Artwork #4: Going in Circles

Going in Circles, Artist’s Statement:

My project, “Going in Circles” is an experimental platformer in which you play as a circle navigating a circle trying to obtain circles while reaching the final central circle. The game is a metaphorical representation of life meant to induce the feeling of one’s life going in circles at times, that the loop can never be escaped but that one needs to do the best in the loop they’re given, as represented by the ending. You can either collect all the coins or successfully reach the end, either way you won’t “win” the game, but you’ll succeed in the path you choose. I was greatly inspired by a lot of the works we studied in class, such as some of the art games like “Dys4ia” and “The Marriage”. These games used basic shapes and inventive game mechanics to represent an experience without very explicit details. “The Marriage” especially acts as an inspiration since it represents a marriage through two squares which need to touch each other but also grab circles in order to maintain their survival. I tried to emulate this concept of simple shapes and complex game mechanics acting as metaphors for more complex concepts. In addition, the focus on circles was sort of inspired by the Fluxus Happenings, since they play around with one simple object or concept and use it in different ways to create art. In a similar way, I used circles and other simplistic shapes to produce a game about life in general. The circular design was somewhat inspired by those cheap circle maze toys, in which you lean the toy in different directions to move the ball to the center. Finally, I was inspired a bit by Marcel Duchamp’s LHOOQ in which the Mona Lisa is appropriated since he added a goatee and the phrase “LHOOQ” to make a comment about beauty in art. In my work, I appropriated the Mona Lisa as the reward for completing all three levels, to symbolize the end goal of a happy life which will never be completely reached.



The title screen for the game. It’s been designed to be very simplistic.

The first level of the game. You have 30 seconds to complete the level. It’s relatively simple and easy to navigate, allowing the user to develop an understanding of the game mechanics early on. The blue circle is the collectible, the white circle is the character, the yellow circle is the end goal, and the orange rectangle is the obstacle.

The second level of the game. It really draws heavily from the circle maze toy. It has more complexity and difficulty in its design as you need to spin the level around a lot to get all the blue circles and then get to the middle. You only get 20 seconds to complete this level, making it a bit more difficult than the previous level.

The third level of the game. This level has the most danger as it’s the last level and it should be the hardest level. In addition, you get only 10 seconds to complete the level, inducing a panic as you try to grab as many blue circles as possible without falling into the orange obstacle. Finally, the main choice of the entire game is given here, as you have to chose to complete the level or get the last blue circle. (Next posts)

This is the game over screen if you die by hitting the orange or running out of time. As shown here, the player can get all 15 blue circles, but they won’t be able to “complete” the last level, and thus they get a game over.

The other option for the player is that they end the game with only 14 blue circles of the 15, and get the amazingly passive aggressive phrase “Nice Try!” In addition, the Mona Lisa is displayed to correspond with the number of blue circles collected, so it will never fill up the frame completely since you’ll never get the win and get all 15 blue circles.

This is my friend Jimmy. I had him play test the game and watching his process of playing through the game was fascinating. At the start, he collected a couple coins, but decided he wanted to simply complete the game. So his first goal became to get to the end. He lost a lot. Ultimately, he beat the third level, and got the Mona Lisa end screen, but had only collected 2 blue circles and couldn’t even tell what it was. Then his new goal became to collect all of the blue circles and get to the end. Again, he died a lot. He began to master the game as he kept playing. Once he got to the last level, he became confused as he couldn’t figure out how to get the last blue circle to get 15/15 without dying. After getting there a couple times, he was very confused, he couldn’t figure out the proper way to get 15/15 and win. He tried different methods but kept losing. Eventually I told him that you have to die to get 15/15. He then decided to get 15/15 and die, and also get 14/15 and get the Mona Lisa. However something even more interesting, which I didn’t expect, occurred. He kept playing after getting those two endings, with no real end goal. It was fascinating, he was hooked to the game. I then asked him about it, and he wasn’t really sure why he was still playing. Ultimately, the two of us chalked it up to the idea that humans want completion and this game will never provide it, so people will keep playing for a complete ending which is impossible. It was almost like his mind had entered its own circle.

