Please discuss the project. What do you admire about it, and why do you admire these aspects of it?
One of the interactive projects I remembered is Daniel Rozin’s PomPom Mirror. The project contains a mirror made of black and white fur, which reflects the audience’s silhouette by pushing the furs using many motors. The most fascinating aspect of the project is the material. The fur moves slowly yet smoothly, displaying interesting patterns when they’re switching between black and white. The delay creates an expectation. Furthermore, while most mirrors are hard and shiny, this mirror creates an unfamiliarity as well as a novel feeling by being organic and fluffy. Moreover it only display very rough silhouettes, giving audience space for imagination. I also enjoyed the idea of “pixels” taken out of the context of screens.
How many people were involved in making it, and how did they organize themselves to achieve it? (Any idea how long it took them to create it?)
1 people is credited, but I can not find information on whether the artist has helpers. I think it takes a long time to install all the motors.
How was the project created? What combination of custom software/scripts, or “off-the-shelf” software, did the creators use? Did they develop the project with commercial software, or open-source tools, or some combination?
The project uses fur puffs, motors and Kinect. Kinect detects people and custom software translates the detection into motion of the motors, which then move the fur.
What prior works might the project’s creators have been inspired by?
I think mirrors and the idea of seeing one self has always been something fascinating to human beings, and people are writing and making things about them since ancient time. (e.g. Snow White, Perseus, etc). The artist himself also makes a lot of mirrors, and some of them are made before this one, such as Wood Mirror (1999) and Peg Mirror (2007).
To what opportunities or futures does the project point, if any?
Mirrors of other materials. Moving furs that interacts with audience differently.
Provide a link (if possible) to the artwork, and a full author and title reference.
928 faux fur pom poms, 464 motors, control electronics, xbox kinect motion sensor, mac-mini computer, custom software, wooden armature
48 × 48 × 18 in
121.9 × 121.9 × 45.7 cm
Edition 6/6 + 1AP
Embed an image and a YouTube/Vimeo video of the project (if available).
Create a brief animated GIF for the project, if a video is available. (For advice, information and resources about how to make an animated GIF, please see this page.) Keep your GIF around 640×480 pixels (absolutely no wider than 840 pixels), and under 5Mb.
I think that Flanagan’s second notion that critical play can mean “Toying with the Notion of Goals” is most aligned with the area that I want to explore in this course. Many mainstream games rely on players implicit or intuitive understandings of game patterns that are common across games and built up over time to communicate the goal of a game. A classic example is a 2d side scroller: when people who are familiar with games are presented with the set of visual metaphors common to side scrollers, they instantly know they have a duty to explore what’s off screen to the right. When our characters have health bars, we generally assume our objective is to preserve that health and stay alive. These small mechanics or interactive elements are steeped in background context for players, but the games in this category play on that context and the expectation it creates to make the player reflect in different ways.
Ooblets is a unreleased game that’s roughly a hybrid of Pokemon, Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon (my three favorite games!).
above: Ooblets video trailer 1
above: Ooblets video tailer 2
I really, truly admire this project because it’s being coded by one single, amazing woman named Rebecca. There’s a small team of artists who are making the assets, but that’s it! I love the concept of the game; I think it plays on childhood nostalgia for Nintendo games while also remixing these games in the best way. Specifically, sometimes people bring up the morality of Pokemon. Is it moral to be asking creatures that we capture to fight our battles for us? Ooblets solves this problem by having them be grown, using the Harvest Moon system, and by having them perform dance battles, rather than true fights.
I’m so excited for this game! It’s still in development, but it’s a shining example for me of art that is cute but tasteful and not overdone. Right now, they’re only releasing for Windows and Xbox, but I’m really hoping that someday I’ll be able to play it with my Mac.
Which of Flanagan’s propositions are the most aligned with your own goals, and why?
I think the third proposition is most aligned with my goals. The first two propositions suggests that the content of games can be critical to encourage players to think critically about issues presented in it. I think these properties are more or less not unique to games. One can also create movies, writings, images to similar effects. So even though game / interactive art is a very good medium for these kind of criticality, and these criticality are very interesting and important themselves, I’m more interested in the third proposal in comparison.
The third proposal deals with new kinds of play. The entire mode of interaction can be different. Each instance is almost like a new medium. For me I find the notion of “new” very central to me when I think about projects I want to make. I think it is what makes me excited about anything.
One of my favorite parts of Flanagan’s essay was how she related the history of art games to more commonly known parts of art history, such as Fluxus, Surrealism or Dadaism, which were “20th century art practices that involved a critical use of play in the investigation of artistic concerns.” Having studied the critical discourse involving these movements last semester, I really enjoyed being able to connect elements of those discussions to game art, which a subject that I’ve studied less in a critical context. Through her essay, I found it a little easier to place game art within my own personal timeline of art history. Although some games are massive commercial endeavors, many others make up a new medium “for social change and revolutionary play.”
