Month: November 2018

Intervention: Walk Around (Boston)


Take a walk following these rules:

  1. Sidewalk Slalom
    1. Walk down the part of the sidewalk closest to the street, swerving between obstacles
  2. Moving around a bench
    1. If there’s a bench or some other object to the side, walk the wrong way around it
  3. Turn Around
    1. At random points, turn around abruptly
  4. Change Speeds
    1. Without warning, go from a walk to sprint and back
  5. Walk on curbs
    1. If something is above walking level, walk on it
  6. Up and Down
    1. Go down a stairs, and then right back up
  7. In a circle
    1. Walk in a circle around things
  8. Path Less Traveled
    1. Go off the sidewalk in parks and plazas
  9. Hop-chain
    1. When there are barriers with small chains, jump over them
  10. Walk Everywhere
    1. Walk to a dead end or secluded alley and back.

Walking Path:

Sidewalk Slalom:


Plaza Walks:




Other videos:


Artist Statement:

Above all other influences: I just wanted to take a walk. It’s a relaxing experience to explore somewhere without a goal. Before you leave Boston get some long walks in. (That goes for everyone reading this) Okay so the inspiration for the medium was my own desires, but how did I put it together?

There might have been a time in life where I wouldn’t consider a walk through a city a valid form of art, but that was long ago. More recently there was a time where I would not feel confident enough that a walk I would do could potentially be considered arts. I have to thank our good friend R.Mutt for that confidence, because his Fountain has showed that anything can be art as long as someone thinks it’s art. There’s something about the absurdist of Dadaist art that connects to the absurdism I was trying to create. Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven certainly encapsulates more than me the absurdist public performative nature I was trying to encapsulate.

Of course wherever Dada goes Fluxus will soon follow, and Fluxus was a larger inspiration for me. If R.Mutt proved that anything can be art Allison Knowles and her dedication to the Tuna Sandwich showed us what anything as art really means. Going for a walk, eating a sandwich, making a salad are all pedestrian activities that Fluxus artists worked in throughout the movements history. This piece also comes with a score, which is certainty inspired by those of Ono. I mentioned Map Piece in my last write up but it’s even more relevant here. The work is a walk following an imaginary map; I continue to walk that path.

The final major inspiration  (although if I would have done further research into the Situationists before going on the walk it might not have been the final paragraph) were performance artists. While my walk was not as impressive or interesting as walking across the Great Wall of China it was still inspired by Marina Abromovic and Ulay’s Lovers. That piece was the first time I learned of a walk that was also a work of art. The goal of my walk was much more inspired by a Monty Python sketch then a 3 month spiritual journey of two collaborators and ex-lovers, but it remains in the same medium.

Oh and yes, here are the two (1, 2) most influential Monty Python sketches. Not just on my walk, but on my life.

Project 3: Intervention – RIP Diablo 4

Artist Statement:

My final iteration of my intervention piece was almost completely different from the original pitch. My original idea was to hold an in-game peace protest in World of Warcraft to make a statement against the perpetual faction conflict (originally inspired by the group who acted as the Red Cross in game by only healing players). However, this weekend was Blizzcon. At the convention 2 things happened: they revealed more information about the upcoming WoW patches that quelled my annoyance, and they announced a new Diablo game on mobile to booing from the crowd.

I was admittedly hopeful of the new mobile game, but as I learned more, I felt like the Diablo fans got cheated with an outsourced mobile-game re-skin as the “big Diablo news”. I don’t personally believe that Diablo 4 won’t happen, but I was disappointed with the lack of news and also wanted to express the frustration many of my friends were experiencing. I decided to pivot my protest about WoW inside WoW to a statement piece expressing the disappointment in the Diablo news. My piece was inspired by two main things: the Institute for Applied Autonomy’s graffiti writer, and emergent behavior in WoW where people use items to write messages on the ground.

My final piece was done in “feast graffiti” (writing messages using feast tables which would disappear around 10 minutes after they are placed but are otherwise impossible to remove without me doing so) and was attempting to show solidarity and support for the Diablo community as well as use another Blizzard game as a platform against Blizzard’s lackluster showing for one of its 20+ year old franchises. I took to the virtual streets in 3 different cities and plastered my message of “RIP D4” (Rest in Peace Diablo 4) on the digital cobblestone.

The first city was Stormwind, the Alliance capital city. I put my message in front of the auction house due to its high traffic volume. This initial showing attracted a small crowd and a few people laughing and making meme jokes about Blizzard’s responses such as “don’t you all have phones?”

