Paisley Central Library

Mary Brennan


THERE’S some very important information in Hidden that I can’t give away. What I will say, however, is that Visible Fictions have meticulously assembled an interactive site-specific experience – devised with older teenagers especially in mind – that cunningly (and usefully) encourages curiosity, disbelief and a questioning mindset.

A resourceful researcher, Daisy, has disappeared. No-one has seen her for days, she hasn’t been in contact with the librarians, no-one knows what she was working on – only that it seemed significant, even dangerous enough, for it to be kept secret. There might, however, be clues among the books that Daisy was reading. And when – courtesy of a worried librarian (a convincingly concerned Rosalind Sydney) – we are invited to investigate ... well, who doesn’t love a mystery, where there are codes to break and clues to find?

The answers lie on the library’s shelves: schools groups used to web searches on tablets or smart-phones have, in Hidden, to rely on the old technologies of pen and paper and the printed page. First up, cryptic messages have to be decoded. They refer to specific books: find those, and more clues lurk in the passages that Daisy highlighted in green ink. Certain names, and themes, leap out from works of both fact and fiction, often with Daisy’s comments scrawled in the margins. Something, or some-one, was making her afraid – not just for herself, but for all of mankind. Would the future be a safe place? Were our freedoms under threat? Who could we trust? Why was the librarian asking us to share our discoveries with her, and upload them to the computer in the corner? Should we? It’s utterly absorbing, clever fun, albeit with a serious message: whatever technology you turn to, folks – stay alert, stay inquisitive.