The Sky is Falling is as hands on as it gets

Using paper cut illustrations and pasting in game rules, this MÖRK BORG zine is a true art piece.

The Sky is Falling is as hands on as it gets

I’m a sucker for pieces that embrace an anarchy of style, that breaks boundaries of the page and asks, why were these rules even there in the first place? Shane Brockway is the author and illustrator of The Sky is Falling, a post-Armageddon MÖRK BORG game that was made entirely by hand. It is an aggressive piece of work, a singular experience that is direct and without frills, that resists reading and playing as much as it encourages a playfulness within its very pages.

As The Sky is Falling enters the final days of its crowdfunding campaign, Brockway took some time to answer questions about his latest art piece. 

Lin Codega: I love books like this – part art project, part artifact, part game – why did you choose this very handmade mode of creating work for this game?

Shane Brockway: This is an experiment that turned into an obsession. And it came from my desire to make the most tangible book I could. To invite the roughness of human touch back into the written word.

Creatively, I come from sculpting. So physical form and texture have always been inherent to design for me. To create is natural, but the decision to create something that exists in the digital space (like a PDF) versus the physical space (like a book) is something that many take too lightly. In making a PDF, you get convenience and ease and cost and conservancy—and those are all very valid and good things. However, the digital world inherently sacrifices the intimacy and soul that comes with a tangible product. In choosing to make a book, you are inviting passionate collectors to willingly choose to spend money on something that they may or may not have space for in their over-stuffed cube shelf (and if that sounded too specific it's because I am very guilty of this). Recognizing that, I think it’s the responsibility of a creator to honor the passion in the consumer by making a book that is specifically worth making space for. Worth holding in their hands. Rewarding passion with passion is the only way to create something genuine and worthy of that realness.

On a more cynical note, AI is plaguing creative projects today. It allows for rapid, “cheap” content development and democratizes creativity at the expense of singular artistic expression. I love empowering people to explore their creative ideas… but we cannot trade true humanistic creativity for a better profit margin. So, for me personally, I think it’s made me more dedicated to the crusade of perpetuating the human touch. AI is convenient, but I say fuck convenience. Be stalwartly inconvenient. Be human. 

And tabletop games are an inherently human act. They are rare and special times that we open up, improvise, and play make-believe with our friends. This act of pure collaborative human creation is sacred—especially at a time when communal spaces are dying. It’s a ritual. And we need rituals to fend off the darkness that comes with late-stage capitalism, corporate tedium, overwhelming global negativity, and doomscrolling. And I believe strongly that the physical components for these rituals need to be held to a high standard. That anything less than genuine only serves to taint or exploit them. 

In short, I just love tearing up paper and playing with crayons!