Wondermind is a rich suite of games, interactive videos and blog posts which marry the world of Alice in Wonderland and developmental neuroscience. It was funded by the Wellcome Trust, and made in collaboration with multi award-winning digital agency Preloaded, Webby award-winning director Martin Percy and renowned neuroscientist Dr. Michelle de Haan. Within Tate, teams in Online, Development, Learning, PR, Curatorial, IS and AV in London and Liverpool worked very closely to deliver the project. The site is designed for children aged 8 and over for use at home, in a gallery or at school with a range of difficulty levels represented across four games. In Remember Me, the player must match up the pair of cards who have been painting the white roses red in the Queen of Hearts garden. On Reflection challenges the player to shine a lamp light on the Cheshire Cat by placing mirrors in a maze. Pathways sets you after the White Rabbit, who is hiding in a warren beneath a rapidly overgrowing forest. Lastly (and most challengingly - for me at least), Talking Tea asks you to serve the right kind of tea to each guest at the Mad Hatter’s tea party.
Each game corresponds directly to a concept within neuroscience. The games are not only beautifully-designed and developed, but they also deal with the idea of explaining the concept, without testing it - a very particular and important distinction. The player can then delve deeper into the concepts they’ve just seen by having interactive conversations with scientists who are currently working in the field. Sitting in on the interactive filming was probably the point at which we realised we really were doing something quite unique; watching them explain their subject and learning something ourselves (I’m trying to find out just how developed my pre-frontal cortex is!) was very different from an average day in the gallery. The blog that the interactive content sits in allows the player to go even deeper, see art and artists inspired by the scientific themes raised in the films and games, leave comments and vote in polls. There is a resource and lesson plan for teachers that further ties art and science together. The underlying message of Wondermind is that you can enjoy both art and science; they’re not mutually exclusive, and can often be complementary. I’d really like to hear your thoughts on Wondermind, so please do let me know what you think.