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School of Perpetual Training (2007-2009)


Looking for an exciting new career in technology? Want to work while you play? Make your dreams a reality with a job in the computer video game industry!

View project online at http://turbulence.org/Works/perpetualtraining/

School of Perpetual Training is an ironic instructional training program that exposes the underbelly and not so glamorous side of the computer video game industry. Most people associate jobs in the computer video game industry with information-based labor such as 3D graphics and coding game programs. Yet the majority of the industry relies on the sweat and stamina of migrant and low-income laborers working for electronics contract manufacturers in developing countries.

By following a series of training exercises, participants learn about the precarious employment and unjust labor conditions of workers in the areas of overseas digital game manufacturing and distribution. A virtual “personal trainer” created in Second Life leads participants through a series of training exercises that use motion detection and require full range of body motion to play. Rather than using a mouse or joystick, the motion detection demands the participants “labor” to complete the training exercises, emphasizing the extreme physical nature and motion economics of these jobs. The individual training exercises recontextualize popular classic arcade games – Dig Dug, Tapper, Space Invaders and Tetris – in order to “train” participants for jobs in mineral mining, printed circuit board assembly, box build and global shipping. At the end of the training program, participants can gauge their “global market value” to find out how much they are “worth” in contrast to white-collar workers in the industry and game company profits.

Through a Turbulence Commission
School of Perpetual Training is now online as a webcam-enabled training program.

School of Perpetual Training is currently in the exhibition “Precious Cargo” at the University at Buffalo Art Gallery has been exhibited at Pace-NY Digital Art Gallery in conjunction with Turbulence.org,  2008 Amsterdam International Film Festival and Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center as part of the 2007 Beyond/In Western New York Biennial.

Funding and support for development of the installation prototype provided through a residency at Eyebeam, an art and technology center in New York City, and a 2020 Scholars Award through the University at Buffalo.

Web site homepage with animated personal trainer.


Still from "Printed Circuit Board Assembly" training exercise (aka Beer Tapper).


Still from the animated introduction for "Global Shipping" training exercise.