Ruination: City of Dust was a collaborative project intended to inspire collective action and environmental stewardship through the intersection of participatory public art, contemporary environmental science, and an interactive mystery game. As Art Director, I translated the narrative and clue system (created by game designer Ken Eklund, with scientific input provided by the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District) into a visual world - from 2D design and game pieces to site-specific installations & interactive challenges, signage, spoke cards, costumes and both filmed and live performances - all to evoke a dystopic environmentally ruined city 300 years into the future.
A true collaboration and community project, Ruination engaged 11 artists/designers, 17 performers, 6 production crew members, and 33 game day volunteers, as well as dozens of people who contributed time, services, and goods during the development of the project. The game took place at a series of 7 installations both outdoors along the Minnehaha Creek in Minneapolis, and inside a community center. Each installation was site-specific and utilized pre-existing natural and built features. 400 adults played the game over the course of 2 days.
Audiences traversed the watershed by bicycle and picked up clues through installations and performances at a series of archeological dig sites. Once they solved the mystery, players gained entrance to a secret hideaway - the “Understory” - an intentional community where performers vended goods and experiences in a marketplace environment and players had an opportunity to reflect on the game and connect with one another.