This Is Not a Game

A short history of Q as a mindfuck game

Playing with reality: in his video essay, Arne Vogelgesang looks at the history of and background to QAnon and considers the elements that have contributed to the rapid spread of this conspiracy theory.

Film still from: “This Is Not a Game”

Film still from “This Is Not a Game”

55 min, in German

“Alternate Reality Games” combine reality and fiction in interesting and startling ways. Based on interactive structures, ARGs incorporate a very wide range of media, and generate a strong compulsive effect on the players who (help) shape the game by researching and exchanging information. ARGs use the individual lives of the players as their true gaming platform, thus forming active and enduring communities.

What has this got to do with QAnon? Since this myth, which has also established itself as a brand, became widespread, numerous observers have pointed out how it operates on similar principles to “Larping” (Live Action Role Playing). In QAnon one can find elements of both LARPs and ARGs combining to create a new form. Arne Vogelgesang guides us through stories that shape reality and examines the growth of QAnon primarily in the context of the evolution of US politics.

We wish to thank for kindly making this video available.
A shortened version was first presented in lecture form as part of the Remote Chaos Experience in December 2020.

Arne Vogelgesang
is a director and founder-member of the theatre label internil. He has created freelance theatre work under this and other names since 2005, experimenting with a various composites of documentary material, new media and performance. Key themes in his work include political radicalisation, deviant practices and the digitisation of what is human. He also works as a video artist and in cultural education, publishes literary texts and presents lectures and workshops on the aesthetics of radical internet propaganda.