Artwork #4: Experience – Understanding FINAL

For this artwork project, I decided to make a game that simulates the process of understanding another person’s emotions and learning how to detect them, so as to avoid making incorrect assumptions that will be detrimental to the relationship.

This game requires two players, a deck of “Emoticards,” and a simple game board consisting of 31 tiles. One player is a drawing player who draws from the deck of “Emoticards” and the other player is a reading player who attempts to read the expression of the drawing player and accurately guess the emotion they are displaying. The deck of “Emoticards” contains 9 unique emotions that the drawing player has to portray with their facial expressions, and there are multiple copies of each card so as to provide repetition and allow for the reading player to learn from the drawing player. Pictures of the game board and “Emoticards” can be found at the bottom of this post.

Each player starts with their piece on one of the respective stars, and the game is won when both players have advanced to the middle “Understanding” tile; alternatively, both players lose if they regress to the last available tile on the board. At the start of a turn, the drawing player will draw an “Emoticard” from the random deck and create a facial expression of the given emotion. Upon seeing the facial expression, the reading player will either guess the emotion or declare, “I don’t know.” If the guessed emotion is correct, both players advance one tile towards the center. If the guessed emotion is incorrect, both players regress one tile away from the center. If no emotion is guessed, neither player moves.

I drew a lot of the concept of this game from our in-class discussions, especially when we had the guest speaker Ichiro Lambe come in and talk about his process as a rising Indie game developer. I was really interested in the dynamic that occurs between a game developer and a tester, and since I know more about emotional relationships than game testing, I decided to combine what I knew with the process Ichiro was describing to create this finished product. An interesting fun game that is similarly avant-garde in nature is What?!? Oh…, a card game that uses conversation cards and action cards to create a funny dialog between two or more people. My game draws from the same idea of combining actions with dialog, but does it in a slightly different way by allowing the players to decide the action (facial expression) rather than being instructed on how to portray it. In terms of where my game fits on the Shrank Avant-garde diagram, I placed it just slightly to the bottom and left of the center crosshairs which makes it slightly more political and complicit than radical and formal. This was my placement because the game is supposed to make the players think about their everyday actions in a different way and ultimately change the way they interact with people in life.


Game Board:



Emoticards Layout

Documentation: I have only played this game all the way through three times with friends, however I have changed several key aspects so as to fine tune it to be more playable. One big aspect that I changed was how players would express their emoticards. Prior to allowing players express the emoticard freely, I had instructions on the card of how to form the given facial expression and that ended up causing more trouble than benefits in the game. Another change I had to make was with the size the game board. Originally, I required each player to advance 5 spaces to win and only allowed 4 spaces to lose, which ended up with players either winning too quickly or losing too quickly, and ultimately ended up making the game shorter than I intended. Since the change, both players must now advance 9 spaces to win and are only allowed 6 spaces to lose. This results in a more strategic game play and influences players to think more about the meaning behind the game. Here is a link of the old game board, and a photo of my friend Matt playing it.

Old Game board

IMG_20160413_162228808 IMG_1834


Artwork 3: Intervention – Elevator Mischief – FINAL

Arwork #3 Intervention (<—click on me)

For this assignment I explored how I could intercept and influence the routines that many people have hardwired into their day. By hardwired, I mean that these routines are so engrained in someone’s everyday life that they complete them without any thought or attention; an example could be something as simple as brushing your teeth in the morning after you wake up.

The intervention experiment that I decided to conduct was to put a “Malfunctioning Elevator” sign in my elevator that instructed people to first travel to the basement (ground) floor before going to their destination floor. I conducted this experiment by taping the sign to the inside of the elevator, right above the floor buttons, and then waiting on the ground floor to see who actually followed the directions and went down before going up. To document my findings, I took pictures of some of the people who fell for my trap, and also wrote down several interactions I had with disgruntled people who wanted to tell me how they felt about this.

Although many Dada artists embraced the idea of intervention and disrupting everyday society, I was largely inspired by the UK artist “Banksey”. Banksey is the operating name of an extremely well known interventionist in the UK who became famous for his massive amount of graffiti stencils that often depicted the flaws in society. I first became introduced to Banksey over spring break when my mom and I watched “Exit Through the Gift Shop” together, an amazing Indie film that not only documents the work of the mysterious “Banksey”, but also furthers his agenda as the film itself is simply another one of Banksey’s ingenious interventions.

Focusing more on how this assignment draws from what we have learned in class, I definitely drew a bit from the intervention piece that Chris Burden did when he laid on a table in an elevator with instructions to push pins into his body. I felt that his approach was maybe a bit too intense for me to try to replicate, especially since I wasn’t trying to challenge the nature of what we consider as art, so I went with something a little more reasonable and did my own little psychological experiment in a more mild manner. After coming up with this artwork-experiment idea, I sat down thought about whether I would have made the decision to do something like this before taking this class or whether I would have been opposed to the nature of a project like this. In thinking, I realized that so much of what inspired me to come up with this simple yet provoking intervention came from taking part in our class discussions and developing a more open mind about this kind of art.



