During the pandemic, many having been stuck at home and in-person interaction being limited, there have been many initiatives to try and introduce kinds of collaborative walking exercises.
Many have focused on synchronously, or asynchronously, exploring individual environments through ‘playing’ identical walking scores, or task cards.
In fact, over at Dérive app, I introduced ‘curated dérives’, and ‘walking scores’, the latter being a fixed set of tasks which can be played at any time, by anyone, designed to explore an urban environment.
walkroulette, which saw its global premiere at the 4th World Congress on Psychogeography, on September 4 2021, a three-day congress set during walk · listen · create‘s Sound Walk September, is connected in scope, but also very different.
In walkroulette, a ‘drifter’, someone who is physically in a particular location, has to get from point A to point B, within limited time, and is directed by an online cohort of players. The players, at every turn, get to vote on the direction the player will take.
Along the way, the drifter can pick up ‘power-ups’, which provide information on the location, or extend the deadline within which the drifter has to reach the finish.
Meanwhile, players can direct the drifter to perform particular tasks.
walkroulette is an experiment in bringing together the virtual and the physical, providing a platform for collaborative play with real-world consequences.
The first walkroulette was a success. Participants were engaged, voted profusely, and generally got the Drifter, myself, in the right direction, getting me to the finish line before death would have taken me.
Keep an eye out for future instances of walkroulette, or go wild, and commission me.