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Tales from the Loop — Simon Stålenhag

15 Immersive Things — AI generated podcasts, Magic Cultural Mirrors, a Chat App you can only use when you reach 5% battery life & more…

August edition of our monthly round-up of immersive things

The following is a list of immersive things that mix story, play, design and code.

At Columbia DSL we explore new forms and functions of storytelling. Through our programs, prototypes and events we strive to build collaborative spaces that push at the edges of the impossible.

Upcoming Columbia DSL fall events — apply now
9/22 — Story I/O prototyping festival
10/23 — Immersive Dinner Party Challenge with Frankenstein AI

Collaborators Wanted! We also hold monthly meetups at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and are currently building a global prototyping community.

We’re always searching for interesting immersive things. If you know of something that we should experience or if you’re interested in collaborating with us please let us know.

Sheldon County — James Ryan

“Sheldon County is a podcast that will never sound the same twice. Every time someone listens to it, they’ll begin by typing a random number into a website. This “seed” will set in motion a Rube Goldberg machine of calculation that will create characters, relationships, jealousies, betrayals, and maybe even a murder or two. These plot points will be turned into a text narrative, read aloud by a voice synthesizer, and then zipped up into an audio file. Each time it will be a unique version of Sheldon County’s story. A podcast made just for you.” — The Verge

James’ frames the project in tweets

The Structure of Stand-Up Comedy — The Pudding

“Starting at this climax, the piece’s researchers adopted the methods of literary deconstruction and went back through Wong’s set joke by joke to find where the seeds of this climax were planted. It turns out that Wong’s set was even more intricate than they’d imagined, with each joke being able to fall under the umbrella of three related themes. While in a traditional story the intersection of these arcs gives way to catharsis or understanding, here it produces a kind of cumulative laughter, which feels special in the realm of standup.” — AV Club

Hyper Court — Nike

“With the aim to improve the skills of the nation’s young players, ‘Nike Hyper Court’ brings digital content to physical basketball courts with striking portraits of NBA stars including LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant. These artworks by Dallas-based artist Arturo Torres also come to life in the project’s on-court digital platform that offers players access (via their smartphones) to Nike content and 75 unique training drills created by the famous basketball players themselves.” — Little Black Book

Thank You for Playing — Reflektor/NFB Interactive

“The hidden side of gambling is the focus of the NFB’s new 20-minute interactive documentary, Thank You for Playing, which explores compulsive gambling using a playful format that recreates the very same psychological mechanisms underlying the addiction, introducing viewers to a range of perspectives on the subject in the process. Created by Andréa Cohen-Boulakia (director), Priam Givord (design and interactivity) and Dominic Desjardins (producer), this interactive doc from the NFB’s Canadian Francophonie Studio in Toronto is available online.” — The Suburban

Healing Spaces — Gabi Gomes

“A smart platform that allows caregivers to transform spaces through light, color, sounds, and visuals, turning any environment into a place where older adults living with dementia can focus, engage and relax. Inspired by the research legacy of Multisensory Environments (MSEs), Healing Spaces is about creating restorative environments where older adults living with dementia and their caregivers can find respite and heal.” — Healing Spaces site

Grenfell: Our Home — Parable

“Created by an independent production company Parable for Channel 4, Grenfell: Our Home is a short documentary filmed in virtual reality (VR) that discuss the lives and experiences of the community in an immersive setting.

…Filmed across the year following the tragedy, Grenfell: Our Home is incredibly moving. The documentary shows people who lived in the tower talking about their homes; when they first saw the flat, how they decorated it and all spoke about admiring the tower’s views over London.

Then talk turns to their experiences of the fire and picking up the pieces of their lives afterwards…” — The Standard

Tales from the Loop — Simon Stålenhag

The RPG for Tales from the Loop raised over $400,000 on kickstarter

From book to RPG to series — “Tales From the Loop” is based on the art of Simon Stålenhag, whose paintings blend elements of futuristic science fiction with images of rural life in the Sweden.

