A Guy, A Crate and Seven Days of Lord of the Rings Online

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Edited By patrickklepek
This is the box that Jordan Long will be locked in for seven days, as he travels towards Oregon.
This is the box that Jordan Long will be locked in for seven days, as he travels towards Oregon.

One white t-shirt, one pair of pants, one pair of underwear, one pair of socks, one pair of tennis shoes, 28 protein bars, four gallons of water, a computer, vitamin D tablets, aspirin, wet wipes, three cooling fans, a pillow, five feet of tubing and two custom air-sealed containment units for waste.

All of these items are being been packed in a box...plus a person.

Tonight, Jordan Long will be locked inside of a crate. That crate will be placed inside of a truck and driven from Bald Knob, Arkansas to Portland, Oregon over the course of seven days. This is not an ordinary crate, though; there's a computer with Lord of the Rings Online installed. Long will be playing his LOTRO character, Adanwings, the whole time. He will not leave the crate.

Why someone would do this is an excellent question.

Long is a performance and video artist known for some extraordinary stunts. Here's what I mean.

Perhaps an even better question is why he'd choose to play Lord of the Rings online, of all things.

"I chose LOTRO because of my connection to it," explained Long over email. "I played the game long before coming up with this art piece. I love the books, and a friend got me into the game itself. It was a friendly environment that I found inviting. I'll be running mostly a Lvl 65 hunter and Lvl 57 warden throughout the performance. And yes, I play non-MMO games, including Team Fortress 2 and Portal 2."

This particular piece, which Long is calling "Box Shipment #2," is part of his exploration of trauma and human coping mechanisms. Long experienced trauma himself, leading him to develop these series of pieces, but rather understandably, he wasn't willing to divulge what happened.

"In a lot of my work I explore mechanisms that either I or others have used to deal with PTSD [post traumatic stress disorder]," said Long. "Video games are being used in different forms to combat the effects of the disorder. People find many ways to deal with their symptoms, and what works for one won't work for everyone. It's a subject that's close to me, but I study it from an analytical perspective. Otherwise it wouldn't be art; it would be therapy."

This is Adanwings, the character Long will be playing as in Lord of the Rings Online.
This is Adanwings, the character Long will be playing as in Lord of the Rings Online.

"Box Shipment #2" presumes there was a first box, which is true. That one was just an experiment, though, where Long was stationary inside of a crate over four days. No one surrounding Long even knew he was in the crate at the time, which was meant to explore his own reactions to crazy situations.

"Being in such a confined space accentuates that feeling of being so far removed from a world that's going on around you," he said, "AND the odd feeling of safety it brings with it, even when it's a scenario that terrifies me (like places I can't get out of)."

I don't know about you, but being locked in a box for any amount of time, with or without an online game to keep me company, sounds pretty horrifying. Even walking through the recreated Batcave with tiny, tiny hallways at Six Flags to reach the Batman ride managed to make me sweat, and getting locked inside a coffin while alive definitely ranks within my top five worst possible scenarios.

You'll be able to follow along with this experiment in real-time, too. Long has enlisted a fellow LOTRO companion, Townsfolk, to document Long's experiences as Adanwings inside the game, while Brandi Roberts, a friend, will be blogging about Long's reactions in the real-world. Updates on both will be available on www.jordanwaynelong.com.

There will even be a real-time GPS tracker, in case you need up-to-the-minute news.

Long has been speaking with a doctor about how his body will react to the prolonged position and sustained exposure to darkness (thus the vitamin D tablets), but he leaves certain elements unchecked to enhance the performance factor. After all, he's doing all of this to help make a point.

Despite the research and preparation, though, it's hard not to imagine the task ahead sounds daunting.

"I like the audience to know that the emotions I'm going through are honest," he said. "So yes, there are moments when I get scared because I don't know what's going to happen. But that feeling is interesting to me. Trauma is a very personal experience. When it's happening, nothing else in the world matters."

As of this writing, the final touches are being put on the box. At 10:00 p.m. CST, he goes inside. The final part of the performance will take place on July 7 at the Fourteen30Contemporary.

