Artwork #3: Intervene

Intervention, food experiment

When I began thinking of possible interventions for my project, I thought back to a story of how someone at my residence hall ordered delivery from Chipotle hall only to find it stolen. College is expensive, so its understandable that many students try to save money as much as possible, and while theft is absolutely not pervasive behavior, students are still notorious for going to great lengths to come by free food. Many of my friends have swung by booths and loaded up on free food and drinks being given out even if they absolutely hate the items. I felt that this relationship between college students and food was an excellent situation to intervene in.

One inspiration for my piece was inspired by the Jejune Institute ARG, specifically the elements where participants where given specific instructions to perform on their own. I also drew from the work of the Yes Men, as I enjoyed how their work involved intervening in public contexts.

My test piece was simple, I laid out an array of snacks alongside a handwritten note instructing for fellow students at the residential hall to take a snack and then leave a snack. I set this up in the residential hall’s basement, which is the area where the most students pass through. Since there are no actual tables down there I set the snacks up on a radiator. The goal of the intervention was to look at how students would act without supervision, so I left the snacks completely unattended until I checked on them. I wanted to see if people would follow the instructions and trade in a snack for one on the radiator or if they would simply take them. Most people who give out food on campus usually do so with ulterior motives, like trying to get people to join an organization, so I thought it would be interesting to create a situation where food is made accessible with seemingly no motive outside of building community. (Although staging an intervention is definitely an ulterior motive).

This is the arrangement I made for my test run

To my surprise when I came back 6 hours later to check on the snacks I found that there was actually more than I had initially left!

While some snacks like some Hostess pastries and Hi-chews had been taken, a plethora of new snacks had replaced them and more.

For my “final” iteration of this experiment, I noticed that the snack food that had been taken the first time were snacks that are generally considered to be higher end. With that in mind I decided to vary up the quality of the snacks to see if the better snacks were taken first.

Alongside more generic snack foods like potato chips and Oreos I placed higher quality (and more expensive) snacks like Milano’s, chocolate oranges, and Hi-chews.

Another change I made was to the note. The note I left in the first one was very informal, as it was made by nothing more than scrap paper and the first pen I could find. I made a more formal note in photoshop to see if it would affect how people interacted with the instructions.

After a few hours I went back to the snack arrangement and found that all of the “higher end” snacks were gone, with nothing to replace them.

However the most interesting occurrence I discovered at the end of the test day.

When the higher end snacks were gone, people actually followed the instructions of the note and traded in a snack for a snack.

I find the results of this intervention to be incredibly interesting. It seems that when the arrangement seemed more informal —with a handwritten note and cheaper snacks as a whole— people were more willing to not only follow the instructions, but actually support the project by donating foods without taking any away. However when the arrangement seemed more formal, with better snacks and a designed note, people were less willing to follow along as a whole. Another interesting occurrence is that when only the more generic foods were left people were once again willing to follow the instructions.

Artwork 3 – Intervention : Where’s Scott

My Game:

My intervention piece is a real-world game of Where’s Waldo. The way you play this game is by dressing up as Waldo and going around and trying to discreetly get in the back of people’s photos; that way when they look back at their photos they will see Waldo in the background and hopefully chuckle.

Artist Statement:

My inspiration for my game came from several places but my main inspirations were a Halloween Costume, which was Where’s Waldo, and the Pac-Manhattan game. In my senior year of high school, I got to participate in my Elementary School’s Halloween Parade and as the parents took pictures of their kid in costume I would stand in the background that way the kids could “find Waldo” later. The Pac-Manhattan game really interested me when we talk about it in class but it took a game from a completely different medium and took it into the real world; I really enjoyed that concept because it took something that most people would only consider a videogame and made it tangible. The goal of my game was to take the fun of the picture book game and move it into the real world by taking the normal convention of trying to void getting in someone’s photo and turning it on its head, by having the main objective to sneakily and discreetly get in the background of photos. There are some challenges with this though, my biggest struggle was finding a place where people are taking photos where you can reasonably get in the background, some great advice given to me was to go to landmarks or museums as those places often have high photo traffic and tourist taking photos. Some common issues I ran into were that people would sometimes position themselves in ways where you couldn’t get behind them, ie up against a railing or wall, another issue was closing the distance between the people taking the photo and where I was. I of course didn’t want to run as that would draw unwanted attention to me and ruin the point of the game.

