Tag: yomi ayeni

Breathe Revived as Recurring Event

Yomi Ayeni’s Breathe was an interactive experience taking place over 3 weeks in October 2009, resulting in the creation of a movie released in 3 parts. At its height, it included immersive live events such as a club night following an initiation ceremony for a secretive, clandestine society. The game attracted a dedicated core following as well as a more general audience attending events such as the club night. Now, Expanding Universe has plans to transform the experience into a recurring event either later in 2010 or in early 2011.

The events should hover in between the full experience and a normal movie screening. While the film will still be shown in its original three parts, attendees will be encouraged to visit websites and explore the story in various ways between showings of the filmed episodes. Participants will have access to a portal specifically created for the event, where various sections of the wider story will be unlocked in a calendar format as the movie progresses. These may include websites, phone numbers, extra video content and more, some of which will be exclusive to the events. The live events of Breathe’s initial run were fully filmed in anticipation of such redistribution, and with the permission from those involved, may also be used as part of the storytelling platform.

Attendees will be encouraged to discuss their findings in groups; Yomi believes that this will further understanding of the story as a whole, as individuals can bring their different perspectives and findings to the discussion. Much as participants of the original experience were able to act as “beacons” to bring the experiential parts of the story to the wider audience, it is hoped that people discovering different story areas and content can come together to discuss these as a whole. These exploration and discussion sessions will help to preserve the wider and richer experience of the story to supplement the absence of real-time events. At the end of the full screening, there will be a wider talk and Q&A session with the audience to cement understanding of the story.

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Breathe With Me

breatheLast December, ARGNet announced plans for an upcoming game courtesy of Expanding Universe that promised to draw players into the underground club scene. The idea of a London-based murder mystery spanning several nightclubs piqued the interest of the ARG community, while the way Expanding Universe planned to incorporate and immerse players into that mystery drew national and international attention.

The game is set to run for two weeks with multiple live events in London and three 15 minute videos. Breathe offers players the chance to not only interact with characters in real time, but also to help shape the narrative itself. Those brave enough to attend the live dance events will get the chance to socialize with the in-game characters and in all likelihood become characters themselves: possibly even accomplices to the unsolved crime. 

This past August, players who signed up for the game at the Breathe homepage learned that the months of waiting were almost at an end when they received e-mail invitations to a masked ball, “A Night of Xcess,” a live event set to kick off the first episode of Breathe. Intrepid players next discovered Pleasure Principled, which included the dress code for the event, a list of performers attending, and instructions on how to buy tickets to the ball.

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Remember to Breathe


The puppet masters who brought you Violette’s Dream are hard at work on an ambitious new project guaranteed to take your breath away. Breathe is being billed as a multi-media murder mystery that is a mash-up of film, alternate reality gaming and Web 2.0 media, which allows the story to unfold in both the real and cyber worlds. Headquartered in London, Expanding Universe is quickly making a name for itself in media circles by developing what it calls “immersive and innovative social entertainment”. Breathe shouldn’t leave anyone disappointed.

An official summary from the creators has this to say:

“Set over a four-week period, viewers watch (four 15) minute shorts, and try to help Detective (John) Franks solve the case by working through puzzles, infiltrating the underground club scene, trying to locate the venue, and save the next victim from running out of air. Using blogs, YouTube, GPS, telephone, secret meetings, IM, auditions, immersive role-play, cinema, and music, Breathe stands to be one of the most audacious multi-media experiences to leap from a cinema screen–‘all you have to do is breathe…'”

Player/Participants will first find their way into Breathe’s dark and dangerous world through a traditional ARG investigating a series of horrific nightclub murders. But they will soon find themselves rubbing shoulders with the characters at real life events and maybe becoming part of the story themselves (hopefully not in the role of victim).

Expanding Universe hopes to build different versions of the story in different cities to maximize scale and client base, and nothing creates ARG buzz faster than a real life event. We’ve seen some well orchestrated, large scale efforts in the past, but imagine a nightclub filled with pounding music, pulsing lights, and more than a thousand people taking part in the story. Not just participating, but creating it as well. That is the vision behind Breathe, and if those clever folks at Expanding Universe can pull it off, it might spark a brand new trend in cross-platform entertainment.

Yomi Ayeni, the Creative Director for Expanding Universe, is hard at work outlining and scripting the action, prepping the project for roll-out sometime in 2009 (financing permitting). While the online story will be available to the entire ARG community, only those lucky enough to be in the UK will get to participate in the real life events. But take heart, Ayeni said that at the conclusion of each city’s edition, Expanding Universe could put out complete versions, perhaps on DVD, or online, that could both let everyone see how it played out.