19:50 Jens M. Stober (art project) – 1378 (km)
1378 (km), through the medium of the computer game, allows for an immersive and interactive journey into sections of the inner-German border year 1976. There are two parties in the game, the first being the East German Border Guards, and second being the East German Refugees. The objective of the refugees is to get over the death strip to flee to West Germany. The objective of the border guards is to prevent that refugees cross the border. At first glance 1378(km) appears to be an ordinary first-person shooter, which is due to the fact that it is based on one. However the modifications made on the first-person shooter for 1378(km) completely change the usual experience of such a game.
Through the personal identification as either an East German Refugee or an East German Border Guard, and growing familiar with the border sections represented in the game, the players will become interested in this part of Germany’s past. The game is addressed mainly to a young generation that grew up with computer games as their defining medium. In this computer game, as opposed to, for example, a documentary film, – I personally have control over my actions and reactions, which take place in real time and in changing situations.
The game 1378 (km) does not force someone playing as the “border soldiers” to shoot the “refugees”. Players are left with the freedom of choice. The border guard has the ability to arrest refugees without the use of violence. They even have the opportunity to be a refugee. You are only able to win the game when you do not shoot. The rules of the game are inspired by the situation at the former Inner German Border. Border camps, death strips, and orders to shoot are what make the game brutal.
Jens M. Stober (* 1986 Karlsruhe, Germany) is a media artist and game designer. His works are focused on handling computer games in an artistic way. Since 2007 he has been studying media art at the University of Art and Design Karlsruhe under Prof. Michael Bielicky.
In 2008 he developed in cooperation with “goldextra” the game “Frontiers – Welcome to Fortress Europe”, shown at the EMAF-Osnabrück and part of the exhibition “world of games” in ZKM Karlsruhe. In 2010 he developed the game 1378(km) as pre-diploma about the inner-German border. The game has sparked much controversy in Germany over the question of whether a computer game should be allowed to cover this period of recent German history.