Inside the Jejune Institute, SF's Most Popular Alternative Reality Game
In a nondescript building at the corner of California and Kearny, lies the office of the Jejune Institute. Enter their office and watch a short induction video and you will be immediately thrown in to a city-wide alternative reality, scavenger hunt that has participants hunt around the city for clues and objects that build upon a larger, mysterious narrative.
You may have heard of the Jejune Institute already. The city is full of flyers and signs that promote "socio re-engineering" courses and products that the Institute purportedly offers. They encourage you to visit they're offices or call to learn more:
The Institute, which might look like a cult from the outside, is the creation of the hybrid arts and advertising consultancy, Nonchalance. Jeff Hull, the founder and creative director of Nonchalance, spoke a couple weeks ago at the Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous (LASER) on situational design and use of public space. He described the core of Jejune (and Nonchalance) as bringing together three main concepts: narrative, multimedia and space. Together, they create the world of Jejune and are a model for creating excellent experiences in situational design.
While Jejune is a privately funded project, Nonchalance works with corporate clients to creative narrative driven marketing campaign.
Having visited the Jejune Institute, I can say it's one of the funnest and most intriguing experiences I've ever had. The city suddenly takes on a different form, as you begin to look for clues and subtext in everything you see. It has been a delightful experience in situational design that can turn a regular weekend afternoon into something entirely magical. With the exception of having to purchase a few token items along the way (all less than $5), it is completely free.
As to giving you any clues about what you'll experience at Jejune, I'm staying mum. You'll just have to go and visit for yourself.