Games of Nonchalance

RELATED TERMS: Agency; Audience

Nonchalance was a city-wide game in San Francisco run around 2010. It explored the story of Eva, a lost soul drawn into different groups and cults on her way to transcendence and was framed as real and not a created experience. Puzzle scavenger hunts and other print media are used to tell the story changing the perception of the city by the players. Timed calendar events encouraged players to do things like protest against the antagonist or meet in a hotel for a shared transcendence experiment.

The experience encouraged players to self organize and it became unclear what was created by who. The tone is very satirical and it is not always clear what is real, fake, created by the game makers, made by fans, or random strange things that already existed around San Francisco. The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles has been stated as an influence in the writing style.

A documentary was made about the experience called The Institute. Creator Jeff Hull rarely admitted to being the creator but did give a TEDxSOMA talk about the experience. A “sequel” themed experience and open participatory art framework was created by the same team called The Latitude.