Zombie Apocalypse Game Aims to Build Community Resiliency

zombieClaude Robillard / Flickr Creative Commons

What’s the magic ingredient to turn disaster preparedness into public art? According to Rebecca Michelson, it’s zombies.

“What’s most important for people to know is that there is a massive zombie apocalypse coming, and they need to be aware that it’s on its way, and preparing is the first priority,” she says.

Michelson and her collaborator Easton Smith, both of whom have backgrounds in public play, pitched the Zombie Apocalypse Preparedness Game to the Somerville Arts Council during a call for public art ideas.

While the game is designed to be fun and light, it also has useful applications, its organizers explain.

“The imaginary world that we are stepping into is one in which we have to be prepared to combat zombies, and it turns out that the same skills that are relevant for preparing against zombies are also relevant for natural disasters, man-made disasters, and other types of emergencies,” Michelson says. “Public art is the narrative that’s being created, that people are stepping into, and some of the challenges are very informative. Others are quite silly, and just playful and fun, and so the game’s a vehicle for this information.”

Smith and Michelson are revealing little to the public ahead of the Sept. 15 event, but say the game will start at Bow Market and work its way through spots in Union Square. Participants can also expect volunteers who are dressed up as zombies to help make the game realistic.

Michelson notes that she and Smith adapted the event from the Go Game and from disaster preparedness exercises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have used.

The Zombie Apocalypse Preparedness Game will run from 12 to 3 p.m. on Sept. 15. The game’s 100 spots are already filled, but people interested in participating can email somervillezombiegame@gmail.com to be put on the wait list or to volunteer as a zombie.

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