I documented my intervention in two main ways: 1) I waited on the basement (ground) floor and took pictures of some of the people who actually followed the fake instructions. 2) I rode in the elevator as an anonymous spectator with groups of people coming back from class and took notes on some of the main points of conversation surrounding the sign.


**See attached files**

Convorsation Notes:

“This is so stupid, the elevator works fine.”

– Clare from 4th floor


“This can’t be real. Does anyone know if it actually is? Should I just push 3rd floor or should I actually go to the basement…? ~Seeking approval from rest of group in elevator~

– Nick from 3rd floor


“Walker this is so something you would do oh my god can I get a picture of you next to it??”~Not knowing I actually made the sign~

– Emmie from 4th floor



Although I got a few people to follow my instructions and unknowingly give input on their feelings towards my intervention, what I ultimately learned from this project was that most people were so preoccupied with their phone or themselves that they didn’t even read the sign and just used the elevator as they normally would. This largely confirms my belief that for most people who take the elevator, the routing is so simple and mundane that it is hardwired into their system, and as a result these peoples’ thought process seems to shut off once they enter the routine and only resume once the “hardwired” routine has been completed. But what about those who were able to break out of this routine induced zombie-like state and actually read the instructions? I found that almost every person was disgruntled or upset by this change in routine, and most had no problem directing their anger to me once I told them that it was my sign and that the elevator in fact worked fine.


Artwork 2: Appropriate – FINAL

Walker Albinson

Artwork 2: Appropriate

For this assignment I created a playable game that embodied the principle of the “Gamblers ruin” theory. Gamblers ruin, according to Wikipedia, is the idea “that a gambler who raises his bet to a fixed fraction of bankroll when he wins, but does not reduce it when he loses, will eventually go broke, even if he has a positive expected value on each bet” (Wikipedia.org). I chose to base my game off of this idea for two main reasons: The first is because of how the Dada movement was largely in response to WWI and alludes to the idea that people are simply players in a losing game. The second is because of how artist Hans Arp would often incorporate an element of chance into his art, which went against the traditional idea of planning and completing a work of art. My game only requires two players, two dice, a coin, and a scoring sheet, which also incorporates the Dada practice of using readymade, or found, objects to create art.

The rules of my game are fairly simple. A scoring sheet is included which should be used as a reference for the rounds. Gamblers ruin is a two player game that requires one player with a fixed bankroll to bet on coin flips against a “house” player with an unlimited bankroll. A round consists of the player making a bet on a coin flip and then either winning or losing to the house. The player’s bet must be at least 30% of their bankroll, but can be higher if they choose. For simplicity, round bet to nearest whole dollar. After five rounds of betting, there is a dice round where both players roll a six sided die with no bet. If the two faces of the dice add up to seven, the player’s bankroll is reset to its original amount. If the faces of the dice match, the player becomes the house and the game is over. If the dice do not match or add up to seven, there is no impact and the game continues. In the event that the player loses all their money, they have lost and must publicly do the “whip, nae nae” pop culture dance.

Round Bankroll Bet Outcome
Dice Round
Dice Round



*I played as the house in this game.

Round Bankroll Bet Outcome
1  500  150 L
2  350  150 W
3  500  150 W
4  650  195 L
5  455  195 L
Dice Round  260  N/A 5, 1
6  260  195  W
7  455  195  L
8  260  195  L
9  65  195  L
10  LOSS



Forest – FINAL


1. Enter dense forest, alone.

2. Don Bose QC-15 noise-cancelling headphones.

3. Proceed to cut down nearest tree.

4. Look around to ensure that nobody saw.

5. Forget.

6. Repeat.


Didactic Statement:

For this project I chose to focus my score more on the idea of using instructions to embody a metaphor rather than creating a set of actionable instructions for one to follow. During the process of coming up with an idea that I wanted to work with and expand upon, I jumped around between topics, but one thought resonated with me more than the rest. I wanted to create a piece that would reflect on the internal dialog that people have regarding their core values and integrity, while at the same time illuminating the inherent greed that is within everyone.

My score is a representation of the popular question/phrase that I feel embodies this principle, which is, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” The idea that something only “happens” when it is observed and otherwise has not yet “happened” in an observable sense is a not only a mind blowing concept with roots as deep as quantum mechanics, but its also the driving force behind how people justify doing something alone that they would otherwise not do while in the presence of others. The universal expectation that one should treat others as they wish to be treated, themselves, is usually enough to discourage someone from advancing their own agenda at the expense of someone else’s, so long as both people simultaneously understand what is happening. However, if that same person has the ability to advance their own agenda at the expense of someone else’s, but this time WITHOUT the other person immediately knowing, then the original person will not factor immediate shame into the cost of their action and will be more likely to justify a greedy action.

In summary, I initially decided to write my score not only as an attempt to embody the popular hypothetical question that seems to confuse everyone, but also to show the aspects of human personality that usually remain unseen. While I believe that I accomplished this task with relative success, I am much more satisfied with the personal gain that I received from this project and the newfound interest I have discovered.