Everything is going to be OK
»Everything is going to be OK« is an interactive glitch art zine by US-Amercian artist Nathalie Lawhead. The zine is a collection of life experiences about trauma, depression, PTSD, and struggle, represented via darkly humorous gameplay elements. It is also a profound commentary on society’s way of perceiving victims, or rather: survivors, as weak.
»Everything is going to be OK« explores the boundaries of games and art. It takes the players or users back in time by confronting them with a glitchy, old-school computer desktop filled with lots of icons. Each icon leads to a page, each of which lets the players interactively explore different situations that deal with the hardships of life and with coping.
Art and humor are ways to cope and Lawhead intends to facilitate dialogue as well as inspire societal change with her work. Society tends to put a veil of shame over victims of traumatic experiences. It’s not »cool« or »ok« to discuss it, or discuss the social circumstances that lead up to people being abused. There’s a psychology of shame surrounding »hard times«, and how they are a reflection of your own self-worth, that Lawhead wants to see torn down.
The humor used in »Everything is going to be OK« is one way to achieve this. It is often absurd and dark: Cartoon-style bunnies and other critters are the protagonists in most of the episodes. Their cuteness stands in stark contrast to the sometimes blatantly brutal, sometimes more subtle hardships they have to endure. Still, they meet life’s trials and tribulations with unfaltering optimism. These contrasts make for a comic relief – a reaction that is meant to be both cathartic and take the edge off.
At the social level, strength and power are mostly perceived as the ability to conquer, to hurt or to subjugate. Lawhead wants to change this perception and to show how much strength it takes not only to survive trauma, but to live on with it. In her artist’s statement, Lawhead explains a lot about her motivation and her intentions – celebrating the way people cope with life’s struggles not being the least of them.
About the artist:
Nathalie Lawhead is multidisciplinary game designer. She is coming from a very traditional background in classic art, but has been focussing on interative installations, especially online, for more than fifteen years. Her work intends to blur the lines between games and art.
A loud, colourful, surprising, earnest, funny, and devastating ‘interactive zine’. … It’s the cheeriest and most awful thing I’ve played in a while. … It’s great. It’s funny. It’s exciting. And it’s gut-wrenching.
Alice O'Connor, Rockpapershotgun.com
A remarkable audio visual extravaganza that’s played out via a virtual desktop full of beautifully animated apps that explore real life experiences such as pain, fear, trauma and recovery in interesting, surreal, humorous ways. ... Brilliant, bonkers and thoroughly bizarre – highly recommended.
Calum Fraser, Alphabetagamer.com
Nathalie Lawhead's Everything is going to be OK explores dark, horrible life events through a lens of relentless optimism and humor, facing down soul-crushing horror with an absurd cheer.
Joel Couture, Indiegames.com
Ultimately, ‘Everything is going to be OK’ is an ode to those who have felt discarded by society, and their scars rejected.
Jess Joho, Mashable.com