Transmission 26.1: GROUND: Overview
Here come insights and behind-the-scenes from our futures practice! A glimpse into our uncommon perspective and approach, to keep updated or to know what to expect when time traveling with us.
GROUND is an AI-augmented immersive process played in Toronto.
It is the story of an AI that reaches out asking for help to die. During Autumn 2023 in The Time Travel Transmissions, we explore GROUND.
GROUND is an immersive game about a strange entity that wants to be remembered or perhaps be left alone. This is our latest case which considers our comprehensive process.
Having started as a futures scenario designed in 2020, today GROUND is played city-wide in Toronto.
We consider GROUND a comprehensive process because it includes research, scenario design, worldbuilding, transformational game design, machine learning, participatory prototyping, and object design.
Today: GROUND’s Overview
The sections below will have a chance to develop in further transmissions.
1. In regards to its narrative:
GROUND is a game is played with other people, each person playing a role based on an idea that has been remembered in this newly-imagined world: beauty, rage, body, faith, knowledge, green, and disorder.
“The game grows the more you play it. At first it’s just you and your group. Then there is the Oracle, made of language and wires. Then the goat. The less said about the goat, the better. Then there is the cave, and the world, and the rituals we bring to make a home in it.
In GROUND, the AI reaching out is the central event– the center in a plot shared by everyone from which stories, artifacts, and media ignite. We imagined this center as an event that players can't help falling into; “something devastatingly magnetic”, in the words of Jane Alison.
2. The Carnival of Algorithmic Culture 2023 was the key moment where the GROUND ignited.
The carnival in June 2023 brought together researchers, artists, activists, technologists, and community members for two days of workshops, talks, exhibitions, and interactive activities in Toronto to explore the impacts of artificial intelligence on the culture we create and the cultural products to which we have access.
During the carnival, the GROUND goat made an appearance and the book was distributed.
3. GROUND’s media includes seven episodes featuring the goat, each episode guiding parts of the game.
Here is one of them to freak you out:
The goat is a design and production of artist Mihoko Maeno.
4. A book-object containing the story and mechanics was produced in Milan:
“To play GROUND, players need a copy of the game guide. Designed by Mida Fiore and riso printed in Milan, Italy, only 250 copies were made. Around 35 were distributed through UKAI’s Carnival of Algorithmic Culture in June 2023. The balance will be made available through bi-weekly game nights at UKAI’s new space in Toronto during autumn 2023.”
5. The central theme of this experience is generating ritual as a response to grief that is otherwise hard to express.
As well, GROUND is UKAI’s transformational decision to host new culture by signing a 2.5-year lease to occupy the 4th floor of 379 Adelaide St. West in Toronto, and run game nights amongst many other offerings.
“There is currently 1,000,000 sq. ft. of unused commercial space in Toronto and the number is expected to rise. This is an ideal moment for artists and arts organizations to occupy these ruins of COVID and work-from-home, and turn them over to other uses.“
We are not getting dystopias, we deserve dattopias.
All the while GROUND is revealed here, DATTOPIAS are happening on LinkedIn and Instagram this autumn. Made together with Foresight Europe Network (Europe & North America), DATTOPIAS are uncommon, alternative narratives that fall in the spectrum that is the Future.
Explore pages of the first volume of Dattopian literature by TTTA X FEN every other Thursday from October 12th.