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Interviews: A Chat with Jordan Long: The Man in the Box

By William Murphy on June 29, 2011

A Chat with Jordan Long: The Man in the Box

Well let’s start with the obvious, Jordan. Tell everybody who you are, what your background is, and what exactly it is you’re doing.

Jordan Long:

I'm a video and performance artist originally from Bald Knob, AR. I graduated in 2011 from Cranbrook Academy of Art with my MFA. My works deals with trauma and the mechanisms I and others use to deal with it.


Now the second most obvious question… why in (whatever deity’s name you prefer) are you shipping yourself in a box across country?

Jordan Long:

I was offered a show in Portland, OR, thanks partly to my test run of this piece. Box Shipment Number 1 used the current crate, without the modifications I'm doing on it now. I was locked inside of it for four days while only playing LOTRO. It was done in a kitchen, and no one really knew I was in there. Being in such a confined space accentuates that feeling of being so far removed from a world that's going on around you 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). Box Shipment Number 2 is the full realization of this performance.

How do you hope to this will all turn out? Do you really believe that something like LotRO can help a person through traumatic experiences?

Jordan Long:

From my research and own experiences, I do believe that some games have the ability to help ease the road for some PTSD suffers. Tetris has been shown to activate the same side of the brain that traumatic images come from. When the game is played, it keeps those images from coming to the forefront. The Pentagon is also developing games it feels can help veterans coming back from war ease back into society. Can LOTRO help me control my fear? In the end I don't think that matters one way or another as much as the subject being talked about.

Ms. Bradi Roberts will be blogging about the crate’s travels as she helps transport the thing across the map. Where did you guys meet, what’s your history so to speak? And what does she think about these performances or experiments?

Jordan Long:

We've been friends for a long time. Brutally honest friends. As far as my performances go, I don't know if she always understands them, but she respects that I'm passionate about it and knows that as this type of artist, it's what I do. Also on the crew will be Shane Long and artist Matt Glass.

Okay, well tell us a bit about your gaming habits, and more specifically about your LotRO career.

Jordan Long:

I've been on the Meneldor server for a long time. I'll be on my level 65 hunter and warden.

: And why LotRO? Why not some other game? Lord knows there are plenty to choose from.

Jordan Long:

: I've been involved with LotRO and enjoy the community aspect of it. The idea of a place where you can go and be a functioning member of an online society in many different ways is intriguing to me. You can get lost and fully engrossed in these MMORPGs.

In other countries, specifically Eastern, folks are often only connected to the world through their avatars or the web itself. Do you hope that this trip helps shed a positive light on such lifestyles?

Jordan Long:

I'm not trying to shed a positive or negative light on any of this. I'm always questioning out loud and allow my view to shift as the process of these performances takes place. I look at my work analytically. But I think the fact that phenomena such as Hikikomori are being brought to the consciousness of more people is positive in and of itself.

To end on a high note… where will you take your “Bio Breaks”?

Jordan Long:

: In custom-made containers that are tightly sealed. :)

: Thanks so much for your time Jordan. This is a pretty bold and interesting trek you’re making. Make sure Bradi drives safe, and we’ll check in with you once the trip is over to see how it all came out!

Jordan Long:

Thank you. I'll reach the gallery and will finish the performance on July 7 beginning at 7 p.m. If you want to see how it all pans out, be sure to follow the project on Twitter, Facebook and the website. Of course, if you're in the Portland area, please come out to the show.

William Murphy / Bill is the Managing Editor of, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all of his pointless rambling.