Artwork #4: Alpha’s Test

My final project was a narrative and puzzle solving game called Alpha’s Test, in which an artificial intelligence has been tasked with creating a test that it cannot solve, sort of like a Turing test. The problem is that Alpha, the AI, cannot imagine a test it cannot also solve.

You play as a bot, a little bit of Alpha set to trying the tests and, hopefully, at least for Alpha, failing them. At the moment there are eight total tests; Readiness, Counting, Pathfinding, Motion, Accuracy, Faith, Lava, Levitation, and The Final Test. Each test works on a different principal, using different mechanics and different settings to challenge the player. The entire time, Alpha is talking to you, explaining the tests, and telling you to quit. Alpha wants you to quit more than anything, so that he can succeed. The further you go, the more “QUIT ===>” buttons there are along the walls.

Each test gets progressively harder, and eventually, Alpha realizes that you will be able to solve any test that he can make a solution to. To this end, The Final Test has no proper exit, and Alpha laughs at you as you run from zombies that spawn around you to one of the quit buttons in the room, the only way out. This is a test where the only way out is failure, and the price of failure is a reset. This specific part was inspired by a document I saw about AIs cheating the rules of their tasks to complete them, such as oscillating to create “velocity”, clipping through walls to find the exit to a maze, or mating and eating the children for energy. Alpha figures out that the only way for him to win is for there to be no way for it to win.

The game as a whole is about the frustration of attempting to do something that is above your level, a feeling that I very much identify with fairly often. Alpha cannot create something he cannot solve, and I cannot draw the images in my head as they appear, perfect and pristine. The aesthetics of the game were inspired primarily by the Magic Circle, the Stanley Parable, and the Portal games, because of their shared theme of testing and puzzles with the guidance of a snarky and sarcastic friend/potential enemy.

I can’t actually upload the world file here because wordpress won’t allow it, but email me and I can send it over if you want to play it. 🙂



Show and Tell: The Magic Circle

The Magic Circle is a game made by Studio Question. It is about the process of making a game, and the difficulties that come with that process. The game itself is set inside a game that has been in development hell for a long time. It has a crappy, quarreling dev team, a fanatical fanbase, and a terribly designed game space.

The game is about how the magic circle, the idea that the game has its own space where our reality doesn’t interfere, doesn’t exist, because the game is clearly being affected by real world problems. It is built around the story of the stagnant game and the ways it could be better. The game within the game, also called the Magic Circle, is supposed to be a critique of the typical heroes journey and all the dramatic cliches that story writers include in their games, and how all that doesn’t work.

You play as the main character of the game within the game, able to mess with the game’s “code” editing creatures, moving, deleting, and recreating features in the landscape, and interacting with the devs. All of this is made to seem really open, but it’s also very railroady. You never notice this while playing because the game is just so fun and so strong narratively.

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.

Meme Uno

Artist Statement:

My game appropriates content from the internet, specifically memes. Usually, the memes are either posted independently on social media, added as reactions to other posts, or innovated and reinterpreted on the original post. The game takes the idea that the people interacting with the memes have to know what they are seeing before being able to interpret and enjoy it, and applies it to Uno. In Meme Uno, before a person can play a card, they have to identify the meme on it, and the other people can state that they are wrong. If the player cannot name any usable memes from their hand, they have to draw cards from the deck until they find one that is both applicable and that they can name. If they have 10+ cards in their hand that they cannot interpret, they can place the cards at the bottom of the deck and draw an equal number from the top. The goal, like Uno, is to get down to one card.

The memes in this version of the game are hand-drawn, but a more easily identifiable version would have the memes printed right in the cards, rather than drawn on. That would make it easier for the person bringing the deck since they wouldn’t have to draw the memes on.

