Artwork #4: The Bush Troll


The Bush Troll


Throughout this course, I’ve consistently started with concepts far too difficult to realize without the ability to code or create digital games or art forms. For this final project, I sought the simplest realization of the idea in terms of experience. I started with an IRL survival game, inspired by games like Fortnite Battle Royale, PUBG and Town of Salem, but also non-video games like Avalon (board game) and variations of Mafia (as played in grade schools) and Assassin (as played in boarding school and college).

Focused on simplicity, I declined any necessary artifacts for this game beyond the set of rules. My initial concept seemed fun, but as soon as I started trying to play different variations, it grew increasingly more awkward and felt more pervasive as I kept trying to deliver candy unnoticed, which took away too much from the conceptual experience in mind. Therefore, I destroyed the intervention involved in the original idea, and replaced it with a conceptual game based on the utility offered by elementary school versions of Mafia.

I tried to recall as many instances of the game as possible, each offering relief from the academic and social pressures, the experience enhanced by our knowledge of each other and our personalities. This game follows a similar schema, in which the player experience would be enhanced by playing with friends, and the game itself can be played anywhere. I couldn’t recall if we used the different roles across elementary school variations, like a doctor/medic or more mystical roles like a vampire or witch, but, as Fortnite Battle Royale was the original inspiration, I based all roles and the conceptual atmosphere entirely on their map and player base.

This particular conceptualization was inspired by Fortnite’s unfortunately high graphical demand that hinders many players from playing on PC. I never had a lot of gamer friends, so as I pitched the game to friend group after friend group, I started to realize how limited the player base could be simply based on graphic intensity. In Fortnite’s case, they actually offer cross-platform gaming, but I’ve transcribed this practice in the form of a conceptual game that requires no artifacts, only knowledge of the rules.


* = team

  • 6 Players
  • 1 Narrator (Moderator/Game Master)
    • 7 total
  • 1 Sniper
    • Attacks every day
  • 1 Bush
    • Sees everything that happens at night
    • The all-knowing troll
  • 1 Medic*
    • Protects one player every day
    • Can protect yourself
  • 1 Protector*
    • Armored unit that must suffer two shots to be killed
    • Medic only affects the lethal shot (second shot)
  • 2 Fraggers*
    • The average competitor

The game begins with players sitting in a roughly circular orientation, eyes closed, and one fist held out. The narrator must select a player to represent the Sniper, the Bush, and the Medic, with the remaining players as Fraggers, aka regular players. The narrator will place her hand on the shoulder of each selected player; then, the medic will raise their thumb (thumbs up sign), the sniper will point a thumb down (thumbs down sign), the protector will open the fist, and the bush opens her eyes to see all roles

The Scene:

Welcome to The Bush Troll! You six are the only remaining players in the Battle Royale. One meticulous team has managed to survive without any casualties and constructed a small base, hindered only by their average gear and position on low ground. Hidden in the mountains rests a lonely sniper, hoping to pick off remaining survivors, but can only afford to shoot once per day to avoid being caught. Finally, there remains another survivor, hidden in one of infinitely possible bushes across the map. Armed with mediocre equipment, and stranded alone on the island, the Bush has no hopes for victory, but sees everything that happens around the map, and uses this knowledge to deter players from reaching their goals as much as possible.

Narrator Script Schema/Example:

  1. Everybody close your eyes and stick out a fist. If I touch your shoulder, you are the Sniper; please point your thumb down as if doing a thumbs down sign. If I touch your shoulder, you are the medic; please point your thumb up. If I touch your shoulder, you are the Protector; please open your fist. If I touch your shoulder, you are the Bush Troll; please open your eyes and see the map. As the first not of the Top 6 has begun, medic please point at the player you wish to protect. Sniper please select your target. Bush, close your eyes. Everyone lower your fists, the night is over.
  2. Last night… player was killed/player was shot but recovered thanks to immediate treatment from the medic/He shot a bush!
    • The game is played on a day/night cycle. At night, the medic protects a player, the sniper shoots a player, and the bush watches it all unfold, hoping to delay the game as much as possible. During the day, the democratic group of survivors vote on who to shoot down, and must have a majority vote among players (>50%)
    • The Sniper wins by eliminating all players
    • The Fraggers/Medic/Protector win by eliminating the Sniper, and win as a team (dead players still earn a victory if their teammates later succeed)
    • The Bush does not win, but can create a stalemate if the last one alive with a non-Sniper
  3. Day cycle begins: Voting for the firing squad
    1. Voting players to death revolves around information, and information is tied directly to the medic and protector; the first version of this game lacked both of these special roles, added due to a serious lack of direction during the day (voting period). By adding the medic and protector, players can find guaranteed good guys, and offer a lot more information geared towards identification of the sniper
  4. Night cycle begins again: Everyone please close your eyes; bush open your eyes and see the map, medic please point at the player you wish to protect; sniper please point at your target; please lower your fingers, bush close your eyes; everyone, the night is over.
  5. Repeat

