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thought interface


Now, this would make a great interface for a video game/installation: 'Mental typewriter' controlled by thought alone

coming up

For the next few months, in addition to (and as a part of) working on my dissertation, I'll also be making improvements to Playas in preparation for it's inclusion in the Transvergence category of ISEA 2006 and ZeroOne San Jose: A Global Festival of Art on the Edge. I need to fix a few bugs, improve/replace some of the embedded videos, and develop the interface based on some of the feedback received during participant evaluations.

what's happening


Well, it's official, the Playas project has taken over my life :-) When I returned from Singapore, I did some user evaluations and realized that some of the same issues relating to PNN, virtual experience, and art exist within Playas. I began to think that Playas might be a better case study because it is less complicated and will allow me to more narrowly focus on the issue of critical reflection. I'll continue to work on PNN once I finish my dissertation. This semester I've been concentrating on establishing a structure and doing a lot of reading. I'll take my prelims in May, complete research, and finish most of the writing this summer. Finally, I'll defend in December.

Playas Website

The Playas: Homeland Mirage website is up and running. or

Back from Singapore

I'm back, have caught up on most of those things that didn't get done while I was gone, and have finished user evaluations of the installation. I still have to write a research paper and put together a website for the project. Depending on the size of the final files, I hope to have a download section on so you guys can download your own copy of the game. I've fixed some bugs the last few weeks, and need to re-compile the Windows version. Beware that this game pushes low end computers pretty hard. You need to have a good video card (gamer quality), and plenty of RAM to run things smoothly.

Ebert on Games as Art

Fairly interesting discussion going on at Plastic about Roger Ebert's dismissal of video game "art." Ebert thinks there's a structural reason games can't be art, and that's because of the loss of authorial control when outcomes are determined by user choices. He seems to be unaware of that choices are made, independent of the author, in film and literature already. This doesn't diminish the experience of art. While I'm not going to defend the video game industry and it's products, I DO think that games CAN rise to the level of art, or I wouldn't have developed Playas. Playas is full of authorial control. Choices do not obviate authorial control. In fact, they CAN enrich the experience by allowing the user to come to their own fulfillment of meaning....a deeper kind of aesthetic experience.

Of course, there are also many works of art that thrive on the lack of authorial control. Coincidentally, Eduardo Kac was here recently, and his book, Telepresence and Bio Art, addresses this issue when he discusses "dialogical" and "monological" artworks. Digital media provide new opportunities by setting up dialogue between the artist and viewer.

Unfortunately, it seems that many people engaged in the discussion are more interested in the place of *commercial* video games. They are unaware that there are a number of people working with game technology in the service of art.

Playas: Homeland Mirage Project

Well, I fell into a digital hole-in-the-ground and have just surfaced for a bit. The last time I had a chance to post to this blog, I was beginning a project for the artist-in-residence visit of Steve Rowell and the Center For Land Use Interpretation. Originally, it was just going to be a simple 4-6 week project, but the more I got involved, the more interesting it became. I was taking Recombinant Media II from Andruid Kerne, simultaneously, and he encouraged me to develop it into an installation and submit it to the ACM Multimedia 2005 Interactive Art Exhibition (jurors Jeffrey Shaw, Yukiko Shikata, Eugene Tan, Wolfgang Muench, Alejandro Jaimes, Andrew Senior). I worked on it all summer, and then, thanks to Yauger Williams' Visual Studies 305 and 405 classes, we finished things up just in time to take it to Singapore the first week of November.


It's been a great experience. We learned a lot, found plenty of bugs, and met some great people. Now that I've been back for a few weeks, fixed some bugs, performed user evaluations of the installation, and had a chance to think about things, there are many questions and issues that make me want to continue working on the project. I hadn't expected that, considering how burned out I was towards the end of October. We'll see where it goes from here.....

Server downtime

I'm going to be updating the OS on the server today around 12 or 1. Should take 30 minutes or so if nothing breaks. So if you're trying to ftp or view the photo gallery, and nothing happens, that's what's going on.


FTP Server

An ftp server has been set up so we can exchange files easily. The address is, and the user and password are the same as the one I told you last week. I'll remind everyone in class today. In order to use the ftp you'll need to be logged into the school VPN, or else be located on-campus.

Another character reference set

I just uploaded another fully set-up character to be used as a reference/base for modeling and texturing. You can get the files via ftp at