Artwork #3: Intervention on the Orange Line

by | Nov 15, 2016 | Artwork #3: Intervene, Projects

Intervention on the Orange Line

This intervention-based artwork, as the title indicates, takes place entirely on the orange line. An even number of players, preferably 2-4, will split into even teams and travel 4 stops in opposite directions on the orange line, then back to Ruggles. At each individual stop, I will contact them through Facebook messenger and tell them to perform a specific action (e.g. Running up and down stairs, doing a cartwheel, dancing to music on your headphones) and send a video of the action to progress to the next stop. The team that returns to Ruggles first is the winner.

The inspiration behind this work came from AR based games such as The Jejune institute and Humans VS Zombies. What fascinated me about these works was the idea of a space being created where players could perform these unorthodox actions, and leading to players embracing the absurdity of the situation and becoming immersed. I grew to wonder just how far these games could go in getting people to leave their comfort zone and embrace the AR experience. Jejune managed to get complete strangers to run all around the San Francisco area, and while I knew I wouldn’t be able to pull off something of that scale, my curiosity was piqued. I decided to set my space in the realm of the Orange Line, as I had experimented with games involving the MBTA in the past, and it was a close enough space to campus where a large population of people congregated.

I knew a lot of people involved with theater here at Northeastern, so I thought I would be able to round up some participants relatively quickly. Alas, I had asked almost 100 people to help playtest my game, and all of them said no. Some of them even backed out after accepting to playtest when they heard what the rules were. I had already adjusted the scope multiple times to decrease the time commitment, as that was why some people refused in the first iteration, but there was not enough interest to collect documentation for this project. In hindsight, there were many aspects of testing I could have worked on to get better results. I could have realized that it was a tall order to get people to perform odd tasks in a public place for a long period of time, especially during a time of the year where everyone is swamped with work leading up to finals.  I also could have worked harder and started earlier on finding people willing to participate, I just didn’t think that so many people would turn down the game.

This attempt at an intervention was a failure. My problem was my scope was far too large for this project at this time in the year, even after the changes I made to make it more accessible to the student body. I was too staunch in my ways to change my idea to one that could be more feasible, and as a result, my time ran out and I had no willing participants. If there is a takeaway from this experience, it’s that I should be more flexible with my time and creative vision. If I take on a future project and some unforeseeable circumstances arise that affect its progress, I need to be adaptable regardless of how much it strays from my original vision. The priority is that the project’s message is clear and properly executed.