Parlyz Heal “Loverlessness” (2020)
Downloadable Justin Lazarus Playermodel: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2294707122
Created within Garry’s Mod, an awkward, disorderly mid-2000s ‘game’, “Loverlessness” explores DIY early internet media culture through deconstructed video game aesthetics.
In the early 2000s, DIY media online emerged and proliferated through flash videos, image macros, and video game modifications due to the growing availability of home computers and increased computer literacy. Much of this content was rooted in modifying pre-existing and recognizable symbols, and was often playful, chaotic, and adolescent.
This content also frequently centered on violence, and the absurdist humor in seeing familiar symbols / characters in unconventional situations. Equal parts edgelord and expressive, this violent assemblage of ideas would generate web traffic, while helping define the bizarre character of early online web culture.
While juvenile, and oftentimes aesthetically rudimentary, this content would reach a massive audience and became a gateway to DIY creative spheres for many internet users. Challenging the understanding of conventional top-down media hierarchies (especially to an 11-year-old online) paired with the deviant thrill of deconstructing familiar icons, online animation and modding became an attractive outlet for dispersed, online creatives.
For myself at 11 years old, playing an online game and seeing a user-generated Elmo playermodel fighting off Zombies in a user-made McDonalds map was eye-opening: immature, yet inspiring.
Loverlessness emulates this cultural era through the meta-narrative of Justin Lazarus travelling into a bizarre, surreal alternate world from within a game world. Encountering the hallmarks of early web culture (uncanny juxtapositions, juvenile imagery, amateur graphics/animation, anime girls), Justin explores a condensed vision of early online DIY media.
Created within Gmod, a tool once prevalent in the modding community, the video makes use of and refers back to the software’s own history. Elevating the expectation of a typical video made in Gmod, Loverlessness pairs amateur modding aesthetics with a more “ “cinematic” ” approach.
In the spirit of mod culture, the video incorporates dozens of mods generated by anonymous creators, but also contributes back. The Justin Lazarus playermodel is available through Steam, not only allowing other users to use and modify as desired, but to place Loverlessness in the grander modding-narrative at large.
Also, it’s a love story <3
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