On 10th October 2017, The Queensland Writers’ Centre opened submissions for a special story competition. Called “8 Word Story”, the competition invited writers to submit a story in 8 words maximum. If selected, it would be displayed on digital billboards around Brisbane. Mine was selected, and broadcast on 24th October to multiple locations. There were over 10,000 entries.
Magister Ludi is a comedic game about our role in escape, that is a touring installation and is available for the iPad, and online (update: May 2015. Due to changes to Chrome where Unity web player cannot be used, view in any browser but Chrome). The game was commissioned for Experimenta’s 2015 International Biennial of Media Art: Recharge, is Finalist for the ‘Digital Narrative’ category of the 2016 WA Premier’s Book Prize, was Finalist for the 2015 International New Media Writing Prize (UK), Exhibited at Babycastles (NYC) for Cara Ellison’s 2015 ‘Embed with Games’ book launch, and was Official Selection for the 2014 Freeplay Independent Games Festival’s Parallels event at ACMI. “Magister Ludi” is an online game and installation that puts a twist on the escape-the-room genre with a wry narrator and design that interrogates our role in needing to escape. It is informed by my experience in getting through a PhD, getting over an abusive relationship, and getting away from poverty. It is about the thought-processes that stay with you long after the problems are around, and so you don’t truly escape until you deal with them. The title is an allusion to Herman Hesse’s Nobel-prize-winning novel “The Glass Bead Game,” and Magister Ludi plays with the idea of the conceptual game depicted in the novel. It launched in the exhibition and online in late November, 2014.
I did an artist talk at The Glasshouse on Thursday 27 August for a panel discussion with Jonathan Parsons, Artistic Director of Experimenta, and artists featured in Experimenta Recharge; Svenja Kratz, Christy Dena and Cake Industries.
Drawing on the escape-the-room phenomenon, I created a space that is about escape. However, since I wanted the emphasis to be on our role in needing to escape I changed the mechanics. Instead of solving puzzles through opening objects and moving them around to unlock puzzles, the player places objects in the room. The movement of objects is further complicated by what they mean. So the player needs to see whether adding to the room (or taking away) actually helps them or not. Indeed they’re not really escaping a room, instead they’re constructing their world in a manner that either denies their needs or places them on the path to self-sufficiency.
The full writing and interactions spreadsheets are available here (spoilers):
Robot University is an interventionist installation about our relationship with robots, experienced on large touch-screens, projectors, and motion-sensing Kinects. The project was commissioned as Australia’s first Digital Writing Residency at The Cube, QUT, funded by the Australia Council for the Arts and Queensland University of Technology (QUT). The Cube is a $230 million Science and Technology center. It was launched on 25th Feb 2014. The development blog and short documentary (see below) gives insights into this unique residency opportunity.
The project, “Robot University,” aims to transform negative attitudes towards robots. Western entertainment often paints robots as killing machines bent on our demise. It’s important that we consider the cultural impact of robots and how we interact with them now, so that we can better prepare ourselves for our ever-growing community of robots…a new species we’ve created.
Timeline: Residency ran from mid-July to mid-December, 2013. The project launched to the public on Feb 25th, 2014.