I left you with a labyrinth. In the time since, Dreams Of Your Life has been living out its own life online. It seems to have found a strong resonance with all kinds of people – some who’ve enjoyed it most on an aesthetic level, some who’ve welcomed a quiet, contemplative space in amongst the general noise of the web, some who have found the project provoked some reconsiderations of parts of their own life.
What’s clear for us is that it would never have come together the way it did without the collaborators we worked with. We’d made some critical decisions about the project on our own: we knew we wanted it to be photographic, because anything drawn or animated might sit oddly next to the film. We knew we wanted text, because it gave us something rich and adaptable and private. And knowing we wanted those, we had a vision of writing on a window. A place you could be but not explore, and a voice you could hear but never meet.
So that’s what we assembled a team around. Phil Gyford helped us get to a place where we could produce the seamless, dreamy presentation we felt was crucial for the project without resorting to flash and losing the iOS users we thought might warm to it (or indeed without resorting to making an iOS app and losing everyone else). One photo of Lottie Davies’ made us want to meet her (this shot of New York had something of the sense of place combined with the sense of separation that we were after), and when we did we found someone with particular skill for establishing a sense of narrative through set, and a frankly foolhardy approach to manipulating nature that proved utterly critical. ALKennedy was a dream candidate for producing the prose – someone we knew could be dark without being bleak, heartfelt without being schmaltzy and who could tell a mean joke. On meeting her we discovered that she was deep in work on The Blue Book, whose playful structure, use of direct address and wealth of knowledge about psychics and fortune tellers was a perfect foil for the thoughts we’d been experimenting with.
With these three people on board, and a support team of tireless project managers and set dressers and testers and all sorts, we made a thing that we don’t think is quite like anything anyone has made before. Definitely not like anything we’ve made before. And definitely not a game. And it’s not, we’ve discovered, something that’s best explained before you try it for yourself.
If you’d like to, follow the links below. And if you’re at GDC, come along at 11.30 on Wednesday morning, where I’m giving a cheery talk called The Gamification Of Death. Or, if you’re at SXSW, keep your eyes peeled for Would Anyone Miss You – a live game inspired by the project that we’re running. More on that soon!
This multiplatform commission was designed to be approached from multiple angles. You might like to start with an essay about Joyce, or a review of the film, or a trailer, or by booking for a screening, or by playing the thing we made. We’d love to hear what you think.