Cobra Club HD (Robert Yang, 2015)
Cobra Club HD is a free photo studio game about body image, privacy, and dick pics.
If selfies argue that all faces are worthy of memory, dick pics show how all cocks are worthy of consideration. In the vein of noble projects like Critique My Dick Pic, we wish to “take back” the dick pic from the clutches of creepy congressmen and tabloid headlines. Popular discourse rightfully centers the consent of dick pic recipients, but government mass surveillance (Can They See My Dick?) also threatens the consent of dick pic senders, as state spy complexes admit they “collect it all” with almost no oversight or transparency.
To help re-imagine what dick pics can do for society, Cobra Club gives everyone, even people without dicks, access to the means of (dick pic) production though a fully-adjustable virtual 3D dick and versatile camera controls. It is both no one’s dick and everyone’s dick. Perhaps the dick pic is democracy itself…
Beyond the aesthetics of dicks, though, Yang is also playing with ideas of surveillance and of privacy and self-presentation. He talks specifically about the Edward Snowden interview John Oliver conducted for Last Night Tonight where dick pics are referenced in relation to the data the US government collects as part of surveillance programs bringing into question the consent and privacy of the sender.
When you zoom out and get far more of your character in shot you’ll notice his face is pixellated – a nod to the desire for privacy, for not being outed, even to you, the usually powerful puppetmaster.