Try Googling “Zerg Rush” for an Interactive Google Experience…

This morning my brother told me to google “zerg rush,” which, to anyone who doesn’t play Starcraft, means complete gibberish.  Still unsure if it was work-friendly or if Zerg was a word for some kind of freaky porn, I decided to take the risk and do it anyway.  For the ladies in the house who don’t dork out on the regsies: zerg rush is a Starcraft reference for battling insectoids.

When you google ‘zerg rush,’ the O’s from Google’s logo launch an attack on your search results, eating them up unless you have extraordinary index finger strength to click them all away before they do any damage.  Even if this is true, you will still lose, I don’t care how good you are at Starcraft.  When the deed is done, you have the option to submit, share, and compare your score with others.

This is the first instance of interactive search engines that I’ve ever seen, and it means exciting things for the future.  What if you were to launch a completely interactive search engine?  What is the intention and reward from doing this?  Well, in Google’s case, it does a few things: 1. They’ve pioneered the interactive search engine style, claiming it as theirs. 2. They will draw even more people to their site while this goes viral, attracting fringe audiences, gamers, and nerds. 3. They can test out interaction on google to see how well it does, how many people it draws, and as a result, it serves as a prototype for future interactive implementation. So, it could and probably will be a huge moneymaker for them.

Google didn’t really need to test this out, since it’s pretty obvious that adding interactivity to any commercial product will take you straight to the bank.  We can’t help it-we’re a curious species and we’ve been wanting to push random buttons since we were toddlers (how often did you argue with siblings over who gets to push the elevator button…?). But I’m glad they did, because they are giving us a taste of what’s yet to come, and I can’t wait to see more.

If you’re still reading this and you haven’t googled Zerg Rush yet, what’s wrong with you?? Go do it! Get ready and click here.


Finally, an interactive installation for festival crowds!

Sydney-based studio Rezon8 came up with a way to make music festival goers interact even more by immersing them in an augmented reality system where imaginary creatures will frolic with you.  Great interactive things come from Australia! In “Curious Creatures,” you can interact with these strange animals as if it were a projected petting zoo (now there’s an idea…)! The piece was a finalist in SXSW Interactive this year. Check out the videos below for a peek at how it was done:

How they did it:

About Rezon8:

“Rezon8 create Interacta Systems using cutting-edge computer vision techniques, 3D scanning technology and intelligent targeting software to interact with customers in public spaces. By focusing on augmented reality, Reson8 has turned once passive out-of-home advertising into a highly engaging and innovative communication medium.”

About the project:

“This project was developed through the Splendid arts program and commissioned for Splendour in the Grass 2010. Splendid is a Lismore Regional Gallery project, in partnership with Northern Rivers Performing Arts (NORPA), Splendour in the Grass and funded through the Opportunities for Young and Emerging Artists Initiative (OYEA) of the Australia Council.”

Source: Rezon8 Curious Creatures

If Lars Von Trier Directed a Donald Duck Movie, This Would Happen:

If the name Lars Von Trier sounds even vaguely familiar to you, you probably know that he’s notorious for his ever-serious, dark, and disturbing directorial style.  I still remember the first Trier film I saw back in Prague where they have gigantic screens in the movie theatres, and no part of Antichrist escaped me—especially the extreme-close-up shot of Charlotte Gainsbourg taking a pair of scissors to her ladyparts.  I am still scarred from this, and so is my friend who cried after we got home from the film because she was so (understandably) disturbed.

Alas, it seems my pain and suffering from sitting through an hour and 38 minutes of violently disturbing porn and horror — or as young Alex and his droogs would say, “a bit of the ultraviolent” — has paid off, because without it I would have no context to find the humor in the above video.  So, my fellow Von Trier film PTSD sufferers, watch and enjoy.  Just don’t let it mess with your love of the Donald & Daisy Duck family!!

Step Inside your Individualized Colorbox


Brought to life as a Kickstarter project, Colorbox is an awesome way to “get inside art.”  Created in part by Gabriel Mott, your motions dictate what happens to projected colors and lights once you step inside a giant white box.  Anyway, Kickstarter seems to be a great platform for interactive art, which can require some very expensive materials such as projectors, cameras, and technology.  Good to know…

Click here to visit the Color Box website.

Interactive Artist Profile: Jennifer Steinkamp

I’ve loved Jennifer Steinkamp’s work ever since I was visiting a friend at Pomona College and was fortunate enough to have her as a guest speaker for my friend’s art class.  Had I known I would be so interested in this stuff back then, I would have asked a lot more questions.  Steinkamp creates beautiful multimedia installations such as the one pictured above and below; check it out and see a full list of her impressive multimedia repertoire at her personal website.