My favorite game discussed in the paper was Uncle Roy All Around You (2003). I’m fascinated by both the ideas of online surveillance and technology-facilitated interactions. The grandeur, complexity and rule-based interaction of the art piece gives it its status as a “game;” however, I’m more interested in how the Online Players and the Street Players interacted and how their relationships lasted after the piece ended. Were there any communicatory conflicts? How did the relationships last?
There’s a museum for pre-war mechanical toys in Nara that I spent a lot of time in when maybe I should have been looking at some famous temples. The staff there lay out a few dozen, very old toys on their tables and let you play with them for free. My favorite is a pair of sumo wrestlers, always locked in competition.
Here’s me, trying them out.
Many of these toys surprised me because they contained unanticipated motions, and asked me to approach them differently than how I remember my childhood toys, and entertained me so much when I expected them to be dull.
(This is a wind-up bell-ringer without any gears or springs; it resets with sand, like an hourglass.)
I’ve been trying a lot recently to make simpler work, and for me that involves considering artifacts like these sumo wrestlers as the bases for interactive projects. An object like this was probably the result of many iterations on the same concept; it’s unlikely that there’s a single creator to whom this toy idea can be attributed. Rather, it takes iteration, and a lot of real, physical play-testing to arrive at something that’s amusing even as it’s plain simple.
Proposition 2: Critical Play Can Mean Toying with the Notion of Goals, Making Games with Problematic, Impossible, or Unusual Endings.
I am the most interested in this proposition because I think it is really important to examine and reconsider goals. I’ve been thinking about goals a lot recently, and I’ve realized that achieving the goals you set in your mind won’t always have the expected result. A lot of conventional games have clear-cut goals and win/lose situations, but they rarely examine grayer outcomes. By having an unusual ending or possibly no ending at all, interactive works can encourage us to think about the world and our goals in a more complex and truthful way. The instantaneous output and replayability granted by games and interactive technology makes it easier for us to observe these situations and ponder the consequences of our actions.
Through The Dark by Hilltop Hoods is an interactive music video where the viewer can navigate through a 3d space by scrolling up and down, or using the accelerometer on a phone. I admire this project because it has nice transitions with a good story, and the interaction is simple yet satisfying. Being able to interact with the music video adds another layer to the story by creating two worlds: one light and one dark. I also like how the project is available on the web, since that makes it much more accessible.
The project was created in a collaboration with musician Dan Smith and Google Play Music. I found this project by looking through the three.js featured projects. The project description says that “new tools were developed to bridge traditional animation methods and WebGL,” but nothing more detailed than that. I think that experimentation with interactivity in music videos is really interesting, and I’ve seen a couple artists use things like 360 recording to make their work more interactive.
I had the pleasure of seeing this immersive, live theater performance just a few weeks ago, before I came back to school for the start of the semester. In this piece, you walk in and sit in a room full of the other members of the audience. What appears to be a human in a space-suit-like costume walks over to you and gestures that they would like to put headphones on you. When you consent, they place them over your ears and then you hear a voice call out, “what is your name?” You watch the performer gesticulate to the movements of the computerized voice; as you respond you hear yourself replying, and everyone else replying in turn. Behind this performer is a row of other performers operating various machines and instruments who will speak to you soon. They then ask for an audience member to offer a breath for a breathing ritual. Another for the sound of a heartbeat. As folks volunteer, you hear the breath and heartbeat become the underlying track to a 1000-breath countdown image (appearing on small screens in the corner of your view) that will be denote the length of the performance.
All the audio is created between the computer-like people asking questions and the audience responding. Eventually they put you into dialogue (through them) with other members of the audience. This piece is at its most difficult when you start to question who these seemingly benevolent robot-people are, and it starts to feel confused and potentially dangerous. The piece is at its best when you learn the rules of the live audio system and share in moments of learned and earned interaction. These moments conclude at the end of segments such as ‘politics’ and ‘environment’ when you hear an audio collage-song generated from everyone’s responses played back as the computer people nod and drift their eye contact. A sensation of uploading and analyzing pleasantly washes over you.
I know this piece relied heavily on Max/MSP in order to interface with the live audio and video system in the space, as well as for setting up the audio i/o between all of the performers and audience members.
Reading Mary Flanagan’s article, the notion of critical play leading to new kinds of play, and making familiar types of play unfamiliar, aligns most with my own goals.
In games and in other interactive work, the mode of of play is often defined by the medium being used: rectangular displays, keyboards and mice, or video game controllers all define the mode of input and output of an experience that is expected of the genre. In the players’ minds, all input is interpreted by the game to correspond to actions in the virtual play environment: movement of the joystick is understood to move the character around in space. While these mappings are often ingrained to the point that it feels second nature to players, they nonetheless constitute a barrier between the physical world and the virtual world of the game. Removing these barriers, then, through use of systems that map more directly to human perception and interaction – can lead to familiar experiences in the physical realm being translated in the virtual realm. My explorations in virtual and augmented reality reflect this proposition.