The Mystery of the Beast

Title: Mystery of the Beast (urban game for the opening of Kaunas 2022)

Location: Kaunas, Lithuania

Challenge / Task: As soon as the main event of Kaunas European Capital of Culture 2o22 opening ends, the city greets its visitors and inhabitants. How do you connect the opening show with the city as an event? How do we encourage big audiences to navigate the city and its events in smaller groups, using a variety of routes?

Client: Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022, NGO

Solution: Urban orientational games are instrumental in creating navigation systems and managing bigger crowds. We created a system of signs placed in the city as luminous objects. Altogether, they formed several smaller routes. Alongside the signs, we provided the code so the players could read the message from the city of Kaunas!

Connection to the Kaunas Myth: the Beast (mascot of Kaunas 2022) leaves rhombic traces on the street of Kaunas; they spread all over the centre, even in some of the most unusual places. These hidden traces are signs the city of Kaunas communicates to its visitors. With the help of the special map, game players could decipher the message.

Laimikis work included:
• analysis of the network of streets that connect the main venue of the opening of Kaunas 2022 and other event venues in the city centre and around;
• modelling the flows of people and looking through how they can be divided into smaller groups;
• making decisions about where the luminous signs and objects as signs should be placed to keep the good dynamics of the search (not too easy, not too hard, with some amuses on the way), suitable for players of various ages and abilities;
• making decisions about the visual aesthetics and usability of the signs through which the city of Kaunas (the Beast) communicated to the visitors.

How it worked: Perfectly. The flow of visitors during the opening night was divided into smaller groups routed to various event venues in the city. In between visiting the venues, people collected the signs of the game. The winners got the prizes from Kaunas 2022. Even when prizes were gone, the game was so popular among the visitors, that it was decided to prolong it for two months after the opening night. We thank the Kaunas 2022 team, and especially Aistis Lansbergas, for the technical assistance in placing the signs at the places.

At 20:22 the bells of all Kaunas churches rang and all the participants of “The Confusion” continued their explorations of Kaunas myth, following the symbols marked on the maps in order to decipher the mystery of the Beast of Kaunas and enjoying the numerous concerts and other events throughout the city.

Team:
Director of the opening of Kaunas 2022 Cris Balwin and Kaunas Myth Curator Rytis Zemkauskas;
Creative team for the Game of Beasts – Jekaterina Lavrinec, Julius Narkūnas;
Technical assistant – Aistis Lansbergas;
Designer – Tadas Bujanauskas.

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