What is this?
If You Go Away is the latest work by Invisible Flock a Leeds based group of artists who make interactive work. It’s an app for iphone and android that takes you out into the city, using the phone like a virtual camera to explore a hidden world within the app. We call it an art game.
This is a place for us to try and answer some questions you might have about it either before you try and play it or maybe even after.
How do i do it?
First you have to live (or be in) in one of the cities where the app is playable – this will change as the year goes on but currently these are: Leeds – London (South Kensington/V&A to be specific) – Southampton – Warwick University – Middlesbrough
Then you need to download the app onto your phone from the app store if you are on iPhone or google play if you are on android, you’ll find it by searching ‘if you go away’ – on the app store we have called it IYGA for short. It costs £0.79.
There’s a lot of sound and music in the app so its quite big and we recommend you download it at home or somewhere with WIFI and you make sure you enough enough space for it on your phone.
Once you have the app on your phone you can play it in two ways;
1. First turn the phone on whenever you like, and if you are near enough to where the game happens you will be able to explore a virtual version of that place, interacting with the environment and also, if there are any, seeing other players in the virtual world with you. Each of the places where IYGA happens is layered on top of the others, so you will be sharing your virtual world with people who could be miles or even countries away from you and they will see you too.
2. Second is to turn the app on in the evening around dusk, at that point a story will be unlocked – the story will take you on a 60 to 90 minute long walk, uncovering the virtual world, meeting characters and trying to help a girl called Ada. The story is very beautiful, full of music and game and should take you through into the early evening.
The app will tell you when and where you can play the game. You can also check our website for starting points.
What’s the story about?
You will have to play it to find out, but we hope it will allow you to see the world you are moving through in a slightly different light. Although there is nothing particularly inappropriate in the story, the length of the walk and some of the themes might be not be suitable for under 12 years.
What will i have to do?
Mainly walk, read the game text and make choices, listen to some bits of story and lots of music. You will also have to explore, and solve one or two puzzles.
The whole thing is powered by GPS so you will have to travel through the real world to explore the virtual one.
What do i need to do it?
Headphones are a must and obviously a phone that can run it (that’s anything above an iphone 5 – and on android we are currently saying newer or higher end devices). We recommend you wrap up warm and for the weather although it would be a shame to do it when its raining as it will probably ruin the experience for you.
We also think its best done when you have the time, not jammed in between things. Carve out the same kind of head space and time that you would give yourself for going to the cinema to watch a film, make sure your phone has enough charge to get you through.
Why won’t it work on my phone?
First of all very very sorry. That’s a hard one to answer. We have tested it extensively on iPhone 5+ and have also tested it on android although at the present date not as extensively.
We are a super small team and have been working really hard for the last 18 months to get this out and hope we have found the most pressing bugs and crashes but in case we haven’t please bear with us and let us know by email – email@example.com – and we will do our best to try and solve it.
We are confident that it runs well on iOS and on later android devices although there is always the potential for gremlins and bugs.
We would love for you to be able to do the experience properly so please drop us a line and we will do all we can to fix the bug and get you back out with it.
Why won’t it work on my android phone?
Thats a tough one, we have began developing for android but not for as long as iOS, testing and optimising as much as we can – we are currently suggesting only on newer devices and we will be more and more specific with that as we keep working on it.
Why won’t it work on my iPhone?
We have tested and built extensively for iPhone so as far as we are aware you shouldn’t have any problems when it comes to crashes or bugs, however its possible that something slipped through the net. Let us know and we will try and fix it. We recommend the latest iOS versions, and make sure you have data and that your wifi is not connected.
Why cant it find me?
Make sure you have data and that your wifi is not connected as it can interfere with the game.
The whole experience runs off GPS and that can vary wildly depending on devices, and environmental conditions, GPS can drift up to 10-15 meters which is quite a lot so please be patient with it if needs be.
Why is it ‘art’ and not just a game?
Good question, It sort of depends how you are looking at it really.
We are artists and like to make experiences and art that gets people to look at and participate in the world around them differently. That can be installations, live events, digital things or games (like this one). We like to think that it is a piece of art that looks and feels a bit like a game, but is probably a little weirder and more unusual than many people’s experience of games (not all people though).
Why is it a game and not just ‘art’?
Another good question. For a start we are not certain that the two thing are mutually exclusive. We were really interested in making something that really felt and behaved like a game and ran on people’s phones with nothing else in the experience (performers, us, an event….). So you can play it as a game without thinking too much about the art but as above it might be at the ‘artier’ game end of the spectrum.
Who are you?
We are called Invisible Flock and are a group of artists based in Leeds.
We make work all over the UK and abroad and everything we do is in some way interactive, digital and gets people to take part in it, inviting them to change the way they interact with the world around them.
We are Ben Eaton, Victoria Pratt, Richard Warburton and Catherine Baxendale.
We have also collaborated with the following people on this project; Jason Bentley, Matt Blackmore, Fred Bourdil, Henry Clay, James Hamilton, Hollie Latham, Tim Mileusnic, New York Brass Band, Terry O’Connor, Matt Sykes-Hooban, Two Fly Studios, Simon Wainwright, Ed Waring.
What do you want me to feel/think?
It is an experimental thing, in terms of both form and content and is offered to you our audience as such, and so it its very hard for us to predict how you will get on with it.
IYGA is about re-exploring your city as if you were looking through the lens of a camera, walking through it seeing it in a completely unique and weird way, so that we hope it will make you think about it differently, and change your experience of living and existing in that space. It does this by telling you a story but also just by inviting you to look and walk through it differently, using the phone as a filter to the world. We hope that you find the story moving and beautiful, and that you find the exploration rewarding and surprising. But ultimately we want you to feel whatever you want to feel when you do the work, you can’t get it wrong.
Any thing else?
We would love to know what you thought of the work so please drop us an email firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be happy to hear from you and chat.