Live Escape Box

 

 

A live escape game is a genre of games originally created for video games that recently started being done in physical venues specially prepared for that. The principle of the game is to leave the players locked into a room for a period of time (usually 60 minutes). They have to find objects and to solve puzzles in order to get the keys and passwords required for unlocking themselves.

In this version, the game deals not only with escaping a tiny room, but also with restriction of movement. The room is a box 1,60 high, where two participants are locked with their necks in the table, and have their hands tied to each other’s. There are 4 locks whose keys must be found in hidden spaces. The lock that leads them to the outside requires a numeric password, ad for getting them they have to solve a simple puzzle that will suggest them to fold the table up and to look from a specific point. The tininess of the room obliges the players to adapt their bodies into the dimensions and restrictions imposed by the box. Intimacy and strategy are combined in the shared action of escaping from the box.

Cheating the game: One additional rule of leaving the space with a plastic bond on their wrists is possible to be followed just if they break it at some point. It is impossible to leave the room without cutting the bond. They will find another hidden plastic bond in order to replace the original one. A bunch of objects is also added to the room, but they do not have any relevance apart from confounding the players with false clues. These are elements that reveal the untrustworthiness of the game rules and the game designer. It is not a fair game.

Making puzzles with what is at hand: The objects inside the box were all found at Zsenne, lying around, probably left overs of other exhibitions. The tools that I used to build the box, such as the drill, were incorporated into the game, such as the drill, ropes, and screws. The idea of a drill serving as a lamp came after using the tool inside the box and realizing it was helpful to have some light in there. The raw aspect of the device is incorporated into the game, and brought me to the materiality of the box as the platform for me to create multiple fictional universes, without sticking to anyone of them in particular.

So, that box doesn’t represent a bedroom, a torture machine, or any specific space. But the capacity for it to fold in the middle in order to reveal a secret code, made me replicate the image of a mirroring space, or a space in which the opposites must meet. A plastic horse and an upside down jockey placed in symmetrical positions in the two sides of the table; two playing cards (Jack of Diamonds and the Queen of Hearts) are disposed in symmetrical positions. At some point, there is a book on the floor, in which the very middle page has a folded playing card, and the written instruction: “Make ¨ them © kiss.” There is also Isabel Burr’s cucumber used in her lecture performance hidden somewhere, some wine, also used in the reading game I propose, bread, fruits, cleaning material, a nail trimmer (that can be used to cut the plastic bond). Bur they aren´t configure any specific symbolism. At the same time, the infinity of combinations make them relate to each other in unpredictable ways, imagining all sorts of narratives.

 

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