Thursday, May 5, 2016

Notification Escape - Unity Game

For my game created on Unity, I decided to utilize the concept of social media and getting notifications as something our society has quickly become addicted to because of the instant gratification affect.

The objective of the game is to catch as many flowers as possible while ignoring the social media notifications. Although it may seem tempting, catching the button will result in the player losing points.

"Notification Escape"also has a nature vs. technology theme to it, as you are forced to "look around and notice the flowers" while picking them up and ignoring the buttons on your cellphone. I sometimes have a hard time ignoring texts or things like Facebook and Instagram notifications, so this game to me was somewhat cathartic and I hope it is for others too.

The process of the game found to be very difficult at first because I was using a tutorial for an old version of unity, so the codes were not matching up. Eventually, it became easier to work with once the code for the hands began to function. If you play for long enough you will notice that sometimes, the notifications give you points. This was a mistake that wouldn't budge in the coding, but a wonderful mistake because it proves that a little social interaction never hurt anybody.

Overall, this was a great experience. I hope it becomes a learning game to help with our impulses so we don't all become cellphone addicted idiots!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

MFA Thesis Exhibit: The Erosion of Memory

At the Jot Travis building, an MFA student named Bahareh Shahrabi Farahani was showcasing her work. Her exhibit was called The Erosion of Memory. 

This was a very relaxing and thought-provoking exhibit. Her work mostly consisted of paintings and lit up boxes hung from the wall. It was interesting to walk through and the title of the exhibit made it all the more intriguing. 

Walking through the exhibit was like walking through a wave of memories. Each arrangement was displayed in a way that provoked a blissful memory. It was especially calming near the center of the exhibit where a curtain draped down to make a wave like structure that did not lead to anything, just encased you in it's delicate curtains making you feel warm and accepted. Almost as if you were lying in a bed with drapes around it. 

The exhibit was unique and interesting. It was fun walking through and observing the work this student had created and experiencing her artistic talent. 

Oscar de la Renta at the de Young

While visiting home a few months ago in March, I decided to check out the Oscar de la Renta exhibit at the de Young in San Francisco. I have always loved his style of dresses and this exhibit showcased a myriad of dresses he had designed from his earlier years to before he had died. It was a beautiful and elaborate arrangement and the designers did an excellent job at setting up the displays.

Each mannequin at the show was dressed up with such precision and detail that they almost looked like surreal models. The dresses fit a certain time period that was expressed by paintings propped up behind some of the mannequins. There were even some mannequins positioned on benches or couches, setting a nonchalant tone to a very exquisite vibe. Oscar de la Renta's style shined through every dress and his remarkable fashion sense was complimented with each description and well thought-out design.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Basya Schecter (in lieu of Naomi Klein)

 Due to the Naomi Klein event being sold out, I attended this "concert and talk" my women's literature professor recommended.

Basya Schecter is an incredible woman who has traveled and spoken to refugee survivors from places like Israel where many are kicked out of their homes. In order to spread their stories and inspire change, she created a touring group called Pharaoh's Daughter.

Together, they create a unique sound which is encased by Schecter's voice and rhythmic guitar. Her guitar is tuned in a way that is different than most which creates a vibrant, personal sound that reflected the stories she spoke on.

She spoke about travels to the Middle East, like Israel and Egypt along with parts of Central Africa. She was very in-tune with the religious aspects of these countries and with her musical talent she portrays the stories and rituals through song and spoken word.

This event was one-of-a-kind and very intriguing. Basya Schecter is a very good speaker and musician. It was a great combination to hear her stories as well as enjoy her music, which also included stories within. I would recommend her music to anyone interested in religious and cultural sounds with an authentic twist. Very inspiring stuff.

Street Game: Bowser's/Trump's Wall

For our street game, my group (Ross Burgos, Kaysha Lacy, and Taylor Dueck and I came up with the idea to create a wall on behalf of Donald Trump's idea to create a wall to "keep immigrants out" by making these very immigrants build this very wall, an absurd idea in our opinions.

We tried to emulate the idea of a basic wall by taping and painting about 30, 16X16X14 size boxes. It took a few days for us to complete all the boxes. Once we completed the boxes, we stacked them and painted a Bowser face onto the front of the box.

