Fake your way through the art world in Passpartout

If you’ve ever had a table at a convention, or had your work in a gallery, you’ve experienced the sharp sting of a stranger’s silent judgement. “How are you enjoying the show?” you ask as they walk by. They look down at your work and scowl, moving on wordlessly to buy some crappy fan art from the next table over. Your soul wilts. Now you can experience that virtually to, with Passpartout, a simulation of the French art world. You play as a painter, struggling to strike a balance between authenticity and paying your bills (rent, wine, baguettes). You start…


Orbyss brings the beauty of ribbon gymnastics to your phone

Super Hexagon (2012) has you think in hexagons, Orbyss in circles. Repeat that: Orbyss. Circles. Don’t stop there, either. You should chant this to yourself quietly—or just in your head—as you play Orbyss. You’re gonna need to. Circles, circles, circles. Loops, loops, loops. For if you don’t drill that command into your brain you shall fail. You’ll fail anyway, a lot, like every five seconds, but with a little persistence you can match the complex elegance of a ribbon-twirling rhythmic gymnast. That’s what Orbyss mimics as you get better at it too—a magical performance of flutters and twirls. It’s a game about…


LARP game has players cope with the expectations placed on different genders

It’s not hard to understand the appeal of LARPing (live-action role playing). A player can both cosplay and let go of their inhibitions in a safe space by acting out a character-driven narrative. Though I’ve never LARPed before, actress Felicia Day convinced me of its potential for sheer fun in an episode of Supernatural where her character got to be the Queen of a popular LARP and was practically worshiped by the other players. Definitely appealing. But perhaps the best aspect of LARPing is that it is a medium entirely shaped by its players backgrounds and intents, and can be…

Virtual Drag

Virtual Drag, or how to queer virtual reality

“We’re born naked, and the rest is drag.” – Ru Paul, Lettin’ It All Hang Out, 1995 /// Australian digital media artist Alison Bennett says that Virtual Drag came to her “like a bright flash.” It may not seem obvious at first, the connection between drag performance and virtual reality, but once the two concepts merge in your head your thoughts can start to accelerate down a rabbit hole of vast questions and possibilities. Before getting to the larger implications you must first know what Virtual Drag is all about. It’s an exhibition that will see 3D scans of drag queens…


Watch this guy attempt to spend 48 hours in virtual reality without sleeping

How long have you spent inside virtual reality in total—an hour? Two hours? 24 hours? It’s probably only a small number of hours as it takes quite the toll on your eyes and brain. And that’s if you don’t get the infamous nausea it brings on for a lot of people. But heck, try telling that to Thorsten Wiedemann, who is currently at the beginning of a performance called DISCONNECTED that will see him spending a total of 48 consective hours inside virtual reality. As the description says: “No human being has ever spent such a long time in computer generated Virtual…


When everyday life is a performance

This Is My Costume explores life with a non-binary gender identity and its parallels with performative attire. It’s a short point-and-click adventure that was made by game design team Pride Interactive for a recent Ludum Dare, in which the theme was “You Are The Monster.” It begins with the protagonist, Finch, getting dressed—first by putting on a binder, then a t-shirt that reads “this is my costume,” and some cat ears. Later, during a short walk around a party, the character is shown relating more to an abandoned balloon in the corner than the other party-goers, longing to be elsewhere. Once they…


An interactive theatre show brings out the capitalist monsters in most of us

Very few people get out of bed and plan to run a horrible sweatshop, but here they are, a collection of young, presumably liberal adults, doing just that. They are participants in Zoe Svendsen’s interactive play, World Factory, at London’s Young Vic Theatre. Audience members form teams. They sit in clusters, figuring out how to deal with problems at their Chinese clothing factory. These problems touch on a variety of issues—worker conditions, dealings with clients and suppliers—but, insofar as we’re talking about capitalism here, everything comes down to the bottom line.  “Because the choices are binary they are rarely palatable,”…


A new virtual reality game buries you alive in an actual coffin

Taphophobia, the fear of being buried alive, is described as being “irrational.” It’s not. An irrational fear is being scared of being shot into orbit while sleeping, or crocodiles crawling down your chimney—the likelihood of either happening is super slim. But you could be buried alive tonight or tomorrow, and with terrifying ease. A spiked drink, a couple of hours, and a spade is all that’s needed. how about you voluntarily get buried alive?  Also, those who would deem it an “irrational” fear should be careful where they’re poking that word. Of the many people inflicted with taphophobia over the…