We designed and produced this comprehensive book to tell the complete Midnight Madness 2015 story. It was handed out to all players at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the finish line of the game.
Text is always on the recto while the game’s symbols take their final bows, one page at a time, on the verso.
From the book:
Midnight Madness, which began in New York in 1996, is now a twenty-year creative project. There have been on and off years; we count this as the 13th game. Since 2012, thanks to an impassioned player and activist who urged a reboot of the game, what began as a fun activity for our friends now enables measurable outcomes among kids in the same city we’ve been playing in all this time. One urban network of impact is layered onto another.
We hope this transformation, from something wonderful to something meaningful, all layered over the same creative field, can inspire your own projects and activities.
As an artistic project, a continuous theme of Midnight Madness over the years is resilience. A puzzle drops into the river and the game’s network is reconfigured to avoid it until it can be hung from the pier again. Players detour uninvited into night shift workplaces. Ideas are too difficult or not difficult enough or have two solutions or no solution. Crowds queue. A laptop fills with rain. Tempers flare. Players and volunteers succumb to exhaustion, boredom, or frustration. Players miscommunicate, deceive one another, trick Game Control, solve puzzles in unanticipated ways, and find new routes. Through all this babel, hundreds of players travel among dozens of nodes in the game’s temporary geography. They think, see, hear, taste, and smell individually and as groups. Unexpected, funny, and sometimes amazing occurrences appear along their paths. Many of these are planned parts of the game, and many aren’t. The game’s design is a catalyst for a set of experiences that unfold in ways loosely predictable but also subject to reconfiguration and individual invention.
In just the same ways, Midnight Madness is inspired by New York: plastic, confusing, fast and slow, crowded and empty, aging and renewing, and beautiful at the most surprising times. Audrey’s story, too, is full of success, failure, and the pursuit of redemption. It’s the story of an American pop star, a local hero now forgotten, and a physical part of New York’s pattern. She’s a perfect muse for our game and a figure for New York.