Author’s Note:

Much of the difficulty in creating this game revolved around creating unique roles that can search for information while sticking to the same themes and concepts that surround survival games. To that end, I appropriated many of the game mechanics involved in the games Mafia, Avalon (board game), and Town of Salem. Specifically, in Avalon players hold out a fist with either thumb up or no thumb up to indicate to the all-knowing player to which team each member belongs. From Mafia, I specifically wanted the sense of relief it brought during grade school, and focused on the social aspects of the game; how personal interactions and relationships enhanced the experience, especially with regard to playstyles, friend groups, and the idea of tells. Town of Salem is probably my favourite variation of the game, consisting of myriad roles and game modes; I played a lot of ToS to understand the dynamic between special roles and information.

Moreover, I wanted this game to conceptually and thematically reference Fortnite’s Battle Royale. Throughout the creation of this game, I held snapshot images in my head of every relatable interaction I had in the game. I conclude this final iteration with a selection of images that represent many of the thematic concepts I attempted to transcribe into The Bush Troll.


The Bush:

The Protector (The one with jelly/shields):

Cover the Medic!


Notes on the Process:

The core gaming concept in The Bush Troll is the idea of taking what you get. In competitive games especially, there are often mistakes one simply shouldn’t make, but that does not necessarily mean they don’t occur. I recently made one of those mistakes in a League of Legends scrim, and my teammate said “… in competition we take what we get.” In terms of competitive gaming, this is probably the best advice I’ve ever received; I’m a very emotional player, and it’s especially important (and difficult) for me to keep my composure. Therefore, I landed on the Mafia/Town of Salem style, which epitomizes the concept of taking what you get. Despite all the conversation, all arguments, all the lies and all the facts, ultimately only a few can impact the current situation (who dies and who lives).

Much like Fortnite’s Battle Royale, players tend to simply take what they can get. It is a misconception that everyone is playing to win; more often than not, players drop onto the island without any more direction than to scavenge equipment and/or kill the nearby players. Some of the most popular streamers have developed their appeal around their combat skill, dropping into games with the sole purpose of eliminating as many players as possible. In contrast, one of the most gifted players, I’m the Myth, boasting a dangerously positive win rate, has no more than a few hundred views on YouTube compared to the 20-100 thousand watching the other’s content. In short, players are more interested in watching gifted players kill insurmountable numbers of other players rather than watch the player with a near perfect strategy.

Finally, I want to address the in-between concepts I scrapped while attempting to realize my alternate survival concept. The most prominent was a White Chess inspired variation based on Bobby Fischer’s Chess960 – an alternate game mode that he argued took more skill as opposed to the rote memorization characteristic of standard chess. Drawing on the idea I pitched for Handicapped Chess, in which I wanted a digital version of chess in which only one player knew whose pieces belonged to whom, and various penalties for the other player when she attempted to move the wrong piece. The only non-digital version I could imagine used an all-white chess board with markings on the back of one set of pieces, but the angle of the board and player positions proved too difficult to orient (limited playability).

The survival version had all players start as pawns, capturing scattered bishops, rooks, and knights, each representative of weapons, and in turn using them against your opponents. Ultimately, I failed to find a balanced set up of the board that both mimicked the map in Fortnite Battle Royale and presented a balanced set of move options – I lacked the chess knowledge necessary to devise this sort of game out of standard pieces, although I plan to return to the idea of using chess pieces and tactics to teach game theory and mechanics.

Last, the second variation of the IRL survival game I called Viral Survival (previous post) died because it failed to generate the sensation and emotion that drives the survival games on which this project was based. Version 2 specifically addressed the candy mechanic and win conditions, but playtesting grew increasingly difficult and felt more pervasive as time went on. In short, a Battle Royale is not meant to engender general discomfort, but rather specific sensations related to control (like agency in life) combined with an element of chance comprised of a combination of player interaction and RNG (in The Bush Troll, RNG is represented by the randomness in decision-making behind the Sniper).