"At this point I'm just trying to relax and get my mind in the right place," he told me last night, a little more than 24 hours before this all starts. "I have prepared for this as much as I can and I'm ready."

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#1  Edited By patrickklepek
This is the box that Jordan Long will be locked in for seven days, as he travels towards Oregon.
This is the box that Jordan Long will be locked in for seven days, as he travels towards Oregon.

One white t-shirt, one pair of pants, one pair of underwear, one pair of socks, one pair of tennis shoes, 28 protein bars, four gallons of water, a computer, vitamin D tablets, aspirin, wet wipes, three cooling fans, a pillow, five feet of tubing and two custom air-sealed containment units for waste.

All of these items are being been packed in a box...plus a person.

Tonight, Jordan Long will be locked inside of a crate. That crate will be placed inside of a truck and driven from Bald Knob, Arkansas to Portland, Oregon over the course of seven days. This is not an ordinary crate, though; there's a computer with Lord of the Rings Online installed. Long will be playing his LOTRO character, Adanwings, the whole time. He will not leave the crate.

Why someone would do this is an excellent question.

Long is a performance and video artist known for some extraordinary stunts. Here's what I mean.

Perhaps an even better question is why he'd choose to play Lord of the Rings online, of all things.

"I chose LOTRO because of my connection to it," explained Long over email. "I played the game long before coming up with this art piece. I love the books, and a friend got me into the game itself. It was a friendly environment that I found inviting. I'll be running mostly a Lvl 65 hunter and Lvl 57 warden throughout the performance. And yes, I play non-MMO games, including Team Fortress 2 and Portal 2."

This particular piece, which Long is calling "Box Shipment #2," is part of his exploration of trauma and human coping mechanisms. Long experienced trauma himself, leading him to develop these series of pieces, but rather understandably, he wasn't willing to divulge what happened.

"In a lot of my work I explore mechanisms that either I or others have used to deal with PTSD [post traumatic stress disorder]," said Long. "Video games are being used in different forms to combat the effects of the disorder. People find many ways to deal with their symptoms, and what works for one won't work for everyone. It's a subject that's close to me, but I study it from an analytical perspective. Otherwise it wouldn't be art; it would be therapy."

This is Adanwings, the character Long will be playing as in Lord of the Rings Online.
This is Adanwings, the character Long will be playing as in Lord of the Rings Online.

"Box Shipment #2" presumes there was a first box, which is true. That one was just an experiment, though, where Long was stationary inside of a crate over four days. No one surrounding Long even knew he was in the crate at the time, which was meant to explore his own reactions to crazy situations.

"Being in such a confined space accentuates that feeling of being so far removed from a world that's going on around you," he said, "AND the odd feeling of safety it brings with it, even when it's a scenario that terrifies me (like places I can't get out of)."

I don't know about you, but being locked in a box for any amount of time, with or without an online game to keep me company, sounds pretty horrifying. Even walking through the recreated Batcave with tiny, tiny hallways at Six Flags to reach the Batman ride managed to make me sweat, and getting locked inside a coffin while alive definitely ranks within my top five worst possible scenarios.

You'll be able to follow along with this experiment in real-time, too. Long has enlisted a fellow LOTRO companion, Townsfolk, to document Long's experiences as Adanwings inside the game, while Brandi Roberts, a friend, will be blogging about Long's reactions in the real-world. Updates on both will be available on www.jordanwaynelong.com.

There will even be a real-time GPS tracker, in case you need up-to-the-minute news.

Long has been speaking with a doctor about how his body will react to the prolonged position and sustained exposure to darkness (thus the vitamin D tablets), but he leaves certain elements unchecked to enhance the performance factor. After all, he's doing all of this to help make a point.

Despite the research and preparation, though, it's hard not to imagine the task ahead sounds daunting.

"I like the audience to know that the emotions I'm going through are honest," he said. "So yes, there are moments when I get scared because I don't know what's going to happen. But that feeling is interesting to me. Trauma is a very personal experience. When it's happening, nothing else in the world matters."

