2021 list of 50+ Immersive Things that mix storytelling, performance, play, design & code

lance weiler
Columbia DSL
27 min readJan 18, 2022


The following list was compiled by storytellers from around the globe. Special thanks to everyone who took the time to share the immersive things that stood out in 2021.

ANYTHING MISSING? Please feel free to share anything that we may have missed.

The following is in no particular order

Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran —

“The show involves the online audience further in its presentation by asking them to do one of the most common actions of using their smartphones and following an Instagram account, and browsing #richkids, #richkidsoftehran, and #Mallwave. The course of the play continues on Instagram live and the audience is being told to scrolling down the feed where images tell the story backward from the end to the beginning and articulately continues to play with the concept of connectivity of past and future by moving through time and history on YouTube.” via Theatre Times

Lizardly — Kat Mustatea, Heidi Boisvert

“VR, MoCap and Machine Learning help you to imagine a world beyond your control.

Vincent and Rebecca, a couple adapting to rapid environmental shifts around them, find themselves changing in mysterious ways. Trapped inside their smart home in the path of an on-coming hurricane with nowhere to go and no one to turn to they find themselves in an escalating turf war as their bodies begin to unexpectedly transform before their eyes.” via MAX Media Art Exploration

Composition — Vincent Morisset, Caroline Robert and Édouard Lanctôt-Benoit and Vlooper

“Something’s composition defines its very nature — an atom, a human, music. It’s also the result of an action, where the present moment is constructed by altering the past. A single wooden cube can become the unit that creates rhythm and catalyzes our actions, giving life to dormant forces, and our imagination. By manipulating the cubes on the table, Composition becomes at the same time a world, a sculpture, an instrument, and a multi-handed dance.” via AATOAA

Project Immerse — Columbia DSL

90% of Project Immerse is made by AI — the text, VO, photos, videos and score as well as the editing . The project is made possible thanks to the support of the Brown Institute for Media Innovation

“One of the works that stood out at CPH:DOX for its innovative storytelling was certainly Project Immerse, a “deepfake paranoid thriller that places participants within a virtual experience that mixes story, play, and web pervasive technologies”.

This project works with and talks about one of the most advanced — and somewhat scary — technologies, artificial intelligence, and in fact has strong ties to academia…” via XR Must

Forest of Us — Es Devlin

“Forest of Us” (2021) by Es Devlin. Installation view of “Every Wall is a Door” at Superblue Miami. Photography by Pedro Wazzan

“Superblue’s artists are also centering big ideas. Devlin’s installation, called Forest of Us, draws parallels between human breathing structures and structures around us that make breathing possible: the bronchial trees that exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide within our lungs and the trees which exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen in the environment. It starts out as a film of a journey through the forest. “Gradually, the forest leads you toward understanding the branching structures of trees,” she tells the New York Times.” via Surface

The Poem Pavilion — Es Devlin

Es Devlin designed the UK Pavilion for the Dubai Expo via dezeen

“Constructed from cross-laminated timber, the cone-shaped pavilion has a circular facade made from protruding slats.

Poems created from words submitted by visitors and generated by AI will be written in English and Arabic using LED lights on the facade.” via dezeen

Life After BOB — Ian Cheng

“That future is precisely the subject of his latest work, a 48-minute “narrative animation” — please don’t call it a film — currently being shown at Luma Arles, the new art park in the south of France. On Sept. 10 it also goes on view at the Shed in New York. Somewhat cryptically titled “Life After BOB: The Chalice Study,” it is a commentary on the potential of A.I. to mess up your life.” via The New York Times

Goliath: Playing with Reality — Barry Gene Murphy & May Abdalla

GOLIATH: PLAYING WITH REALITY is an interactive VR story that explores the experience of schizophrenia & psychosis through the story of a Twitch Streamer named GoliathGames. It’s a really strong piece of immersive storytelling balancing interactivity of gaming metaphors that serves the story, great pacing, and brilliant onboarding and offboarding as voiced by Tilda Swinton.” via Voices of VR

Un(re)solved — Tamara Shogaolu

“The traveling exhibit, “Un(re)solved,” was created by PBS Frontline with artist, filmmaker and technologist Tamara Shogaolu. It is on display until Oct. 24 at the Two Mississippi Museums in downtown Jackson. The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and Museum of Mississippi History are under one roof and share a lobby, meeting areas and exhibit spaces.

