Monday, April 2, 2012

The Museum as Game Space

This week we have class at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and, although we'll look for how digital narrative is used in the museum experience, and talk about contemporary art, basically we're going there to play and make up some games using the museum space as our game space.

We'll start here:
 Ice Floe (2011), Wendy Jacob

and end here:

Endlessly Repeating Twentieth Century Modernism (2007) Josiah McElheny

And, oh, in between . . . . .


Today we will:
1    1) Think about the museum as a space, and examine the experience of being in 3D space.
        2) Consider how digital media and digital narrative are used in the museum.
    3) Play/create some games, or some game elements (easy on the ilinx!)  There are some below to try out.  Then, in your group, come up with at least one of your own.  Take some pictures (stop if a guard tells you to).  Upload them to the blog, or do some other clever thing with them as part of your game.

INTRODUCTION: Contemporary Art, Interactive Experiences, & Wendy Jacobs’s “Ice Floe”

Choose one or two partners. 

Agôn: It’s you and your partner against the other teams.  Who will find the clue under the Edward Hopper painting, A Room in Brooklyn, first?  Follow the clue for the next steps.

Alea: Whose birthdate is the lowest number?  You are the team leader for the next 5 minutes.

Mimicry:  You are a secret agent, under cover, now with your mission directive from the woman in the room in Brooklyn.  Find the man who is watching her.  One of your team is an eager, young recruit, another is an older, jaded more experienced hack.  Anyone else is someplace in the middle and hiding a secret.  Go to the next place and argue about how to proceed for 1-2 minutes.

Ilinx: Oh, it is so tempting . . . but we are not going to do much with this one.   You can spin around outside by the giant baby heads on your way home if you feel this is too much of a copout.  Spin and look a giant baby head in the eye.

Think about what is paidia, free-form open play, and what is ludus, rule-based play.  How does one shift between the two?

PART 2: Play a game.  Start by 11:45. Choose one of the following as a starting point and do the game activity. 

Heist! There’s been a heist!  Because of the lockdown as soon as it was discovered, the thief , a master of disguise, wasn’t able to escape from the museum, and is still hiding , cleverly concealed as a sculpture.   Find the culprit by finding a sculpture with one of your names on the tag. 

Color Match: You are a collector of rare paintings and if you can find a match for the colors in your paintings in any gallery, you will donate that painting to the museum.  Each person choose five colors by the next five colors you see by looking to your right (and NOT at a painting!)  Then go into a gallery and see who finds a painting with all 5 colors first.

Art Talk: Pick a gallery to start, and each player chooses an artist to role play.  Discuss the paintings in that gallery, then move to another gallery.

Find the _______:   In the following order, find in the art: a fish, a red flower, leaves on the ground, a bare shoulder, a horse, a musical instrument, an abstract with blue and green.

Random tour:  Politely ask someone what their favorite painting is in the museum.  It can be someone who works there.  Go to that painting.  Read the note on the wall until it mentions another painter.  Go and find a painting by that painter.   If that note doesn’t mention another painter, or if the painting doesn’t have a note, go to the next painting in that room that does.  If you can’t find a painting by the mentioned painter, find one by a painter with the same first letter of the last name.    Now look at the painting directly across from whatever one you just found. 

Movement: Start on the third floor of the American wing in any gallery.  Choose the painting or object with the most red in it.  Walk 15 steps to your right (or your left if right is not an option).  Find the nearest staircase.   Go down one level.  Find the object with the most blue that you can see.  Walk away from that object, 3 steps forward, 3 steps to the right or left (choose one direction and stick to it) until you find another interesting object.  Look for the most yellow object in the room.  Walk 5 steps forward, 3 left or right until you find another interesting object.

PART 3:  Your own game.  Start by 12:15.
Now, with your partner/s, design your own game that takes place in the space of the museum.   You can stay in the American wing or go to the Contemporary Gallery back in the Linde Wing.  Think about game objects (including the players), their properties, behaviors, and the relationships among the objects.  Consider the system dynamics (how much information do the players have about the system? What aspects of the system do they control? Feedback? How does it affect the game?)  Does your game use technology like augmented reality?  What kinds of devices?  Is it an alternate reality game?

Meet back at the Linde Wing, 2nd floor, Contemporary Gallery at the big mirrored cube piece towards the back of that gallery at 12:30, then we’ll go downstairs to get coats and head out in time for you to be back on campus at time for your next class. 

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