Some of the coolest things at SXSW are the experiences you get to have, and not just the bands or movies. One of the coolest this year was actually Condor House, in promotion of AT&T Audience Network’s new show Condor. You might remember we reviewed it here and then interviewed the cast and creators here. As such we wanted to share with you a bit of the coolness of the Condor House.
You’re welcomed at the front door of an unassuming house on Rainey Street in Austin by “Agents” dressed in Condor hats and “CIA” windbreakers. They inform you that you will be a new agent and you need to register yourself first. You enter some information into a computer, and take your agency ID picture, along with 3 other perspective agents before you are ushered inside. What seemed like a normal house turns out to be a CIA safehouse!
The agents inside give you a hat and your agent ID and then ask you to watch video briefing from an agency director. The video however is interrupted by Joe Turner (Max Irons) the star of Condor. He informs you that the agency is just trying to use you and not to trust anything. But before he gets too far his video stream cuts out, the director finishes his speech, and the agents come back in and usher us to the first of the challenges.
Our first challenge is to hide our voice. We put on headphones, record a passphrase, and then set to work. Using software we modulate parts of our voices until its unrecognizable. Our mission completed, we are congratulated before moving on to the next room.
Our next challenge was to recall things that were hidden around our entry room. This is to test our situational awareness they say. So we set our brains to work on remembering what we saw and identifying it. We get about 3 out of 4 right, so not too terrible as far as things go. But then they ask us if we’ve received contact from any of a group of people. This group includes Joe Turner. We decide its a good idea to not mention it, and as such we’re brought into the next chamber.
The next and final challenge is an interrogation for one of our squad of trainees. While he is being interrogated we have to monitor the lie detector test and his video. It starts off easy enough, but then they start asking him about Joe Turner. While he denies it, the interrogator isn’t having it. He continues to press, and the the lie detector is buzzing as he tries to protect the Turner. When suddenly, a siren goes off and the screen shows signs of hacking!
We get rushed outside where we are greeted by an agent telling us our trial phase has ended and we didn’t make the cut. There’s snacks, and a bar (with two drink tickets) and some Condor swag to be had on top of the hat and badge we already received. I guess I won’t be an agent any time soon, but definitely have a good story of my attempt and a killed 40 minutes a fun way at SXSW.