Interview: Jessica Curry

The Brief


Jessica Curry is the co-founder of The Chinese Room, the video game development studio behind Dear Esther, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, and So Let Us Melt. She was a finalist in the 2017 Women in Games awards, and has been recognised as one of the Top 30 Women in Games by MCV. Curry has also received widespread acclaim for her work as a composer. Her soundtrack to Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture won the BAFTA Award for Best Music, was inducted into the Classic FM Hall of Fame 2016, and continues to be performed by classical ensembles.

Which film about rebellion would you recommend?
Shortbus, directed by John Cameron Mitchell. Such an underrated, beautiful film. It also contains my favourite ever line: ‘I used to want to change the world. Now I just want to leave the room with a little dignity.’

Which novel about London would you recommend?
City of the Mind by Penelope Lively. London: ‘This is the city in which everything is simultaneous. There is no yesterday, nor tomorrow, merely weather, and decay, and construction.’

Which stage musical would you recommend?
A Chorus Line by Marvin Hamlisch. ‘At the Ballet’ is one of the most poignant and lyrically stunning musical songs of all time. Pure class on every level. 

Which architectural work would you recommend?
The brutalist architecture of the Southbank Centre. I feel more spiritually and artistically at home there than any other place. It fills and stirs my soul.

Which poem would you recommend?
I heard a poem on BBC Radio 4 recently and it took my breath away: ‘I Wanna Be Treated Normal’ by Miles Chambers, Bristol’s Poet Laureate. 

Which television episode would you recommend?
I’ve never been as emotionally affected by any show as the last episode of Six Feet Under, ‘Everyone’s Waiting’, directed by Alan Ball. I still can’t listen to Sia’s song ‘Breathe Me’ without crying.


The following questions relate to our Perspectives column, in which two writers respond to an artwork that they are experiencing for the first time.

Should critics assess art based on their personal likes and dislikes?
No sentence about art should ever start with ‘should’. Should is inevitably the death of art.

Rule of Three

The following questions relate to our Rule of Three column, for which each article includes a trio of artworks that share an association with a single word.

Which artwork associated with the word ‘Aquatic’ would you recommend?
What the Water Gave Me
by Frida Kahlo. I have no words to describe my admiration – all I can ask if that you just look at it.

Which artwork associated with the word ‘Grief’ would you recommend?
The Belly of an Architect, directed by Peter Greenaway. No film has ever come closer to describing the human condition for me. Death, love, grief, loss, ageing, beauty, desire, and loss. Perfection.

Which artwork associated with the word ‘Junkyard’ would you recommend?
‘I Sold My Heart to the Junkman’ by Bette Midler. Oh this song. Quite simply, it’s the Divine Miss M. I have imagined myself singing this in an empty bar at 3am countless times.

States of the Arts

The following questions relate to our States of the Arts column, for which each article includes four artworks that share an association with a single nation or territory.

Which Cuban song would you recommend?
‘Chan Chan’ by the Buena Vista Social Club.  Their joy in performance, their exuberance, their joi de vivre. The rhythm of this song is pure sensual heat and sexuality.

Which Mexican artwork would you recommend?
The Wounded Deer. My heart is forever bound to Frida Kahlo. She shows that great physical pain can lead to the creation of great art and that has been a beacon for me.

The art of discovery

The following questions relate to Silent Frame’s aim to celebrate the art of discovery.

For you, is artistic discovery a private or shared experience?
Artistic discovery is a private experience. I am a wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, and lover. All of these roles require me to share something of myself. Discovery, though, that’s the one thing I keep deliciously private.

What question would you like to ask other Silent Frame interviewees?
If you could choose, what would your last thought, memory, or image before you died be?

More to discover

Jessica Curry: Visit the artist’s website here, find her Bandcamp page here, listen to some excerpts from her music here, and visit The Chinese Room’s website here. Her Twitter handle is @jessicacurry2. Read more interviews with Jessica by Designing Sound, Gamasutra, M Magazine, Score It Magazine, and The Sound Architect.

Today’s recommendations: Shortbus (NSFW trailer), City of the Mind (excerpt), A Chorus Line (Broadway recording of ‘At the Ballet’), Southbank Centre (information), Miles Chambers (website), Six Feet Under (final sequence, with spoilers), What the Water Gave Me (information), The Belly of an Architect (trailer), ‘I Sold My Heart to the Junkman’ (song), ‘Chan Chan’ (song), The Wounded Deer (information).

Also on Silent Frame