3 Sweet Adventurous Video Games for 2012

1. Botanicula (release: April 19, 2012)

Very much like Limbo, adventure game Botanicula takes you on a journey through beautiful scenery, challenging puzzles, and heartless adversaries.  It’s a follow-up from Machinarium, and is to be released April 19 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Gorgeous animation makes it all the more fun:

2. Closure (available for purchase)

Closure reminds me even more of Limbo (have I played that too much?) in its high contrast, black-and-white aesthetic adventure style.  What’s so creative about it is that your environment is based on your light source; where there is darkness, there is literally nothingness. Solve all the puzzles, and don’t fall!

3. Journey (released March 2012)

This adventure game for PS3 strikes a balance between the Final Fantasy series and Okami, but with a subtler, more introspective tone.  That Game Company describes it as this:

“Faced with rolling sand dunes, age-old ruins, caves and howling winds, your passage will not be an easy one. The goal is to get to the mountaintop, but the experience is discovering who you are, what this place is, and what is your purpose.”

Watch the trailer below to get excited:

Sources: Kotaku, That Game Company

You Want This: Digital Rug

NTT Learning Group created this large-scale interactive rug that makes walking seem a whole lot more interesting!  Watch the flowers sway as this little girl tests it out. Then try to tell me you don’t want this for yourself…

Source: NTT

Spotlight: Interactive Graphic Novel “The Prisoner”

The Prisoner” is an immersive graphic novel experience.  Narrated by its main character (Rebecca Meadows), ‘Prisoner’ tells the story of a young woman searching for her sister who has been committed to a mysterious psychiatry ward owned by an evil corporation.  Drawing on the same themes of Funcom’s Dreamfall and films Inception, Memento, and Shutter Island, this interactive graphic novel brings up questions about perceived truth, reality, and consciousness.  Found exclusively online, the project is based on AMC’s show “The Prisoner” and ten new chapters are added every Tuesday.  Interact with the novel here.

Source: AMC’s The Prisoner

Rumpetroll: Interactive Website of the Week

Rumpetroll is fantastic in its utilization of social media in an interactive HTML5 environment.  Twitter users become little tadpoles who swim in an infinitely vast pond, moving by pressing their mouse and able to communicate with other twitter users they pass via typing.  Think of it as a blend of Twitter and Chat Roulette, with more user navigation and simple, straight-forward design.  Aren’t we all just tadpoles in a big pond after all?  Visit the site here.

Source: Rumpetroll

Art that Reflects the Universe

Here are three pieces featured in last February’s Kinetica Artfair that take inspiration from our very own Universe.  From the movement of atoms within matter to an understanding of space, time, and nothingness, these projects draw from the fibers that make up our worlds and, as a result, are very cool.

András Mengyán,  Polyphonic Visual Space (2011)

“In his current work, Mengyán attempts to find the answers to three questions:  a. ‘How is it possible (if it is possible at all) to comprehend simultaneously, the multifaceted nature and qualitative changes and aspects of a perceived environment?’  b. ‘Is there any means of visually expressing this simultaneous perception?’ and, c. ‘Is our three dimensional awareness adequate to comprehend all of these?’  The weighing up of the possibilities of providing an answer led him to a sort of solution, which in short he refers to as: Polyphonic Visual Space or ‘Simultaneous Spatial-View’.” (Kinetica)

Tom Wilkinson, Green Ray (1999)

“Recognising that all matter and physical objects are made of particles in motion with vast gaps of nothingness between their composite atoms, Wilkinson is interested in the movement of energy and the pattern that are created in the process. The spherical form is of particular interest as Wilkinson considers it to be the purest form in the physical world, the shape all matter, when fluid, gravitates towards.” (Wilkinson)

Martin Bricelj Baraga, Darkstar (2012)

Teaser trailer:

“DarkStar is a developing interactive sculpture for public space that generates an audiovisual interpretation of its direct and indirect surroundings. The installation reacts to the space it is situated in and the people around it but also to the movements of the stars.

Unlike ‘traditional’ monuments, DarkStar does not pay tribute to historic figures (politicians, soldiers, religious leaders, etc). Instead, DarkStar is an organism that pays homage to the city, space and time.

The illuminated part of the monument rotates in a full circle every minute. This means that DarkStar functions as a clock that only counts minutes and so marks the ever faster passage of time. The installation is a huge dome that reflects moon phases. The size of the illuminated section of the moon is transferred into the illuminated part of the Star which reflects the movements of the people within the space.”(Bturn)

Sources: ImageAndrás Mengyán, Tom WilkinsonMartin Bricelj Baraga, Darkstar, Bturn