As of this writing, the final touches are being put on the box. At 10:00 p.m. CST, he goes inside. The final part of the performance will take place on July 7 at the Fourteen30Contemporary.

"At this point I'm just trying to relax and get my mind in the right place," he told me last night, a little more than 24 hours before this all starts. "I have prepared for this as much as I can and I'm ready."

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ffenix

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#2  Edited By ffenix

Lord of the Rings online... why?
 
And is this REALLY art, or just basically a dude in a box playing LotRO?

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#3  Edited By jorbear

This sounds interesting.

And completely crazy.

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Animasta

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#4  Edited By Animasta

@Ffenix said:

Lord of the Rings online... why?

it's explained in the article if you actually cared to read it

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TEHMAXXORZ

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#5  Edited By TEHMAXXORZ

Oh boy... what if the computer breaks?

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IamTerics

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#6  Edited By IamTerics

I guess that's cool.

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ffenix

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#7  Edited By ffenix
@Laketown: Yeah I did, but still... well more power to him.
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#8  Edited By mikemcn

This isn't art, theres people growing up thinking that shit like this is art, it isnt.

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wrecks

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#9  Edited By wrecks

Huh?

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ajamafalous

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#10  Edited By ajamafalous

So he's like the David Blaine of video games?

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monkeyking1969

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#11  Edited By monkeyking1969

I expect within the first ten hours he will accidntaly miss the 'waste box' and thereby soil the inside of the box.

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natetodamax

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#12  Edited By natetodamax

I don't see how this is art at all.

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hatking

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#13  Edited By hatking

Wait........ how does he plan on playing Lord of the Rings *ONLINE* while in a tiny box aboard a moving  vehicle?

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MordeaniisChaos

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#14  Edited By MordeaniisChaos

Needs more justified font :(

Great article though. Keep it up.

@Ffenix: It's more to make a point and raise awareness and explore the concepts, like most abstract and unusual forms of "art".

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#15  Edited By misfittoy

What is this?! A center for ants?! The box has to be at least... three times bigger than this!

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Pie

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#16  Edited By Pie

I don't get it

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MrKlorox

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#17  Edited By MrKlorox

"Performance"... what the fuck ever.

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#18  Edited By McGhee

Lock yourself in a box for seven days with Duke Nukem Forever and I'll be impressed.

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#19  Edited By mnzy
@HatKing said:

Wait........ how does he plan on playing Lord of the Rings *ONLINE* while in a tiny box aboard a moving  vehicle?

That's what I was thinking. Even with good wireless hardware his connection will crash all the time.
And that route is not exactly urban territory afterall.
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#20  Edited By Nefhril

Doesn't sound to bad being in a little room playing MMOs for 7 days. I guess we all here at Giant Bomb are artists now if this is art :)

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#21  Edited By toowalrus

@HatKing said:

Wait........ how does he plan on playing Lord of the Rings *ONLINE* while in a tiny box aboard a moving vehicle?

Ya know, I'm sure he's thought about it. I once played WoW on the road using a friends 3G connection and WiFi hotspot from his phone.

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#22  Edited By Itwastuesday

One can only wonder what Erik Wolpaw thinks of this and what impact it has on the science behind the crate review system.

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#23  Edited By Darksideshadow

"two custom air-sealed containment units for waste." 
 I hope they work. Also how is the box staying connected online? I call bs or at least massive lag....

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Zabant

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#24  Edited By Zabant

Someone should try and grief him. Is there anyway to trap someones character in LOTRO?

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#25  Edited By Milkman

Locking yourself in a box for a week: ART

Video games: Some bullshit

Give me a fucking break.

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#26  Edited By bricewgilbert

Vitamin D deficiency wouldn't even enter into the picture. Fire that doctor. Great story though.

