Dena’s works explore our relationship with technology, death, and our past.
An Experimenta New Work Commission (2014).
game, ipad, vintage school desk, chair
Christy Dena’s Magister Ludi critiques the ‘escape room’ phenomenon that began in gaming culture and has more recently jumped from the screen into real life escape room games being played across the world. Escape rooms are computer games in which the player must use objects and clues to escape from a virtual room. The premise of the game dates back to a 1988 text based computer game called Behind Closed Doors. Dena re-imagines an escape room game inside a vintage school desk and extends the concept of escape further into reality by putting the player into situations based on real-life experiences of abuse and financial hardship. In Latin, Magister means ‘master’ or ‘teacher’ while Ludi refers to both ‘game’ and ‘school’. Christy Dena has said the following about this work:
I have a concern, a fear that what I’m saying with the work will be misinterpreted through quick and incorrect assumptions. It is a work that is about our role in being in situations we have to escape. On the face of it, the work could be seen as saying that people who are in abusive relationships or financial hardship are in those situations because it is their fault. That isn’t what the work is about. It is about the process one goes through post-escape. (Christy Dena)
Presented as part of: Experimenta Recharge: 6th International Biennial of Media Art, which toured Australia in 2014–2016.
Play Magister Ludi on the game website or download the game from the app store.
2024: Future Rewind with Christy Dena
2014: Video interview with Christy Dena
Christy Dena is a writer, designer and director who has worked on pervasive, digital and card games, theatre performances, and films.