Francis Gene-Rowe & Erica Masserano
What kinds of maps might be needed to navigate the end of a life? What does time feel like when we’re dying, caring, hoping or grieving? What pasts and futures are made unavailable to us by contingency, and how do we make them available again? Passing Latitudes is a board game which attempts to model experiences and affects around death and dying through the association and disassociation of events, feelings and interruptions. Through player collaboration, the game becomes a space in which states that may be difficult to access or process can be discovered, witnessed and held. The game’s aesthetics are rooted in star and constellation motifs, as well as the metaphor of illness as shipwreck (c.f. A. W. Frank, The Wounded Storyteller: Body, Illness, and Ethics, 1995). At the start of a game of Passing Latitudes, players select from a list of positions representing people and roles in an end of life scenario (Dying, Caring, Loving, Knowing, etc.). Together, they play through three phases (Dusk, Dawn and Night), each taking place on a different board. Players take it in turns to play cards drawn from two decks, an Events deck and a Connections deck, in so doing creating a matrix of interrelations, caesuras and endings. The game changes pace to allow for a variety of experiences of time, with play proceeding in a non-linear fashion, such that connections and interruptions emerge both ‘horizontally’ within a single board and ‘vertically’ between different boards.