The exhibit opened in Mississippi on Aug. 28 — 66 years to the day after Emmett Till, a Black teenager from Chicago, was abducted, tortured and killed in the Mississippi Delta after witnesses said he whistled at a white woman working in a country store. His mother insisted on an open-casket funeral in Chicago, and photos of his brutalized body became a catalyst for the civil rights movement.” via AP News

Dream — Royal Shakespeare Company

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” may be one of Shakespeare’s most performed plays — but its latest version from the Royal Shakespeare Company will be unlike any seen before. Titled “Dream,” the 50-minute streamed production fuses live performance with motion-capture technology, 3-D graphics, and interactive gaming techniques that let the audience remotely guide Puck through a virtual forest.

As live theater sprinkled with some seriously high-tech fairy dust, “Dream” promises to bring “a most rare vision” of the play to our screens, to borrow a line from Shakespeare.” via The New York Times

It Takes Two — Hazelight Studios

“The vast majority of video games are built so that they can be played by a single player, with co-op sometimes added as an optional part of the experience. However, the games by Josef Fares and Hazelight Studios have made co-op a requirement, allowing for unique gameplay that truly takes advantage of the co-op setup. The studios’ first shared screen co-op effort, 2018’s A Way Out, did some clever things with the concept, but it was a bit rough around the edges. Hazelight’s latest game, It Takes Two, builds on what worked in A Way Out, polishes everything to near-perfection, and delivers what will go down as one of the absolute best co-op video games ever made.

In It Takes Two, players take on the roles of Cody and May, a married couple who are on the brink of divorce. Their daughter Rose catches wind of this and understandably becomes upset. The next thing Cody and May know, they find themselves in the bodies of two dolls that Rose made, their physical human forms “sleeping,” and them at the mercy of a magical talking book written by Dr. Hakim, The Book of Love.” via Game Rant

Finding Pandora X — Kiira Benzing, Double Eye

“As members of the Greek Chorus, audience members travel to the world of Mount Olympus to assist the gods—Zeus and Hera—in retrieving hope from Pandora before it’s too late. Along with your fellow companions, you’ll split up and travel to exotic worlds in the hopes of bringing stability to Mount Olympus. Thanks to the branching narrative, each group experiences a different story throughout the experience. At one point during my performance, for example, several members of our group split up to explore an epic city while the rest of us joined Zeus for a few drinks at the base of Mount Olympus. No matter what route you take, however, Finding Pandora X uses the power afforded by VRChat to wow you with impressive visual effects that serve to better enhance the story. Characters grow in size, the in-game world transforms drastically, and the environments are interactive.” via VR Scout

HoloVista — Aconite

“This is HoloVista, a new kind of mixed reality game from new media storytelling platform Aconite. Though partly inspired by the 2016 culture bomb that was Pokémon Go, HoloVista has a decidedly more experimental crew, led by creative luminaries Nadya Lev and Star St. Germain, and the kind of aesthetic polish that you’d normally find in a high-end fashion spread. Lev is an established photographer who co-founded the alt-culture magazine Coilhouse, and St. Germain is an accomplished art director, illustrator, and developer with a background in theatre design. The pair set about building a formidable development team, including game veterans Jay Treat and Scott Jon Siegel, lead artist Blake Kathryn, award-winning narrative designer Whitney “Strix” Beltran, and 20-year-old composer Mariode, who is part of the game-inspired DESKPOP music collective.

