Artist: Imwen Eke
Artwork: Balthazar’s Treasure
Balthazar’s Treasure was an interactive adventure and escape room that explored the life and history of confectioner Balthazar Sanchez in Tottenham, created by interactive artist Imwen Eke and the Tottenham Uplifters. I was fortunate enough to play the experience at multiple points in its development, first as a treasure hunt through the streets of Seven Sisters, then an interactive adventure and escape room last summer.
I lived in Seven Sisters at points across this period, and I was particularly struck by the ways the experience recalibrated my relationship to the environment around me. The piece stayed with me long after I played it. The streets I travelled within the adventure became liminal spaces as I interacted with them in my daily life. They held not only my lived experience, but the virtual reality that had been laid on top. I had memories in these spaces that were both mine, and of the character I had played.
The piece was significant and meaningful in how it shifted, reformed and re-contextualised my relationship with the streets that were then my home.
How is technology a tool for transformation?
Does the technology transform an environment?
Does the technology allow you to see another time or space? – Or another layer to the physical reality around you?
Does the technology transform the player?
Who are they able to become? – What does this transformation mean?
How is the player able to exist differently?
How does the transformation link to the player’s lived reality?
Does the experience offer the player a new perspective?
Does it offer them a new way of seeing the environment around them and their place within it?
Are they able to carry this transformation away with them?