The struggle was real!
Attention and be careful.
This is an announcement from “The Struggle is Real” committee – composed of Greencube, Clusterduck, Superinternet and Riccardo Rudi. After 5 long days of debate, we have finally come to a resolution on who is the winner of the tournament.
The difficulty in the decision was due to the surprising dynamics that unfolded during the final match on 16 December 2021. Before the match some players orchestrated a “Conspiracy” (Mario Santamaría) partly inspired by “The Velvet-Strike mod” (2002) and this is why during the final match, the qualified artists/players decided to “work together in peace to make a counter-statement to the ultra-competitive field that is the art world” (Adonis Archontides). At this point a new challenge emerged, created by the artists themselves: ending the match with 0 kills. This turned out as a wonderful show on how cooperation can be possible in the online space. Artists that had never met each other IRL, coming from different time zones, had fun discovering new ways to move around the Fondazione Spara arena, creating human pyramids and group photos, drawing on the walls with their bullets, exploiting a bug discovered by First Last. They even managed to fly and symbolically exit the walls of the game, while they were literally doing so.
We were not aware of their plan and definitely enjoyed the unexpected counter-performance. They would have liked to conclude the match by shooting at the podium, consisting of only one step, as the only winner destined to receive the €500 prize: the artist fee. But in the final seconds of the match — as some of the non-qualified gamers had foreseen: “people will scam their way to an artist fee” (Esben Holk) — one of the players decided to “explore the original power dynamics of the project” (Bob Bicknell-Knight) by shooting for the one kill which would have put him first in the final ranking.
The match was over: one artist with 1 kill and all the others with 0 kills. In the heat of the moment and due to the fact that the committee wasn’t physically together to make a quick decision, Clusterduck — the curators of “The Struggle is Real” — decided to subvert the rules and during the live stream stated “we decided to give the prize to the people who did zero kills”. But after careful consideration, very long discussions and consultations with other artists and curators, all the parties involved in the project realized how complex this decision actually was, battling within “the Lawful Evil, the Chaotic Good and all the shades in between” (Clusterduck).
We all agreed that there is no easy solution to the struggle. Embroiled in this range of possibilities we didn’t come to full unanimity even inside the committee. But as “the solution for this has to come despite the rules resulting in an unethical outcome” (Seong Y. Her), it has been arbitrarily decided to stick to the rules of the Struggle and award the first classified. In respect to the framework of the game itself, we did settle that the FS commission should own no more agency than the walls, stairs and bullets composing the cruel and simple architecture of the Fondazione Spara arena. The arduous task of modding the rules of the game is up to the artists themselves. Artists need to find together stratagems and solutions “to show that cooperation is better than competition” (Seong Y. Her).
Ultimately we are pleased to announce the winner of “The Struggle is Real”, the first tournament set in Fondazione Spara: Bob Bicknell-Knight!
PS: In the near future we will keep you updated on all the aftermaths of the tournament. What made us happiest is that through the tournament a small community emerged, that the FS committee will continue to support by any means, and we hope that what happened helped to raise discussions about the main problem: The Struggle is Real.