Multi-player game installation, 2012
Nathalie Pozzi [IT] & Eric Zimmerman [US]
Interference is a game that was commissioned by and premiered at la Gaîté Lyrique in Paris in 2012. The core of Interference is a simple strategy game. The twist is that at each turn you must steal a piece from another game going on between other players. Five suspended, super thin steel walls act as vertical game boards and create the space of play. The organic patterns of the boards resemble cell walls and tissue samples, underscoring the organic, controlled chaos of the gameplay. The game is played by pairs of opponents (there need to be at least two pairs of players). Each pair plays only on a small section of one of the walls – a “cell colony” which is centered on a special black piece. Your goal is to have more of your colour pieces in each of the cells of your colony than your opponent. Complicating this simple strategy game is the fact that at each turn, you take pieces from other colonies – the active games of other players. And they are doing the same to you, creating chaos in your game as you are playing. Typically, Interference players begin to metagame heavily, striking deals with players in other pairs, and telling them which pieces to remove. The result is a game that is at once satisfyingly strategic and maddeningly manic – both highly logical and highly social. A crowded game becomes a beehive of activity, as players race around to visit games on other walls, strategising with and against each other, becoming allies and enemies with strangers.
"Interference is a genuinely fun game that simultaneously questions many of our assumptions about games and play. Normally when we play a game, we enter a separate space that is protected from the outside world—and what’s yours is yours. But in Interference, your game is constantly being altered by other players, even as you change the games of others yourself. While each game takes place in a local area of one of the walls, the games themselves can move across the walls— and games even collide with each other as they drift across the walls. Interference encourages players to negotiate, argue, and scheme with and against each other, across physical space, social space, and the spaces between games."
—Nathalie Pozzi [IT] & Eric Zimmerman [US]