Russian Roulette

Russian roulette (Русская рулетка) is a game where the player inserts a bullet into the chamber of a revolver, spins it, aims at their own head, and pulls the trigger. There is a 5 in 6 chance that nothing will happen, and a 1 in 6 chance of a deadly outcome.

In this project, we — Lucas Ochoa, a junior studying design, and Scott Donaldson, a master’s student in computational design — create a piece that simulates the suspense, tension, and psychological stresses of Russian roulette.

While the focal point of the piece is the 3d printed physical form resembling an oversized revolver chamber, we also significantly altered the environment and experience around the object in order to heighten the drama. Rather than introducing and describing the piece in a speech, we distributed a bureaucratic form to all the participants containing a disclaimer as well as possible “dangers” of the piece (both real and fantastical). Printed in Courier New and featuring an unidentifiable, corporate-seeming logo, the pseudo-legalese of the form served to distance our selves from the project — to make it appear the work of some faceless corporation with questionable motives and little to no regard for the actual safety of the participants. The date and time were hand-written in the blanks on the page — even corporations are prone to human error. The form appears below:


After reading the form, participants were asked to wait in a queue outside the room housing the project — the Martha Orringer Conference Room. We were fortunate to have pliable, willing participants for this. Lucas acted as the guard to the room, holding a box containing the marbles which he dispensed to participants before they entered the room.


No cameras were permitted inside the Martha Orringer Conference Room. However, we commissioned the following illustrations to depict what the experience might have been like:


A circuitry diagram may be found at the right.roulette_schem

Although it has been known to induce madness in anyone who views it, the project code is available on GitHub.

Leave a Reply