I just finished a feature for the June issue of Arthur Magazine on Joseph DeLappe's dead-in-iraq project, which if you haven't yet read about it, is detailed in the following GameSpy article. He's been logging onto America's Army under the name dead-in-iraq, and choosing not to fight. Instead, he just types in the names of American military casualties. So far, he has written out 450 names, and intends to continue until there are no more casualties to list.
One of the most interesting aspects of the work is reading the dicusssions it has spurred in various game forums. See for example:
America's Army Forum("I believe he wants us to be bugged so he could get his message straight.")
Terra Nova("Don't be surprised if there's a book deal in this. "My Noble Online Protest", by Joseph "surrender-monkey" DeLappe, coming soon to a B&N near you.")
Gamepolitics("So he's taking up a spot on the server. Boo. ****ing. Hoo. Get over it. Human life is more important than you winning a computer game.")
Women Gamers ("Couldn't he do something more original than name all the dead? That's been done like hundreds of times")
notsuchapatriot.livejournal.com (" its up to the users of the game to decide how it makes them feel.")
If you check out the more recent posts on Gamepolitics, notsuchapatriot's livejournal and Terra Nova, you see where DeLappe himself joins in on the discussion.
A New Kind of Art Form Leads to a New Kind of Protest (PC)
By Li C. Kuo | May 23, 2006
Joseph DeLappe can often be found logging into an online session of America's Army for hours at a time, but this Associate Professor from San Francisco isn't running around shooting terrorists. Instead, Prof. DeLappe spends the entire session typing. He may stop occasionally when his character is killed and he has to wait for a respawn, or he'll stop to take a screenshot of a reply sent to him from another player, but otherwise, he's just typing.
Prof. DeLappe expects to be typing for some time. This is because he's typing in the name of every single American soldier killed in Iraq since the war started, which according to the Department of Defense is currently 2,456. DeLappe knows this project will take a while. "I tend to do probably 2-3 hours a week" he says, "That'll get me somewhere between 40 and 75 names." The name of his project is "dead-in-iraq," and it's also the name that he signs in under when he logs on to America's Army.
In Memoriam and in Protest
"The piece is intended as a memorial and a protest," explains DeLappe as he talks about his motivations. "It merged really from my thinking both as an artist and as a citizen. Thinking about what is happening, the nature of this war, how it came about, and really, essentially the nature of the America's Army computer game." He goes on to say "Part of it was thinking about the nature of what is a memorial... A memorial is to remember sacrifice and heroism and death. Why wait for when it's (the war) over? Why not do it now?"
See also Rhizome