Posted on Thu 26 Jun 2008
Comfort of Strangers at Come out and Play
You walk through the busy square, headphones hidden beneath your hood. A voice whispers in your ear, "there's another Lover nearby...;" you steal a look around trying not to be too obvious and you hear the voice…
You walk through the busy square, headphones hidden beneath your hood. A voice whispers in your ear, "there's another Lover nearby...;" you steal a look around trying not to be too obvious and you hear the voice again: "...your life is now at level 6..." You must be a lover and you need find that other person in the crowd, team up. You set off, weaving through the crowd, trying to blend in. "There's a Dancer nearby..." you stop to read a sign and look around "...your life is now at 5..." Damn! Gotta stay away from the Dancers; If they find you before you find another Lover you could be in trouble; if your life drops to zero you are out of the game.
But how do you discover the other players hidden in the crowd and, when you do, how to you know who they are? You could ask them "are you a Lover or a Dancer?..." The Comfort of Strangers is a street game, created by Simon Evans and Simon Johnson as part of their Media Sandbox commission, that uses ipaq PDAs, mscape software and adhoc wifi networks to create a series of social encounters driven by risk and common interest.
Players use anonymity and group formation to live and survive urban experience. They find comfort in strangers. In June 2008, Simon and Simon took Comfort of Strangers to Come Out & Play, an annual festival dedicated to street games in New York, with support from the Pervasive Media Studio.