"I never studied. I never did anything. I hated it so much. I hated it, like, with powerful hate. The only thing that was important is what happened outside of school, and that had huge impact on me." - David Lynch

“I never seek money. I make films to lose money.” - Alejandro Jodorowsky

"This is not for you" - Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves 

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If You Think This Is Trash, Fuck Off <3 or: Unlearn Aesthetics, "Professionality" Is An Ableist Construct is a manifesto/rant; more of a video than a game really, I guess.

The runtime is about 20 minutes.

Based on a small work I created as promotional material for a workshop in 2020, which serves as an illustrative example for me here, this text is about aesthetics and Ableism. This text is from an, among other things, autistic perspective on the production of normative-neurotypical gestures at art universities. According to my notes, the idea for this originated on March 22nd 2022; I have updated it on isolated days over the past few months with new thoughts, new anger and new polemic from this summer. Specifically: 20th - 24th August, 31st August, 3rd September and 11th September, and 8th October to 12th October, which adds up to about 12 days of work.

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For the fact that I promised myself to produce less autoethnographic first-person-perspective stuff, this is now quite a lot of "me" again.

There is some narration in my bad English lol. Unfortunately, the file size is too large to make it playable in the web browser - Actually no!!! I added a web build!!! Full screen mode is highly recommended. Downloadable files are provided as well.

Because I needed it for my upcoming little “Simple Acts of Navigation” game project, I learned how to make 3D text with varying fonts in Blender btw!!!!

Due to university things, I am sadly way slower in my game making process than I intend(ed) to be, there is lots of stuff upcoming, and I will try to finish and publish some more things here on itch.io in 2023. I'm also working on a (new) website, it will be slay!!!

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quoted/referenced texts:

Butler, Judith (1990): Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. Routledge, New York and London 2006 [1990].

Farrokhzad, Athena (2018): Open Letter to Europe

Price, Devon (2023): How Do I Cope With Anti-Autistic Bias?

Ruberg, Bo (2017): Playing to Lose: The Queer Art of Failing at Video Games. In: Malkowski, Jennifer and Russworm, TreaAndrea M. (Eds.): Gaming Representation: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Video Games. Indiana University Press, Bloomington (IN) 2017. pp. 197-211.

Young, Stella (2014): I’m not your inspiration, thank you very much

(While uploading this project, I instinctively had to listen to Always by Erasure. Maybe it vibes with this artwork?)

PlatformsWindows, macOS, Linux, HTML5
Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars
(6 total ratings)
Made withUnity
Tags3D, artgame, Experimental, manifesto, Minimalist, rant, Short, Singleplayer, Text based
Average sessionAbout a half-hour
InputsKeyboard, Mouse
AccessibilityOne button


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Click download now to get access to the following files:

If You Think This Is Trash_Win.zip 291 MB
If You Think This Is Trash_Linux.zip 307 MB
If You Think This Is Trash_Mac.zip 300 MB
If You Think This Is Trash, Fuck Off_a text by Luka Friedland.pdf 107 kB

Development log


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idk what’s going on here but as an autistic person this is concerning

(1 edit)

a bit about myself first:  I never went to an art school or a writing class or a writers workshop, ect. I am a poor man from the American Midwest with a GED so I cannot relate to this person's higher educational experience. the main reason I never sought higher education is that my dad never had an art class but is such a good painter he's actively won awards, even in out-of-state art contests, and told me many times that if he can do it without paying for art lessons, then art lessons must be a scam. I assume the same is true with writing. and this manifesto definitely proved my own bias against art school my dad taught me. unfortunately, my praises end there.

to the actual manifesto: when the writer said "i'd do everything right, convinced I was making "good art" but when I look back, all I see is "bad art."" isn't an OCPD thing, they even acknowledges it but then goes back to using their disorder as an explanation for feeling something that all artist feel. hell, my father - who is neurotypical - painted one of the best paintings I ever saw for Halloween, it was of a Ballerina being attacked by a face hugger, it looked as if she was both dancing and recoiling in pain at the same time, it was beautiful. but he didn't like it, and said that the slime coming off the face hugger looked more like cobwebs instead of slime, so he destroyed it with paint remover and used the canvas for something else.

the writer also seems to blame their autism and OCPD for the fact that he isn't recognized. they seem to forget that the ocean is wide and full of art, they just didn't get lucky. there aren't that many artistic people out there, hence why we're called "neurodivergent" and not "neurotypical". and just because somebody is neurodivergent doesn't mean they aren't capable of making something popular, just look at pokemon. in fact japan as a country has the highest percentage of autistic people of any country and is renowned for its art.

the artist then claims that "neurodivergent art is fundamentally different than neurotypical art", besides the fact that all art is different to all art, how? how does my writing get to be on some other group because of how I was born? clearly, my art would be different if I wasn't neurodivergent but same thing if I was born a woman or in Arkansaw or literally anything other than my current life. All of our lives are different so all our art made with our souls put into it is different to all other art.

they then go on to say "art critique doesn't matter and it doesn't really help anyone,-" and "art critique just supports oppression." and, like, speak for yourself. if that is your philosophy in art go ahead, my philosophy is "to be a good critic, one must be a good artist, to be a good artist, one must be a good critic.", if you don't know how to make something, you cannot truly give advice on how to do it, but if you can't judge the 'thing' at all, then how can you do it well?

