Monday, August 31, 2009
Good morning star child, the Earth says hello!
In other words, welcome to my first blog/blog post! I always read about blogging, but I never had a purpose until now to write my own. I thought of the name Insane Emporium way before I actually attended the class and now it doesn't exactly correlated to things I'll be post. pity.
Interactive storytelling has been my most interesting class I've ever taken and I'm only two hours deep in it. Though it has a staggering 8 people, 9 including the professor, it has a very diverse and intellectual atmosphere. In a way it's almost an experimental learning environment where your imagination can run with endless possibilities. We discussed ways of thinking outside of the box and the difference between interactive storytelling and interacting with a story that's outcome remains the same. A key topic discussed in our small groups was augmented reality. I may be the only one in the class that doesn't fully understand how it works, so like any curious mind in the 21st century, I googled it. One of the first websites I can across was the how stuff works.
This site is basically a beginners approach to understanding how it works and can definitely help with applying a wide range of projects.
After the first week of classes, I find that there is already an interesting cross pollenization of ideas from the assigned readings, project brainstorming, and blog postings. The text on Game Design used for this course relates to the presentation I have been working on for the Entertainment Design course with Prof. Oliverio. He is asking us to choose a non-European culture, and find out what kind of entertainment there was before c.1900. This week, as I researched some ancient games and thought about how to reproduce them, I thought about what Randy Pausch was saying on the YouTube video of “The Last Lecture”. He said that it was important to try things out, not just read about the process, to get out and DO stuff. As I found out in a fascinating undergraduate course I took in so-called Primitive Technology, making something proves to be a lot more complex than merely reading about it. Go figure.
During his talk, he praised the work of one of his graduate students who had questioned the design of an educational game called ALICE. It was developed at Carnegie Mellon to teach computer programming while making the young participants think they were playing a game. It was the female doctoral student whose research proved that girls are more than willing to learn Java if there is a story being told in the process. That, in turn, lead me to ponder the importance of context in the female experience and how girls are typically drawn to the complexities of fiction, where there is room to describe context and social interaction. Storytelling, in all its forms, gives us a venue for pointing out those subtle connections.
When I was about ten years old, I remember reading classics, which were thought to be hopelessly out of date at the time, Robinson Crusoe, Jane Eyre, and others. I liked to read about the ways the characters found to survive their situations. Of course, Robinson Crusoe had the indigenous man Friday there to figure out the hard stuff.
The image is from the wonderful holdings of the Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature at the University of Florida, some of which has been digitized and is available at the link provided. It is one of the finest and most comprehensive collections in the world, and is part of the Smathers Libraries.
Suresh, this may especially interest you. I seem to remember you saying something about wanting to create a project based around astrology...???
But the other reason is the concept. It brings back memories (to those old enough to have experienced the birth of the personal computer) of the early 8bit graphics and animations of the time. The interesting thing that I realized, as I was writing this, is that the process of making this particular stop-motion animation reflects in a precise way, the process to create those graphics and animations. They were in fact created pixel by pixel, in a matrix that you had to plot beforehand, and if the "sprite" as they were called, moved you had to start the process over again, no cut and paste there!!!
So enjoy, I love the music as well. Game music from this time has finally reached the concert hall and is played by symphony orchestras the world over.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Towards the end of this clip, Peter Sellars says, " we see and experience our deepest myths completely anew at the hands of these people who need myths, not as a leisure alternative, but as actually the heart and soul and courage and vision that are necessary to rebuild a country and give hope to a people and to in fact invite magic back to the earth."
What are our deepest myths in the US? What myths are needed? As foreclosures rise, tent cities continue to grow, homeless shelters become over-crowded, people who have never needed a handout end up in bread lines, and the emotional and physical impact of the global economic crisis takes its toll, what role can/will interactive new media arts play?
That is something I would like to explore in unison with bringing people together into a shared dance experience called BAM!, which is a project that I started working on earlier this year. BAM! stands for Blindfolded Authentic Motion. So, basically people come together to dance with blindfolds. In a sense, rather than surfing the web for information, those involved in the dance "surf" the wisdom of their bodies with their inner vision for information, insight, and inspiration.
