SweetPads, paradoxical videogame interface


Do you remember Quake 3 Arena et similia? The so-called shoot-em-ups, where you fight against anybody else and where the only goal is to score the highest number of frags? That one that cause a cramp in your hand because of the nervous joystick grip and of the hyper-kinetic movements of the thumb for shooting as much gunshots as possible? Stick in mind the goal and forget the rest. SweetPads is an installation by France Cadet, a french artist that works with the behavioral relationships of the individual, related to the artificialness of life. Here the players, in a multiplayer environment, have to kill the highest number of enemies without being aggressive or impulsive. So far the only way to play is the stay calm and gently caress the pads that will mildly obey, shooting mortal gunshots everywhere. It’s not acceptable to lose control of the situation and let oneself go to upset gestures, otherwise one is banned to go on with the action. With this mechanism made out of a few simple rules, Cadet primes a real cognitive revolution, investigating the individual ability to manage a so paradoxical situation as that of quietly killing an enemy – even if a virtual one – making a gesture – the caress – that is socially interpreted and received only as a love expression.

Francesca Tomassini