In celebration of International Women’s Day, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is streaming the full Karen Cho’s award-winning NFB feature documentary Status Quo? The Unfinished Business of Feminism in Canada, and many others until Sunday, 10 March. Click HERE to see them.
Archive for the ‘Games/Play’ Category
Architektur für Kinder is an ongoing research project about the history of playgrounds and will transform into an international show in the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh PA (June 2013).
Somewhere between film and video-game, in the interactive installation Hold On, you can go your way through famous movie’s sequences like those from The Shining, Way of the Dragon or Jurassic Park.
Thanks to an arcade-type device, you can choose and control sequences from those video-ludic style movies. Paradoxically using both the very contemporary interactivity process and the old recording practice, the spectator can control the movements of the main actor turned into an avatar. The spectator can break the logical rhythm of the movie and lengthens the action using his joystick. He can delay the inescapable course of the sequence unit its end, both playing with and against time.
When machinimas are currently exploring video games to reproduce cinematics, Hold On, on the contrary, develops a playful and dynamic experience based on cinema.
Google Earth Movies project consists in a series of interactive adaptations of emblematic sequences extracted from famous movies, recreated and played in Google Earth. In this visualization software, which allows exploring the 3D world from many satellite sources – topographical and weather satellites – the original video camera movements are precisely transcribed in the original filming location and with the original soundtrack synchronized. Moreover, the software being interactive, a joystick may be used to manipulate the camera during the reading to observe the whole screen out landscape. Thus, it is a striking cinematographic experience that is given to us: the “objectivation” operated by Google Earth, presenting ghostly worlds emptied from any characters, allows to be focused on the framing and the editing of these well-known movies haunting our imagination. Putting these narrative sequences back in context establishes a true bridge between these cinematographic, physical and virtual spaces. The spectator is freed from the frame and from the territory; he is given a new space of time, a sort of intimate screen out, interrogating its link to the real and to fiction.
All the works above by Émilie Brout & Maxime Marion. Text and Images taken from their website.
“Universal Tea Machine” is a gargantuan cross between a tea-making device, a primitive computer and a pinball machine. As tall as a giraffe, as long as a double-decker bus and as colourful as a fun fair, the UTM is a playful new way to engage with London’s rich and vibrant history.
The UTM is a computer that relies on teamwork and calculation to produce the perfect cup of tea. By pulling a sequence of handles, you release a series of balls from their caddies at the top of the UTM. Through a simple set of commands, engaging the binary calculation of an adding machine, you then instruct the making of your ideal cuppa.
Silly and serious, interactive and spectacular, modern and historic, calculating and fantastical, the UTM encourages kids of all ages – from 1 to 100 – to engage with London’s dynamic history of trade, calculation and tea-drinking.
Text and Images via The Bartlett School of Architecture
According to EteRNA: By playing EteRNA, you will participate in creating the first large-scale library of synthetic RNA designs. Your efforts will help reveal new principles for designing RNA-based switches and nanomachines — new systems for seeking and eventually controlling living cells and disease-causing viruses. By interacting with thousands of players and learning from real experimental feedback, you will be pioneering a completely new way to do science. Join the global laboratory!
EteRNA is starting with simple shapes like “the finger” and “the cross” to make sure you can nail the fundamentals. And then we’ll be moving on to elaborate shapes like trees. And then molecules that switch folds when they sense a specific other piece of RNA. This might take a few weeks, or it might take a year — we want to make sure we can ace these exercises.
After that, we will embark on one of a few epic projects – perhaps we’ll make the first RNA random-access memory for a computer. Or switches that enables cells to fluoresce if they start expressing cancer genes. Or how about a nanomotor? Or a nanoLED display? There are lots of options, and we’ll let you propose your own and choose.
Finally, you’ll start seeing a few other kinds of puzzles popping up in later stages: The ability to play with RNAs in three dimensions. The ability to see natural RNAs from bacteria, viruses, and humans; and challenges to predict their properties. Stay tuned.
Through a mass choreographed act of walking and endurance running, NVA’s Speed of Light will illuminate the iconic mountain, which rises dramatically from the heart of the city. A mesmerizing visual display unfolds on the ascent to the summit as hundreds of runners wearing specially commissioned light suits take to the intricate path networks below. As a member of the walking audience, you become part of the work, with portable light sources set against the dark features of the mountainside.
Text and Image via Edinburgh International Festival.
“Mouth Factory”, by Cheng Guo, is a series of functional machines specifically designed to be operated by the mouth of the user. It explores the capabilities and versatility of this wondrous organ and correlating facial expressions, re-contextualized within the realm of production. As a comment on human enhancement, the project aims to explore the aesthetic of production through a series of performative devices. By focusing on the mouth, the production devices acquire a fantastic quality that amplifies and render visible the reciprocal relationship and effects between our body and our tools.