Intervention Piece- Free Conversation

Artist’s Statement:

My work, “Free conversations”, was heavily inspired by the popular intervention piece “Free Hugs” and a piece called “Free listening” that I saw while visiting a friend at MIT. The goal of my piece was ultimately to have a conversation with a stranger, to produce a normal social interaction in a strange way. This goal has been achieved by both the “Free Hugs” and “Free listening” works, in which a sign is used to do such, with the normal social interactions being hugs and listening respectively. I took this concept, and expanded it to a different interaction: conversations. Conversations in general are a good way to engage and learn more about other people, and thus the “Free conversations” game was born. The format of the idea followed that of its predecessors, consisting of primarily just a sign with writing advertising the “product” being distributed. In addition, I’d say there was a little bit of influence from the Jejune institute which we studied in class. The Jejune institute was an ARG in which players encountered and took part in these strange public displays, such as the protest against Octavio and the phone dance scene. Both of these parts of these games are intended to encourage playfulness in the public arena while also providing an entertaining scene for those watching. Ultimately, “Free conversation” also acted as a bit of a spectacle, since the “free social interactions” concept has become quite popular, and thus people will get some entertainment out of it. The concept of someone walking around with a sign is in itself funny, and ultimately it did entertain people. Many people who didn’t directly engage in conversation with me, engaged either by taking pictures or just laughing at the sign. Interestingly, we talked in class a bit about how interventions could be used to entertain someone going about a menial process, such as waiting in a line. Ultimately we decided that rather than just standing around with the sign, we would walk with it, which played into this concept as many people who decided to engage in a conversation were just walking to or from a club meeting, and seeing a guy with a “free conversations” I’d like to think made their day.


The poster I made for the intervention:

Me, at the start of the intervention, standing in Curry with the sign, waiting for my first customer:

My first customer, we had a nice conversation about politics, though we both didn’t really know that much about politics. We mainly discussed the impeachment process and we both agreed that we weren’t fans of Trump:

My second customer, Hannah, who I knew from NUTV. She saw me with the sign and decided to come over and talk. We conversed about Thanksgiving and food in general as she was on her way to eat dinner. She told me her favorite Thanksgiving food is cranberries:

My third customer, he was on his way over to play the fourth floor to play pool with one of his friends, but saw me  and wanted to stop by and talk. Before he came up to me, he had been working on some complex probability homework as a part of his engineering major:

This girl came up to me to take a picture of the sign. I asked her if she wanted to have a free conversation, but she told me she couldn’t because she was running late for a club meeting:

My next customer and I had a lovely conversation about Kanye, who I don’t really know that much about, except that he has a new line of really weird merch which people have been talking about. I asked him his opinions on it, and he told me he would only wearing clothing if it looked good, not if it was a special brand:

We had a brief conversation since the guy came up to me to talk, but the girl yelled at him because they were having a conversation. It was pretty funny:

In this picture, I’m talking with my next customer named Katherine, who saw me and really wanted to chat. We talked a bit because she was running late for a club meeting as well. She mentioned that she had seen a lot of similar interventions in like NYC (like Free Hugs), but that they weren’t that good, so she was happy to see something similar here in Boston:

These three guys were promoting something for a club, and when they saw me, they wanted to talk about making bread by hand, which was very random yet very interesting.

These two guys were in Marino and they were skate boarding by. The guy on the right asked me if I knew how to skateboard, and I told him I didn’t, but that it was interesting. He said he didn’t want to talk if it wasn’t about skateboarding, so he told me he’d be willing to teach me, and I gave him my Instagram. It was very odd.

My final client was a student named Christian who’s from my hometown and is really close with my brother, but I hadn’t seen him while at Northeastern. So we had a brief conversation in Blackman, catching up on everything.

Indie Show and Tell

For my indie game, I chose Super Seducer, a dating simulation game by self acclaimed “dating guru” Richard LaRuina. I love this game for its ironic value. The game itself it created by a man who believes himself to be an expert of love, and thus the entertainment comes from the ridiculous options he includes in the game. To see such a man who prides himself as a love expert do something ridiculous, like sneak up behind two girls sitting on a couch in order to woo them. Ultimately the game acts as a look inside the mind of a fool who considers himself an expert and the ridiculous actions he believes people may think would be rational responses in a normal interaction.