Artwork #4: Viral Survival

Viral Survival

My initial concept begins with the Jejune Institute and ends with chicken dinner; I wanted to create a real life survival game. My friends and I had been playing the battle royale style (and loving it), but found we consistently changed our true purpose. At first, we just wanted to survive. Then, we wanted to win. Then, we wanted to eliminate. It seemed a natural course, but then we wanted to build a skyscraper (“skybase”). Then we wanted to ride grenades up a mountain. Then we wanted to ride rockets into enemies. Then we wanted to ride rockets down from a skybase into an enemy team to get the match winning kill.

The beauty of the survival games we’ve played, specifically Fortnite BR (and to a lesser extent PUBG), is in the myriad opportunities for a vast variety of experiences. The Jejune Institute introduced a seriously provocative set of activities that intervened in everyday life; I would like to create a game designed to be played within a greater community – like a school campus or other communal areas (likely not residential) – that elicits a sense of creativity, innovation, and fear akin to the battle royale genre.

My initial concept appropriated many concepts involved in the interventionist game Assassin. I went to a boarding school in which we had an annual, schoolwide competition. Each player was delivered via mailbox a small pack of stickers and a name. If the player successfully stuck another with a sticker without being seen by anyone except the victim, it was considered a successful kill. I wanted to appropriate the concept of stickers, but decided it too difficult to design a variant game, and instead focused on the experience.

Therefore, I shifted the game such that it can be played by a single person for the sake of the experience. Instead of competing to get “kills” using stickers (I did not like the idea of an angry person catching me trying to tag them with a sticker), I flashed back to my score from Artwork #1, and decided to use chocolate/candy. In place of eliminations, the player attempts to distribute pieces of chocolate throughout the community, earning a point for each, and dies when someone asks the player what they are doing (or any other variant). With this schema in mind, contrary to my score, this chocolate would not be many parts of a shared whole, but rather individually wrapped pieces designed to imply each piece is especially for the target. The current Winnner Winner concept revolves around the idea of distributing all your chocolate; as survival games typically have 100 contestants, I adapted this to a bag of 100 Hershey’s brand Kisses.

This is where I got stuck. I call this game Viral Survival; a virus is an infectious agent living within other cells. You are a positive viral agent living within the community whose only purpose is to spread joy and elicit positive emotion. However, people fear viruses; so, despite your positive influence, once caught the virus is immediately removed from the community. This irony serves to critique the existing battle royale genre in that every interaction you make with other players or the environment could impede the overall goal of survival. That is to say, in many cases, to play is to lose. The goal is to distribute all of your Kisses without being questioned for your behavior.

I’m finding the most difficulty establishing win conditions that successfully emulate a sense of survival. A squad mode variant for multiple players appropriates some of the guile behind games like Mafia and Avalon, in that players would have different coloured Kisses, and could be eliminated by other viruses that discover your particular brand (color). This would add another level of competition that simultaneously allows for multiple players/teams and an interesting game mechanic, but I still think it fails to achieve the goal of this unorthodox, community-centric intervention. I considered having both stickers and Kisses, as they offer different forms of scoring (like different weapons). Moreover, to emulate the concept of Supply Drops/Care Packages, if the player sees a known person, they must go explain to them everything they are doing. This is meant to offer a brief respite; supply drops attract a lot of attention, but once successfully retrieved, more often than not, offer a lot of useful resources towards victory. In Viral Survival, I believed the mental relief to be the equivalent of high level equipment.

Initial Research

I did a little exploration on both NEU campus and in the downtown area around the Commons, Gardens, and Charles street to Newbury. I couldn’t bring myself to put stickers on anyone, and even distributing what few Kisses proved a daunting task despite several willing participants. Therefore, I think this game must be played on NEU campus or another social community tolerant of such an intervention.


In short, I intend to question the Battle Royale genre, the developing playstyles throughout its games, and specifically address the value of player-player and player-environment interactions through a real-life parallel with contrary focus (community rather than killing everyone).


Intervention: River Race BR

River Race BR


  1. You must head directly to the starting bridge
  2. The race begins immediately upon crossing the designated bridge
  3. Starting location is determined by spawn point on the northern or southern hemisphere
  4. Survive to the finish line

Course Map:

Starting Point: Circle

Finish Line: Arrow

Finish Lines:

North Course – Western most edge of adjacent town

South Course – Anywhere inside the house on Loot Lake’s centre island

Artist’s Statement:

The videos posted below will explain River Race BR (RRBR) in detail, show examples of gameplay, and, most importantly, demonstrate the result of the experience in terms of the original concept, Fortnite’s Battle Royale (FNBR). The following essay specifically addresses the ethical question behind participation in RRBR within another ongoing competition, and explicitly states the parallel themes shown in both River Race and FNBR.