 

  

The photos Above are some of my attempt at this game. On the left was me “ruining” my friends photo of the statue outside the MFA. The center is me and some friends near the Boston Commons, they were helping me get photos of me playing the game but sadly I was very unsuccessful as I struggle a lot getting in the background of photos. On the right is a fun game for you, somewhere in that photo I am hidden, and I challenged you to find me, good luck.

Jackson Faletra Intervention: Post-Game Interview

Initial Ideas

For my project, I had decided that I wanted to something within a game whose community I considered myself a part of. Unfortunately, I don’t play a ton of online multiplayer games, which limited my options to pretty much just Hearthstone. The other problem with this decision was that Hearthstone does not have a built in chat feature to communicate with your random opponents, you can only chat in-game with people on your friends list. There is a feature that allows you to send a friend request to your most recent opponent, but most people who use that do it to trash talk or harass their opponent after a frustrating game. Thinking about that possible roadblock gave me the idea of creating a scenario with that expected/implied interaction, and flipping it on its head to see what would happen. From there, the Post-Game Interview was born.

The Process

The idea was to add my opponent after a game and, if they accepted, I’d ask a small series of questions about our game: “how long have you been playing today?”, “how much did you enjoy our game?”, and “did you feel we ere evenly matched?”. I wanted to be able to discuss our game in a calm, civilized manner, completely counter to what usually happens in this situation. I felt that this premise was simple enough to be able to do many times, but still be able to create a meaningful interaction. It’s a good thing it was so easy to repeat, because, unsurprisingly, not many of my opponents were willing to participate. Of the 20 or so games I played during this stretch, only 5 of my opponents actually accepted my friend request so that I could actually conduct an interview. The low participation was an interesting, albeit expected, point of data, but I was luckily still able to find out some pretty interesting things from the other data I collected.

Results

Firstly, I was only added back by opponents who had beaten me. This was a bit surprising, as I would’ve guessed that most players would expect a losing opponent to send a friend request with hostile intentions, but these 5 seemed to either not expect that to be my intention, or just not care. Another interesting thing I noticed about these opponents had to do with the in-game emotes. I, and many others who play Hearthstone, usually like to give a friendly Greetings to our opponent at the start of a game, but not all players do this. However, all 5 of my interviewees had returned my Greetings which I found interesting. Finally, from the interview questions themselves, most of these players had only been playing 1 or 2 games so far in this session, and they all ranked pretty highly in their enjoyment of our game and felt we were at least somewhat evenly matched. Overall, I would call this Intervention a success. It was fairly difficult to get participants due to the nature of my idea, but I feel that the people who did participate were given a nice experience in a usually hostile situation, which was really my whole goal. On top of all that, I was also able to collect some interesting data about a game I really enjoy, which was a nice added bonus.

 

One of my interviews

Intervention Project: Pacifist Valorant

For my intervention, I decided to try and go into a game of Valorant deathmatch and make friends with people by peacefully running around and not hurting anyone.

This intervention project was initially inspired by a YouTuber named Ymfah who is well known for his challenge runs of games such as Skyrim and the Dark Souls series. One of his most popular ones is to complete these games “pacifist,” in other words to complete these games that the developers designer around the idea of you killing enemies, He would intentionally find ways to bug out the game so that he would be able to beat it without having killed anyone himself. One of the jokes that he makes about this concept while he plays is that pacifism is having other people do the killing for you. I’ve attempted pacifist runs of these games in the past, and it’s a very fun additional challenge. I like the idea of trying to play the game with an added rule included to make it incredibly difficult. Combining this idea of “pacifism” and also inspired by previous posts such as Pacifist Apex, I wanted to try making friends with people I encountered in the game. I was also a little inspired by the Jejune Institute by trying towards the end to get people to basically “sign up” to being pacifist by joining me in the act. It felt similar to the way the Institute would rope in random people who were just getting on with their day into something else, even though this was on a  much smaller scale than that of the institute.