What myths/visions could be born out of this and then shared in an interactive medium on the internet? What solutions to problems could be found? Are there ways to use the dance to create community made interactive art pieces/ performances? How might the story change with different groups of people? What would the story be with a group of scientists? What would the story be with children? What would the story be with a group living in a tent city? How could these stories be made interactive and sent around the world via digital technologies? What could we learn from these stories as a global community and as individuals? How could we add to these stories?
I was looking over the posts on this blog from the previous class, and I came across a post that mentioned this game. Just posting it here so you all can take a look. Apparently, the game changes depending on the participant's response. Have any of you ever played this?
3D/4D Theatre: Total Immersion puts augmented reality at the forefront of entertainment with worldwide attraction openings
Riding in an expedition vehicle and wearing goggles and a sensor bracelet, visitors can enjoy an intense safari experience and directly communicate with the 3D animals. The goggles carry a tiny camera that films the backdrop as seen by the viewer, while a computer calculates and incrusts animated virtual animals in real-time. The enhanced scene is then restored on the screen of the goggles, giving the impression that the 3D images are really coming to life against the backdrop. Reality is thus enhanced and augmented."
Here is an interesting use of augmented reality in a performance piece. The glyph/fiducial objects become human bodies parts to be "eaten" by the performers. Also, when the performers move the fiducial objects, they are also triggering the sound to change. Additionally, members of the audience were photographed right before the show and then then pics were uploaded and turned into the bubble faces that you see projected on the screen.
This week in class, when we began to discuss interactive storytelling, and took part in the exercise of each class member participating in an ongoing story, the first thing that came to my mind was this particular movie.
In The Fall, directed by Tarsem Singh (better known for the 2000 psychological thriller The Cell), a stuntman befriends a young girl in a 1920s hospital and proceeds to tell her about an epic fantasy-adventure. However, the girl has her own imagination and ideas for where the story should be going, and the film becomes an organic tale in which each character begins to struggle for what they want to have happen in this story.
But what is most interesting about this film, after reading more about the making of it, is that the script was only a blueprint. The director got input from the crew as the story was being told by the young actress, a Romanian girl who often misunderstood what she was being told to do.
While not interactive with the actual audience, it raises thoughts of the ability to create a medium that allows a viewer to change what occurs through their own ideas in real-time. What if we could have a screen in front of us, and were able to change certain elements of the picture, certain actions of the characters, using our own imagination as the narrative progressed? Certainly allows for a lot of possibilities.
The Fall is available on DVD and Blu-ray,
Saturday, August 29, 2009
On the second day of class we discussed about our group project. I proposed that I am interested in creating a collection of experience from married couple and singles of all ages and culture on their expectation and experience in marriage so that the collection can be used as an educational-helpful video for singles that are about to marry. Surprisingly no one in the group showed any interest!
We as a group discussed two other interesting topics proposed by two very experienced individuals. This interested me a lot. We hope to proceed forward with one of those two projects -"Myths..."
Yet to catch-up with second world, avatar, and other readings... :)
See you at second world or first world.
This is a link to an article that appeared in MIT's journal "Presence", which deals with telepresence and virtual reality. The article, When "Real" Seems Mediated: Inverse Presence by Lydia Reeves Timmins, and Matthew Lombard, explains the importance of studying the effects that in many levels, that is changing our perception of the world we live in. I think the current generation (of modern city dwellers) will possibly be that last that will feel the need for such concern, since the virtual immersion, mixed reality and other aspects of our evolving being, will be as commonplace as having electricity or music or a telephone as an integral part of "nature"
I think that as part of our research into this worlds we have a responsibility to be fully aware of what we do as much as we can, since we are indeed threading the "uncanny valley"
Friday, August 28, 2009
In the Interactive Performance video post by Shamar, you can see (if you look carefully) some work by the German group Urbanscreen. This is a sample of their work:
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Trapped in time, she escapes, transformed.
Found new village, obliged to leave.
Single and Free
Married and engulfed.
Waves slam. Wind howls. Missing Home.