to showcase this: the writer says "one shouldn't judge art if it isn't overtly "problematic"" which is nonsensical as you have to judge art in the first place to deem it "problematic"

what is "problematic" however is when the writer says "dis_ablity brings a whole set of expression with it, a whole way of looking at things, a whole way of preceding the world" (as if all humans don't have a unique experience with life) and then they go on to say, "Dis_abled people will always make dis_abled art, and nondis_abled people don't like dis_abled art." which is just utterly false. many disabled people have made well-received art, myself included, and to say that all non-disabled people will not like any art disabled people make is frankly insulting, self-aggrandizing, and also puts anybody not disabled into a "them" group while putting everybody who is disabled into a "us" group. it's the same argument that ageism, ableism, sexism, racism, and all the other big bad "isms" use, the argument of: "I'm better not because of anything I do or don't do, I'm just born better, and those not born like me are inherently out to harm me."

there are many neurodivergent people. I'm one of them, this creator is one of them. i don't let it become my entire identity, a crutch, an excuse because I'm a person with autism, not an autistic person. this person, however... well, you get the point. the only thing about autism they said that I liked was "being autistic is walking a thin line between being infantilized or being inspirational. we are neither, we are we."

this person then goes on to basically say "I want to make art for art's sake, not for praise or money, and I want to see art made for the same reason, not art made for praise or money." (I'll ignore the contradiction that earlier on they lamented not being able to live off of art, but also not wanting to make art for money for the point I'm about to make:) but... yeah... I agree. Art is my reason for living, when I was working a shitty job, with shitty hours, and long bike rides home, I wrote in the bathroom and during my breaks. The maker of "who killed captain aleks" was in a third-world nation that was at war, with little access to water in his village and almost no money to his name; and he made a fucking movie! because he wanted to make a movie. because the craving for art in the artist surpasses all else. 

all art should be made for one person: the artist. and all my work is made for one person: me. but I'm still willing to know what people think of it. all criticism is welcome. I'll disregard most if not all of it. but you spent your time on it, might as well tell me what you think. the writers, however, seem to think just because somebody made art the way they wanted to make it that people are bad for giving their two cents on an art piece. that I disagree with. so to reference the title: 

if you don't like criticism, just don't fucking listen.

(5 edits)

thank you for your comment.

1) i do not tolerate any misgendering against me in my online spaces. please use no pronouns/my name or they/them pronouns when referring to me. or, even better, talk to me using the second person "you" and therby not risking misgendering. otherwise i will react accordingly with measures to protect myself.

2) this specific text is first and foremost an artistic and emotional text and not a strictly fact-based scientific paper. (the more energetic, polemic and combative tone is one of a manifesto.) otherwise i wouldn't have called it a rant. otherwise it would have been way longer and more in-depth, and i probably would have worked on it for months/years. the fact that i didn't have this approach of polishing towards this specific text is in the spirit of the text, form follows content here, that embraces the unfinished, the processual. 

but still, in feminist theory, emotions, and especially those by marginalized people that are directed at overarching societal structures, such as anger, are valid in what they tell us about society and about marginalized subjects within that society. as for example stella young does in the ted talk that i've linked/referenced, i too subscribe to the social model of disability and neurodivergence, which definitely doesn't put any blame on any dis_abled or neurodivergent person, but on barriers and internalized biases and traditional knowledge of an ableist society. in my reading this text does make this standpoint explicit, but if it apparently doesn't, i apologize. that we are all socialized within an ableist (one could add: racist, patriarchal-colonial, misogynist, queerphobic etc) society is a fact, widely acknowledged by scholars and activists from for example the fields of disability studies and critical autism studies.

3) in my view, both several contradictory facts and feelings can be true at the same time. several facts can coexist despite contradicting each other. several feelings can coexist despite contradicting each other.

4) i think it is a good thing, if we would step back and take a more empathetic, self-reflective look at art and its creators, especially when dealing with marginalized artists and when there is an imbalance of societal power at play. this mode of making space would be, in my view, a great one for the future of art critique and the art world in general. maybe art critique served a gatekeeping function in the past that doesn't fit the 21st century? maybe we could think about whole different, whole new ways of communicating these things, and whole new concepts for art schools, in order to build an art world based in strong solidarity? right now, i always like when people stay more silent and sensitive about art, even if this means that we don't say something. additionally, i am always speaking from a perspective of institutional critique and of a more general critique of power. 

i hope that this helps to clarify things.


 i went back to edit my comment to fix the pronoun issue, if I missed one I apologize


Thank you for this!


I haven't played this yet but as someone who often gets labeled as trash games / trash aesthetic by those who cant imagine any art styles outside of the norm as not being intentionally edgelordy, I already feel very refreshed by this




As the saying goes a man's trash is an agender raccon treasure or sth. idk but you're games look really fucking cool

this is a really great saying that i should remember!!!

and a quick web search confirms this as indeed true; beautiful! > https://www.boredpanda.com/nocturnal-trash-posts-raccoon-memes-instagram/