The original concept for my intervention was to go into the standard 5v5 mode for the game with a bunch of friends and try to get the enemy to act peacefully towards us. However, this idea was quickly scrapped, because the enemy usually didn’t care for making friends and would just steamroll us to a very quick victory. So instead, I tried to do it in a game mode that people cared less about winning: deathmatch. In Valorant, deathmatch is a 14 player free-for-all where the first to 40 kills wins in an 8-minute timespan. If 8 minutes pass and no one has reached 40 kills yet, then the player with the most kills is decided as the winner. People take this mode a lot less seriously than the normal 5v5 game mode, and most people use deathmatch as a way to warm up for the real game. My plan was simple, I would run around with my knife out (a kind of accepted way to show that you’re not hostile) and spam crouch/jump as a way to try and communicate with the enemies that I’m friendly. I didn’t want to use the all-chat, as it felt like it would be too easy and would defeat the purpose of the intervention.

The results were much more interesting. Every game, there were a couple of people that would join me and act peacefully.  In one game, there was a moment when two other people decided to be peaceful and friendly, and we jumped around in a huddle for a few seconds. There were also some people who would pretend to be peaceful by pulling out their knife, only for them to attack me with it and get a free kill. There were also a couple of people who became invested in the idea of “protecting me,” which was also very interesting. Overall, this turned out to be a fun and surprising intervention, and I enjoyed playing it.

Gameplay footage of some games:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1sWp0FKs4NqSKF_NddaDbRJRJdchunka9/view?usp=sharing
https://drive.google.com/file/d/16dAMieakv56i1rzQl6NGy0XNVi_0ophJ/view?usp=sharing

Xuanshuo Zhang Intervene Project: Escape the Room

Instructions: Label pieces of a “key”, Hide them in a room, Ask the players to find the key, Ask the players to piece the key together

I came up with this idea when I was playing some escape room games on my phone. I am a huge escape room fan, and I’ve experienced a variety of them. I think the fun of participating in an escape room comes in form of solving creative puzzles, interacting with interesting mechanisms, and sometimes enjoy partially immersing in a story. However, recently, there is a trend of escape room games that focus a lot more on quantity than quality. By that I mean rooms are designed to be small and puzzles are designed to be extremely easy to solve, and basically the only part that requires the players to think is to find specific objects to place, and the placements and use of the objects are extremely obvious. Those games are designed to insert ads between each room to gain profit. I think those games completely defeat the parts that are fun of escape rooms. I came up with this idea to create a game that is an exaggeration of such type of design. It intervenes how regular escape rooms are being played because it takes a lot more people to play this version of the game, and the focus of the game shifts from solving puzzle to just finding the pieces of the puzzle. I decided to include more players because I liked the ideas in the institute to give the players a different experience to this “escape room”, and more people contributing to the chaos of the gameplay partially benefits me because the inherent chaos makes the game more difficult and fun. In the end, both runs of the game went really well, each with its own surprises. The first time having an NPC and having the pieces at unexpecting places really amplified the surprise element, and the second time with expectations of where I could hide things the players still had trouble finding all the pieces in a short time, albeit the first few pieces were discovered much faster. Overall I think the intervention was pretty successful, the game was played how I intended for it to be played and the players had fun.

Artwork #3: Intervene (Public Artwork)

Project Description and Setup:

For my intervention, I left a prompt on a canvas in a public space, which allowed for people to interrupt their daily routine to draw whatever they would like.

