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Thanks to the Kinect and Cornell you’ll soon have robots cleaning your house.

video We’ve reached the moment in history where robots are learning how to organize and place objects autonomously.  From the opinion section on The Week, Cornell roboticists have built and successfully tested a canny new housecleaning bot. Of course, building a machine that “knows” where to put your things isn’t easy: The robot has to survey a room, identify the components of the mess you’ve made, and figure out where everything belongs — before actually getting to work. Cornell’s unnamed robo-housekeeper uses advanced algorithms and a 3D Kinect camera to identify misplaced dishes, groceries, books, toys, and trash before putting them…

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Punchdrunk and MIT’s "Sleep No More" sets the stage for theatre and videogame experimentation.

Dave Itzkoff’s review of “Sleep No More,” a site-specific theatre installation in a Chelsea (NY) demonstrates what happens when the threshold between videogames, alternate-reality games, theatre and drama are blurred. Created by British theatre group Punchdrunk, and produced with the help of Emursive and MIT the installation combines technology, performance and alternate-branching storylines. As Itzkoff notes,  “Sleep No More” lets masked attendees follow, with eyes, ears, hands and feet, an open-ended tale that mashes up “Macbeth” with elements of Hitchcock films like “Rebecca” and “Vertigo.” At the invitation of Punchdrunk, I was taking part in an experiment to see, primarily, if…

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Tom Sachs’ new exhibition is Synecdoche, New York meets Apollo 13.

video Contemporary artist Tom Sachs’ SPACE PROGRAM: MARS takes us as close to Mars as many of us will ever get. With the help of public art organization Creative Time, Sachs recreates the Martian landscape in the 55,000 square foot Wade Thompson Drill Hall of the Park Ave. Armory. The immersive installation is not a 1:1 replica of what a Mars colony may be like (it features a tea house and land rovers at the same time) but instead speaks to something greater, SPACE PROGRAM: MARS is a demonstration of all that is necessary for survival, scientific exploration, and colonization in extraterrestrial environs:…

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NYC’s Museum of Modern Art evaluates games as an art form.

MoMA kicked off Contemporary Art Forum: Critical Play—The Game as an Art Form last night with an overview of critical and artist led play. Here are some quotes from the first session: Mary Flanagan: “Is thinking about games as an art form tied to the historic exchanges specific to art history, or is it a cry for legitimacy? If a Conceptual artist is playing Pac-Man in a forest and Pac-Man dies, does the Conceptual artist hear the “wa wa wa wah” sound of his death?” Susan Laxton on Surrealists parlor games (such as the Exquisite Corpse): “Any illusions about the game as a site of…

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Musical robotics? Glowing wires? All is game at NYU’s ITP Spring exhibition.

video Xavier Aaronson’s review for The Creators Project of NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) spring exhibition demonstrates the importance of art, technology and play, Upon entering this year’s show, held this past Monday and Tuesday, I was greeted with a wonderful assault on the senses. The array of Kinect sensors, 3D printing, and musical robotics was overwhelming and damn near titillating to the geek within me. This is no amateur hour at The Apollo. Need I remind you that Dennis Crowley, co-founder of Foursquare, is an ITP Alumn. Instead, the students are groomed and encouraged to create innovations that overlap…

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For museums saving a virtual world is more than just killing the final boss.

As a visitor it’s easy to overlook the amount of work that goes on in maintaining a videogame exhibition or collection. Jeff DiOrio’s interview with the Strong Museum’s Jon-Paul Dyson, the director of the International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG) in Rochester, NY remedies this lack of awareness. Dyson outlines ICHEG’s five-fold process for caring for videogames, The central thing that we’ve been concentrating on, initially, is collecting the physical copies of games and hardware. But we recognize that alone is not (enough). The second thing we’re collecting are printed materials, or mass manufactured materials without the…

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KICKSTARTER OF THE DAY: Jason Rohrer’s Diamond Trust of London is here!

Jason Rohrer is ready to take on the Nintendo DS with his new game Diamond Trust of London. A Kickstarter page is devoted to the project and will help out manufacturing costs. The game involves outfoxing and bribery, Diamond Trust is a two-player, turn-based, simultaneous-decision strategy game about diamond traders operating in Angola in the year 2000.  Over the course of eight in-game months, diamonds accumulate in various regions to be taken by the highest bidder, and whoever brings the most diamonds back from Angola wins. Outfoxing your opponent is your main tactic, but bribing and spying mechanics complicate things. …