Color / HD / 30 min.
Over-identification: Taking the system more seriously than the system takes itself seriously
T's World unpacks events surrounding the 2011 animal release and subsequent suicide of Terry Thompson in Zanesville Ohio, USA. Over the course of 15 years Terry Thompson collected tigers, lions, bears, wolves, and other dangerous animals accumulating a menagerie of 60 or so creatures on his private ranch.The menagerie was not open to the public and was not visible from the road, therefore according to the laws at that time in Ohio, the law enforcement authorities had no right to inspect or otherwise cast an eye upon Mr.Thompson's private collection. Over the course of several years an adversarial relationship developed between Thompson and the local Police culminating in Thompson's arrest and imprisonment for one year and a day on weapons charges. When he returned from prisonTerryThompson found his animals in disarray and his personal life broken. On the evening of October 11 2011,Terry Thompson cut open the cages of his animals and made holes in the fences surrounding his 90 acre property. He laced his body with chicken parts and shot himself in the head.The sheriff was alerted to the animal release by a Woman who had seen a lion bounding near the highway.With two hours until nightfall, and without any means to control the animals the sheriff ordered his deputies to kill all of the animals.The subsequent hunt lasted for 24 hours.
Mobilising 300 pages of police reports and audio interviews taken a year after the 2011 events, the film unravels the implicit tensions between Thompson's legal rights and the security concerns of the authorities and neighbours. On one hand Thompson's accumulation of a large private collection of dangerous animals is in harmony with the promised American custom of accumulation, pioneering, and freedom from the intervention of state authority, yet on the other hand the law is not always congruent with the custom.What is permitted is not always allowed.
This problematic of the law versus the custom in the story ofTerryThompson casts a light on the contradictions inherent in the American promise of freedom and liberty opening up the shadows of fear and an obsessive desire for security amidst an imaginary of ultra violence and notions of red in the tooth human nature which justify and valorise a fanatical respect for accumulation even among those who do not benefit the from the capitalist accumulation project and its speculative promises.What is revealed in this film is the existence of a paradoxical regime of explicit and implicit rules of the game that often contradict each other.
The film is composed of filmed material shot in Zanesville Ohio while the content of the police reports are recreated using 3D imagery.The interviews and scenes are framed by a "theatrical" discourse that references Brecht's learning plays, in particular the work "He Said Yes / He Said No" with its concern with the idea of the custom.
In order to create the 3D images the idea of a paradoxical "game" was incorporated into the form of the film with the intention of a "performativity in form" that transcends the content of the film and forms part of the theoretical analysis and commentary of the project.
A game world was created using a computational platform for video game production.All the characters including humans, animals, vehicles, are scripted artificially intelligent "bots" that inhabit T's World, a digital recreation of Terry Thompson's property and areas of Zanesville Ohio.These automated "bots" are set loose in the world with only the rudimentary rules of the script to determine their behaviour.All of the imagery in the film is therefore pulled from screen captured video of the resulting movements and behaviours.
T’s World Credits
Film by Ramon Bloomberg
Camera by Ramon Bloomberg
Edited by Stark Haze
Muskingum County Sheriff's Office:
Brandon Tvedt Ronald Tvedt Kimberly Tvedt Harmony Nicole Matt Arenas Carlos Vega Swift Sparks III Jacob Miller Rod Kammer
Andy Roberts Don Pagath Tom Poorman Dana Matz Neil Patel Tom Strock Rich Duncan Shirag
Troy (at the starbucks)
Jack Hand and Brian the zombie Alyssa from Rite Aid
Kazz from the A team
Zanesville Rifle Club
Weasel Boy Brewery
The Beachy Family