somesludge

summmmertime

autumnnnnnnnn

winnnnnnnter

sprinnnnnnnng

instructions:

 

1. these games are best played in a dark room on a sunny afternoon.

 

2. i don’t recommend playing them alone/in total silence.

 

3. sometimes the way ahead is right in front of you, sometimes it’s not.

 

4. games 1 and 4 have multiple endings.

 

5. immediately after finishing, you can try walking outside and waiting for your eyes to come back into focus.

 

6. the phone number is not real lmao

All illustrations for In My Room were created by Jackie Margolis

ted (24, any pronouns) is a fairy on the south side of so-called chicago. a scholar of performance and gender, ted makes clothes, maintains bicycles, and designs the occasional video game. ted is uncertain about the future but if anyone has any advice, inquiries or music recommendations, you can reach ted at not.theheart@protonmail.com!

 

Social Media

Insta: @theo_bee

TikTok: @normalstraightperson

ted bourget’s Some Sludge is a sensory delight. In this video game presented in four parts, bourget utilizes bold colors and 8-bit aesthetics to craft striking scenes representing the spaces where the artist’s life and identity are rooted. Through the game, bourget invites us to cross the line from reality to fantasy by transporting us from concrete, recognizable landmarks, such as the Harold Washington Library and Lake Michigan, to magical scenes like a rave on the moon and a mermaid soiree, and then back again to bourget’s apartment and frequented Chicago train stations. The content of the games overflows the boundaries of so-called real life and erupts into fantasy. Meanwhile, we, as audience members, travel through this sometimes-real-sometimes-mythical world with bourget (and maybe as bourget, depending on how you look at it), loosely guided by poetic narration in the artist’s own voice. 

 

bourget’s narration does not so much tell us where to go or what to do, but rather offers opinions and shares personal anecdotes. This lack of direction and clarity is fundamental to the gameplay, even—or especially—when it gives rise to a certain frustration about not knowing how to proceed. In fact, it feels necessary to sit with that frustration, to let it remind us to slow down and experience the world wholly. bourget invites us to linger in junctures of what may be seen as incredibly banal scenes: waiting for the bus, forgetting a transit card, going to bed. Doing so asks us to rethink the liveness of such ordinary objects, situations, and places.  How do objects influence the paths we take? How do we act in unwatched moments? How do we orient ourselves in the sites we visit every day? 

 

Furthermore, what happens when we do try to record these moments? In many ways, Some Sludge is an attempt to mark the progression of time, which it does literally by titling each part after a different season of the year, such that together the game represents a full year. Despite marking the duration of the game with seasons, however, there is no sense of linear chronology in the Some Sludge world, emphasizing the unreliability of trying to hold on to the present moment. bourget even intentionally jumbles the audience’s sense of time and narrative by rearranging the calendar such that Spring arrives before Winter. The artist also observes experiencing a visceral reaction to the changing of seasons. “It hits me in a bodily way,” says bourget. “I get transported back to different parts of myself—the smell of the wind brings me back to different parts of myself. It reinforces to me that time is progressing but we’re constantly revisiting the same places in our own bodies and minds.” In a similar vein, public transportation also becomes a big motif in the series as a mode of becoming “reacquainted with ghosts.” This idea is literalized in “winnnnnnnter,” the final game, where we encounter bourget’s past selves from previous the three games while the narration gestures towards the future. So, there emerges a fundamental convergence of the past and present tangible in the gameplay of Some Sludge, and the very idea of moving forward becomes inextricably tied to revisiting old haunts, old selves. 

A new part will be released every day until Thursday, so return to this page regularly for the full experience!


–Afriti Bankwalla, curator