Appropriation Piece: “Exquisite Build”

Exquisite Build

  1. At the start of each round, one player will draw a card. For the first round, the first player drawing the card will be the one who has built a Lego set most recently. The card will give the object being built as well as suggestions for the topics of the multiple building stages, these topics can be changed as each judge wishes. 
  2. The person drawing the card will act as the first judge. As the judge, they will tell the players the object being built and reveal the topic of the first building stage. 
  3. The first collection phase will then commence, moving to the right, each player will draw a card to see the number of pieces they get for their first building phase. The collection phase will be limited to 30 seconds.
  4. Once each player has completed their collection phase, the first building phase will begin, each player has 30 seconds to build the given topic.
  5. Once the 30 seconds are up, the second collection phase will begin and will follow the same rules as the first. This will be followed by a second build phase, a third collection phase, and a third build phase. Each build phase will increase by an increment of 15 seconds.
  6. After the third build phase, each player will present their build of the topic to the judge, who will then select their favorite. The favorite build goes on the baseplate, and the winner gets a point. The rest of the builds are then returned to the pile
  7. The card is then passed to the next judge (to the left), who will determine what the next topic will be. The same process then repeats. 
  8. A round is complete once all players have acted as the judge. Once the round is complete, everyone will take a moment to admire their finished work.
  9. At the start of the second round, the player sitting to the left of the first judge will pick the next card and act as the first judge for the second round.
  10. The game continues either until each player has acted as the starting judge, or the players don’t feel like playing anymore. 
  11. At the end of the game, the player with the most points wins, and is crowned king of the exquisite build.
  12. (Optional rule): The final round is the modern art card, with which players are allowed to build whatever they want.

Artist’s Statement:

This piece was inspired heavily by the “Exquisite Corpse” piece, as well as games like Jackbox and Cards Against Humanity. During the appropriation show and tell, someone jokingly asked if Lego was a form of appropriation. Right when I heard that, I immediately latched onto the idea of using Legos as the appropriated material, but then came the question of what the game would actually be. In the past, Lego had a wave of Lego board games, and I wondered if I should do something akin to that, like a classic board game recreated in Lego, or something along those lines, however nothing really stuck for me. When I thought about my favorite games to play nowadays, I love games like Cards Against Humanity or some of the Jackbox games, where the players are all given one prompt, and each gives a unique response to be judged by the other players or another player. In particular, I really latched onto the idea of one player being a judge, and the rest building something to impress them. In addition, the Jackbox game, Civic Doodle (itself a sort of appropriation of the exquisite corpse formula) was a source of inspiration, as two players were pitted against each other to draw a subject, and then judged. The winner’s piece would then be amended by another two players, and that amendment would be judged, and so on and so on. My game sort of acts as a three dimensional version of Civic Doodle, as the players build upon the foundation set by the last round’s winner. While designing my game, I tried to draw from general concepts we’ve talked about in class, such as the transformation of an object’s purpose, collaborative creation, and creativity in the artistic method. In this game, players are forced to collaborate with each other as they build off of each other’s previous designs. In addition their piece selection and building time is limited, thus transforming the normal Lego building process, in which you are provided all the pieces you need and unlimited time to build the set you purchased into a competitive scramble to collect random pieces in order to build whatever you can in the given time. The Lego pieces act as the appropriated material despite being used as they usually are, as building blocks to make a model of something. Despite the Lego company encouraging creativity and collaboration, most Lego sets nowadays are designed to be built by one person following a given set of instructions. This game, though, uses the pieces to fulfill these values held closely by the Lego company, by encouraging the players to build more uniquely in order to win and contribute to the overall creation.


For this shortened round, the card pulled listed:
Object: Wall
Topics: Wall

The first topic for the build was a wall with holes.

Photo 1: Here we see the two players in the midst of their first collection phase, grasping at whatever pieces they can get before the time runs out.

Photo 2: In the midst of the second building phase, the players designs begin to take hold as they put together what they can with the pieces they’ve acquired.

Photo 3: The first build produced, an artistic wall packed with a variety of holes of different sizes and shapes. A design completely white due to the players wishes. This wall ultimately wins the first phase.

Photo 4: The other first build produced. A worth opponent, filled with a variety of colors and a non-functioning door piece. The player used the door as a barrier, without its traditional hinges, and with an eyeball as the door handle. Is this an appropriation piece in itself? Makes one wonder.

Photo 5: The second stage of the building of the wall. This time, the topic was to continue the trend of the winning wall, and to build a white wall. Here we see the two players in this second stage in the midst of their collection phase, searching for pieces.

Photo 6: The winning build produced in this second stage. The player decided to stack bricks of varying color but same size and shape upon each other. He argued that since all colors of light together make white, that’s what is happening here. Truly a compelling argument.

Photo 7: The other wall built in the second stage. Despite its small size, the wall consists entirely of white or clear pieces, to uphold the white aesthetic established by the first build.

Photo 8: The two walls, placed together on the baseplate to create the final product. An artistic wall with an interesting juxtaposition between their colors.


Photo 9: Fun for friends and family!