Look, here is grandpa's navy uniform.
A mindset which brought the: (your choice or add???)
A boy cries, mother has disappeared.
Also, M.I.A. will be making all of this footage a part of the creative commons, which is so cool because then we can all use this footage, text, etc. and keep re-mixing it for our own purposes.
So, in class last time, we developed a story by passing it around the room and adding to it. Likewise, these concerts/performances/happenings will create stories which we will then have access to and can thus be retold in new ways.
Also, thanks Ed for posting videos about Augmented Reality. I will be looking into that to see how it is being used for performance.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Mythmaking With The Elements
Golden Line (Green, Brown, Black, Blue)
"Painterly Abstractions" - Rothko- nCollection.
I added a link of a MIT open course named: Film as visual and literary Mythmaking .
Friday, August 7, 2009
I don't think giving you specific forums would really help, but instead keep it in mind that google is the new Encyclopedia, can question you have about any subject can quickly be answered. It may not be the first result that pops up, but it is there. If you don't find specifically what you are looking for, DO NOT BE AFRAID TO ASK. Find a forum and post a question, you WILL get an answer. Be warned though, there are snobs out there who will post a negative comment rather than helping, do not let these people deter you; there are more willing to help than there are willing to insult.
I will begin this sereies by talking about software used. Without this software I don't think this project would have ever gotten past the DREAM stage. Pano2VR was by far my favorite tool to use. It allowed me to take the panoramics my group made in Photoshop and easily turn them into a flash video, which then become the homepage and menu for the website. They offer a free version so I suggest checking it out.
Besides just ceating an "interactive" flash movie or quicktime VR, Pano2VR allowed me to add sounds, hotspots(links), and the ability to control the quality of the movie; this allowed for quicker uploads and smoother motions(VERY CRUCIAL FOR WEBSITS TO HAVE. I will go into this more in Pt.3 of the series).
Group one's presentation was good but a little unorganized. Inn the beginning he called a man out of the audience and said he would help them with there presentation but they never used him. Then he told us that we would be able to use our phones but he never told us where we could find there group on twitter. Overall it was a pretty decent presentation, could have talked about the Albert blog a little more.
Group 3- Gender Bender
Seems as though you really started your projects at the last minute. Because on the powerpoint and the facebook account everything was created between an hour to three hours ago from the time of the presentation. The video you showed was very humorous but serious at the same time. The editing was great in the video and this was a very interesting topic. I believe if you had more time to work with your project it would have got more attention. Could have talked about your group's story more because to me it just seem like you lectured us on what gender identity was and didn't tell to much about your story.
Group 4- Digital Throw up
This was a great project and presentation. The speaker was great and he really captured my attention and kept me interested. The interactivity in your blog was great and I like how the user could take the story anywhere they wanted to. What started as a green screen ended with a full story and the story could have been taken even further than it was. I really enjoyed this presentation.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Now that the semester is almost over I was thinking about the process we went through to create our project. On chapter 7 of Chris Crawford book, he writes that “everybody make the same mistake when they first approach interactive storytelling they built a branching tree structure”. According to him the reason for the failure is that branching tree designs are always too much work for the designer and not enough for the player. Chris Crawford is right, our first instinct was to create a branching tree structure for our project. As Chris Crawford mentioned in his book this approach was probably going to created a lot of work for us, and would not had enhanced the interactive experience that much. Prof. Arturo helped us to create a system that offers choices for interactivity, and was manageable for us. I think that the prototype that we created is a very good beginning, and it could be further developed to become a very interesting interactive game. I want to thank prof. Arturo for his guidance during this semester, and I also want to thank my teammates for the dedication and hard work to get the project done. Thanks guys
he posted the article on our facebook account, but i am not sure that everyone in our class can see it.
our facebook name is Albert Smith so please add him as a friend not only to continue interacting with the project but to keep in touch with each other as well
This made me think of politics and I realized that politics is a form of interactive story telling. One candidate comments on another and so they in turn retaliate, and then the media adds in their two cents. Politics is a never ending, ever changing story which can not be anticipated.
