Joseph Delappe

You'll Never Walk Alone: Protest, Memory and Reenactment

Date 2/8/09

Affiliation Artist, Reno, Nevada


In 2001 media artist Joseph DeLappe began a series of protests, interventions, and reenactments – hacktivist performances within computer games and online communities. Included in these is the controversial project “dead-in-iraq” which he created to intervene in the highly popular, taxpayer funded “First Person Shooter” game produced by the Defense Department as a recruiting and marketing tool. DeLappe enters the America’s Army game with the moniker, “dead-in-iraq”, drops his weapon and in the ensuing virtual mayhem, is killed; hovering over his dead avatar he proceeds to type the name, age, service branch and date of death of each American military casualty from the war in Iraq. In this ongoing act of “memorial and protest” he has, to date, logged in over 4,000 names of the 4,221 reported killed. The project has garnered both intense support and criticism from dedicated gamers, veterans, soldiers’ relatives, and others, while also receiving a level of media scrutiny that has propelled the ideas behind the project into the popular imagination.

Does this type of artistic intervention affect change? How does one creatively navigate the inherent conflicts between art and activism? How do creative individuals who seek to dissent, demonstrate or otherwise participate in oppositional actions choose to function in our present media saturated environment? DeLappe will present his ideas regarding art and activism as realized in both virtual and real territories through the discussion of “dead-in-iraq” and other recent works that creatively engage our contemporary geopolitical and technological context through interventionist strategies, including projects such as, The Salt Satyagraha Online: Gandhi’s March to Dandi in Second Life and which was developed as part of the faux end-of-the-war edition of the New York Times.


Joseph DeLappe is an Associate Professor of the Department of Art at the University of Nevada where he runs the Digital Media Program. Working with electronic and new media since 1983, his work in online gaming performance, electromechanical installation and real-time web-based video transmission have been shown throughout the United States and abroad.

His works have been included in Art in America,,, The New York Times, and featured on CNN domestic and international, NPR (National Public Radio), CBC (Canadian Broadcast Company), and The Sydney Morning Herald. He is a native of San Francisco born in 1963.

-- As of 2/8/09

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