Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Art Crimes: An Investigation in Understanding Art

Art Crimes: An Investigation in Understanding Art

In this paper, I describe a few prototypes that were created with the hope of building a vehicle for viewing and understanding Himalayan art in a culturally sensitive and accessible manner.My initial experimentation that is documented within this paper demonstrates an exploration into presenting an unique viewing experience of art for a fairly young user group. These projects could eventually be combined with educational lesson plans, facilitate a dialogue for the topic of art loss on museum or industry websites, or even stand as fun games to play on there own. I strongly believe that this kind of investigation of informal education is crucial to engraining the concepts of history, culture and art into the minds of younger-aged viewers, as well as to keep the manner relevant and accessible.

Download the paper here

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Yeti game- progress


Saturday, December 6, 2008

I've got FLOW!!!!


Friday, December 5, 2008

Skeleton, etc

I. Historically, museums and cultural art institutions have displayed relics and art of "foreign" countries and lands via intricate exhibition designs. While this method of display serves the purpose of representation and documentation, the rich histories and provenance of the objects are often not communicated to the viewer in an adequate and engaging manner. I am investigating alternative methods for the presentation, representation and communication of cultural property. Having worked in museums for the past 15 yrs, I have always been interested in new ways to view art and for this project I wanted to build upon that interest and experience in order to prototype a potential vehicle for viewing Himalayan art in a culturally sensitive and accessible manner. For this investigation my solution was to create a game that asks the viewer to look at art by examining the absence of the art- that is art that was either lost, stolen or vandalized during war time aka ART CRIMES.

II. Before I reached the concept of a creating a game:
- i looked into areas of field that had similar domains:
- other museums
- comics

III. Based on my research, I had determined that gaming was a valid method for experimentation.
- it had been a major area of overlap (VENN)
- it was an area that museums were beginning to get involved with
- its something that has an audience but yet is ripe for exploration in my domains

IV. Prior to coming up with the actual game, I had struggled with how to bring the idea of provenance into the viewing experience
- previous work experience at ALR
- Quicktime VR
- Games
- after first efforts I delve into the prototyping process

3 questions
ways to communicate history
additional application- in connection with schools/educational setting

Some scenery and FINALLY real progress with narrative

More exciting than making my way through the artwork in 2 days..ahem... was really coming up with a more exciting spin on the concept for the game. Basically the idea is to mix historical facts, visual clues and quiz based games with thematic strategy silly games. Here is my run down. The idea of a storyboard was daunting to me because I really just wanted to write out a script of sorts, so that's what I did:

1. INTRO SCREEN (WEBSITE) Click on play window
2. MAP SCREEN- choose Tibet (level)
3. CLIPBOARD SCREEN- get clipboard- clipboard has note saying that you should start in Tibet to see if you can find any clues in the original location. The monastery is in the hills of the Tibetan countryside, the easiest way to get there is to try to find a monk in the food market in the center of town.
4. MARKETPLACE SCREEN- go to the center of town- the market
first search for the monk.
lots of people.
ask around by clicking on people to start a conversation
yak herder- oh well, why would you want to go to THAT monastery? The art
was completey stolen during the Cultural Revolution! The walls are stripped!

If I were you I would ask the hat seller. You are going to need a good hat if you are
travelling up there!

Hat seller. These are the kind of hats Tibet is known for. Would you like to buy one?
He will not talk to you unless you buy a hat. If you choose to not buy the hat, you get shoed away.
if you do buy hat, he tells you that the monk is buying dri milk.

(distraction room -karaoke bar where people are singing and dancing to Nangma dance music
game following the dance moves and play along the intricate beat (ala ddr).)

monk is untrusting, tests your knowledge on Tibet:
click on items that are Tibetan...

Monk leads you to mountain.