I recall one dark night when the moon was full and the air cold. Everyone was sitting outside around a fairly large fire, surrounded by blocks of stone, and most of us where finished with our hamburgers, coleslaw, and baked beans. I crouched down before the fire, holding the end of a twisted hanger as the other side held my marshmallow, and contemplated over the changing color of my sweet treat. This was my first time making a s’more. Joe, her chair by mine, sat there smiling and asked if we all wanted to hear a scary story. First of all, I despise horror tales, but not wanting to ruin it for the group, I sat back down. Joe asked us to completely trust in her words and not distract ourselves by eating, drinking, or talking. Hearing this, I edged further back in my chair and felt my heart fluttering to the spell that our hostess was about to cast.
The air hung silent for a moment before she began the story. Her words were soft and as the tale slithered along the murderous and blood-stained path, I heard the subtle swelling of her voice, until she yelled out a horrific scream that caused most of us to jump and shriek with terror. One of us actually fell out of the chair. What came after? We laughed. The magic had worked. She had casted it well. Joe had lifted us out of our normal world and surrounded our minds with the gruesome details that the eye within me could not help, but see. That is the thing about storytelling. How much the story is worth really depends on the bond strength between the storyteller and the listener/reader.
Most of us have probably never experienced it before, but in a small sense you could say synaesthetic elements have been around and experienced for a long time. Music videos all have images that correspond to a certain sound (such as a dance move to a certain beat), and if the same movement keeps being interconnected to the same sound, your brain will begin to correspond that sound to that visual moment. Though not a complete synaesthetic experience in the phenomenon sense, some music videos can trigger a minimal synaesthetic experience. One of my favorite videos for this is Daft Punk's "Around the World":
From a storytelling perspective, synaesthesia can be an amazing tool to make the interactivity more significant. A story benefits from being memorable and a synaesthetic element makes the experience intimately memorable for the person experiencing it.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
For those that don't know who Crispin Glover is, he played Michael J. Fox's dad in the Back to the Future movies, as well as countless other more significant roles in a bunch of movies that didn't quite get the fame they deserved.
I love how dramatic he makes this short reading. It's only a couple lines but he can make them so memorable just by the nervous pitch in his voice and how strangely he treats the whole thing. Notice how much he hangs on each word he pronounces, as if every word had several meanings.
In terms of how it relates to interactive storytelling... this "Little Miss Muffet" story is hardly significant on its own, and yet the delivery seems to alter it tremendously. This is the same reason why Morgan Freeman is chosen to narrate almost every documentary; he just simply makes the story more compelling. Storytelling can definitely be more impacting when each word and sentence in a literary story is given the most meaning and importance possible.
Chris Crawford says that "digital" does not mean "interactive". He explains how the computer is a tool for creating videos or games, but it doesn't necessarily alter the story. But it think that depending on what you are doing on the computer, or what game, it can be altered. Our social network projected is very interactive, because everyone contributes to the blog. You can input your own information which may or may not change, or disprove the following information that was posted.
Monday, August 3, 2009
I'm still not sure how much of a story that project is, but it reminded me of something I'm a lot more familiar with: the game of twenty questions. Specifically, the online version at www.20q.net, which operates using artificial intelligence that has collected information from everyone who has ever played against it. It is eerie how often the program can guess what you're thinking, but when it's wrong it's REALLY wrong. In a similar way to the project Chris Crawford described, the user interacts with the program by picking among "Yes, No, Unknown, Irrelevant, Sometimes, Probably, Doubtful" in response to the program's questions. Though the questions often seem irrelevant, the program is narrowing down the options as the user plays, and its surprising how accurate it can be just from asking things like "Do you wear make-up?" and "Are you Catholic?". At the end of twenty questions the program will make a guess, and if it is wrong the user can keep playing until the program has it right.
In comparison to the project Chris Crawford described, this seems like a sort of inversion of it: instead of the user choosing objects and leaving the story to the computer, the user chooses a "story" (in the form of a person or object) at the beginning and then manipulates the elements the computer gives to form it.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
we would like for everyone in the class to interact on the blog