The result is nothing short of a whole new world.” via The Verge

The Currency — Damien Hirst

“The body of work Hirst calls “The Currency” consists of 10,000 NFTS that correspond to 10,000 unique works on paper created back in 2016. The spot-colored works hearken back to Hirst’s painted all-over canvases that began in the 1980s, and are being held in a secure vault somewhere in the United Kingdom, according to a press release…

Each title of the spotty works was created through machine learning based on a database of some of Hirst’s favorite song lyrics. Some of the poetic titles include Totally Gonna Sell You, Wet Moving Mirror, Grandfathered to the Gang, and My Vision Is Fucked. The works may look similar, but no two dots are the same color, while each piece is individually numbered, signed, and stamped by the artist with a microdot and a hologram featuring a portrait of Hirst.” via Artnet

Kid A MNESIA — Radiohead, Epic Games

“To mark a period of 21 years since the expulsion of Kid A and Amnesiac from a converted barn in the Oxfordshire countryside into an unsuspecting world we’ve built… something.
We aren’t sure what it is.

To start with, when we first started thinking about it, we intended to build a physical exhibition/installation in a central London location.

It was going to be a huge red construction made by welding shipping containers together, constructed so that it looked as if a brutalist spacecraft had crash-landed into the classical architecture of the Victoria & Albert Museum in Kensington…” via PlayStation Blog written by Thom Yorke & Stanley Donwood

Goblin Lab — Gossip Goblin

“This is not just a hand-drawn, generative pfp with 50 randomized traits that we see released daily. Instead, Goblin Laboratory gives users the chance to create their own NFTs. Each feature is hand-drawn and has varying rarity, taking assets from the last decade of Gossip Goblin’s career. Users take these traits and use the innovative drag and drop software to create a personalized Goblin.” via Alt Coin Buzz

Birds Aren’t Real — Peter McIndoe

“In Pittsburgh, Memphis and Los Angeles, massive billboards recently popped up declaring, “Birds Aren’t Real.”

On Instagram and TikTok, Birds Aren’t Real accounts have racked up hundreds of thousands of followers, and YouTube videos about it have gone viral.

Last month, Birds Aren’t Real adherents even protested outside Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco to demand that the company change its bird logo.” via The New York Times

Devotion — Red Candle (North American Release)

“Taking some inspirations like Gone Home, What Remains of Edith Finch and Layers of Cake, the cake imbues deep themes of family distress, death, cult, murder, social pressure, among other things related to the history of 80s Taiwan. There’s a lot of disturbing details to uncover within notes containing limericks, doctor inscriptions, transcriptions of both wife, daughter and husband, screenplay notes, etc. The creep factor in this game is really persistent. Just when you think you’re done dealing with one section, the entities that creep around you provide no clemency, will keep you constantly on your toes.” via Game Dclick

Wallace & Gromit: The Big Fix Up (AR experience)

“The project is a joint initiative from Bristol’s Aardman Animations, the producers of the classic Wallace & Gromit series of stop-motion films, and a consortium of British digital media companies known as Fictioneers. The characters have appeared in video games before, but this is their first outing in ar (and the best they have ever looked in cgi). In contrast to elaborate vr set-ups, The Big Fix Up requires only an ar-compatible smart phone to work. Crucially, the app is free to download.

The Big Fix Up was originally supposed to include a live location-based component, but the pandemic put an end to that plan. After a few fix-ups of its own, the project was reimagined as a lockdown-friendly experience that can play out entirely at home or wherever the user happens to be, the scale of the visual world adapting to the surroundings.” via Cartoon Brew

The Drop — Swamp Motel

“Being trapped in a lift is many people’s worst nightmare, but it’s a plot twist worth braving in order to experience Swamp Motel’s latest immersive escape-game adventure, The Drop. The lift is the first of several locations accessed during the production, but what is consistent — setting The Drop apart from regular escape-room games — is its creators’ uncanny ability to blur the boundaries between the game and reality, making its audience-cum-players think beyond the confines of the experience to solve its curious plot.