The game is, because of its meme parts, partially inspired by the Dada movement, because a lot of the memes used draw upon styles used in the movement such as Baader’s photomontages. However, it is too broad a selection of images and styles to speculate which exact pieces might have influenced the memers of this generation. The actual game I made draws upon the idea of the memes as “found objects” in the way that Duchamp’s art used found objects, except instead of using objects from the outside world, the game takes memes found on the internet and translates them into the cards used for the game. Using images from sources that do not fit the base material (in this case, memes and blank Uno Cards, respectively), was also inspired by Baader’s photomontage, as well as Schwitter’s Merz collages, because those incorporated images more than words.


The first playtest spent about half of its time drawing the memes onto the cards, something that was later, in the secon playtest suggested to be turned into its own game of Meme Pictionary. After the memes were drawn, the game of Uno continued as it usually went, without the added component of naming the memes. This concluded pretty fast, because everyone knows how to play Uno and I had added nothing to the actual game.

The second playtest used the same cards as the first, so there was no drawing component, but it had the naming component, which made it last a longer time than the original. It was also a lot more chaotic and conversational, because people debated the memes they used and disproved other people. It was suggested here that either the drawings were separated into a different game and the Uno game just used the actual memes printed out, or the game was played with a BS vibe to it, where people would play memes and if they didn’t know the meme they could lie, but if they were caught they would take the card back and have to draw instead. Either option is viable, as is a combination of both.

Gallery from the second playtest:

The entire deck of memes laid out

And on a final note:

Pop Music Mashup (Appropriation Show and Tell)

My choice for the Appropriation Show and Tell was the music video made by currently deactivated YouTube account TopperMusic15, in which they too snippets of pop music videos created by famous artists and combined them all together into one singular piece.

The appropriation in this piece is obvious, the scattered and broken up parts of songs by artists like Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Fifth Harmony, Nick Jonas, Selena Gomez, and many others. The fragments of songs are picked apart and then sewn back together into a new song. It doesn’t make too much sense, lyric-wise, because it’s a Frankensteinian mashup, but the sound flows well between snippets and the video fits the song it came from, unless an action is being performed in the video clip that extends past the end of the sound.

This song is entirely appropriated from other sources and it is the best example of it’s kind that I have found.


Write a secret on a piece of lined paper
Become Robert Frost
It cannot be your own
Take the Path Less Traveled By
Fold it lengthwise, then crumple it
Return to your body
Throw it away
Regret your life choices
Do not wonder what the garbagemen think of you now
Move on
Do not follow the instructions in italics

Artist Statement:

I created the piece, Ambiguity, to show the different ways instructions can be interpreted if not given hard guidelines, as well as reactions to finding out that previous instructions were changed or nullified by future ones.
In Ambiguity, the reader/enactor does not know that only the unitalicized (or, in the physical copy, written in print rather than cursive) instructions are meant to be followed. When strung together, those create a rather direct set of instructions to write a secret not belonging to you on a piece of paper, fold, then crumple it, then throw it away, ignoring potential changes in attitude from “the garbagemen”. At the end of the piece, an instruction tells the reader to ignore the italicized lines, which are the more difficult ones to pull off, being primarily of a metaphysical nature, such as Move on.
My reader/enactor, a friend, took a very different approach to the piece, as she approached every index card as its own complete instruction, unconnected to the rest of them. This led her to interpreting the numerous uses of “it” as random objects of her choosing, such as her hoodie, her scrunchy, my notebook, and her girlfriend.

This piece was mostly inspired by various scores in Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit, mostly for their tone and somewhat backtracking nature if you do not read the entire piece all in one go. It was also  partially inspired by Flux kits, with their various parts that were individual pieces that made up a whole that overall still didn’t quite make sense.


My friend follows the first instructions

She is Robert Frost (obviously)

The confusion sets in

My friend throws “it” away

She finds the path less traveled by

(this was a .gif but apparently wordpress hates those)
(she climbed up to the floor above us via indoor balcony)

She returned to “her body” (aka her girlfriend)

(I have several more steps that I took as video but wordpress will not allow the .gif versions of them)

Materials: pencil, paper, trash can
Additional materials: friend’s random item choices, the environment