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For as long as there have been wars, there have been soldiers refusing to fight in them. The experimental short How to Disappear examines the history of military desertion via the online war video game Battlefield V (2018), drawing wry and provocative contrasts between digital and real-life combat. Created by the Austrian art collective Total Refusal, this thoughtful film also asks: what does it mean that you can’t desert within this computer-generated world? Unable to abandon the battlefield or surrender within Battlefield V, Total Refusal invents new and unusual forms of pacifistic disobedience for their user-controlled soldiers. Their imaginative tactics walk a thin line between trolling other players and challenging the frameworks and mores of this peculiar space. By putting aside the intended gameplay, the group explores muddy moral questions of play, patriotism and war in a society where lines between digital and real environments grow more blurred by the day. For more from Total Refusal’s Leonhard Müllner and Robin Klengel, watch Operation Jane Walk.
What is it like to clean the world for tomorrow while the rest of a city sleeps?
Philosophy of mind
Caring for the vulnerable opens gateways to our richest, deepest brain states
The nearly forgotten origin myth of Hawaii’s third-gender healers, as told by one
A whirlwind tour of Hong Kong’s high-rises is an awesome meditation on urbanity
The Standard Model might be the most successful theory in science. But what is it?
An artist grapples with the loss of his brother, and the problem of canine abduction
Sports and games
After a day’s toil in California’s fields, labourers let loose in street races
History of technology
Remarkable historical footage is locked behind paywalls. It’s time to set it free
Thinkers and theories
Bigger isn’t better – the renegade ‘Buddhist economics’ of E F Schumacher