Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, in collaboration with FH Joanneum and Drugo More, presents:

Molleindustria - ALL WORK, NO PLAY


Aksioma | Project Space
Komenskega 18, Ljubljana

13 May – 5 June 2015

OPENING: WED, 13 May 2015 at 8 pm


Can a (video)game be used to critically address socio-political issues such as flexibility, precariousness, alienation and all the issues introduced by the Post-Fordist model of labour? Mainstream videogames are mass culture products that can sometimes address or depict social problems, but that never forget their main purpose: entertain a mass audience that, even when interested or actively involved in politics, may be disappointed to find politics in videogames.
The late Nineties have seen the emergence of many attempts to use the tools and the extended social platform provided by videogames to bring more serious topics in this arena, from game mods to performative interventions in online games. But when, back in 2003, Molleindustria made its appearance and started publishing its small Flash games, and its first statements, no one had yet made this point as clear: that “the ideology of a game resides in its rules”. You can change the skin of a game or force its engine to work in a way that turns success into failure, and photo-realistic violence into a generator of abstract beauty; but if you don’t change the way the game works, it will always be a celebration of strength, machism and victory. Only by making games that work in a different way, though still providing entertainment, we can start using this powerful medium to make people think about and critically engage current socio-political issues. [1]
Since then onward, Molleindustria - the “firm” name of Italian game designer Paolo Pedercini - has been one of the most prominent voices in the indie game scene, and one of the few that was able to design games that were at the same time played by thousands of gamers, used by activists to make some topics easier to understand and circulate, and shown in art circuits as a form of engaged interactive media art. According to media theorist Alessandro Ludovico (2007), “Rejecting the usual parody scheme, Molleindustria has established a sort of paradigm in defining political hacktivism embedded into a funny and ironic video game system. He uses video game rules to foster ideologies, and in his unique case the software reveals how politics can be argued within classic 'point and click' interaction, making high score on rising personal awareness. His aesthetic and attitude have found their way in targeting the singular conscience lost in the overcrowded mediascape.” [2]

At Aksioma Project Space, Molleindustria will present a selection of games focused on topics of labour and presented in a setup that will allow the audience to engage each game according to their own modes of play. From the narrative and poetic works as Every Day the Same Dream (2009), a short game about alienation and refusal of labor, to the more recent Phone Story (2011), a game for smart phones about the social cost of electronic manufacturing; from To Build a Better Mousetrap (2014), a management game about innovation and labor, to Unmanned (2012) a game about the life of an unmanned drone pilot, passing by the documentation of MayDay NetParade (2004) a virtual demonstration organized in the occasion of the Euro MayDay that allowed everyone to reclaim that visibility that mainstream media, unions, parties are denying us.

[1] Cf. Paolo Pedercini, “Radical Game Design”, in a-minima, February 2006, online at http://www.molleindustria.org/it/radical-game-design/index.html.
[2] Alessandro Ludovico, “Molleindustria, videogame rules as a political medium”, in Neural, November 2007.

Production of the exhibition:

Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, 2015

Artistic Director: Janez Janša
Producer: Marcela Okretič
Executive Producer: Sonja Grdina
Public Relations: Hana Ostan Ožbolt
Technician: Valter Udovičić
Documentation: Jernej Čuček Gerbec

Partners: FH Joanneum and Drugo More

All Work, No Play is realized in the framework of Masters & Servers, a joint project by Aksioma (SI), Drugo more (HR), AND (UK), Link Art Center (IT) and d-i-n-a / The Influencers (ES).

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Supported by: the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the Municipality of Ljubljana.

Thanks to: E.P.L. d.o.o.

Aksioma | Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana


Paolo Ruffino
When one is too many: Molleindustria and Paolo Pedercini

Series - Aksioma PostScriptUM #22

Paolo Ruffino, member of the art group IOCOSE and academic, writes about Molleindustria, the “brand” name of Italian game designer Paolo Pedercini. The essay explores the working conditions of independent game developers, who are often forced into patterns of self-exploitation and are exposed to the risk of over-individualisation.



- Other brochures

a presentation by Paolo Pedercini
@Aksioma | Project Space, Ljubljana
13 May 2015
Works on Display

Phone Story
Molleindustria, Michael Pineschi, and YesLab, 2011

Phone Story is a smartphone app about the dark side of consumer electronic manufacturing. The phone’s own supply chain is recounted with four games that symbolically implicate the player in coltan extraction in Congo, outsourced labor in China, e-waste in Pakistan and planned obsolescence in the West.


Molleindustria and Jim Munroe, 2012

Now you get to play the newest kind of soldier: one who remotely drops bombs on foreign soil during the day, and at night goes home to his family in the suburbs. In Unmanned, the conflict is internal — the only blood you’ll shed is from shaving cuts. But is there collateral damage in this new way of waging war?


To Build a Better Mousetrap
Molleindustria, 2014

A semi-abstract management game that examines the tension between labour, meta-labour, automation, unemployment and repression.


Every Day the Same Dream
Molleindustria, 2009

A game about refusal of labor and alienation. A short, bleak tale about a day / dream / nightmare. A faceless one-dimensional man is trapped in the daily routine. His liberation / damnation / awakening only happens when player discovers all the possible way to subvert his every day life.


MayDay NetParade
Molleindustria and Chainworkers, 2004

On the occasion of the Euro MayDay 2004 Molleindustria organized the digital representation  of that very same event inviting people to be part of it by adding their profile, creating and customizing their virtual alter-ego and inputing their slogan in the represented and animated demo. The MayDay NetParade run thru a heavily guarded and branded city put under siege by insurgent legions of brain+chain+temp workers and assorted anarchists, commies, queers and greens. The marching avatars became digital simulacra of  exploited masses of neoliberalism: précaires, precari@s, precari, cognitarie, contingent knowledge and service workers.


Paolo Pedercini is a game developer, artist and educator based in Pittsburgh where he teaches digital media production and experimental game design at the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University. He makes videogames under the project name “Molleindustria”.
Molleindustria [soft industry/soft factory] is a project of reappropriation of video games, a call for the radicalization of popular culture, an independent game developer. Since 2003 it has produced homeopathic remedies to the idiocy of mainstream entertainment in the form of free, short-form, online games. Its products range from satirical business simulations (McDonald's Video game, Oiligarchy) to meditations on labor and alienation (Every day the same dream, Tuboflex), from playable theories (the Free Culture Game, Leaky World) to politically incorrect pseudo-games (Orgasm Simulator, Operation: Pedopriest). Molleindustria obtained extensive media coverage and critical acclaim while hopping between digital art, academia, game design, media activism and internet folk art.