5.MOUNTAIN SCREEN-need to click on things. when the yak falls a yak herder comes by to help. She first says that you need to be careful... yaks are very important to Tibetans.
I need to watch out for all my yaks... particularly after the monastery was attacked! Luckily some of the art was smuggled to America.
So! Lets figure out how to get you up the mountain.
Well I know a special route but listen, you have to be careful for the yeti. Although it's just a legend.... he's rumored to be hanging around these hills!
game of climbing up the mountain and avoiding the yeti and falling rocks.

6. EXTERIOR MONASTERY SCREEN- you make it to the monastery. another monk. another set of questions about Tibet-
Geography quiz

7.INTERIOR MONASTERY SCREEN- you get into monastery
need to make the mandala to get the key
You can take
the key opens the box
the box has a map of NY and then a picture of Times Square, a flier from the Latse Library. You decide to go to NY. The monk with the key tells you that you are going to need a good luck charm and gives you a khata

------------ this is where I stopped for the purpose of completion, but in theory then you would go to NY, Times Sq, then Latse, then to a dealer, then to a collector, then to grandchildren.
Side note: throughout the game there will be good luck charms that can be collected for points. I haven't figured out how that is going to play into the overall game yet. I think also you can get points based on your quiz scores etc.





Monday, December 1, 2008

A Few Prototypes

This week I focused on getting information about the monastery at Palpung and trying to develop the quicktime vr idea. I spent many hours at the Latse Library and spoke with several key members of the library staff who helped me to develop my project idea. At the library, I was able to get a few images of the monastery but only exterior views. However, after researching a few books on Tibetan architecture I was interested in reading about the surrounding buildings including the Dege Sutra-Printing Academy. The academy is a fully functional print shop! Anyway, based on this research I have a different concept for the direction of my project which is to have a game that will require participants to venture to the surrounding regions of the monastery in order to solve the mystery of what has happened to the art. More on that later.
It took me a little bit longer than I anticipated to understand what goes into creating a quicktime vr movie. I tried to prototype a friend's room to understand how the qtvr functions.
The steps to make the vr are really quite simple:
1. take photos (this involves taking pics with a tripod)
2. stitch photos
3. import into cubic converter
4. export

step number 1: really should be done with a wide angle lens- otherwise you will need to take something around 80 photos for the panorama as I did and still did not get an entire picture.

step number 2: i did the stitching in adobe photoshop cs3. There is an auto align and auto blend function there, however they are quirky and do not always work.

I am still trying to get my stitching to work correctly. I have done two major efforts:

The second set is from the Rubin Museum of Art's 2nd Floor permanent collection exhibition What is Himalayan Art? I spent all day Saturday photographing the images with a tripod and 360 head. Unfortunately I did not have a fisheye lens so things are still coming out funky. Because of this, I just did a drawing identifying where the images should go in relationship to the final placement on the cube.

After the realization that I am basically constructing a cube, I went back to my first prototype and started to divide it into sections as in walls. This is as far as I got so far:

It's not perfect, however I learned a few valuable lessons here, mainly that auto align doesn't work with multilayered panoramas so I had to hand stitch again. But, I think that I made some good progress at least in terms of understanding what needs to be done. The real question here though is whether I should continue this effort. I don't have any images of the monastery. I only have the images of the art. I would need to create everything or somehow get the people at the monastery to give me some help which doesnt look like a good prospect. not giving up- just questioning. Im glad to have this understanding of qtvr.

So this idea was a bit of a new idea for me. I am definitely still working out the kinks. But the basic concept is to create a game that asks the viewer to look at art by examining the absence of the art.

Look and Feel Prototype: some potential characters. (The yak would not be standing like this but I wanted him to pose for the group photo).
Role Prototype

So this is clearly storyboard A. I need to develop this idea more but I was getting so excited by the prospect of the game that I got overwhelmed. Anyway, I had this other thought that the game could be done in Flash and then integrated into a website that would raise awareness about provenance issues and war- related art. It could be a forum of sorts, or a community. The goal would not be to restitute the art, there are tons of other websites and organizations that are devoted to that cause, but maybe to allow people to understand the importance of these kinds of acts of political violence.