In Feb 2022 a headline read “Russian Teenager Gets Five Years In Prison in Minecraft 'Terrorism’”. Investigators in Russia confiscated a 16 year-old phone and found chats that "had proven" he had planned to add the FSB building to the popular Minecraft game and destroy it there. Consequently, a court in Siberia sentenced the 16-year-old boy to five years in prison in what they were calling a high-profile terrorism case. At the time Jan Vormann and Myself (Brad Downey) were wrapping up a long term project in Minecraft, playing around in the game for more than a year. The idea that a government had turned a teenage gamer into a political prisoner and declared him a terrorist seemed like extreme mental gymnastics. In response to this story Jan and myself simply carried out the teenagers plans. Hoping to show how silly the whole action would look, Especially in childish blocky Minecraft aesthetics. But, just before releasing the videos and gifs we created, the war in Ukraine broke out and our childish gesture took on heavier layers of meaning. These silly images we created, meant as a humorous protest in support an unjust sentence, transformed into something different in the face of actual Ukrainian cities being devastated. Now weeks into the war we have decided to rework and consolidate the content into a short film. Proceeds of the work will go to support Ukrainian friends and organizations.
More works from Brad Downey x Jan Vormann