1597 Seconds (together with Asya Volodina)

The idea to create the game came to Arseny Zhilyaev during preparation for a talk at Bard College: “Colleagues suggested doing something more interactive than just a regular seminar, and this is when the conception of a role-play game came to me, where participants could on the one hand practice the feeling of the bodily as a thing, while on the other, experience how this feeling can be integrated into various relationship networks. Research at Bard College embraces the history of things, exposition design, and museology among other subjects: these are the themes closely connected to me and my practice as an artist. So, together with my co-author, game designer and dramaturge Asya Volodina, we eventually came up with a script for the the game 1597 Seconds”.
Participants will have to attend a training session at the Institute of Mastering Time (a name inspired by the book Mastering Time as the Main Task of Organization of Labor by the Russian philosopher of the first third of the twentieth century, Valerian Muravyov)—an organization with the mission to “enhance the historical continuum” in order to get closer to eternal life. The Institute is looking for employees among regular mortal beings, or “temporaries”. But mastering the technology of time management, i.e. learning how to move time backwards, speed it up, slow it down, and optimize in all possible ways, demands going through a series of tests. The first step on this way is a training session, where the players would have to cognize themselves as organized matter and undergo psychic transformations influenced by various historical situations. The better one learns to realize oneself as a thing, the easier it will be to control the process of in-depth time enhancement interconnected with the circulation of material processes. Participants concentrate on working with a time interval of around 26 minutes, or 1597 seconds, which is the approximate amount of time during which human brain is able to maintain highly intense activity without additional stimulation or interruption.