I first heard of The Spiral at a Solmukohta party, presented as a transmedia thingie about an international art heist combining a TV series, online gaming, social network roleplay and live events (I’m afraid I will miss the latter due to work and not exactly living in the right part of Europe).
I then followed it on the Facebook page of the diegetic Warehouse artist community, answering challenges to make art like “Frame what you value most and name your price”. I provided a photo of my brain (auction starts now, final price may vary widely depending upon what I accomplish in life. Delivery upon my death, choice of fresh or fixed), which resulted in some nice online roleplay.
Another one was front page news hijacking from this:
It then ran into the Spiral in real life:
That’s one thing I like most about The Spiral: you actually need to generate content to play. Instead of just stupidly farming or buying credits with your money, The Spiral makes you move your ass and create or look for stuff. «Everyone is an artist» is more than just a demagogic tag line to lower the pressure put on participants: it’s the core of the game. The weirder among you will see the whole thing as an act of chaos magick. The more jaded will see smart marketing people making their consumers generate content instead of paying professionals to do it. Either way, I don’t care: it gets people to do stuff, instead of just consume.
I’ve watched the first episode of the TV series so far and it’s fun.
Apart from rock band movies, you rarely see groups of artists in TV series or cinema, so it’s a nice change. And I’ve always liked heist movies, so it’s also a nice spin to see one not performed for money or pure pride but for political and artistic reasons. The high density of light-skinned people with funky international accents reminded me of the Nodal Point larp conventions, and then I saw actual larpers as extras, which was a nice loop (spiral?) back to the initial exposure.
This is my first alternate reality game and I do have some reservations.
The first is pacing, always a bit weird when you’re playing alone in the physical world. One of the main reasons I larp is that it’s done physically with real people, in a defined and hopefully intense time frame. Here the experience is more diluted. The second is the in game/out of game confusion: I would have been more comfortable creating a character for the game instead of just starting as my online self. Furthermore, recent world events had an uncanny connection to the «cops and artists» and «everyone is an artist» themes, but the co-option of the Pussy Riot trial into the ongoing online fiction on Facebook felt a bit too exploitative. This is real world «justice», not made-for-TV drama.
Anyway, I’ll keep following the Spiral, participating as I find time to create stuff, and who knows where it will end?
12-Sep edit: the creators posted a one-pager with very good explanations on the in game / out of game “rules”. May help you grasp a bit more what can be done in the game, it did help me 🙂
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