This semester, I had the opportunity to work on a group project for an SJSU exhibition to be featured at the ZERO1 Garage in San Jose. The result was a fun and interesting and collaborative work about USBs and the alternative forms of data exchange in a social and interactive environment. It was a lot of fun showcasing our project to a large and friendly audience on First Friday!
My particular assigned group made a sushi boat-inspired waterway to deliver our USBs. On the night of our opening, we acted as sushi chef and hostesses to the audience as a performance for our piece. It was really silly, and a lot fun.
Two short clips showing our project in action:
It was my first time exhibiting a work in this way, and it was a great experience!
Another project that I worked on in a class over the semester for a gallery was this, titled Mobile Eye View:
It was a collaborative work with other students in my class to photograph showcase their final pieces in a “virtual gallery,” but with an interesting and/or unexpected perspective. The online part of the project can be found here: http://digital-dust.net/photo120/6.html
Welp, it’s kind of hard to believe, but I’ll be graduating with a BFA in Digital Media Art next week! It’s been a crazy and wonderful 5 years of growing, learning, and creating at state. I look forward to continue working on new art, new processes, and new projects as more exciting opportunities come up!
This week was the scheduled opening of my solo exhibition. I’ve been planning and working on it for a long while, especially over my spring break vacation. To see it fully realized and working is a huge relief!
Once Upon a Time: An Interactive Storytelling Experience is a cute, fun, web-based interactive program, projected onto a gallery wall where users can come inside, pick up the mouse, and interact with the game directly while others watch. The program starts with a storytelling narrator’s voice, who responds directly to the people in the room as he is delivering an old Norwegian fairytale to his audience.
However, being observant in your role as a “listener” and making choices of your own throughout the story may possibly affect the narrator and the state of the program…
Because it was designed specifically for a physical installation in a room rather than just an online-exclusive website, the sound, atmosphere, physical space, and audience are all pretty crucial. Some of the writing in the program assumes that you are playing in that public installation space, as well. For example, leave the program alone for a few minutes, and the narrator will automatically call out to passerbys in an attempt to lure them to the story. You get a much different experience playing it inside of a gallery room, on a writing desk, with a booming voice surrounding you, and people listening on the side, rather than playing it at home alone on your laptop with your earphones on (though the latter option is available!).
The gallery was a bit small, so it got pretty crowded quickly. People lined up behind the user as they watched the screen on the wall, and took turns coming in and out in small waves. Some played multiple times to see all the results they could get, some stopped in the middle to allow others to play, and some followed the direct storyteller’s path and read the fairytale all the way through.
It’s a simple concept and execution on the front end, but the planning, pacing, writing, organizing, and coding on the back-end took me a while to figure out… it was my first time learning and working with Twine, which is an incredibly powerful program. I had quite a few concerning sound/looping issues minutes before the show opened, and I had to patch that up quickly. There are still some things that need tweaking in terms of that, but thankfully the major glitches were resolved right away.
I’ve been heavily inspired by text-based RPGs, choose your own adventures, interactive fiction, and video games with multiple branches and choices. I was aiming for a talented voice actor to deliver the role of “warm storyteller/snarky narrator,” who is technically invisible, but whose powerful presence can be heard and felt throughout the room. Special thanks to the wonderful Bud Ayers, my old dance teacher and coach, for the amazing voice acting!
The installation show itself is over, but you can play an online copy here view in Firefox, audio required!):
I hope to continue exploring the possibilities of Twine games and public installations with what I’ve learned so far!
Bigger blog post, some pictures, and a playable link to my project coming soon!
In about two weeks on April Fools Day, I’m showcasing my project in my first solo gallery show. I still have a lot of work to do in coding and such, as well as figuring out how far I can go with Twine, but I printed out some postcards and am already passing them out to friends and family. I’ve talked through this a lot with friends, classmates, teachers, and have gone through many versions of this within my notes and research. Now that it’s finally coming up and suddenly feeling very real, I’m super duper nervous!! Still some work to do!!
The online version of this project, along with some documentation, will be available here shortly after the show.
And I don’t know why I’m obsessed with this blue/white color scheme in a lot of my projects.
For my senior capstone project, I’ve been working on a installation and gallery show that will be coming up in the first week of April. It’s inspired by text-based RPGs, interactive choose your-own-adventures, and the concept of agency within video games in general. It will be the major stepping stone on my way to graduation, so it’s kind of a big deal! I’m both excited and anxious about how this will turn out.
Although conceptually and mechanically many of the pieces are already (kinda) in place, one of my major struggles is piecing everything together through good writing and delivery in the context of an installation space. I feel that my writing is decent on paper, but I realized that storytelling on a bigger scale is much more difficult (of course!)- add choices, branches, different outcomes, an environment where sounds and images can make or break the entire thing, and an overall message that may or may not be that subtle, and it suddenly becomes an intimidating thing.
(My Boyfriend Came Back from the War by Olia Lialina; a good example of a web narrative piece that heavily influenced the type of work I’m interested in right now.)
I’ve been reading and researching articles and writings on the role of the narrator within digital media, hypertext, fiction, even playing a ton of video and web games lately while thinking about things from a different perspective, but I still find it a mental struggle. I’m finding a lot of inspiration from many artists and gamers, but there’s still so much that I don’t know and am still trying to analyze and figure out in the ways that make sense to me. Despite all of this, there’s only so much research I can do before I finally put my own thoughts on paper and deliver something that comes from me.
I’m a little hesitant about sharing this now as it’s very much still a work in progress, but here’s my current project site.
Anyway! I think a little struggle is good, and that writing about my personal progress in a public way will help me generate some ideas and organize some things- if you have thoughts or suggestions or links, feel free to share it with me!