The theatrical thriller is the latest feat from the company’s co-founders and creative directors Ollie Jones and Clem Garrity (both Kill the Beast and Punchdrunk alumni), and is their largest live production to date. It’s also their first IRL experience since the lockdowns, when their virtual Isklander trilogy — Plymouth Point, The Mermaid’s Tongue and The Kindling Hour — allowed cooped-up would-be theatregoers to code-crack their way through a trio of techy online challenges.” via Culture Whisper

Refuge for Resurgence — Superflux

“Occupying a space beneath the arches of the Arsenale Corderie, Refuge For Resurgence presents a magnificent four metre long table, hand-made in Didcot from the wood of a wild Surrey oak tree in collaboration with Gareth Huw Lewis of Classic Watercraft. Placed around the table are fourteen wooden stools, each one carefully customised to suit its intended occupant. As the viewer enters the space, they are beckoned by a bespoke soundscape, a chorus recital of a poem that brings the story of the banquet, and its mythological origin story, powerfully to life.” via superflux


“After lying dormant for nearly eight hundred years, the recent eruption of the Fagradalsfjall volcano in Iceland serves as the inspiration for the exhibition. Unable to travel to his homeland and experience the rare phenomenon, Jónsi instead conjures the majestic life force within the gallery space through two new sound installations and a series of sculptural works, each presenting a sensorial proposition.

Interdisciplinary artist and musician Jónsi grounds his visual practice in material and metaphysical experimentations with sound, often through the engineering of immersive installations that reconfigure the act of listening by means of sight, smell, taste, and touch.” via Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

Forgotten Runes Wizard’s Cult

“Titmouse and Magic Machine team up to produce an animated project based on original IP from an NFT universe of over 10,000 unique Wizards.

Los Angeles and Austin-based creative studio, Magic Machine, has teamed up with Emmy Award-winning animation studio Titmouse (Big Mouth, The Venture Bros., Midnight Gospel) to produce a unique TV project called Forgotten Runes Wizard’s Cult — an NFT universe composed of over 10,000 unique Wizards, each with its own story influenced by the exclusive NFT owners themselves. It is one of the first Endemic NFT IPs to be developed for the small screen to embody the doctrine of the blockchain — providing holders decentralized ownership of their characters.” via AWN

Loot — Dom Hofmann

“If “NFTs,” “gas” and “minting” sound unintelligible, the short version is that this project lets you spend some money to create a unique list of items that you could keep in the same wallet (an app like Rainbow) where you’d keep cryptocurrencies or other digital collectibles, typically art (or, as skeptics gleefully note, JPEGs).

I repeat: a unique list of items. No artwork, stats to compare quality or even game rules that could inform such stats.

People spent money to get those unique lists. Thousands. And as happens in NFTs, a market quickly formed around these unique lists of items. The “floor,” or minimum price to buy into a Loot “bag,” shot to thousands of dollars worth of Ethereum. Certain kinds of items in these lists sounded cool and were found to be rare upon analysis of the entire set, and so bags containing them rose in value to extreme heights…” via TechCrunch

Bored Ape Yacht Club — Yuga Labs

“Just last year, the four thirtysomethings behind Bored Ape Yacht Club — a collection of 10,000 NFTs, which house cartoon primates and unlock the virtual world they live in — were living modest lifestyles and working day jobs as they fiddled with creative projects on the side. Now, they’re multimillionaires who made it big off edgy, haphazardly constructed art pieces that also act as membership cards to a decentralized community of madcaps. What’s more punk rock than that?” via Rolling Stone

KDDI Shibuya Virtual Halloween — Geometry Ogilvy Japan

“Shibuya, one of Tokyo’s most iconic neighborhoods, has been center stage for Halloween partygoers in recent years. But COVID all but ruled out gathering in any overcrowded streets in 2020.