After Stormwind, I went to Dalaran, the main hub of the previous expansion where both Horde and Alliance share spaces. I set up outside the Horde quarter by people and actually had a couple people walk over to see what I was spelling. When I was done I posed at the top of my art and people were talking about it. One person even emoted cheering for me.

Finally, I took to Boralus Harbor, the main Alliance hub for the current expansion. This was the most crowded spot and I immediately set about writing my message right through the middle of the crowd. People moved out of the way as they saw me approach so I could write more clearly. This one got the loudest response in game even if it was still pretty quiet and full of memes.

My message was seen and that was that; or so I thought. I woke up the next day to find someone had taken a screenshot of the message and posted it on Reddit (something I made the decision not to do myself as I was content with the small bits of approval I did receive). The post was the 3rd most popular post 13 hours after it was posted, with 5.8k upvotes and 556 comments. After 22 hours the post had 6.6k upvotes and 671 comments. The comments range from people memeing about the Diablo Immortal announcement, to people making well written cases for why mobile was bad for PR and also people calling the Diablo players “entitled”. The reddit post can be found here:


Ultimately, I am proud of how my intervention lived on past my initial graffiti. I really appreciate that other random people who agreed with the sentiment I was expressing also became vocal and spread the art of my intervention.



Intervention: PseudoScience in a Scientific Forum

Artist Statement:

Originally, I thought that I might do something with forums and the weirdos that crop up around them. At about the same time, Youtube started recommending me the Spirit Science youtube channel, a channel devoted to pseudoscience like merkhaba forcefields, chakras, etc (with racist overtones of Jews being a benign race of aliens from space for added measure)

I decided to inject pseudoscience into a scientific forum, and, taking inspiration from Spirit Science and the “documentaries” posted on their official website, as well as the Yes Men and their act as presenting as a group they do not actually side with as a way to bring light to issues that are not actually visible in normal life. Specifically, I was influenced by the Bhopal hoax, where one of the Yes Men pretended to be a spokesman for Dow Chemical, the way I pretended to be a believer of pseudoscience.

My intervention attempted to push pseudoscience into visibility as a problem on a scientific forum. (honestly, there was already a lot of pseudoscience, and most of it was phrased less carefully and sensically than what I produced, such as arm whip man, featured below)

(I think there might be something wrong with the quality of the images, but you already saw them in my presentation)

I only managed to present two questions, each of which was taken down from the general public eye really quickly, though they can still be found with a little searching. The first was in the Genetics section of the forum, asking if it was possible to use CRISPR, a genetic manipulation tool currently in development as a possible way to cure cancer and other genetic issues, to unlock chakras, spiritual centers of energy in a person’s body, with major points running down the middle of the body. This strange blend of real and fictional is a trademark of pseudoscience, and what makes it seem to make at least some sense to the occasional person.  Only one person got to see my post before it was locked by moderators and the person used that opportunity to mock the question, likening the dubious existence of chakras to the invisible dragon beneath his chair.

My second question was in Earth Science, asking what minerals were considered “safe” as healing crystals, since magnets could warp a soul out of shape, and chalcanthite could upset a body’s copper stores (a reference to the fact that chalcanthite is poisonous partially due to its high copper content). That one was locked by moderators instantly.

After that second question, I got banned, and then banned again when I made a second account, with a similar name and liked the post where the mods mentioned banning me.

Intervention: Omegle Polling

For my intervention work I decided to ask people on Omegle who they were voting for. I was surprised by the ranges of results, with some people going in depth about the dangers of a ruler with unchecked power and other people asking that I show my tits.



There were a lot of bots who did not seem like they were going to vote which is probably for the best.


There were also people outside of the U.S. who talked about their own political system, with many feeling that a two party system doesn’t really work.



A lot of people disconnected almost immediately.


There were a lot of interesting people.


People didn’t seem to be buying into the whole ‘blue wave’ idea.



People were supportive of my team though.


This intervention was inspired by the then upcoming midterm election, with the idea of carrying the political weight of the 2018 midterms to a virtual space composed on a basis of randomness and escapism. For my project I thought it would be funny to do polling surveys on Omegle, highlighting the idea of face to face interactions and calling into question what subjects people do and don’t want to approach with randomly assigned strangers. I also thought the idea of adding politics back into a space that was virtually devoid of it was interesting, acting as an almost polar opposite to New Games that brought people together in opposition of the current political climate, and Tactical Media that sought to undermine oppressive systems.

To start I wanted to act the part, with the suit alone hopefully adding a false air of seriousness and validity similar to that of the Yes Men. Unlike the Yes Men however, I wanted to introduce a serious political discussion in the face of many penises, in fact the opposite of the Yes Men Managerial Leisure Suit.

