The accumulation of 2,5 days of workshop was marked with the premiere of “Playing the Graveyard” at Almen Cemetery, Aalborg at 13.30.
The goal of the event was twofold – to explore both the site as a playground of experience as well as to find ways of gathering empirical knowledge based on haptic movement, emotional responses and social media used in gaming.
In total 8 gamers intervened at the cemetery with the help of the workshop students. Smartphones and numbers were exchanged and applications downloaded in order for the games to be playable. After a short introduction by the organizers teams were selected and the games initiated.
Game 1. ”Enter the cemetery”
A restless ghost is in dire straits and appears in front of a citizen outside the cemetery gates. By finding, frottage and exchanging matching letters and names between the two worlds, over the cemetery wall, the living may enter the land of the dead to pursued his/her quest– but do not drop the depeche or the connection is lost between the two worlds. The first team of 2 players (one outside and one inside) who get their paper roll approved wins.
Game 2. ”Digital Suicide”
To follow the social media guru and achieve true enlightenment each participator must ask the others for “likes” through WhatsApp messenger. A request gets you one step forward but cost impairment by using tape on the fingers used to touch the screen of the smartphone. Upon liking others you get one step further. When you are rendered helpless with regard to the touch screen you can request for a “digital suicide” – but you need at least three other players to agree – but then you loose all constraints and can run towards the goal, enlightenment. Let the like hunt begin!
Game 3. ”Digital Tombstone”
Taking on the approach of a research game, players walk forward while answering questions regarding their use of social media and facebook, noting it down on paper, making decisions based upon their everyday media experiences. Second part of the game is now to decide what one would like others to do with the personal social media profile once you are no longer here. The answers of each participator is noted down and kept for writing a research report on the topic.
Game 4.”Find the symbol of life”.
Ghost can be granted life once again. They need to engage with one of the relatives that live in the city. Using spectral visions and telepathy they work together to convince the “divine” power guarding the threshold of living and dead to grant the dead life one more time. Using WhatsApp messenger features, the gatekeeper asks for symbols that resemble elements present in life and death. Without words or text just using images the living and the dead try to match symbols on topics such as life, death, religion, profession, passage and many more. The first team to reach three best matches and beat the other restless ghosts, are granted the wish of being together again. So think carefully before choosing symbols – not too obvious, not too abstract they have to match between the worlds.
After 2 hours of gaming in the sun, running around on paths, noting down names, stepping inside gravesites, laughing, texting, shooting pictures, jumping the participants help evaluate the games based on their immediate experiences.