WORDS BY THE AUTHOR / Camaraderie Park is a multimedia narrative experience, which consists of a text-based messaging bot, a short narrative game, and internet-connected wearable devices. Camaraderie Park is a fictional, retro-futurist tourist attraction park inspired by Kalemegdan Park in Belgrade, Serbia.
Kalemegdan Park consists of Kalemegdan fortress, which predates Medieval times, a riverside walkway, a zoo, two monasteries, restaurants, cafés and art galleries. There are memorials to soldiers who fell during World War I, the place is littered with tanks and artillery from World War II, and it features a monument dedicated to fallen Communist leaders, and a tomb with the remains of a Turkish officer who died during the Ottoman occupation.
Families, couples, and gothic teenagers meander through the park, the latter looking for a discreet location to smoke and drink, surrounded by all these historic markers.
Camaraderie Park creates a cohesive narrative experience across multiple forms of media to explore how history flows into the present and future, and how technology is used to preserve the past while reframing it and painting a desired narrative. Camaraderie Park consists of a fortress, various temples, and holographic figures of ancient forest spirits and fallen soldiers whose DNA was used to create an accurate holographic image.
Camaraderie Park borrows heavily from the history of Medieval peoples of the Balkans, and from Slavic folklore, which predates Christianity, and which has managed to survive despite
various colonizing parties and ideologies trying to wipe it out. It creates an environment where these folkloric elements and the remnants of the colonizing forces and ideologies coexist in a distant, peaceful future, where generational conflicts have been laid to rest. Futuristic technologies are used to select various elements of the past and valorize them to project the desired future.
Camaraderie Park: The game
Camaraderie Park consists of two games that provide players with different means of experiencing the world of Camaraderie Park. A short narrative game lets the player follow a
protagonist as she revisits her childhood memories, exploring the old fortress, temple and talking to the holographic spirits.
You can play the game here:
The second game involves an exchange with a bot through Facebook Messenger. The bot helps players choose which attractions of Camaraderie Park they should visit. Once the player completes their exchange with the bot, they will receive an image of the attraction that best suits them.
You can chat with the bot here:
After engaging with the bot, the internet-connected wearable devices will change their display depending on the collective decisions that the players have made.
These devices are akin to enchanted ornaments that change according to ephemeral forces
carried in the form of internet frequencies. They are a kind of armor that carries the influence of hundreds of other players inside of it, facilitating a level of community that transcends the boundaries of space. The wearable piece is still a prototype and in progress. A close-up of the wearable piece can be found here.
Camaraderie Park is an ongoing project and many elements of it are still in progress. I would like to expand on the narrative game and add more wearable devices in the form of badges, pins and boots.
BIO/ Serbian artist Julia Makivic is a creative technologist currently based in London with occasional visits to Belgrade. She creates alternative controller games using Raspberry Pi, Arduino and various sensors. She also makes web-based narrative games. Makivic is particularly interested in how interacting with a computational system embedded in physical media can facilitate embodiment and the exchange of various emotions. Her pieces have been featured in various indie games festivals, such as Interactive Futures, A MAZE, Game Happens and the Leftfield Collection at EGX Rezzed.
Makivic recently released IRL: The Game, which she made in collaboration with author Chris Stedman. The game was based off of Chris’s book IRL: Finding Realness, Meaning, and Belonging in Our Digital Lives. Their game was also featured in Input Mag.