Working With Useless Machines
This work was part of my MDes in Digital Futures at OCADU, and funded by a CGS-M Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship.
This research explores how a nihilistic approach to the development of personal assistants can problematize the ways these technologies are being brought to market by using the concept of the useless machine. The research is organized around the creation of four prototypes: SAD Blender, Home Hub, Calendar Creep, and Fortune Tasker (w/ Alanna Predko), and a personal web server nicknamed Punchy (w/ Rob Russell). Each of these prototypes seek to critique the current corporate agenda of productivity, efficiency, and consumption, by creating machines that have no utilitarian function. This work investigates and defines useless machines in the contemporary context of personal assistants, and documents the development of each of the prototypes and server. Overall the research shows that whilst it is not possible to completely divorce these devices from their parent corporations, they do serve as an important vehicle to explore the changing landscape of ubiquity, and our shifting ability to work and live with these connected objects.
Punk Prism Power
Punk Prism Power is a cooperative 2-player Magical Girl party game, in which players wield custom laser-cut peripherals to defeat bizarre evil monsters in a fantasy world. Each player has 3 different physical motions that can be registered by an accelerometer embedded in each weapon (similar to a Wiimote): Slash, Spin, and Down Stab. Weapons also contain LED lights that indicate which attack is currently being performed. Enemies that appear on-screen have a Health Bar that takes varying amounts of damage depending on the attack. The gameplay emphasis is on kinetic combat movement and getting the players to feel empowered by their physical actions, as well as revisiting the nostalgic joys of Magical Girl shows like Sailor Moon with a more adult, absurdist tone. The current prototype contains one monster and two weapons, the Sceptre and the Chainsaw, as well as story elements presented in a visual graphic novel style.
Collaborators: Alanna Predko
Fortune Tasker is an interactive installation by Nadine Lessio and Alanna Predko using an Amazon Alexa, reclaimed deer skull, and a tiny printer. Alexa is usually positioned as a general use interface seeking to become part of our everyday narrative. Fortune Tasker subverts that by changing the Alexa to no longer be your personal assistant, but a personal mystic. A magical object rather than a spy.
Collaborators: Mudit Gangualy
Fascist Falldown is physical bowling game that is sort of a cross between a carnival game, and beer pong. It consists of upwards of 20 mobile devices which act as pins. Users load the website (tinyurl link) onto their phone browsers and then are randomly assigned a dictator. They then place their phone on a cardboard phone stand that holds it in place and the users take turns bowling the dictators down using a ball ( the ball of democracy). Take turns bowling over the Illuminati!
A Shock In The Dark
Collaborators: Sagan Yee, Lindy Wilkins, Jane Hacker
A Shock In The Dark is an experimental game prototype that looks at pain and emotional cartography in the context of board games. Its a two player game, where you explore a grid to uncover of islands. The catch is that the board is wired up to some RF dog shock collars worn by both players. The idea is to claim as much territory as you can, without getting shocked too much.
The Interesteller Selfie Station Photo Booth
Collaborators: Christine Love
The ISS Love was a travelling photobooth to promote Christine Love's ISS app for iOS. During its tenure it travelled to many an event, including The Indie Mega Booth at PAX East, the Fancy Videogame Party in Toronto, That Party @ GDC and Bit Bazzar at Gamma Space. It included a full controller, and full enclosure, and used a wireless sticker printer to print portraits. Though now long retired, its little sticky portraits still sometimes pop up on computers and mirrors around the world.
Long Time Coming
Collaborators: Sagan Yee
Long Time Coming is an "infidelity sim" in which you've just cheated on your boyfriend, and must lie your way through an evening with him without getting caught. It's also an experimental visual novel that involves literally throwing knives at the screen during tense emotional situations.
This was basically a humour break for me. There’s something really fun about making a somewhat fancy box that is a shit and crossbones. It riffs off our current weird obsession of IoT notifiers. AKA: Nice looking objects that tell us somewhat readily available things.
Collaborators: Angus Fletcher, Jon Sharky
txtr is a small web based Python application come engine that allows you to turn interactive fiction into real time texting based text adventure games (say that five times fast!). It uses web based SMS services as its platform, and runs indepndent of whatever OS is on your phone.
Twitter and Tumblr Bots
Bots are an ongoing fascination for me. I love making little strange things that live on their own somewhere in the web. Currently I have a wide variety that range from crappy horriscopes, to a computer re-mixing Frued, to something remxing myself as a bot.
Stupid Shit No One Needs and Terrible Ideas Hackathon
Collaborators: Lindy Wilkins, Hillary Predko, Tom Hobson, Zak Kain
The Stupid Shit No One Needs and Terrible Ideas hackthon is an annual tradition to create complete garbage in the world.
Different Games Toronto
Collaborators: Yifat Shaik
Role: Co-Organizer / Tech Stuff
Different Games conference has presented a diverse and interdisciplinary venue known for featuring emerging voices and perspectives not typically supported by the commercial industry. Created by the Different Games Collective, a grassroots organization aimed at fostering diversity and inclusivity in games, the event seeks to amplify the creative and critical voices of marginalized participants in games culture
Encaustic And Collage
For many years I made personal encaustic and collage art based around the thought of trying to make something that felt like photoshop but in real life. I relly enjoy the ephemeral nature of wax, it can melt, move, dissolve, and respond to temperature. Working with wax was almost like cooking. It is intuitive, and a bit random, and very physical. My digital pieces are more about exploring themes, repetition, and personal thought.