De Rode Knop (The Red Button) is an artistic solo project that was delivered as a proof of concept. The project focusses on changing peoples perception of their city by changing the frame through which people look at what takes place in their surrounding environment. Inspired by urban games in general and the movie Koyaanisqatsi , the game aims to portray the daily events of city life as part of a bigger system that can be controlled by the player. By suggesting this control over reality players become observers of performances and social- and mechanical structures in the city that they usually ignore. To support this construction, the red button does trigger certain events and doesn’t only suggest triggering these.
Throughout the city red buttons are placed on big pillars. The pillar bears the line ‘This Red Button is rumoured to…’ and it can be written on with chalk. Players are invited to search for what the red button triggers and write this on the pillar or make a picture or video of the result and upload it to the accompanying website. On this website, players are triggered to document finds and speculate with others. They can also team up to find out what pushing multiple buttons does and are put on a quest to finding the ‘ultimate combination’ which will cause an end-game event to happen.
The aim is to get players to view the city and the every day events in them as an alternate reality game, giving them a different perspective on what happens in their city and elevating the everyday events into something special and meaningful, whether planned for in the game or emerging while it is being played.
Below is a mock-up trailer of the concept that would be shown to potential players (captions are in Dutch).