Kid A Mnesia Exhibition is a disturbing and beautiful Radiohead art exhibition

The simplest description of Kid A Mnesia Exhibition is that it is basically a virtual Radiohead art museum with music from Children A and Amnesia. If that’s enough to pique your interest in the least, I highly recommend that you stop reading this and just play the game, which is available Thursday for free on PC, Mac and PS5.

Ringer Kid A Mnesia Exhibition just an art museum, however, does not really do it justice. Of course, much of the game is spent navigating through hallways with Radiohead-themed art, while clips and pieces of songs from Children A and Amnesia soar in and out of your consciousness. A room, for example, is stacked high with televisions with constantly changing images, while nervous, yet familiar versions of tunes from “The National Anthem” swirl around you. It would not feel out of place at a modern art exhibition.

But then you can do the extremely video game-like thing of going straight into an amber column in the middle of the room to bring out the song’s iconic drum and bass lines that were previously absent. When you step out of the pillar, the drum and bass disappear and the unsettling swings return. There are many such moments.

Now imagine hearing the “National Anthem.”

That said, Kid A Mnesia Exhibition is not a traditional video game. There are no enemies. You can not die. The only actions you can take are to zoom in on things, move around the world, and increase your pace from a slow pace to a gentle trot.

However, I was still surprised to find the experience unsettling at times. You will see the sharp-toothed smile from Radiohead’s logo everywhere. Sticks of pixels will hover over your sight like cruel spirits. Live stick figures wandering the halls will silently appear behind you as they ingest the art. The music, even though it is ingrained in the folds of your brain after years of repeated listening, as it is to me, can be dissonant and unpleasant.

But it would not be a Radiohead project without some awe-inspiring beauty. In a room, papers covering the floor and ceiling will whip in the wind to deconstruct and reconstruct the space around you. A striking sequence is like an interactive music visualizer. And my favorite moments in the game were spent with a little devil-like creature and watching clips of old Radiohead live shows.

The game is filled with strikingly beautiful spaces.

To see the best of what Kid A Mnesia Exhibition has to offer, you should take your time. My first trip took a little over an hour, but the rooms evolve in some remarkable ways that you might miss if you hurry through. Laying down the controller to observe how the music and exhibitions change and change is very rewarding. While writing this article, I left the game idling in a few different areas and I saw and heard a lot that I had missed.

If you’re a Radiohead fan, Kid A Mnesia Exhibition is a great way to experience two of the band’s iconic albums in a new format. But even if you have not memorized all the lyrics on both albums, the game is still worth checking out as a very literal expression of the idea that video games can be art. Sometimes it’s nice to just sit and listen to some music.

Kid A Mnesia Exhibition is available Thursday as a free download for PC, Mac and PS5.

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