World of World: The Adventures of Malbec and Player (2009)

"World of World" is a composite digital print that reflects my combined fascination and frustration with the massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft, which I have been playing off and on for years. In particular, it looks at the relationship between players and avatars—a relationship that seems to me to be always troubled and generally oversimplified in writing about all kinds of virtual environments, not just that of WoW. (For close-ups of the four panels of this piece, please click through to the external site.)

Full Description

"World of World" reverses our usual perspective to consider the player through the avatar's eyes. It is as if a female Night Elf Death Knight (named Malbec) were looking back through the interface at the artificial (to her) world of the game Player. In the way it encapsulates their joint experiences, it represents her view of him—and, indirectly, his view of himself as refracted through this particular fantasy. It also encodes my view of both: Malbec is my own Death Knight, and the Player is an actor I had role-play as a gamer. The slicing together of code-generated images from WoW with 'degraded' webcam images of the Player keeps the two perspectives from ever fusing into a unified view.

I originally intended the text in this piece to be Malbec's first-person narrative, part memoir, part picaresque. What it became instead was a morbid and comic internal dialogue through which Malbec and Player struggle for self-understanding. (The text in roman is Malbec, in italics the Player.)

I created "World of World" for the 2009 exhibition "WOW: Emergent Media Phenomenon" at the Laguna Museum of Art, California. It was output as four 2'x3' individual digital prints that are hung contiguously to create the full 2' x 12' finished work.

As part of this project, I created a limited edition artist's book. The idea was not only to have the project in portable form, but also to divide the large image up in a way that would bring a different focus to its component elements. Each page in the book represents one-sixteenth of the original print.

Work metadata

  • Year Created: 2009
  • Submitted to ArtBase: Tuesday May 14th, 2013
  • Original Url:
  • Work Credits:
    • antoinettelafarge, primary creator
    • Robert, co-creator, director
    • Peter Uribe, performer (Player)
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