Inhaling vacuum form machine
Blowing rotational molding machine
Jay Cheel: “Here’s a new short that I filmed with some friends over the past month. It’s a 10 minute documentary called “The Politics of Competitive Board Gaming Amongst Friends”; a title that pretty much sums up the content.
From a technical standpoint, I wanted to shoot this short as a sort of dry run for the recreations in my upcoming feature documentary, How to Build a Time Machine. Although the content and approach will be pretty different than what’s presented here, I just wanted to take on a small project that would allow me to play around with re-enactments. I shot this with the Panasonic AF100, using the following lenses: Nikon 50mm, Nikon 35mm, Panasonic Lumix 14mm. I didn’t do a whole lot for lighting aside from assisting some of the practical lights in Matt’s apartment (a 650 bounced off the ceiling), and stringing some coloured Christmas lights in the background for some visual points of interest. For the interviews, it was simply a single bulb cool light hung directly overhead the subjects.”
Photo/Nykto is an experimental game conceived by Annelore Schneider and Douglas Edric Stanley as part of the « Unterplay » project at the Master Media Design —HEAD, Genève. It is a game for nyktophobes and photophobes. It is played by switching on and off the lights in order to avoid reaching the edge of the screen. The score increases exponentially near the edges, and speeds up with each change from light to dark and back.
In 1989, as communism was beginning to crumble across Eastern Europe, just a few months before protesters started pecking away at the Berlin Wall, the Japanese game-making giant Nintendo reached across the world to unleash upon America its own version of freedom. The new product was the Game Boy — a hand-held, battery-powered plastic slab that promised to set gamers loose, after all those decades of sweaty bondage, from the tyranny of rec rooms and pizza parlors and arcades.
And so a tradition was born: a tradition I am going to call (half descriptively, half out of revenge for all the hours I’ve lost to them) “stupid games.” In the nearly 30 years since Tetris’s invention — and especially over the last five, with the rise of smartphones — Tetris and its offspring (Angry Birds, Bejeweled, Fruit Ninja, etc.) have colonized our pockets and our brains and shifted the entire economic model of the video-game industry. Today we are living, for better and worse, in a world of stupid games.
Game-studies scholars (there are such things) like to point out that games tend to reflect the societies in which they are created and played. Monopoly, for instance, makes perfect sense as a product of the 1930s — it allowed anyone, in the middle of the Depression, to play at being a tycoon. Risk, released in the 1950s, is a stunningly literal expression of cold-war realpolitik. Twister is the translation, onto a game board, of the mid-1960s sexual revolution. One critic called it “sex in a box.”
Continue article by SAM ANDERSON at NYT HERE
Google Maps is now available for 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment Systems (NES). Availability in Google Store is TBD but you can try it on your browser by going to
and clicking “Quest” in the upper right hand corner of the map.
“Ouija knows all the answers. Weird and mysterious. Surpasses, in its unique results, mind reading, clairvoyance and second sight. It furnishes never failing amusement and recreation for the entire family. As unexplainable as Hindu magic—more intense and absorbingly interesting than a mystery story. Ouija gives you entertainment you have never experienced. It draws the two people using it into close companionship and weaves about them a feeling of mysterious isolation. Unquestionably the most fascinating entertainment for modern people and modern life.”
With these words, William Fuld (businessman, designer, toy maker, with no branch factories or offices) invites you, the American people, to enter the strange, twilight world of Ouija, the Wonderful Talking Board.
Visit the gallery of the Museum of Talking Boards
Devised and Constructed by Lucas Abela, The Vinyl Rally is an immersive participatory play-set playing off vinyl fetishism, video arcade mystique and the machismo of motor sports in a video game played within a real world setting.
Classic first person video racing is simulated as remote control cars with styli attached, race across a track constructed from a mass of disused vinyl records. Transmitting sound (produced as the styli skim along the vinyl surface) and vision (from wireless spy cameras mounted to the front of each car) to re-engineered old school racing consoles with immersive 50” flat screens. Here players navigate the course from the vehicles point of view, not only controlling the cars movements, but also the parameters of the resulting sounds they create via a series of unique audio effects mounted onto the dashboard (by Last Gasp Laboratories) giving each car its own distinct aural flavor. These sounds are emitted from speakers built into the seats causing them to vibrate in correspondence with the movements on screen, producing a personally immersive experience aurally, visually and physically that can only be truly appreciated seated at the controls.