“Simon Stålenhag’s paintings are renowned for their vision of a not-too-distant, futuristic landscape. We are looking forward to bringing that to life and sharing it with our Prime Video audience,” said Albert Cheng, co-head of television, Amazon Studios.” — Variety

Vanitas — Robert Walton

“Hidden in plain sight at the centre of a 300 year old painting lurks a mysterious void that promises oblivion to those who stare too intently. Download Vanitas now to inspect the evidence for yourself, listen to the experts and make sense of the past with its traces in the present.

Vanitas mixes podcast-style listening with beautiful visual materials to create an experience that is part documentary, part fantasy. Just like real life there is no narrator, so it is up to you to pull fact from fiction as the world unfurls before your senses.” — Pursuit

Die With Me — Dries Depoorter & David Surprenant with IDFA Doclab

“We’re so addicted to our phones that we simply can’t fathom the idea of not being able to use it because it’s out of battery juice. That’s why we’re constantly charging our devices, making sure they have enough battery to get us through the day.

But who said that having your battery die can’t be a fun experience, especially if you don’t have a charger or external battery on hand. That’s where the brilliant $1 Die With Me iPhone and Android app will come in handy.

Die With Me only works if your phone’s battery dips below 5%…” — BGR

The Grid — Lollipop

“Alright, mate? Fancy a quick, cheeky dystopian drink?” That’s what organisers of The Grid — a new drinking experience coming to London in June and July — are hoping will be the slogan of the summer. The Grid is said to be inspired by television series ‘Black Mirror’ and is being described as ‘an immersive, alcoholic escape experience’ (and that’s not even the dystopian part).

Participants at this futuristic adventure will be led into fictional artificial intelligence firm Neosight, a company using human volunteers to teach machines how to think more intelligently (or so they say). Punters will be asked to use this undercover position to help fight back against the machines — all whilst enjoying ‘sci-fi cocktails’, of course.” — Time Out

Oubliette — Shan Jin and Sofia Aronov

“Oubliette is an interactive device that utilizes real-time image query to gather visual glimpses of the culture behind iconic music devices. Placed inside our apparatus, the object is instantly identified through realtime object detection: an image query from Google then gathers images through the use of custom tags. The images found are then displayed on the transparent screen, generating a dynamic portrait of the object’s era, a panorama of its trends and memories. Users can swap different object in and out to get lost in the magical atmosphere of our favorite decades.” — Fake Love

Oat the Goat — Assembly

“Oat the Goat is the tale of Oat’s journey to the top of a mountain and the friends Oat makes along the way.

This unique story, launched online last month during Bullying-Free Week, aims to teach children aged 4 to 7 the importance of being kind to one another (although yours truly, at 33, quite enjoyed watching it too, so I’ll go ahead and revise it’s recommended age to “all ages”).

Oat’s story can be played in either English or te reo Māori (as “Oti te Nanekoti”) and you can either read it yourself or have it narrated to you.” — NZ Herald

The Boxes — Nerris

“As a front end web developer and filmmaking aficionado, Héctor Monerris is always thinking about the way to mix both worlds. He’s written us a case study about WebGL realtime rendering onto a Video, looking into a little experiment he made using Three.js and video.” Read More

To interact with the experiment click below.

We Happy Few — Compulsion Games

“All video games are worlds of facades, but We Happy Few investigates the very idea of phony fronts. It’s a story about the amount of effort we put it into performative happiness and the concealment of emptiness. Through a meticulously constructed universe and an outstanding script, this game offers an experience that’s genuinely fresh and confrontational.

I’m about midway through the role-playing adventure, and it’s clear to me that its creators don’t just want me to have a bit of fun. This is one of those rare games that makes me feel discomforted.” — Polygon

Notion — an all-in-one workspace

For over a year and a half, I’ve been using Notion non-stop. After trying so many collaborative solutions/platforms I’ve finally found something that works well for me. The UX is seamless across mobile and desktop. In particular, I find the file structure to be simple and intuitive. But I’d have to say one of my favorite features is how modular Notion is. I’m currently using it for numerous Columbia DSL and personal projects.

Check out past Immersive Things editions

Interested in exploring new forms and functions of storytelling?

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lance weiler

lance weiler

Storyteller working with Code - Founding member & Director of the Columbia University Digital Storytelling Lab - curates @creativemachines