The objectives for the two clients for the Halloween holiday were clear: Shibuya City, wanted to become known as Tokyo’s most energetic tech hot-spot, a sort of cool Silicon Valley that would attract high-tech youth and companies alike; while au, one of Japan’s biggest telecoms, wanted to prove their tech prowess in providing the most forward-thinking online services.” via The Drum

Blockchain Fairy Tales — Columbia DSL

This trailer was made within a browser in real-time using a new open-source tool developed by Columbia DSL that enables multiple people to remix the web in real-time .

Enter an enchanted storytelling experience where those formerly known as the audience become architects of the future. Participants explore a playful world, contend with magical threats, and face the question: What if Happily Ever After is Not Guaranteed?

This experience is made by many co-creators, leveraging Blockchain technology for creative purposes beyond commerce. Blockchain Fairy Tales examines the core of crypto through a speculative lens, subverts the current value system of cryptocurrency and uplifts shared community values. Together participants create new stories that come to life on their screens as we experiment with storytelling and shared values as a way to design a community powered DAO.

A Dozen Dreams — En Garde Arts

“At the start of the global pandemic, En Garde Arts asked a dozen NYC-based women playwrights, “What are you dreaming about right now?” They shared their stories of resilience and imagining a better future — dreams of flying, traveling, and grappling with what it means to be an artist right now.

We are bringing their dreams to life in an immersive installation of sets, lights, video, and sound. Audience members will be socially-distanced as they move through the installation, where they will see some of the most powerful articulators of our time reflect upon our world today.” via Project Site

Brainstream — Caroline Robert

Brainstream, the interactive film written and directed by Caroline Robert, gives you the opportunity to realize the potential of your healing energy through a unique form of therapeutic massage.

Imagine it’s 2028 and Health Canada has just launched an anonymous online platform where anyone can get a brain massage. Your mission? Help massage D’s brain. As she live-streams her brain activity, you massage D’s brain, releasing memories, thoughts, emotions, obsessions and maybe the odd monster or two. Think of it as a virtual tour through the museum of D’s brain.” via Rabble

The Changing Same — Scatter NYC

“The Changing Same is a magical-realist immersive, room-scale VR experience where you travel through time and space to explore the last 400 years of American history of racial injustice (on the 400th year anniversary of slavery in US). The goal of The Changing Same is remembering and understanding our collective history to allow for our healing and growth. It’s a respectful, poetic, story infused with magical realism and afrofuturism.

You time travel on a non-linear journey to explore the past, present and future; it’s an American pilgrimage through our history.” via Project Site

Maskmaker — Innerspace VR, MWM Interactive

“It’s fair to say that Innerspace’s Maskmaker isn’t your average VR game.

At a time where many developers are doubling down on action-packed zombie-slayers and online shooters, Innerspace’s upcoming puzzle adventure represents a rare moment of calm. It’s a game about exploration and making things with your own two hands and the resources the world gives you. It’s also something that, like Innerspace’s A Fisherman’s Tale before it, can be tough to instantly communicate to a wider audience. Funding and publishing an experience like this would be risky even in the traditional games industry, let alone in VR with its comparatively tiny install base.” via Upload VR

The Watcher — Frontier

“Sent on a secret mission along with a fleet of ships, an enigmatic traveler known only as ‘The Watcher S/N 404’ soon finds himself alone and lost in the far reaches of space after a mysterious incident occurs. To make matters worse, The International Space Security Administration (ISSA) knows he isn’t dead and plans to eliminate him in order to hide the truth…

Enter the world of Frontier , an online Play-to-Earn Battle Royale and our Discovery of the Day! Now the story of The Watcher isn’t being decided by any central entity — in fact, you can follow The Watcher right now on Twitter and participate in the fully interactive story to help make decisions that will determine the ultimate outcome of our hero’s journey! There’s also an animated series of Frontier in the works based on The Watcher’s universe! Best of all, every single collector will feature in the lore! How awesome is that?” via MarketSquare

A Rest Guide for a Tired Nigerian Artist — A Walk Space Studio, IDFA Doc Lab

“Travel. Cook and eat. Dance — preferably naked. Drink the rain. Talk to other artists. Or avoid other artists. These are some examples of the advice from five Nigerian artists on how to find peace in a troubled world. They each deliver ten tips in a Rest Guide, an illustrated, printed guidebook. In podcasts, the artists discuss their lives and art practices.

