Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Third Space

definition: Any place in the world that is neither your home nor your work. The Third Space is also mostly open to the public, and is generally hurried through by robot citizens so as to avoid close inspection of its intriguing alleyways and trap doors.

When it gee-wowed me: Again, during my stint as a copywriter for Nonchalance. Those people are obsessed with the Third Space, and I have to say I'm now pretty into it as well. Case in point: during Phase One of the Games of Nonchalance, a player finds himself sitting in the reception area of a 16th-floor office space in downtown San Francisco. Suits hurry by. Important-looking people whisper together urgently on their way to the elevator. All the furniture is dreadfully void of character. The player feels like he doesn't belong here. "Is this right?" he thinks. "Don't I need some kind of clearance to be sitting in this reception area of the 16th floor of this random downtown building? Am I going to be arrested?"

Well, no. Turns out a huge portion of the world is open to everyone, all the time, always. Aside from the obvious sidewalks, parks, freeways, alleyways, and public restrooms, you've also got entire skyscrapers, hidden parklets, back stairwells, parking garages, cemeteries, churches, and office building hallways that are all designed to give off the impression of exclusivity, when in fact they're anything but. The best part is that no one can really do a goddamned thing about you being in any of these places.

That security guard at the front door? Yeah, he's totally useless. Go ahead, ignore him.

Anyway, Nonchalance's games and projects are all intended to make players more aware of this great big beautiful public space around them, to have them step out of their regularly scheduled walk to work - even if only five feet in the wrong direction - and examine that one alleyway with that one giant cat spray painted onto that one lonely wall. If you've never noticed it's there before, it's because you're not letting the world thoroughly batter your senses with stimuli. You've let the man tell you that your place is this one stretch of line between Point A and Point B, and god help you if you ever try and shake it up. I mean, holy hell, you'll probably end up murdered or raped if you step out of line. Or worse.

And who knows what you'll find if you follow the alleyway to the lonely cat. Mystery and intrigue lurk behind every corner.

Conclusion: Nonchalance also champions Pervasive Play - a term coined for taking this newly reclaimed Third Space and turning it into one giant adult playground. After all, what happened to the world between ages 9 and 30 that made it so uninteresting? More appropriately: what happened to you? The next wave of totally immersive entertainment would be foolish not to maximize Third Space use. It's free. It's near-limitless in size. And it has so much hidden potential just waiting to be discovered.

1 comment:

simone said...