Kid A Mnesia Exhibition

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Kid A Mnesia Exhibition
  • Namethemachine
  • Arbitrarily Good Productions
Publisher(s)Epic Games
  • Matthew Davis
  • Namethemachine
  • Arbitrarily Good Productions
  • Namethemachine
  • Arbitrarily Good Productions
EngineUnreal Engine
Release18 November 2021

Kid A Mnesia Exhibition is a 2021 exploration game published by Epic Games for macOS, Windows and PlayStation 5. It serves as a digital exhibition of music and artwork created for the Radiohead albums Kid A (2000) and Amnesiac (2001). It was developed by Namethemachine, Arbitrarily Good Productions and Epic Games in collaboration with the Radiohead singer Thom Yorke, Radiohead's producer Nigel Godrich and the Radiohead cover artist Stanley Donwood.

Kid A Mnesia Exhibition was conceived as a physical installation artwork, but this was canceled by logistical problems and the COVID-19 pandemic. It was announced alongside the compilation album Kid A Mnesia and released 18 November 2021 as a free download. It received positive reviews, with critics praising its intersection of music, art and technology.


Kid A Mnesia Exhibition is an exploration game based on the music and artwork of the Radiohead albums Kid A (2000) and Amnesiac (2001). Players move through an abstract virtual museum, examining artwork and listening to music and sounds from the albums.[1] They cannot die, and there are no enemies, no score system, and no levels to complete.[1][2]

The New Yorker described the museum as "a brutalist cathedral full of byzantine corridors, majestic rooms, banks of buzzing cathode-ray-tube televisions, and carpets of fluttering sketchbook pages".[2] The large central pyramid features the songs "How to Disappear Completely", "Pyramid Song" and "You and Whose Army".[3] The Paper Chamber features dozens of pages taken from sketchbooks and lyric sheets, and the Televisions room has stacks of televisions playing short videos.[3]


Kid A Mnesia Exhibition was conceived as a physical installation artwork to be constructed from shipping containers and exhibited in cities around the world.[4] The Radiohead singer, Thom Yorke, and the artist Stanley Donwood, who together create the artwork for Radiohead albums, imagined a "a huge red construction" that would look "as if a brutalist spacecraft had crash-landed into the classical architecture ... This astounding steel carapace would be inserted into the urban fabric of London like an ice pick into Trotsky."[4]

The construction was first planned for the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, but would not fit.[4] The plan moved to the Royal Albert Hall, but this was rejected by Westminster City Council.[4] The plan was ultimately cancelled by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the focus shifted towards creating a digital exhibition. In the words of Yorke and Donwood, this meant the exhibition "didn't have to conform to any normal rules of an exhibition. Or reality."[4]


Kid A Mnesia Exhibition was developed over two years by Namethemachine and Arbitrarily Good Productions with Yorke, Donwood and Radiohead's producer Nigel Godrich.[5] The staff included the artist and creative director Sean Evans, the theatre set designer Christine Jones and the producer Matthew Davis, the head of Namethemachine.[6] The environment and characters were developed using tools such as Maya, and the levels were created with Unreal Engine.[3]

The team had the guiding principle of exhibiting no new work. According to a blog post by Yorke and Donwood, everything in the exhibition came from material made while Radiohead were recording Kid A and Amnesiac.[4] Characters in the museum were based on the themes and characters in Radiohead's music and artwork, including the stickmen, bears and minotaurs.[3] The team followed a brief of "exploded songs", taking the separated stems of the music and "laying them out". Godrich contributed sound design and remixed the music in surround sound, so players hear different elements as they move around in 3D space.[3]

Evans said the museum was influenced by labyrinths and the fictional Library of Babel, "a place that instilled a feeling of being lost without feeling hopeless".[3] It was designed for players to take multiple routes, with no dead ends, and strong colour schemes and lighting to help the player become familiar with different spaces.[3] The initial spaces were designed to feel physically possible; once the player enters the central pyramid, the spaces feel "more void-like, more impossible", with a shifting number of walls and surfaces.[3] The Rotunda was based on the Rundetaarn in Copenhagen, and the Landscape Gallery was based on a room in the Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris.[3]


Kid A Mnesia Exhibition was announced on 9 September 2021.[7] It was released as a free download for macOS, Windows, and PlayStation 5 on 18 November 2021.[5] Promotional Radiohead items were released for the multiplayer games Rocket League, Fall Guys and Fortnite.[8]


Jay Peters of The Verge wrote that Kid A Mnesia Exhibition was "full of strikingly beautiful rooms" and "worth checking out as a very literal expression of the idea that video games can be art".[9] NME wrote that it was a "deeply beautiful solo trip through what appears to be an apocalyptic wasteland, before little pockets of beauty show themselves in unexpected places, poking out of the darkness".[1] The New Yorker named Kid A Mnesia Exhibition one of the best games of the year, writing that it "provokes exploration, reflection, and a new way of listening".[2]


  1. ^ a b c Richards, Will (18 November 2021). "Radiohead's Kid A Amnesiac exhibition is as untraditional, warped and magical as the band itself". NME. Retrieved 20 November 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Parkin, Simon (12 December 2021). "The best video games of 2021". The New Yorker. Retrieved 14 December 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Creating Kid A Mnesia: an exclusive look at Radiohead's new virtual exhibit". Unreal Engine. Retrieved 19 March 2023.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Yorke, Thom; Donwood, Stanley (18 November 2021). "Radiohead explain the story behind the creation of its Kid A Mnesia Exhibition, out today on PS5". PlayStation.Blog. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  5. ^ a b Stanton, Rich (18 November 2021). "Radiohead's freaky-looking Kid A Mnesiac exhibition-game-thing is out (and free!)". PC Gamer. Retrieved 20 November 2021.
  6. ^ Kreps, Daniel (11 November 2021). "Take a tour through Radiohead's artwork in Kid A Mnesia Exhibition". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  7. ^ Tarantola, A. (9 September 2021). "Radiohead and Epic Games team up for a virtual Kid A Mnesia exhibit". Engadget. Retrieved 10 September 2021.
  8. ^ Smith, Graham (20 November 2021). "Radiohead is now in Fall Guys, Fortnite and Rocket League". Rock Paper Shotgun. Retrieved 22 November 2021.
  9. ^ Peters, Jay (18 November 2021). "Kid A Mnesia Exhibition is an unsettling and beautiful Radiohead art exhibit". The Verge. Retrieved 20 November 2021.