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T’s World: The Over-identification of Terry Thompson

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posted on 22.01.2021, 10:25 by Ramon Bloomberg
T's World: The Overidentification of Terry Thompson, Leipzig, October 2014

The film premiered at DOK Leipzig on 28th October 2014.

In the film, Dr Bloomberg explores the story of Terry Thompson who, in 2011, disactivated the cages of 64 wild animals on his Ohio property, so the animals might escape into the community. Then he shot himself, hoping that the animals would consume him.

Mobilising police reports and interviews, this practice-based research explores the tensions between Thompson's legal rights and the security concerns of the authorities and neighbours. It examines the question of, “how can the ‘rule of the game’ be understood when the custom permits liberties but the law does not?

To create the 3D images, the idea of a paradoxical "game" was incorporated into the form of the film with the intention of a "performativity in form" that transcends the content of the film and forms part of its analysis and commentary. A game world was created using a platform for video game production. All the characters are artificially intelligent "bots" that inhabit T's World, a digital recreation of Thompson's property and surroundings. These automated "bots" are set loose in the world with only the rudimentary rules of the script to determine their behaviour.

The film gives insight into the political issues of violence, custom and law in the U.S. by showing how Thompson’s actions were congruent with some strains in American political thought, and incongruent with others. It demonstrates how, ultimately, an over-identification with custom is not allowed, and law goes into effect.

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Brunel University London

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