Art Writer Richard Noyce's encounter with 2022 Adam Reynolds Award winner Jay Price's latest artwork, The Mine, was so impactful, he has generously shared his reflections on the experience with us. We are hugely grateful for his time and feedback, and we're pretty sure it will have you playing The Mine for yourself!

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I am impressed at what Jay Price has achieved with The Mine... remarkable!

I am not a game-player, other than dithering with some of those simple puzzles, so I came to The Mine with a mixture of considerable trepidation and curiosity. 

It looks good from the start, and this continues all the way through. I found that the soundtrack is essential, as without it the visuals do not work nearly as well. Being a non-gamer meant that navigating through the work, and mastering the subtle fine motor skill necessary to move around came to me only slowly and could have become frustrating had I not persisted. I am glad that I did, because once a reasonable skill came to me Jay and their team’s work became much clearer.

I mentioned the soundtrack: it is an integral part of the app as a whole. It gave me an underlying sense of disorientation coupled with the prompting of a distinct sense of unease, of not being able to make out the words, not knowing what is going on and finding it difficult to navigate the darkness. Lacking the native ability of fine motor control with the two buttons meant that I frequently found myself circling back, or otherwise getting lost. This became frustrating and could have led me to abandon my effort. I am glad I persisted.

When I finally came across the highlighted areas it really did feel like a reward and gave me some sense of being able to pause, if only briefly. The two part end text is powerful and makes for a good conclusion.

Physical and visible disability can be seen and therefore, many believe, can be understood. But invisible disability cannot be easily discerned and presents different problems requiring different strategies. My personal and limited experience of such disability can never be more than a pale version of what other people experience. 

Stumbling through the game in near darkness, with only a feeble flashlight and always aware of the indistinct dialogue of the soundtrack, gave me a profound sense of disorientation and disability that remained with me afterwards. It is as if, through Jay’s work, I have gained a better insight into what disability can feel like, and for that I am grateful.

So, I want to thank Jay and all their collaborators for sharing this achievement and producing this app. It is a remarkable and powerful achievement, deserving to be much more widely experienced.

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Banner image description: In-game screenshot. Perspective limited by the reach of the torchlight. The torch is being shone directly at a crumbling brick wall, highlighting a round space of visible graffiti. In black, scrawled text, ‘Scroungers’ is written. The text is then further outlined in neon green, indicating it is an interactive object.