PANDEMIC is a 1st person 3D video game in which the player is a COVID-19 virus within a virtual environment, the visuals are made by Chanee and the sound is composed by Wei Yang.
This project is using this game to bring awareness to incidents of discrimination, xenophobia, racism, and violence against Asian Americans during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. The artist has collected videos of insults that strangers have uploaded to the internet, interviews with victims of COVID-19 fueled racist attacks, as well as playful mentions of the “Chinese Virus” on TikTok and other live video apps.
Like COVID-19, the feeling that the majority of people are against a particular minority can be without symptoms to society as a whole, but Asian Americans are now witnessing a surprising proportion of people testing positive for this sentiment.
Over 30 percent of Americans have witnessed bias against Asians because of COVID-19 (Ellerbeck, 2020), In real life, these moments slip by generally unnoticed by our non-Asian friends, so The artist has been collecting playful demonstrations of xenophobia toward Asians from the virtual world and juxtaposing it with the bloody aftermath of racist attacks.
This is a strange moment in the world’s history. We don’t yet know how this pandemic will end up affecting the world's economy, the relationships between nations, or politics within the United States. We are being reminded that as human beings we are very fragile, and in our desire to feel strong, throughout our history, we have used scapegoating as a mechanism for catharsis and in-group bonding.
We have a solution to suggest. She proposes a ‘Wash the Hate’ campaign in response to anti-Asian bigotry amid the COVID-19 crisis. Our new game, PANDEMIC, is a way for us to confront the absurdity of the moment, and the combination of fear and infection that is driving it.
PANDEMIC project has featured in UW News, UW College of Arts & Sciences, QR 20-21 Radical Justice Series, GeekWire, T.ART, International Examiner, Joy Seattle News, Seattle Times, KUOW National Public Radio, KING5 News, ACM SIGGRAPH SPARKS, and WIRED.