In its truest form, River Race questionsthe current meta in FNBR. As shown in the footage below, despite running the course, players can still win the game. The players with higher win percentages generally aim to hit the ground as soon as possible, and usually in a region densely populated with loot, and, therefore, other players. RRBR forces players to a pre designated location, diverting the player’s focus from reaching the ground with speed, to overall flight mechanics. Whenever possible, the player would prefer to fly over the starting bridge in an attempt to cover as much ground as possible (gliding is faster than running) before traveling on foot. Unlucky spawns combined with poor flight could force a player to run to the starting bridge, significantly decreasing chances of survival.

Next, RRBR is not loot-oriented, but rather focuses on positioning. Successfully completing either course amidst the ongoing brawl forces players to use the same decision-making process involved in the original game, but with minimalequipment and resources at their disposal. In the first gameplay video featuring player Alteredskull, we successfully finish the River Race, survive the storm, and eliminate a set of opponents using only a common shotgun and farmed wood. In both the introduction/north course and south course videos, I successfully utilize my modest equipment to reap bountiful rewards worth entire cities. This begs the question of whether it is actually worth seizing control of even just a portion of a city, and implores you to consider the power of your position on the map over the strength of your arsenal.

In short, Fortnite BR is filled with distractors that steer players off the most direct path to victory. My River Race forces players into a disadvantageous position that teaches you the important concepts related to the sole objective of both games, survival. Completing the course is in itself a challenge, but, on occasion, your team has the opportunity to reinstate itself into the original game. This requires adept use of resources and map knowledge, inspired by situations seemingly unique (or at least more likely to occur) after a River Race.

Some may question the ethics behind RRBR, questioning the impact on the rest of the game. Simply assuming two out of 100 players would have minimal impact fails to subvert the ethical question; instead, I will argue that our participation enhances the overall player experience, adding to the dynamic rather than limiting it, and subverting the original context, not destroying it.

First, there are numerous victories in which I, my duo, or the both of us survive the River Race, and go on to place in the top 5 of FNBR. It could be argued that our success is primarily due to our lack of participation; however, each placement in the top 5 came with at least two kills (elimination of another squad), and there are many players actively trying to win that implore a safer, noncombatant approach to aid their survival through to the endgame conflict.

Moreover, the race does not necessarily eliminate participation in the original game. RRBR puts players on a unique path that is minimal in loot, but ends at one of the most densely gear-populated areas on the map. In theory, RRBR is a handicapped opening to FNBR that has players arrive late to a high-action area. Instead of dropping into and competing over loot locations, RRBR players are delayed, such that they typically play at the extremes; in the circle, directly in the heart of conflict, or constantly chasing the circle, amidst the storm and frantic players.

Both situations result in playerinteractions not unlike the original concept; in short, RRBR could be interpreted as a strategy, albeit a low percentage one, and therefore does not hinder the experience of other players. The documented footage demonstrates unique interactions and combat experiences that one could argue enhances player experience, adding an entirely new dynamic to the game: a squad of poorly geared players that arrive at the circle from unorthodox, unexpected directions, dependent on superior positioning and map awareness to win. Lacking the equipment to outgun opponents, we rely on outwitting them, and feel even more satisfaction when we succeed.

RRBR has changed the way my friends and I approach the game. It demonstrates the value of in-game mechanics outside of aiming and shooting, develops player decision-making, and forces you to make use of the full potential of your limited resources. Despite never winning FNBR after successfully completing a River Race, what nobody realized was that I, my duo, or both, had already won.

Introduction and Southern Course:

Northern Course:

Matchmade River Race:

Duo Gameplay:



Indie Game Show and Tell

Image result for minecraft

Despite veering slightly off the technical definition of an indie game, throughout Minecraft’s rise to fame it very much represented the truest form of the independent genre, its focus on content, and its content geared towards player value. Minecraft offers players a limitless sandbox in which myriad materials, structures, and NPCs generate endless  possibilities.

First and foremost, I did not enjoy playing this game. In fact, I would go as far as to say I genuinely hated it. I despised the tedious necessity for harvesting resources, and could not find any motivation to learn the seemingly infinite crafting combinations. I never found a purpose, and the few hours I did spend wandering aimlessly after my friends were quite unmemorable. But it must be said; Minecraft is an amazing game.