While the vast majority of people on video chat didn’t respond, I was happy with the meaningful conversations I was able to have from people all over the world in the chat only section, and did appreciate the few times people video chatting did diverge from their ordinary behavior.



Intervention: Googmeisters


  • Each player receives ~20 colored googly eyes, with adhesive on the back.
  • Players designate a public space as the play area. This space should be open and crowded.
  • Each player must attempt to stick a pair of googly eyes onto as many targets in the play area as possible before being noticed.
  • Only items that specifically belong to another person are valid targets. The goal is to make people think, “Wait a second… when did my umbrella get googlified?”
  • Invalid targets include:
    • The wall
    • Posters
    • Yourself
    • Products on shelves
  • Once a player is noticed, they are out.
  • The winner is the player to googlify the most targets before getting out, or else the first player to use up all of their googly eyes.
  • If every player gets out, they must all move to a new play area before continuing.


I wish I could say that this game had some deep and world-shaking meaning behind it. And, I mean, I guess it does: everything is better with googly eyes. That’s a law of nature, as immutable as gravity or the inexorable march of time. Everything looks better when it has a little goofy face. EVERYTHING.

So, given that law, I guess this project makes the world a better place. Not in a huge way, sure. Secretly googlifying things doesn’t solve the many crises our society faces right now. But I hope that it makes people happy, and brightens their day a bit. Maybe discovering that someone has left them a googly surprise gives them the little push that they needed to turn their day around, or to keep on fighting their own battles. Even in a world as wracked with awfulness as ours, simple acts of whimsy are a form of charity.

I think my biggest influence for this project was the comedy troupe Improv Everywhere, which works to create elaborate happenings that bring a sense of wonder to the lives of random strangers. I was also strongly influenced by the stealth aspects of tactical media, such as the subterfuge required to sneak doctored Barbies back onto shelves, even though my project lacks the activist focus of tactical media endeavors.


Googmeisters was fun, and nerve-wracking, and difficult. I played two rounds in the Curry Indoor Quad, one of which I won and another I lost. Some notes from this experience:

  • Prime targets for googlification include water bottles in the back pockets of backpacks, stuffed huskies, litter, backpacks with unzipped mouths, umbrellas.
  • Most people, upon noticing me, wouldn’t call me out. They’d just smile and go about their day. I think they appreciated what I was doing.
  • The most fun part of the game was spotting a prime target, moving in to googlify it, and then discovering that my opponent had already got it.
  • Despite the core whimsy of the game, some parts of it were deeply uncomfortable. Once, a student put her phone back into her pocket after she spotted me eyeing it. Multiple times, I found myself thinking, “Aha! There’s someone walking alone who doesn’t see me! Now I just have to wait until no one else can see us, and I can strike!” While my intentions were entirely benign, it would have been hard to miss the other contexts in which such a train of thought would apply. I’m not sure entirely what this discomfort means for the art piece.

Artwork 2: Lost in Google Translation

For this artwork, I chose to focus on the appropriation of technology. We use technology to assist us in our work and so design this technology to be used in a certain way. For example, Google Translate is intended to be used to simply translate text from one language to another. This is typically used in situations where we need to interact with those who do not speak the same language as us, so that we may communicate with them. I was inspired by the works of appropriation from the Dada movement, especially works like Raoul Hausmann’s Mechanischer Kopf (Der Geist unserer Zeit). In this piece, Hausmann adorns a wooden head with a variety of objects that have specific purposes, such as a ruler used for measuring. This use of objects with specific, everyday purposes to create art is what inspired me to use Google Translate in a way that was not intended by its designers.

This work is a game in which one player chooses an English sentence or phrase with a certain theme and translates it between various other languages, about 10 or so at least, and then translates the sentence back to English. Because certain words or phrases do not translate perfectly from one language to another, the original sentence becomes modified in the translation. The other players must then look at this translation and write down what they think the original sentence was. The player that comes the closest to the original sentence wins the round. This game can be played for as many or as few rounds as the players desire.

In the original iteration of the game, there was no theme for the sentences, so it was difficult to discern what the original sentences might have been referencing. With a theme, such as famous first lines of books, the players at least can draw from a specific set of knowledge, rather than randomly guessing.

The original sentence

The modified sentence

Artwork #2 & Appropriation Game – Erik Ojo

I initially began my game with the premise of translating fanfiction, a popular and often created transformative work, into a visual novel. My idea was to take a popular franchise, mix it with a popular fanfiction trope to create an entirely new world, and create a VN from that.

