October 21, 2020

Go dhates Game

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I Am Dead review – a beautiful meditation on the things that we leave behind

Down at the campsite and under the blue wash of moonlight, Edie the owner is dreaming about Greg. Greg is dead. He owned the campsite before Edie, and the handover was awkward – nothing dramatic, just a difference of philosophy. Greg seemed austere and obsessed with rules – tent dimensions, guy rope types, no ball games. But there was another side to him and Edie saw it too late. Now as she dreams, she considers the person she may have misjudged. Is this how relationships go, between the living and the dead?

We can peer into Edie’s head here, just as we have peered down into her home on the campsite, the roof stripping back as we move closer. Just as we peered down into the campsite itself, roving between its distinct spaces, plucking them out, rotating them, inspecting them. Hidden object games are often 2D affairs – here’s a beautiful picture, and can you find the haunted earrings, the crank for the Victrola, the keys to that funny Citroen with the odd suspension? They are often an elaboration of the books we had as children: spot this, circle that, where’s Wally?

I Am Dead is not like that. It’s more like the toys we had as children. Its spaces are painted in Mr Men colours but they are thick and chunky and intricate and ready to be turned in the hands and investigated from all angles. And they’re magical. You can select a house and slide your eyes through the roof, through the beams, through the floors and right down into the basement, everything from a sofa to a hat-stand strobing past as you go. You can pick up a jar of pencils and rush through the lacquer, the wood, the little pipes of graphite in the middle. I Am Dead was inspired by a video of a banana in an MRI, and there is something of the MRI’s eye, of its unflinching nature to it – something that makes me strangely squeamish, just for a second, as a pass through an orange tree reveals the little baby segments of orange inside, as a slide through an octopus leads me to the private cavities in the unspeakable density of the octopus’ head. Mostly, though, it’s wonder and joy. What would a child put inside an MRI? What does the inside of a toy car look like? Is there a ship inside this bottle? Wonder! Joy!

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