Hinterland (2011)

Hinterland is a game that turns into a poem.

Hinterland was a collaboration with technologist Tom Armitage and performance poet Ross Sutherland. Initially workshopped in a week-long residency at Battersea Arts Centre, Hinterland was presented for the first time at Forest Fringe, Edinburgh between 15 – 27 August, 2011.

Hinterland was a game about language and cities. Players picked up a mission booklet from a manned checkpoint that served as a base for the game. They then ventured out into a city in search of strangers that met certain criteria: speaking a particular language, or being engaged in a particular profession. The player and their new acquaintance answered questions together, and phoned those answers into to the “Operator”, an automated, robotic voice at the end of a specially-created phoneline.

Shortly after the completion of each mission, a poem was returned to the player – either in text, online, or in audio, to be listened to on a phone. The structure and wording of the poem was contingent on the answers the player had phoned in.

As the poem progresses, the player finds that their answers to all the Operator’s questions have increasing significance, and that the poem is not just being customised for them; it might turn out to be all about them.

Thanks to Tom ArmitageRoss Sutherland, Sarah Ellis, Sarah Butcher, Luke Emery, Gary Campbell, Mark Ecob, Forest FringeEscalator East to Edinburgh, Arts Council England and the Jerwood Charitable Foundation.

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