Secret City – Star of the West

Secret City - Star of the West

The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past.

  • Date:16 Jul 2011
  • Location: Governors Island - Meet at the COaP HQ on the Parade Grounds
  • Address: Governors Island, New York, NY
  • Time: 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Use your keen sleuthing ability and your cellphone to unlock a secret that has remained undiscovered for 150 years. Explore some of the island’s main historic structures, solving puzzles as you go and unlocking threads of the story. Follow the path of one of four characters who played a role in setting the Civil War in motion—or in trying to prevent it. Decide for yourself how events play out and take a shot at (re-)making history.

    Designer: Brightwork Labs

    Hidden just beneath the city’s surface are thousands of personal histories. Brightwork constructs experiences that pull back the corners of the world to reveal these secret stories and allow players to forge a personal connection with the city. We create experiences that foster exploration of the city we only thought we knew—making the everyday foreign and focusing players’ attention and energy in the present moment. We are all destined for a future in which the World Wide Web has been reconciled with the physical world. Brightwork uses technology as a means to enhance temporal, physical experience. By dissolving into each other bith the
    boundaries imposed on us by technology and by the physical world, we hope to give players agency to re-imagine and engage the world around them.


    Allen Hahn

    Allen Hahn is a theater artist whose work has been seen principally in Europe and the US. In 2009, he created the first version of The Secret City at the Braddock Carnegie Library in Braddock, PA. After years of designing stage environments to support narrative, The Secret City inverted the process, devising a narrative from a found space. In framing it as a game, the passive act of receiving a story is transformed into one where the story needs to be discovered. Recasting the audience as players forges a strong connection to both story and place. It gives them a chance to explore the physical world as game space, imagine story as an echo from the past perceptible in the present, and view themselves as heroes in the stories they uncover. Allen brought on Adam Nelson and Brent Elmer in 2010 to form Brightwork as a laboratory to explore the relationship between narrative and space, games and performance enhanced by mobile technology.


    Brent Elmer

    Brent Elmer has a background in design for smart products, with competencies in iterative user testing, prototyping, and wireframing for interface design, employed most recently in work for Tupperware and Johnson & Johnson. Brent is a 2011 graduate of CMU’s Entertainment Technology Center, and worked with Schell Games. His focus has shifted to game design with an emphasis in social gaming for shared physical space. He currently works for Microsoft Games.


    Adam Nelson

    Adam Nelson founded Obscure Games, a crowd-sourced game design organization, in 2009. As the organization’s Director, he has created and collaborated on dozens of new and modified pervasive games, small space and tabletop games, and sports, including the award-winning game of human-sized pinball, Silverball. He also produced Pittsburgh’s festival of new games, the Steel City Games Fest, in August 2010, along with over a hundred other Obscure Games events.


    Gordon Dahlquist

    Gordon Dahlquist has been a member of New Dramatists, and is a New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect. His works include: VENICE SAVED (PS122, New York), MESSALINA (Evidence Room, Los Angeles; SPF, New York), BABYLON IS EVERYWHERE: A COURT MASQUE [text] (CINE, Schaeberle Theatre; Theatre Magazine), DELIRIUM PALACE (Evidence Room, Los Angeles; published in Breaking Ground), THE SECRET MACHINE (Walker Space), VORTEX DU PLAISIR (Ohio Theatre), and ISLAND OF DOGS (4th Street Theatre). He has been an artist in residence at ASK Theatre Projects, Dartmouth College, Vassar College, and the Hotchkiss School. He was a guest lecturer at ECLA (Berlin), and a plenary speaker for the 2004 Ohio Shakespeare Conference. His first novel, The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, was a NY Times bestseller and has been published in 30 countries. His second novel, The Dark Volume, was published in the USA in March 2009.

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