Even Asteroids Are Not Alone
Like roaming asteroids, we move through space: never alone, forming deep bonds along the way. Hundreds of thousands of online gamers mine, trade and fight their way through computer-generated galaxies far, far away from the world as we know it. In the vast and hostile world of New Eden, no one can really be trusted. How can one make friends in the depths of space? Weaving together the experiences of fourteen Eve Online players, we reveal an intimate story about the ability of online games to forge community and bridge the space between us.
Jón Bjarki MagnússonDirector
Jón Bjarki MagnússonWriter
Hlín ÓlafsdóttirArtistic advisor
Haukur Már HelgasonArtistic advisorGe9n
Film Type:Documentary, Experimental, Short, Web / New Media
Runtime:17 minutes 11 seconds
Completion Date:May 3, 2018
Production Budget:5,000 EUR
Country of Origin:Iceland
Country of Filming:Germany
Film Language:English, Icelandic
May 6, 2018
Nominated for the ESSA student awards
Skjaldborg Documentary Film FestivalPatreksfjörður
May 20, 2018
NAFA, Nordic Anthropological Film AssociationCluj Napoca
September 15, 2018
Berlin Sci-Fi FilmfestBerlin
October 22, 2018
Etnoff, Festival of ethnographic student moviesSkopje
Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of
December 8, 2018
February 2, 2019
Days of Ethnographic FilmLjubljana
March 8, 2019
RAI (Royal Anthropological Institute) film festivalBristol
March 30, 2019
RAI & Marsh Short Film Prize for ‘the most outstanding short film on social, cultural and biological anthropology or archaeology’
Cinema Perpetuum Mobile ISFFMinsk
April 2, 2019
Jón Bjarki Magnússon (b. 1984) is an Icelandic anthropological filmmaker with a background in journalism and poetry. He studied creative writing at the University of Iceland and received his MA in Visual and Media Anthropology from Freie Universität, Berlin, in 2018. His works include award-winning articles on the conditions of refugees and asylum-seekers in his home country, a book of poetry, and Even Asteroids Are Not Alone (2018), a short ethnographic film about friendship in cyberspace. The film has been screened at various European festivals and was described as taking "visual anthropology into new terrain" by the Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI) of Great Britain and Ireland, where it was awarded RAI's & Marsh Short Film Prize for ‘the most outstanding short film on social, cultural and biological anthropology or archaeology’. Jón Bjarki is currently working on two documentaries.
An interview with the director by
Ásgeir H. Ingólfsson.
How did you get interested in Eve Online?
The developers visited my high school in 2001, two years before the game was first published, and shared bits and pieces of the digital world they were in the midst of creating. The beautiful images from outer space caught my eye, the idea of roaming these distant lands while communicating with real time people stuck with me.
For a curious, young and searching soul this world sounded like the perfect place to escape to and even dwell in. But I had to wait two more years for the game to be published. When I was finally able to set foot into the world of Eve in the spring of 2003 the buzz had worn off.
It was true that their world was huge and the possibilities end- less, but I was now planning a journey around the physical world so Eve had to wait. But I have played the game off and on since, always admiring its potential to connect people.
Where does the title come from?
I had been thinking about the stereotype of the (online) gamer, how he is often portrayed as a complete loner, someone who dwells in a dark and dirty room without any connection to society. And how this shallow simplifica- tion could not be further away from the reality. Even the people in the darkest of rooms are able to form deep friendships through online games. Just like asteroids surrounded by black emptiness in the depths of space they are never alone.
How did you find the players you interview?
In general they were super friendly, intelligent and very willing to share their stories. I was a little bit hesitant in the beginning, having not played the game for years it took some time to get used to the game mechanics again, and then I was not quite sure what would be the best way to approach people to get them involved in a project like this. But as soon as I forced myself to reach out to people, both on Facebook and in game, things started to happen fast.
I was invited to join a corporation and do missions with players that where more than willing to help me in any way possible. Many of them showed a lot of understanding in the project and were more than eager to connect me with other players. I would say that having a “home base” of this sort was the key to making this film.
How do friendships in Eve differ from friendships in real life?
From my experience they do not differ. The longing for understanding, connection and someone to share experiences with is universal. It does not matter whether the pace we are flying through is virtual or physical, we are all just looking for some companionship during the ride.