  1. Find a public space to display a whiteboard or surface to draw on
  2. Write a prompt which invites people to draw or create whatever they please
  3. Return to the board in 24hrs to see what has been created

At first, my idea was to sit on the centennial common with a whiteboard and ask people to come and draw whatever they’d like to. This idea posed a few problems though. Firstly, I had discovered that allowing people to draw without others observing produced much more creative and interesting results than if there had been others around. Secondly, I do not own a whiteboard large enough to get peoples attention without asking them if they would like to participate. Since this is an intervention piece, I did not want to have as much of a role in the users’ experience as I would have had if I were to camp out on centennial. Therefore I modified my original idea so that I could use a larger canvas in a less public and crowded space. Thus, I chose to setup my intervention in a study room in my dorm building (West Village F). This allowed for participants to take a break from studying to draw whatever was on their mind. The results from this were unique to say the least.

Canvas before:

Canvas 24 hours later:

Upon first observing the changes, I noticed that there were not nearly as many drawings as i’d hoped there would be. All though this was saddening, I was still able to appreciate kirby, a volleyball, bubble tea, and a very awful drawing of spongebob dubbed “spong”.

The results were pretty indicative of the current mental state of those residing in my building. Although stressed by workload around midterms and nearing finals, students were still able to have fun in expressing themselves and displaying their work to others.

Tom Tang Intervention Project

This project is inspired by the Yes-men. As they put on a satire designed to mock the current social issues, I was inspired to do this project to expose and criticize the downfall of social media: where there appears to be more meaningless videos and less creative content.  After seeing Yoko Uno’s PAINTING TO ENLARGE AND SEE and PAINTING TO BE CONSTRUCTED IN YOUR HEAD, I decided to use the Instagram creative mode and put on a minute-long clip of blank grey canvas on my Instagram story. The original intention of this project was to make people realize the time they spend on meaningless social media content is wasted. 

After I posted five 15-second blanks, 130 people clicked on the story and 108 people watched all the way till the last clip. To my surprise, when I asked some of my friends their reaction to my social media post, none of them thought they wasted time. “It feels nice to take a break from scrolling,” one of my friends says. This emergent behavior made me realize that similar to Yoko Uno’s piece, the blank grey clips are like empty canvas: people are granted the freedom to have different perspectives on the piece.

Nickerson Isidor’s Intervention

For my Intervention, I enacted something I liked to call, operation Good Neighbor. What I did was essentially play some good ole’ rainbow 6 siege, and try to help the opposite team, or at the very least be kind towards them. A couple clips of the experience can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2biIKU0gmU&ab_channel=YvesIsidor

A brief presentation can also be seen here: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/15rT6kmo3cIzwvoTqj_q2Ce93XbyJguKOhNYpkVLTffE/edit?usp=sharing

While it wasn’t my first idea, the idea for this essentially branched from a lot of the other ideas of people in class. The idea of essentially becoming friendly and going against the true way the game was meant to played seemed like a fun idea to execute. I even got some of the players I encountered saying I brightened their day, and in the end, that’s the true point of being a good neighbor, so it made me happy that this was a success.

 

 

Intervention: The VR Chat Interviews

VRChat 2021.11.12 – 18.37.10.01

As seen in this video, I walked around VRChat and attempted to interview. My goal was to get people to think about who they were in-game, either as their avatar or the way they acted, and to play an absurd situation completely straight.

I framed my interviews as though I were an alien trying to learn more about life on Earth. In turn, I asked people what they liked or didn’t like about Earth, why they continued to live on Earth, and other things of that nature. The alien was intended to act as a visual shorthand for an outsider with no experience in VRChat’s customs which a number of people picked up and and treated me as such. Regularly, I was met with a negative viewpoint. Most people said that there was no good part about living on Earth and everything was terrible. I think this negativity reflects on the reason why people were playing VRChat; it’s a means of escapism where you can interact genuinely with people while using the anonymity and distance provided by the internet to keep from getting too close. Not included in my videos was a great deal of racism leveled primarily against black people. While unfortunately not uncommon in these spaces, the degree to which I saw this was far greater in VRChat as players were able to fill my screen with images of klansmen and also yell the n-word loudly. I did not interact with these people. A few select people (namely the purple skeleton in the video) were very receptive to my bit, often times playing along with my alien persona after having answered a few of my questions by asking me questions in return about life in space. Most people were frankly not that interested in being asked questions and spent most of their time talking with the others around them.

