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Creative Violence: Video Games, Devised Theater, and Motion Capture Strategies


Matt Romein


SUN, JAN 7 | 9 AM - 10:30 AM (MST)
METEOR Studio (312)

Creative Violence is a talk and interactive demonstration centered on the creation of a live motion capture theater project called Bag of Worms. Bag of Worms is devised theater piece inspired by video game modding, body horror, and Toad from the Mario video game series. The artist will talk about his own relationship to video games as sites of creative exploration and intense simulated violence and how he's reconciled these polar extremes. This conflict acts as the basis for the creation of a new type of devised theater performance that uses video game engines and motion capture technologies. The artist will follow up the talk with an interactive demonstration for the audience that will showcase the motion capture technology used in the performance and strategies for leveraging these tools for performance.

From the Artist

Matt Romein

Artist, Studio Member: ONX Studio

Addressing contemporary issues, “Bag of Worms” satirizes video game violence and the disintegration of context in social media and gaming platforms. The show explores the cumulative trauma experienced through constant media exposure, examining our limits and the consequences of surpassing them. “Bag of Worms” fosters empathy for digital bodies and avatars, challenging the audience to reconcile violent imagery and actions within a whimsical, playful setting.

Moreover, the show employs video game tools and techniques to critically examine their role in our lives and the growing impact of computer graphics in everyday experiences. It reframes the discourse on video games and violence, juxtaposing free-form play and exploration (as seen in games like "Lemmings" and "The Sims") with inherent violence in gaming culture. With computer graphics becoming increasingly realistic, understanding the effects of interactive violent imagery on users and viewers is vital. The show highlights the benefits of play and exploration while acknowledging the potential downsides of digital violence.

This production revolutionizes theater by merging live production, film language, and motion capture technology, creating an unprecedented form of performance. As motion capture becomes more affordable, it offers vast potential to transform various mediums into more accessible and dynamic forms of real-time creation. "Bag of Worms" elevates video games and contemporary animation into ephemeral mediums reliant on audience presence, establishing these tools as innovative channels for live performance.

The talk, Creative Violence, seeks to reframe the discourse on video games and violence. I will examine free-form play and exploration in games like Lemmings and The Sims while acknowledging violence as an inherent, occasionally creative aspect of video game culture. With computer graphics becoming increasingly photorealistic, understanding the impact of violence in consequence-free digital spaces is crucial.


Writer, Performer, Sound Designer - Peter Mills Weiss
Writer, Performer - Julia Mounsey
Company Manager - Aaron Profumo
Rehearsal Technician - Izzy Heron
Additional Coding Support - Oren Shoham, Oliver-Rose Truxillo, and Sneha Belkhale
Bag of Worms was developed with the support of the Onassis Foundation, ONX Studio, and the MAXmachina laboratory and originally presented by Media Art Xploration.

Simulated violence, simulated gun violence