SCORE Final iteration: “To Eat an Apple”

To Eat an Apple

Pick an apple from a tree. Choose it carefully to ensure the best quality of taste.

Eat the apple until only the core remains.

Find an empty patch of soil and plant the core of the apple; ensure that there are seeds in the core, not just an empty shell.

Water the soil every day; fertilize it frequently.

Continue nourishing the soil until a sapling sprouts from the ground and grows a couple inches tall.

Find the best books, textbooks, and paintings you can.

Throw them at the sapling.

Leave the sapling in the pile.

Continue to water the earth, even if you can’t see the plant.

(a) Wait until a tree grows upon the books.

Once it reaches a couple of feet tall, take a picture of the tree and frame it.

(b) If the tree does not grow, repeat again, but with an orange.

2019 Fall

Artist’s statement:

“To Eat an Apple” was inspired by a children’s science experiment known as the “Potato Maze” and the scores in Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit. The “Potato Maze” is a science experiment I did in 7th grade, in which a potato is placed at the bottom of a maze-like shoe box with a hole at the top. The goal was for the potato to grow a stem around the obstacles to ultimately poke through the hole and reach sunlight. In addition, I loved the absurd and destructive nature of Yoko Ono’s works, which I wanted to embody in a way that involved college. This semester, as a freshman, I’ve had to adapt to the new college lifestyle. These ideas culminated in “To Eat an Apple”, a score in which you symbolically take the role of a parent, trying to raise an educated child. The apple is heavily tied with the concept of knowledge as the fruit from the tree of knowledge in the “Fall of Man” is often depicted as an apple. In addition, an apple falling on Isaac Newton’s head is the common explanation for the beginning of his research on gravity. The work all together is intended to recreate the feeling of parenthood and entering a child into the college process. In the start, eating the apple is analogous to having sex, as the activity itself satisfies a base desire and (after planting the core) results in new life. Afterwards, the played needs to care for the soil by fertilizing and watering it. Once it sprouts from the ground and becomes large enough, the player throws textbooks and other works at the plant, in order to simulate the schooling process, which can be overwhelming yet ultimately beneficial. As the player continues to water and fertilize the soil laden with books, it becomes difficult to observe the plant itself, so the player must provide distant support. Ultimately the sapling must navigate through the pile of books and grow on its own with the resources given (now transformed into a sort of fertilizer). In the end, if it succeeds, you celebrate with a picture (kind of like at a graduation), but if it doesn’t, you move on and attempt again with a different fruit, an orange, symbolizing that the traditional education route may fail one child, but it may succeed for another (apples to oranges).  As discussed in class, the gameplay of this score are intended to convey a meaning, rather than the story itself, as the player unwittingly takes up the role of a parent.


(For some reason WordPress won’t let me upload photos, so I uploaded them to the google album linked below, and you can view them from there)

Photo 1: The apple I’m using to do the score, picked fresh from the Dining Hall.

Photo 2: Me, biting into the apple, it was really juicy. Not pictured: Me eating the rest of the apple.

Photo 3: Me, holding up the completely finished apple core to show that the deed had been done, I had consumed the apple, leaving behind only the core.

Photo 4: A picture of the seeds contained inside the core of the decimated apple.

Photo 5: The core in a hole in the soil, being prepared to be buried. (I did this somewhere in Fenway in some soft soil).

Photo 6: The core completely buried now, with soil and wood chips pushed over it.

Photo 7: Me, watering the spot in the soil with the apple core.

That was as far as I could go as the plant didn’t grow yet.

Ryan Martin Show&Tell Appropriation Piece

So I’m a bit of a musical theater nerd and as such, one of my favorite shows is the hit musical “Hamilton” by Lin Manuel-Miranda. I consider the show itself to be a sort of appropriation of historical events, however that’s debatable. The depicts the founding fathers at the formation of our country, but shows them through the lens of a modern American perspective. One of the most important points in the show is right before the Battle of Yorktown, the battle which ended the Revolutionary War, in which Hamilton and Lafayette meet each other and declare “Immigrants, we get the job done.” a line which undoubtedly sparks cheers and applause from the audience. The line inspired a group of rappers, gathered by Manuel-Miranda, to create a song for the “Hamilton Mixtape” a collection of pieces by outside artists inspired by or drawing directly from the musical. This song appropriates numerous lines from the show, most obviously, the line “Immigrants, we get the job done” to add to the song. The juxtaposition of the line with the rapper’s lyrics of the hardships they faced as immigrants makes a clear political statement about the standards we hold immigrants to despite their hardworking and determined nature.