"Humankind cannot bear very much reality" T.S. Eliot
Across Australia, thousands of computer gamers are packing up flashy keyboards and padding their modified drives to gather at temporary LAN parties in musty halls and defunct scout dens. Wheeling in slabs of warm energy drinks cradled by fatigued floral pillows and thrust into swivel chairs, they plug into the high speed Local Area Network to play their favourite games in physical proximity to their virtual opponents.
This moment in which reality and fantasy collide is a messy one. The gaming can go on for hours or days. Most stay the whole weekend, bolstered by energy drinks and camaraderie. Shanty sleeping quarters are established on the peripheries. Some simply slide into sleeping bags underfoot, amidst the snaking cables and debris of perfunctory sustenance.
As I observed, I considered my own affections for and assumptions about play. Documentary photography has had a long history concerning the taxonomy of play within the domain of our culture. Video games are a modern part of this tradition, yet are distinguished by their special blend of interactivity which has increased technical dependence to a peculiar point of symbiosis, forming an ambiguous yet compelling relationship between what is virtual and what is real.