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Ah_Q.jpgChinese new media artist Feng Mengbo has worked with iconic first person shooters Doom and Quake numerous times throughout his career. In Q3 (1999) Feng recorded footage of the game Quake III Arena and superimposed live action video of himself, toting a camera around the battlefield and interviewing contestants, over top. Feng expanded upon this idea in 2002's Q4U (a play on the common abbreviation for the game, Q3A) by completely reworking the game's code to replace all character models with a model of himself, bespecktacled and shirtless, with a gun in one hand and a video camera in the other. Feng's final version of the game, released in 2004 and pictured here, saw the addition of a dance pad used to control all the player character's motions. 


Feng's modded version of Q3A was made available to players online, and he regularly gave installation demos involving live matches against anonymous opponents. With every character bearing the image of the artist, friends and foes alike found themselves locked in a bloody deathmatch with no way of telling who should or shouldn't be killed. Cameras in tow, a dozen Fengs repeatedly encounter each other, given no other choice of interaction but violence. While this may seem to deliver a deliberately negative message about our interpersonal interactions, Feng instead hopes the viewer will come to appreciate the "beauty of virtual violence…which can be switched on or off at any moment" [1]. The dance pad controller gives an added element of physicality and personal investment to the piece; dance games, played on similar controllers, were also highly popular in China at the time of AHQ's creation, and thus gathered the interest of viewers on a popular cultural level as well.