I wanted to create a VN with a choice of three different tropes:

  • a coffee shop AU (an extremely popular alternate universe trope putting characters in the setting of a coffee shop/cafe, as either workers or customers)
  • a historical AU (putting characters in another time period, such as Ancient Greece or Rome, Victorian era, the 1920s, etc)
  • a science fiction AU (putting characters in a science fiction storyline – usually when the original story is not science fiction, or at least not the specific type of science fiction the fanfiction is set in)

The franchise that I chose to transform was the X-Men franchise, as I’m extremely familiar with it and it’s fanbase, and it’s a relatively well known property.

I planned to begin to write the VN in a Google document, and then transfer it to Twine, and if I had time, code it into Ren’py.

The first pitfall I came across was creating interesting stories for each of these worlds that work properly as VNs. In a way, I am attempting to write fanfiction – something that takes a good while to properly formulate and write out, just like any kind of fiction. I had trouble coming up with proper stories as the inspiration wasn’t quite there, and I was working off the idea of tropes rather than first having a core theme, and centering the trope around that theme. Writing it became more involved than I could realistically handle in the time I had, and I felt that it was becoming more about creating a world than about the concept of appropriation.

(Which in a way fanfiction is? I guess it’s logical that fanfiction itself is less about the concept of appropriation than the act of appropriation?)

The second pitfall, was that I was having a hard time making my game into a game rather than a story you click. I want to engage the players through choices that matter, but reflecting on it, fanfiction isn’t really about power of onlookers, it’s about the author’s power to do whatever they like with the characters they’ve chosen.

(I had a conversation with our guest about choices and how some developers put them there for no reason except for them to be there, and give them no real power in the game. She also mentioned how it’s not always necessary to give players a choice, and told me about VN-esque games that don’t, which made me rethink my game quite a lot.)

I decided I needed to scale down my game, and decided to create an analog game instead. I focused instead on giving players the power to change characters and stories in the same way fanfiction gives writers power.

I decided to use the Marvel Cinematic Universe instead of X-Men, because just about everyone knows it and it has enough high-profile characters for non-repetitive play.

It is a 4 player game.

The basis of the game is

  1. randomly picking a character from a deck of characters
  2. selecting 10 characteristic cards
    1. picking 5 of these characteristics to assign their character
  3. combining these transformed characters with the other players to create one big fanfiction synopsis
    1. synopsis is helped along by drawing 4 random plot cards

For example:

  1. Picks Steve Rogers from a Marvel deck
  2. Characteristics chosen from cards:
    1. works as a security guard
    2. has clinical depression
    3. does ballet on the side
    4. is secretly a vampire
    5. upset about the fact that he peaked in high school
  3. Players pick one plot-themed character action or character development for their character
    1. “your character has some tough lessons to learn”
  4. [depressed security guard vampire Steve Rogers, hipster fashion blogger Bruce Banner, nursing home volunteer social media influencer Natasha Romanoff, and anxiety ridden weed dealer closet furry Tony Stark]
  5. Players pick four cards (one of each kind of plot card) that create a framework for the fanfic
    1. story begins on a yacht (story begins… card)
    2. it’s a story about greed (story is about… card)
    3. a 30-year old murder case is resurrected (plot/inciting incident card)
    4. mostly takes place in the heart of a big city (setting card)
  6. and the players take it from there.
    1. (excerpt of a synopsis example: one of the senior citizens Natasha has taken care of is Nick Fury and everyone thinks Steve is the one who killed all those people because he’s an vampire with murderous impulses and was in the wrong place at the wrong time but it was actually Tony Stark’s (dead) dad and Nick Fury working in cahoots)

This is inspired in part by crack/crack-esque fanfiction

“Crackfic” is a term for a story which takes a ridiculous premise as its starting point, such as casting all the canon characters as My Little Ponies. It may or may not deal with this premise in a serious way. (Fanlore)

which is usually of questionable quality and very random, but can also be the basis of extremely interesting works with a lot of depth. There is a lot of fanfiction with generally weird premises that is like War and Peace in some fandoms.

It is also inspired in part by collaboratively written fanfic. Fanfiction writers (and fan artists) often team up to write and set up events to facilitate this as well (see: Big Bangs, holiday fic exchanges, etc)

And it is inspired also, by Cards Against Humanity. The random matching and player engagement bits.

Thoughts after playtesting:

  • Players keeping character roles concealed from other players could improve play and more surprising for other characters
  • Reducing the amount of cards on the table at once could help stop the game from becoming too complicated/confusing
  • Adding an “ending” card would help reduce gameplay difficulty/increase game cohesiveness
  • Less plot cards could help reduce the gameplay difficulty