I felt almost overwhelmed by all the options; specifically, there was too much I needed to do. I needed resources to build; I needed a crafting table; I needed a home or shelter; I needed to be able to defend myself; I needed to feel safe exploring the landscape; I needed to contribute to the server. Minecraft‘s seemingly infinite direction can be quite misleading; it is not meant to overwhelm, but rather to empower. Players are given all the tools necessary to enforce one’s imagination on the game.

It is a little ironic that the most valuable aspect of the game had such a deterrent effect on my enjoyment of it, but a part of me wishes I had invested more time into exploring the concept of possibility. The videos below, tagged Presentation Material, demonstrate the multitude of activities in which the Minecraft community indulges. From befriending ducks to harvesting blue pickles, from killing other players to building enormous structures, there are so many options.

The second video demonstrates the intrinsic value of a simple game mechanic, manifest in the form of a “Block Save Montage,” almost three and a half minutes of a player falling to death, only to be saved by the last minute placement of a block of dirt. With so much satisfaction engendered from such simplicity, I can’t help but wonder why I couldn’t find my own value in the game.

I attribute my lack of enjoyment to an innate stubbornness, developed over the course of my time playing competitive levels of League of Legends and Rocket League. I have decided that playing a video game is much like reading an english class book; given identical schemas, the value we find is entirely dependent on what we notice. In Minecraft, focused on a purpose and begging for direction, I failed to notice all the wondrous opportunity.

I still refuse to play Minecraft, but I cannot help but appreciate all the related material that pops up on YouTube, Facebook, or Reddit. I’ve found myself vicariously enjoying the massive player built structures that appear overnight in community servers, empathizing with the streamer that throws her diamond ore into the lava, and even despair as your new pet duck falls to its unfortunate demise.

Minecraft is a free game, designed for the sake of its players, and represents the best of what indie games can be. This game has developed from an ambiguous, open-ended sandbox into a vast community of servers and mods. The culmination of player imagination is manifest in the intense variety of server environments, interface quality-of-life mods, and repurposed servers for PVP and other specific communities. The limitless concept that drives Minecraft has even been purposed towards education, teaching students to delegate resources, practical maths, and spatial awareness. Although I will never play this game, I implore you to explore its potential, and appreciate its value.

Presentation Material:



Assignment #2: Appropriation – Sona Survival

Assignment #2: Appropriation – Sona Survival

Artwork #2: Sona Survival 

            Sona Survival is a single player minigame played within the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game League of Legends (LoL). Using the built-in ‘practice tool’ to adjust specific game parameters, trademark character Sona is dropped into the center of the enemy base, isolated and unable to move, but equipped with items designed to enhance her chances of survival. Constantly taking damage, the player’s only goal is to survive as long as possible.


The player is given a keyboard and instructed to press “W” to survive. Of the remaining keys, only LoL’s original ability and item bindings will have effect, with the exception of two items rebound for specific emphasis. However, lacking a mouse, the player is tasked with deciphering the relationship between abilities, items, and environment as the game progresses. This both encourages repetition and incorporates core aspects of LoL mechanics.

Sona Survival can be played on any device capable of running LoL, but I insisted on a MacBook Pro. Paired with a dusty mechanical keyboard, on which the keys bound to important items and abilities are polished, and a set of in-ear headphones, the player’s atmosphere is very similar to the average LoL experience. To enhance the sense of immersion, Heavyweight by No Copyright Sounds, a classic song used in LoL montages, plays in the background for added ‘hype.’ Player scores are timed using a stopwatch; in each iteration an iPhone was used.


The original concept for Sona Survival was simplified down to an endless cycle of survival based entirely on the player’s will to stay at the computer pressing “W.” This was designed as an artistic statement about the competitive aspects of the game, emphasizing practice, focus, and motivation. Although plausible, I decided it lacked the most vital aspects of the game that encourage innovation and creativity.

This final iteration scraps the ‘endless’ concept for a specific goal, achieved through mastery of actual LoL mechanics and the basic problem solving abilities involved in deciphering ability/item interactions. This incorporates much more semantic meaning, appropriating not only the gaming software, but also the genuine experience of LoL players.

Themes and Influence

The original inspiration for Sona Survival was Mario Clouds; I did not start out with a concept for a game as much as for an artistic statement about an experience. This final iteration, however, incorporates more of the LoL experience, simultaneously encouraging LoL players to show off their game knowledge and clinical mechanics, and non-LoL players – or even non-gamers – to use parallel concepts and thought processes.

