Blast Theory is presenting their latest work, the Day Of The Figurines, at Sonar.
The game, set in a fictional gloomy town, unfolds over the three days of the Barcelona festival, each day representing an hour in the life of the town that shifts from the mundane to the cataclysmic: Scandinavian metallists play a gig at the Locarno that goes horribly wrong and a gunship of Middle Eastern troops appears on the High Street. How players respond to these events and to each other creates and sustains a community during the course of a single day in the town.
Maria choosing a figurine
The centrepiece of the game is a 3.5 x 5 meter model town – at the Centre de Cultura Comtemporània de Barcelona – created using pop up metal buildings, overlaid with computer graphics.
Once there, you register, choose your figurine, give it a name, personalize it (kind of shoes it wears, favourite place when it was a kid, name, nickname) and your character is placed into the model town. Mine is a black lady with green boots, she’s called Morphine and is in distress. Throughout the day, you get text messages from the game asking where you’d like to go in the town or how the figurine should react to the people it encounters and to some rather unpleasant situations. So far it’s really compelling. My poor character started her adventure by being dropped by a truck at the edge of the town. So i made her run to the timber yard, but men in sharp suits are arriving with jerry cans. I decided to look for some timber to use as a weapon, etc.
Figurines at the edge of the town, wating to be moved and Nuclear Bunker
Your tiny figurine, as well as those of the other players are moved by hand on the model town every hour for the duration of the game.
The game uses emergent behaviour and social dynamics as a means of structuring a live event. It invites players to establish their own codes of behaviour and morality within a parallel world. It plays on the tension between the intimacy and anonymity of text messages, building on previous projects such as Uncle Roy All Around You, I Like Frank and Can You See Me Now?
Just received an SMS that informs me that my figurine could only find a broom. But the shaft breaks and the thick nylon bristles sweep across the side of my face. What should i do?
Blast Theory will be speaking tonight, at 7, at the Art Centre Santa Monica. Just before them, there will be a talk by Jose Luis de Vicente then by Michelle Teran. The full day 24 day version of Day Of The Figurines will be launched in Berlin in Septembre.
My pics on flickr.
Other Blast Theory posts: Kidnap, the day of the figurine, Single Story Building.