Starry Heavens materials testing last week  –
and yes that balloon Nathalie is holding has a light inside! 

In just one week, Starry Heavens will happen in Berlin. (By the way, we do need some help to pull it off – see the bottom of this post for details.)

Starry Heavens is the fourth game in my ongoing collaboration with architect Nathalie Pozzi, a game that premiered last summer at the Kill Screen Arcade event at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. In Starry Heavens, a central Ruler tells all of the other players how to move on a life-sized gameboard grid of connected discs. The goal is for one of the players to usurp the ruler, which only happens by working with and against everyone else. Above the game board, ten massive weather weather balloons create the abstract ceiling of starry heavens.

Between the 47 steel disks of the grid, the meterological balloons, and all of the helium and other materials required to stage the game, Starry Heavens is not an easy project to mount. That is why Nathalie and I are SO grateful to Berlin’s Invisible Playground game collective, who have included Starry Heavens as part of their amazing street games festival, Play Publik. More than 30 games will be showcased at Play Publik, from high-tech play experiments to activist political games to down and dirty street sports. We are psyched to be part of the lineup.

On Saturday, August 11, we’re presenting a game design workshop from 3-5:30pm, where we will be trying out new rules and gameplay ideas. Then when it gets dark an hour later, we’ll be doing a more formal performance of the game. The project is continuing to evolve and we have a lot of surprises in store, including balloons lit from inside and live musicians that will improvise in time with the movements of the players. We really want to thank the brilliant and supportive folks at Invisible Playground for making this game happen – we could never have mounted it without their collaboration.

But we need your help to make it happen! If you have time this week, we are looking for volunteers to help us prepare some of the physical materials for the game – specifically the new versions of the game board discs and all of the lines that connect them to make the playfield. We are looking for people that want to join us at our office at the University of the Arts on Tuesday, August 7 in the afternoon and early evening. Email me at e – at – ericzimmerman – dot – com for more details.