fifth avenue apartment encoded with puzzles by architect

I was beginning to research an article about ARG genres when I came across this interesting tidbit. Without telling the client, an architect renovating an Upper East Side apartment included secret panels, puzzles, poems and artworks that – when they discovered it – led its residents on a scavenger hunt around their own home.
A frequent topic at if:book is the fetishization of the codex in its irreducibly physical qualities. This project – complete with its own fictionalized Da Vinci Code-esque book hidden in the walls of the apartment – takes this to new heights, while arguably gesturing at some of the elitism (the costliness and exclusivity of the postbit atom) implicit in this fetishization.

2 thoughts on “fifth avenue apartment encoded with puzzles by architect

  1. Bryan Alexander

    The elitism is certainly crucial. On the design level, this class aspect forms a kind of extended, classic, personal library, like an 18th-century manor house. On an economic level, it hits at the question of ARG sustainability, offering a take on the rich patron concept.
    Reminds me of David Fincher’s _The Game_, and its take on wealth.
    What about the role of the children? I’m still trying to think this through. It’s partly a positive, controlled, exclusive (as you say) way of connecting children and gaming without any of the cultural stigma attached to the latter. It’s a risky move, too, like the best kiddie lit, engaging mystery and disorientation within the minds of young readers/players.

  2. sebastian mary

    If I’d found something like this in my house as a kid it would have been a dream come true. But I think it’s crucial that – unlike many of the to my mind rather turgid ‘serious games’ out there – the purpose of this was not didactic but playful and creative.
    On a related – and less elitist – note, I just came across this: a post about an artist who’s been creating treasure-hunt-like picture series on the undersides of motel bedside drawers.
    Game-like interventions in the offline world; ‘writing’ in a medium that’s not designed for it; disruptions to the expected semiotic flow. Material designed to prompt the ‘browse, unravel, follow the links’ behavior typical of Web reading is increasingly making itself felt offline as well.
    (Post to follow)

Comments are closed.