerable in digital games. When it was exhibited, it provoked shocked and concerned reactions from curators and visitors alike. The stumbling block was the use of violence, or more specifically, asking the players to act violently in the game. We take our experiences as an occasion to enquire into and discuss the contradictions of the actual and the virtual, of concept and content. We attempt to draw historical and contemporary parallels and reflect on how art production is not limited to the work, but includes the artists and the audience as essential players in a dynamic system of meanings, motives, and interpretations, full of (un)intended and (un)anticipated conflicts, provocations, breakdowns and shifts, creating exciting and challenging opportunities for play.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPlayful Disruption of Digital Media
Publication date2018
ISBN (Print)978-981-10-1889-3
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-10-1891-6
Publication statusPublished - 2018
SeriesGaming Media and Social Effects


  • Political Dadaism
  • Interactive Installation
  • Digital Game Ethics
  • Violence in Video Games
  • Artistic Audience Engagement


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