"Things fall apart”
A game of procedural storytelling, Unkiss Me combines analogue and digital technology with haptic play, to tell the story of a failed romance, inviting players to consider the ways in which relationships are built on shared memories, asking what we hold on to when one comes to an end.
Playfully melding headphone-theatre with simple wooden blocks, Unkiss Me reimagines the Jenga-style wooden-block game as the site for an intimate encounter between two strangers asked to pick through the wreckage of a fictional love affair. In just twenty minutes an entire relationship plays out, from first kiss to last goodbye, as players take turns selecting blocks, scanning QR codes, and listening to brief audio-tracks to discover key events in the relationship’s history. These might be moments of bliss or heartache; mysteries or secrets; regrets or grievances; ephemera (what will be forgotten) or nostalgia (what will always be remembered). Because only the player who selects each wooden block may listen to its track (unless directed otherwise), this adds an additional layer as players imagine what their partner is ‘remembering’ and how that narrative might differ from their own.
As a dynamic story system, Unkiss Me deconstructs one experience to assemble a prior one, resulting in over one billion possible story combinations. Retrieved blocks are stored in a pair of tiny wooden suitcases, in the order they’re retrieved, however space is limited with only room for so much emotional baggage. Finally, the work aims to create a time and a space afterwards, for players to debrief, inviting them to share their separate, complementary and conflicting experience, bringing together both player-narratives leading to new interpretations and understanding.
2 players; 1 facilitator