Moreover, Sona Survival repurposes items and abilities in ways that would intrigue LoL players, specifically referencing an accepted use for items and abilities among the community, but not without taking away from their original uses. For example, Zhonyas Hourglass, one of two items remapped from its original LoL binding, makes Sona invulnerable for 2.5 seconds. The towers that will eventually kill Sona do increased damage with each successive shot; therefore, perfectly timing use of the Hourglass allows the player to defy death, heal to full health before the towers start to cause significant damage, effectively forcing the game to kill her almost twice.

This effect can be amplified when used in combination with other items; however, Zhonyas Hourglass is an item generally purchased by “carry” champions, and the optimal synergy in Sona Survival involves a “support” item, that can be used at the same time such that Sona is healed upon leaving stasis. This forces LoL players to make connections based on the specific game mechanics rather than conventional analysis (influenced by individual roles and norms), while non-LoL players will be naturally guided to the theoretically most efficient thought process that focuses on numbers rather than experience.

Quick Note

I added a game mechanic for the player to kill themselves if they discovered an item + ability combination. The second remapped key was the warding trinket, a stationary object placed by players to obtain vision in an otherwise hidden area of the map. Players can teleport to these wards, most often to shift map pressure. LoL players will question the teleport ability’s very existence in Sona Survival, objectively useless without a mouse because you can’t use it to run away, but if the ward is used first, teleport will cause Sona to stand unable to move until the spell is cancelled or completed. Nobody used this combination, but I hoped a non-LoL player might stumble upon the unfortunate combo and a LoL player would execute a bm (bad manners), and use it to flaunt their understanding and control of Sona’s situation.

Show and tell draft

vader example:


Sweet Disarray

Carter Cockrell 2

Artwork #1: Score


Offer each individual in the room a piece of chocolate,
Ask each individual that takes a piece not to eat it.

Artist’s Statement:

Inspired by the concept of an Alan Kaprow ‘Happening,’ specifically manipulating the mundane, everyday aspects of life, I wanted to emulate my experience on the first day of class. Having missed the first week of school, my first day began in the foyer of Ryder Hall; the only instructions were “– to bring an umbrella.” After a few minutes of standing around playing with pink yarn, I watched an upside-down umbrella drop from the sky, bounce a few times, and, finally caught, settle into a rhythmic sway.

This score focuses on what I found to be the most compelling aspect of the class Happenings, a shared experience. Not until I found myself suddenly entwined in yarn, the class woven into a single unit, did I realize even the person that dropped the umbrella was as confused as I. I wanted this score to realize a simple, everyday interaction in a manner that both surprises its audience and conjures images of question mark emojis.

I chose to share a bar of chocolate for this score because this interaction represents the concept of community. It triggers memories of splitting chocolate bars between classes, passing candy around during class, and arriving at the dorm to extra pizza. Especially in schools, food sharing has always helped establish some kind of bond. In terms of practice, this score’s preferred audience is a familiar community, like a college campus or neighborhood. This helps the score start more naturally, but also functions to lure the audience into the experience.

Beyond a sense of community, I wanted to create an artistic confusion that blurs the lines between score and life. As Kaprow said, “The line between art and life should be kept as fluid, and perhaps as indistinct as possible” (Performance Art 101). Who would expect, after being offered a piece of chocolate, to be told not to eat the piece of chocolate? If they listen, what would they do with it? If I’m not paying attention anymore, why would they care? These questions are the only indication that participants are, in fact, an audience. Suddenly, the chocolate becomes more than momentary relief, and the moment seems to last just a little bit longer.

Process Notes:

This score has little room for interpretation. One iteration of the score added the instructions one at a time to indicate how to offer a piece of chocolate to the audience, but decided to omit because I think the score would achieve the desired effect even if everyone were offered a piece at the same time; the performer still needs to tell them not to eat it afterwards. This Yoko Ono-esque sensation is the end goal. Grapefruit offers a lot of meditative relief, followed by puzzling, awkward instruction. This score follows the same schematic: relief, then wonder.

I chose this particular chocolate bar because it enhances the idea of a shared experience. As opposed to a bag of M&Ms or Hershey’s Kisses, breaking a part a bigger piece emphasizes the concept of community. I also wanted something big enough to be alluring, but not too big as to take away from the idea of sharing – I once split a gummie bear bigger than my desktop computer with 24 students. I also wanted the size of the piece to act as a lure – I wanted the audience to want the chocolate. The second line of the score was inspired by Cage’s 4’33”, specifically the idea of framing a predictable, ordinary experience and leading it somewhere unexpected.