How to get rid of homeless is a monumental project. A 600-page epic split in two volumes documenting the “homeless scandal” that affected the newly released game SimCity (Maxis/Electronic Arts, 2013).
How To Get Rid of Homeless reproduces dozens of threads concerning “homelessness” that appeared in Electronic Arts’ online forum between 2012 and 2013. Matteo Bittanti collected, selected, and transcribed thousands of messages exchanged by the forum members who first experienced and then tried to “eradicate” the phenomenon of homelessness that “plagued” SimCity. From surprise to despair, from shock to resignation, these posts highlight the pitfalls of simulation, the not-so-subtle effects of ideology on game design, and the interplay between play and society, politics and entertainment.
Decontextualized from their original source and reproduced on paper sans the majority of online communication hallmarks (e.g. author’s signatures, side banners, avatar pictures etc.), these textual exchanges create a peculiar narrative. Some of the dialogues’ absurdist tones evoke Ionesco’s plays. Others reveal racist and classist biases, and forcefully introduce - or, rather, reintroduce - a highly political vision that the alleged “neutral” algorithms were supposed to overcome.
Publishers: #ConcretePress (Concrete Press)
#ElectronicArts (EA, Electronic Arts)
#SimCity (SimCity 2013)