Our game consisted of stacking the boxes in order to match the face up - like a puzzle. One team would be trying to build the wall, while another team would be trying to knock it down. The team whose objective to knock the wall down are placed at the very end of the field. They would pass a "Yoshi egg" (a small balloon filled with flour) to each other, starting very far, and progressively moving closer each time they made a catch.

We basically wanted to make the statement that although Trump wants a wall to be built, there will be many immigrants against this idea. We created Koopa Shells with plush fabric and straps to give the players to wear as backpacks. We made four of different colors, yellow, blue, green, and red. Both the players tossing the Yoshi egg and the players building the wall would need to wear these backpacks, since both immigrants will be building the wall while simultaneously knocking it over.

It was a very fun game, and no one seemed to be offended by it. There was an emphasis on bowser because we also created a large bowser cut out that one of us would wear on our heads and use to intimidate the players. We would try our best to impersonate Trump whenever wearing the head, using rhetoric only Trump would say "let's make America great again!" etc.

It was quite the experience but I think as a group we worked very well together and accomplished a lot of nearly impossible tasks together. The end result was awesome. We enjoyed playing the game with students and passerby's as well as discussing our inspiration behind it, giving others a perspective on Trump, something that was not quite discussed before on the UNR campus, or at least not quite as we had executed a discussion. I am happy we did so, and that others got involved.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Interactive Board Game - Monopoly: University Edition

This project was a group effort. My partner, Rebecca and I, decided to emulate the classic game of Monopoly, to make it relatable to college and university students. The objective of the game was to be the player with the least amount of debt.

We started off by making the rules similar to that of Monopoly, where a player can buy certain royalties, must give money up to a number of "chance" scenarios, and receive money granted by the government. Government money, or "the bank" in general Monopoly games, were scholarships and grants in our case. The chances were many things from a large sum of money from your family, to spending a night out drinking and losing a significant amount of cash. We tried to make the scenarios as realistic as possible. Instead of "go to jail" we had "go home". The utilities in the normal Monopoly were made into shuttle passes, parking passes and transportation. 

The places on the board that players could purchase were sequences of college education. We had a Bachelors of Arts Degree, and PhD, as well as law school and many others. Each came at a certain price, but eventually players have to pay you based on the amount of money you would perhaps earn from that type of degree you purchased. 

We also had game pieces that were related to college items and activities like coffee, a laptop, graduation cap, etc. It was quite realistic, because no one player could escape the debt that many students today struggle with. As you play, you discover it is near impossible to go to college without earning yourself an immense amount of debt. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Lecture: Matt Kenyon - February 18, 2016 at 5:30 PM


The works of Matt Kenyon were an excellent demonstration of what a creative mind can execute, if you really put your mind to it. Kenyon illustrated the thought process as well as the actual processes that went behind his works, which were both intriguing and informing. His works were interesting, because although they were fun to look at and entertaining, they addressed topics that one most likely would not catch on the surface.

His work, “Giant Pool of Money” was an excellent visual representation of the wage gap issue in America. The idea was inspired by the typical pyramid of wine glasses used at special events, where one would start pouring champagne or wine at the top of the pyramid and the liquid would “trickle down” to the bottom glasses in the structure. This “trickle down” effect is mirrored in socioeconomics, where the liquid is money and it “trickles down” to the less wealthy or by working your way up the financial ladder. Kenyon created a piece that was the equivalent of the pyramid of wine glasses, however the liquid is a mercury-like substance that essentially represents the wealth in America. The piece is interactive as well, requiring a person to put money through a machine, which drags it up a conveyer belt and eventually melts into the top wine glass. As more money is given to the machine, the liquid starts slowly filling the top glass, partially spilling into the second level of glasses holding the top glass.
Another idea Kenyon came up with was executing the use of micro printed text to incorporate the names of Iraqi civilians killed in the war onto a pad of paper. This was an idea he came up with to illuminate the destructive capabilities of war and how many of us may take our privileges as Americans for granted. The names are printed so small, that they themselves are the lines on a pad of paper. Each pad consists of 50 sheets of paper, and include the details of the many thousands of Iraqi civilians that have been killed since the war began. Acting as a “trojan horse”, the sheets of paper have been successfully circulating throughout the white house.

This lecture was incredibly interesting, and the works of Kenyon are great examples of relevant issues being turned into art. Throughout history, art is what persists and allows us to think deeply about socio-economic and/or political issues. I would love to get a chance to see more of Kenyon’s work up-close and I would definitely recommend seeing Kenyon speak to anyone.