There is an empty lot in Scranton, Pennsylvania on Madison Avenue, located at 41.410806° North, 75.654259° West. Despite its wholly unremarkable appearance, the site may be ground zero for a pandemic that will consume the planet. To find out the truth, exercise this opportunity to make the trek to Park City, Utah, where Lance Weiler’s short film Pandemic 41.410806, -75.654259 will grace the silver screen for the first time on January 24th at the Sundance Film Festival. However, keep in mind that the nine-minute short film is only a small part of Pandemic 1.0, a “storyworld experience” playing out at the film festival from January 20th to 30th. Sundance has already released the Pandemic 41.410806, -75.654259 short film in its entirety online, which serves as an extended teaser trailer for the full fright-filled experience. After watching the video embedded below, read on to learn more about the context for this universe that is equal parts compelling and terrifying.
Since news of the H1N1 (swine flu) virus broke this past March, the world has been watching and waiting for signs of the next devastating pandemic. But what if H1N1 is only one mutation of a human-engineered virus more deadly and infectious than any that has yet emerged? One group of researchers has turned to the internet to alert the world to the terrible possibility of a new biological threat – Z1, the Zombie Virus.
According to ZombieTruth.com, in 2001 a medical research team died at the hands of their patients, who had succumbed to a “viral-induced psychosis”. Researchers in the rescue teams tasked with retrieving the victims managed to salvage some of the data gathered by their dead colleagues. After several years of subsequent study, the troubling characteristics of the virus have worried researchers enough to go public with some of their findings and their continuing progress in order to help the world prepare for a possible outbreak.
Coral Cross has finally launched, with the goal of “gaming a pandemic for greater public vigilance.” At the community level, the game aims to outpace infections with awareness. Pursuant to that goal, the main page features a map of “the progress of pandemic awareness in real time.”
Upon registration, players take a simple 12-question quiz assessing their pandemic awareness. The more you know, the higher your vigilance score. Further vigilance points can be gained by methods including exploring alternative prioritization values, participating in the forums, and tracking down elusive links to “FluFacts” hidden throughout the website.
The game has just launched, so more methods of interaction may arise. So head on over to CoralCross.org, follow the Coral Cross twitter account, and start exploring.
Back in April, the Hawaii State Department of Heath kicked off a public engagement initiative to raise awareness about the state’s pandemic priorities. The planned campaign included community meetings, a live TV panel, and Coral Cross: an alternate reality game.
Things have changed.
News reports providing detailed coverage on the recent outbreak of the H1N1 virus, commonly referred to as “swine flu”, have impressed upon the global community the dangers of a pandemic outbreak. In the ensuing frenzy, the Egyptian government slaughtered pigs. To date, there are ten confirmed cases of H1N1 in Hawaii. There no longer appears to be a need to raise awareness about the threat of pandemics. People are aware.