Unsuccessful Wrestling

Interactive Installation
Concept & Design by Megan Young
Project Support by Evan Prunty
Commissioned by Citizen University, Joy of Voting

Media Mentions:
Returning the Joy to Voting, The Atlantic
Akron Works to Bring Joy to Voting, NPR Weekend Edition

Ingenuity Cleveland
Center for Applied Theater & Active Culture (CATAC)

The digital installation pairs two viewer/participants as opponents in virtual space. They engage one another in combat from the safety of their own wrestling mats. Meanwhile, live-action images of their combined grappling, bobbing, kicking, or evading are projected onto a movie sized screen.

Performer/facilitators demonstrate Unsuccessful Wrestling techniques, coordinate participants, and become their cheering section. The game-like environment mirrors the high stakes and equally high fatigue of the 2016 election year. The sometimes disorienting, sometimes aggrandising utilization of digital space draws from mounting concerns regarding the role of media and social media platforms in U.S. elections. The installation implicates viewer/participants in a seemingly unwinnable battle, while exposing the tense boundaries of our collective physical and digital identities.


Events include a looping installation of the four-channel experimental video, Unsuccessful Wrestling Techniques (2013). It features two anti-heros fighting each other even as their surroundings become increasingly inhospitable. Comic strip style posters become analogue memes for post-digital dialogue.

Images and clips from workshop showings as part of Ingenuity Cleveland Festival 2016, Lab Artist Residency, Credit Evan Prunty