This was a project where I explored the relationship and connection between two people that now spend most of their time physically apart. Taking inspiration from 8-bit video games; specifically, Link's Awakening from The Legend of Zelda, I created an interactive storytelling experience with both visuals from our personal lives, travels and the game itself.
"The Isle of Koholint is but an illusion. Human, monster, sea, sky... A scene on the lid of a sleeper's eye. Awake the dreamer and Koholint will disappear much like a bubble on a needle."
Link’s Awakening tells the story of a boy who is shipwrecked on Koholint Island. He is told that the only way to leave the island is to awaken the Wind Fish, who lies sleeping in a giant egg atop a mountain. But as Link gets to know the island and its people, a question begins to form: Why leave? Koholint is nothing less than a paradise, an infinitely beautiful and comforting home. Link even finds a family in Marin and Tarin, who take Link in and enjoy spending time with him.
The answer to that question haunts the entirety of Link’s Awakening. It is conveyed in the form of the song Marin sings, the Ballad of the Wind Fish. The song expresses the feelings deep in Marin’s heart, the everlasting desire to see the world that lies beyond Koholint, if there is a world out there. But, again, the only way to leave the island is to awaken the Wind Fish. And as Link eventually learns, waking the Wind Fish means that Koholint will vanish, for the island is but a dream.
The island paradise lies somewhere beyond time. When Link asks the children playing in Mabe Village when they came to Koholint, they are confused. Their minds cannot grasp the concept of “when.” Koholint stays the same forever, but Link does not. Neither, it seems, does Marin. They need to escape the dream world, escape to a world where “when” exists.
The story of Link’s Awakening is effectively summarised by the metaphor of the Wind Fish’s egg. Life on Koholint is like that of a creature whose life begins inside an egg. The egg incubates the newborn, keeping it safe and comfortable. But the egg is not supposed to last forever. Eventually, the newborn must break the eggshell to enter the world beyond it. Once the shell is broken, the small world inside the egg vanishes forever.
I am the Wind Fish… Long has been my slumber…
In my dreams… an egg appeared and was surrounded by an island, with people, animals, an entire world!
But, verily, it be the nature of dreams to end! When I dost awaken, Koholint will be gone… Only the memory of this dream land will exist in the waking world… Someday, thou may recall this island… That memory must be the real dream world
Dream and reality, past and present, immortality and mortality: two worlds, one beyond the reach of time, the other governed by it. To find peace, the two worlds must exist in harmony. There is the timeless world of childhood, where children play under the supervision of a loving guardian, free from obligations. And there is the passing world of adulthood, where lives are lived according to schedules and everything has an end.
When something is lost, that thing transforms, escaping time and becoming a memory. Memories are immortal: they stay the same forever, their beauty never fading.
I often refer to moments, quotes and feelings not only from Link's Awakening itself, but the numerous defining moments The Legend of Zelda has in its Universe. With each year that passes in my twenties, I feel each learning moment, failure and milestone is an awakening in itself because we are essentially; multidimensional human beings.
Though you see two people diving into the dream world, our fantasies are for the ones that dream it. No matter how inclusive you try to be of reality, you will have to explore these fantasies on your own. When you find the courage in your most vulnerable moments to reach an awakening, there will always be someone to brave the nightmares of reality with you.
Never alone; with room to be lost and found.
If you would like to see the full story, please contact me.