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We met in reality, I think, it was a vivid reality.

The match was there, despite our vast differences in temperament and physicality. Before that, we first went through a lot of IT security questions, I had to submit all my social media platforms: Instagram, Facebook, Tinder. Of course, by then, social media had eventually formed the part of who I was and how I will go on with my life, however, all my encrypted life was now revealed. We finally got to meet each other on Lifelike Inc, with 10 others.

It was love at first sight.

I guess I came with the idea of meeting someone but this was different. We stayed locked in this place for about 2 months. Once a week I had to decide whom I wanted to ‘couple up with’. Anyone who remained single at the end of the ‘recoupling’ would get ‘dumped’.
For the sake of entertainment, they ensured that new people would regularly arrive on the island disrupting our delicate balance of matchmaking. I found myself constantly assessing the authenticity and motivations of those we meet throughout as I could not come to term with the dependence we created.
We were not jealous of each other but we were jealous of people’s feelings towards us. It felt like they would only understand the more serious version of ourselves, they would constantly theorize their desire for us with such self-importance. We always wanted to be alone just the two of us, I know, you must say it’s foolish of us.

We had sex.

Our body fluids became sacred. We loved each other in the real sense of the world: a passionate desire.
We started to question each other; is jealousy a destructive force that can’t be approved? Why are we violating and transgressing the morality?
I felt manipulated by them but it did not matter - we were equally enamoured and we eventually stuck together, no matter what, however superficial it may seem on the surface. Our connection was a deeper intimate agent.

To avoid their comments and their intentions, we invented a new language to communicate every time we spoke - a new language we both understood instantly, every time.
Throughout our time on Lifelike Inc, our desire became commodified. They pushed us to look for that stability in a two-sided relationship, in order to supply the demand, for the market, if you like.
I was aware that this was a form of romantic game theory, however I started to invest in the outcome and kept questioning the accuracy of our relationship.
They would manipulate every situation, I eventually told them: ‘You'll never be happy if you're always looking for more’.
Once living this place, we were sent to what they call a ‘decompression phase’, there, we got handed in our phones. This is when we realised we became public. There was too much information, all the time, too many network, it did let me see things I did not want to see. Our digital footprint betrayed the truth not only about what we ‘like’ but about what we really like. I thought we had no control over this but we did not, this hyper connectivity became an illness.
You must think, we could have simply got rid off our phones but instead we decided to signed up to an antisocial network that helped us avoiding people we did not want to see.
Is social media the reinvention of love? Naturally, the act of falling in love is always in the context of a timeline. I wondered: how do we talk about love in this reality? The romantic was set in reality but which one?

It was there and its now gone.

I still nowadays recall our first encounter: We suddenly became paralysed by each other’s eyes. They told me: ‘there is no love without the fall’. It was a revolutionary moment.

Afterplay: Our love at first sight; a fictional story based on Love Island, (2018). [TV programme] ITV 2 & Horvat, S. (n.d.), 2016, The radicality of love. Cambridge: Polity Press.