Sarah Lawrence College
Dartmouth College / Tiltfactor Lab
Citation: Ferraiolo, Angela and Mary Flanagan. “Layoff!.” Hyperrhiz: New Media Cultures, no. 7, 2010. doi:10.20415/hyp/007.g04
Abstract: Developed by Tiltfactor Lab and the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Game Design and Development program, LAYOFF is a casual game that also offers researchers an examination of how empathy operates in a game based on a time of crisis. Both friends and strangers face tough times in an unstable economy. In the game, players play from the side of management needing to cut jobs. Players match types of workers in groups in order to lay the workers off and increase workforce efficiency. Who do you empathize with and why?
It's amazing that Americans accept layoffs as sound business management. Mass layoffs benefit no one but a small group of corporate elites who, frankly, have been taught it's okay to behave like robber barons. I wanted to make a game that says as much. Since people have to be able to laugh at a situation before they can do anything to change it, I hope Layoff! makes life a little less scary. In that sense, I hope the game is subversive. Thanks to hyperrhiz for supporting work like this.
— Angela Ferraiolo
Since the mid 1990s, my artwork has continued to be a site of investigation into human relationships with technology. In my work I explore the relationship between computers and everyday life from within a technologically infused culture: computer viruses, search engines, games, cell phones, and email - seemingly boring or ordinary digital systems - become for me extraordinary and revealing artifacts representing themes of human desire, intimacy, secrecy, language, and the spaces of machines themselves.
— Mary Flanagan