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#27  Edited By Vigil80

@Nefhril said:

Doesn't sound to bad being in a little room playing MMOs for 7 days. I guess we all here at Giant Bomb are artists now if this is art :)

Yeah. Just sounds to me like the guy's figured out how to go on vacation for a week and get applauded for it. :P

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#28  Edited By Kyle

Well I don't think I've seen anyone else say it, so I'll just go ahead and make the obvious joke: I don't know which will be worse-- Being trapped in a box for seven days straight, or having to play LOTRO for seven days straight. Heyoooooooo!

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#29  Edited By bricewgilbert

Dismissal of modern art already begun in the comments?

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#30  Edited By Gregomasta
@Mikemcn said:

This isn't art, theres people growing up thinking that shit like this is art, it isnt.

hear hear.
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ffenix

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#31  Edited By ffenix
@MordeaniisChaos: I won't say that what Jordan Long is doing is art or not art. However, by Long saying that what he's doing is art will raise a few eyebrows. But maybe that's his real intent, that proclaiming art and publicity stunts are almost identical.
 
Whatever the intention, if this ultimately makes him happy/fulfilled then good for him.
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Daveyo520

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#32  Edited By Daveyo520

This isn't art. modern "art" isn't art.

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#33  Edited By pekoe212

@Cartman86 said:

Dismissal of modern art already begun in the comments?

Yup. People SO ANGRY. I find people/artists who try things like what Jordan Long is doing fascinating. It sounds like a nightmare to me but obviously he likes studying extreme states of existence. Considering his PTSD, it's kind of like someone who's afraid of heights jumping out of planes for a living.

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#34  Edited By Dreamfall31

hahaha what if his computer crashes after the first hour!  hahahahaha

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#35  Edited By Jeust

This a personal experience. A way of be famous, have money and research into his own psychology. And an extreme one at that.  
 
Good luck on you. :)

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#36  Edited By granderojo

My cousin plays LotR Online a lot.I don't understand the fascination with MMOs. It's not even a social thing for him, he plays it like a singleplayer game.

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#37  Edited By PLWolf

He's a Loony.

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#38  Edited By hatking
@TooWalrus said:

@HatKing said:

Wait........ how does he plan on playing Lord of the Rings *ONLINE* while in a tiny box aboard a moving vehicle?

Ya know, I'm sure he's thought about it. I once played WoW on the road using a friends 3G connection and WiFi hotspot from his phone.

Was that really a strong enough connection to play WoW?  I'm no networking wiz, so I might just be out of touch here.
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#39  Edited By AnEternalEnigma

Since when was it acceptable to call doing completely stupid things "art"? 
 
This reminds me of the controversy a while back of a video on YouTube. In the video, this college girl was "performing" in front of a bunch of fellow college kids in a small auditorium. She was babbling inane things while cutting the crotch of her pants open with a pair of scissors. Then she opened a can of tomato sauce and started masturbating with it on her fingers. There was a big argument that YouTube shouldn't delete the video since it was an "artistic expression". They eventually did. 
 
No wonder no one takes art seriously anymore.

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#40  Edited By DarthB

To each his own.

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#41  Edited By ChrisTaran

Why would I ever expect an interesting conversation to be happening in these comments? Silly me.

Thanks for the article Patrick.

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#42  Edited By Rattle618

This is dumb, I would love to see people grief this moron in lotro so he freaks out.

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#43  Edited By Video_Game_King

How is he going to play an online game while moving across an entire country? I didn't see much about how that would be accomplished. Is there a single player mode?

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#44  Edited By Red

Yeah, I don't see how this is art. Last I checked, art is a way you express yourself, and I don't see any expression coming from a stunt involving someone cramped in a box. Challenging, yes, but art? No. 

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#45  Edited By rmanthorp  Moderator

Yeah?

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4 gallons of water... doesn't seem like enough.  I drink at least a gallon a day.

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#47  Edited By Slaker117

People in these comments should look up what "performance art" is. Whether or not you think it's bullshit, this falls pretty clearly in the accepted definition.

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#48  Edited By jimi

This seems like more of a psychological experiment than art. But whatever, it's still cool. Good luck to him!

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#49  Edited By wafflez

well.... good for him.

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#50  Edited By SockLobster
@Red: You can't say what is and isn't art, it is completely subjective.