A big inspiration for my interviews was the Eric Andre Show but not in a normal way. The Eric Andre Show is primarily a prank show where Eric Andre puts on fake interviews for his guests where he does his best to make them uncomfortable and have them react to his bizarre mannerisms. My goal was to do the complete opposite by acting very politely and calmly in response to an incredibly strange environment. I think this works on the same level that comedian activists such as the Yes Men do. Things like the business suit that allows managers to see through cameras attached to their employee’s bodies or the all-in-one home suit used in the event of the flooding of the Earth force us to realize the ridiculousness of their context. Similarly, I wanted to have the people I interviewed have a similar moment of realization where they engage with the reasons why they play VRChat and how it differs from the greater world. I was additionally inspired by my previous interactions with VRChat. While I’d previously played VRChat playing different characters, most notably a shopping cart on a spiritual pilgrimage, I wanted to try engaging with other players in as normal a way as I could rather than adding to the visual and literal noise of people acting out. I was also inspired by Youtube channels such as All Gas No Breaks with impromptu interviews with random people at events to learn about why they were there.

Intervention: Why can’t we peace?

In my intervention, I chose the game League of Legends to be the base and add my rule into it. It’s called zero-damage plan.

Details for what I do and the data:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/187eSSJCVMeX1Il2NOfoEyRbutEyVF16PmJ1oeM3U86U/edit?usp=sharing

 

Art statement:

When the first time I started to play League of Legends, I was taught to kill enemies as more as I can. Back to the begin, League of Legends is a MOBA game and the target is to destroy the enemies’ base. However, when I asked my brother why everyone’s just killing each other, he told me, everyone’s doing that. “You get killed if you don’t kill them”. That’s why I’m trying to find a way to win without dealing damage to the enemies. I played the game with my friends. I went to the top lane since the top lane players have got a tradition — split push. They stay in top lane trying to destroy the towers while the other four teammates group together for dragons and baron. It gives me the chance to win by dealing no damage.

The idea is actually from the Chinese history story that the country “Qi” assigned their army to attack “Wei”‘s capital so that they can rescue the country named “Zhao” who was attacked by “Wei”. I really admire how they can win the war without any fight. That’s what I want to do in my plan. Nowadays, people overtrust the power itself, but ignore the people who command the war. Even though I won’t hurt the enemies, I can limit the enemies’ action. They can’t ignore me when I’m destroying the towers. That’s why I want to try this plan to see if I can win without a fight.

So the basic idea is like, in the lane, I take as much damage as I can and ask my jungle to help me limit the enemy top to farm. (It will be better if we kill him). During the mid game, I keep split pushing, if someone comes to catch me, I escape. When this person goes back to the front lane, I go for push again. Like this, there will always be an enemy on his way to the front or to me. If the enemies don’t care about me, I can push and destroy the towers very fast. under this condition, we’ll easily win since the lane I do split push is really far from the baron or dragon the enemies want. At this time, my teammates are really important since they must win the 4v4 team fight or play for time in a 4v5 fight. The winning condition is for everyone doing their job without any wrong! I was like a military counsellor, sitting in the back and command everything in its correct way.

There’s a better solution that I asked the enemy top to be peace in the lane. If he/she agrees with me (I tried this before), we can easily farm and I can build items for push very fast. However, I was always refused or ignored so that I can only ask my jungle to Gank him/her.

More details are in my Google doc. I really love the idea. Although it’s hard to win, but really gives me feeling of achievement!