Text and Images via Dualplover
From University of Alberta — The University of Alberta’s ownership of the Guinness dodgeball record has been much like a yoyo game—now you have it, now you don’t. And so on Feb. 3, U of A students, staff and faculty were back at it for a third attempt to reclaim the Guinness World Record for the largest number of players in a game.
After more than an hour-long of pushing, running and throwing by players, the Guinness World Record adjudicator, Philip Robertson, who flew in from New York for the game, took to the stage.
“What can I say,” he says. “I’ve never seen so many people throw dodge balls against each other before. It was tremendous to watch, really good fun. The guidelines were all followed. And with that, I’m happy to announce that University of Alberta, Canada, has a new Guinness World Record.”
Lego toys have always seemed pleasantly gender-neutral. Perhaps that’s why the new Lego Friends line for girls has triggered a fair bit of protest from some health and equal-rights organizations.
The new line, whose characters sport slim figures and stylish clothes, will contribute to gender stereotyping that promotes body dissatisfaction in girls, said Carolyn Costin, an eating disorders specialist and founder of the Monte Nido Treatment Center in Malibu.
Online petitions have been started to protest the line, which includes a Butterfly Beauty Shop and a Your Fashion Designer Workshop. The International Assn. of Eating Disorder Professionals said the toys were “devoid of imagination and promote overt forms of sexism.”
Written by Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times. Continue HERE
Oterp is a mobile phone game project using a GPS sensor to manipulate music in real time, depending on the player’s position on Earth. It generates new melodies when traveling. The objective of Oterp is to mix the reality of our everyday environment with a video game. This is a new way to imagine our movements in a society increasingly on the move and dependent on mobile interfaces.
Cubelets are magnetic blocks that can be snapped together to make an endless variety of robots with no programming and no wires. You can build robots that drive around on a tabletop, respond to light, sound, and temperature, and have surprisingly lifelike behavior. But instead of programming that behavior, you snap the cubelets together and watch the behavior emerge like with a flock of birds or a swarm of bees.
Each cubelet in the kit has different equipment on board and a different default behavior. There are Sense Blocks that act like our eyes and ears, Action blocks, and Think blocks. Just like with people, the senses are the inputs to the system.
Get your Cubelets HERE
Zen Magnets are small but curiously strong rare earth super-magnets, 5mm in diameter. How powerful? 8 Times more powerful than the ceramic magnets driving your speakers. 30 Times more powerful than the average fridge magnet.
Pull them into a chain, fold them into a fabric, and meld them into limitless shapes: both abstract and geometric, flat or 3D. Use them when you need to massage your mind, practice your patience, relieve some boredom or alleviate some stress.
Head feeling a bit dull? Maybe your brain just needs to get up and stretch a bit. You know, give it some exercise, get the blood flowing; make that gray matter in your skull stronger, faster. If allowed, Zen magnets can be a great workout for both hemispheres of your brain: The left brain – directing the right hand – that is responsible for logic, math and language. The right brain – controlling the left hand – that is responsible for spatial abilities, creativity and visualization. With total creative control, Zen magnets are more than the average puzzle advent, they are an enjoyable means to actual mental development.
Marta Bakowski: This self-initiated project comes from a primary research on “Emotional Design” or the emotional relationships we hold with objects. My main focus was on the power of movement and how it can affect our mood or perception of things when applied to an object.
Employing inherently playful materials such as springs, feathers, motors and gears, I created a series of small abstract, often geometrical constructions that I animated with a distinct rhythm and endearing characteristics, almost bringing each ‘creature’ to life.
This series of experiments resulted in a collection of colorful mechanical wooden toys, desirable to children and adults alike, which prove that fantasy is not necessarily a “stage one grows out of”.
This video is part of a research about movement. In this three dimensional brainstorming, each object is animated with a distinct rhythm and endearing characteristics which provide each ‘creature’ with a different personality.
Graph Words is an online interactive English dictionary and thesaurus that helps you find the meanings of words and show connections among associated words. You can easily see the meaning of each by simply placing the mouse cursor over it.
To search for a word, type the word in the search box at the top of the window and press the “Draw” button. You may also press the enter key instead. After searching for a word, the main display will populate with many words and meanings. The word you searched for will appear in the center of the display, and will be surrounded with words and meanings that are related to it.
To save what is currently displayed in the Graph Words, you can press the “Save as image” button on the toolbar.
Underneath Graph Words lays the WordNet – a large lexical database of English. Nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs are grouped into sets of cognitive synonyms (synsets), each expressing a distinct concept. These meanings and semantic relationships are revealed graphically by the HTML5 canvas made available by Graph Words.
Try it HERE