Nigerian artist Rahima Gambo started her conceptual narrative blog Tired Nigerian Artist in 2020. The experimental online diary quickly grew into a meeting point for like-minded people, a place to reflect collectively on everything that tires Nigerian artists — from lockdowns to police brutality and a lax government that dismisses art as “non-essential.”

The Rest Guide series that the collective is now publishing is the first step in an exploration of what happens when we shift attention from the artwork to the people for whom art is their work.” via A Rest Guide

Otherly Series — POV and NFB

“Created specifically for Instagram Stories, Otherly is a series of short documentaries about finding one’s place in the 21st century. Using universal themes like love, inclusion, and loss as entry points, seven female, non-binary, and genderqueer creators have crafted films that are at once timeless and yet by definition of their form, ephemeral.” via BOOOOOOOM

Good Neighbours — Affect Lab

“Good Neighbours aims to raise urgent questions about community-making and intimate surveillance technology. We explore how communities create spaces of belonging and alienation through mobile platforms like WhatsApp and Nextdoor as well as intimate surveillance technologies such as Nest cameras, Teslacams and Ring doorbells.

Good Neighbours has multiple components. The app-driven live performance is a location-based work that features at select arts/culture/technology festivals. The most recent edition of GOOD NEIGHBOURS (Live Performance) took place in Utrecht at the invitation of The Netherlands Film Festival from 24 September — 2 October 2021. We were honoured to be nominated for the acclaimed Gouden Kalf award (digital culture).” via Project Site

The MetaMovie Presents: Alien Rescue —
Jason Moore, WeMakeVR

The MetaMovie Presents: Alien Rescue is one of the most immersive experiences I’ve had in VR. It’s part Cinematic Adventure, part Immersive Theater, and part game that’s fusing the affordances of each of these different mediums in a unique way. There’s one interactor who is cast as the protagonist who meets up with three other immersive theater actors who are taking you on a fairly linear adventure to rescue some aliens. The main character gets to do some live-action role playing, customize their character’s identity and expertise, and make a number of different choices along the way to potentially go down some forks in the story. There’s also a number of other audience members there who are cast as iBots, which don’t have as much narrative agency as they can’t really speak, but they have more embodied & locomotion agency in terms of being able to explore around the environment as well as chose which characters and storylines to follow as the part splits up at different points.” via Voices of VR

Le Bal de Paris — Blanca Li

“To carry out a progressive transition from real to virtual world, the spectator is first immersed in a real ball with real dancers. The party spirit and ballroom dancing figures will be continued throughout his immersion in the virtual world. Built around three great ball scenes, the virtual experience will carry the audience through the whirlwind of a great love story whose main characters are performed by professional dancers. Everyone will be free to dance, to enjoy the party as they wish, and to interact with whoever they choose to do so.” via Blanca Li

Before Your Eyes — GoodbyeWorld Games

Before Your Eyes is a new game that you control using only blinking and your eyes. Developer GoodbyeWorld Games announced the game on Thursday and released a first trailer that shows off what it’s like to move through a story with blinks.

The trailer starts out by explaining the game’s premise. You’re reliving the memories of someone’s life. The trailer includes flashes of memories like playing with toys as a child, a date, and a funeral. All of your trips through these memories are guided and narrated by a character called the Ferryman, who shepherds souls to the afterlife.” via Polygon

Mundaun — Hidden Fields, MWM Interactive

Mundaun takes place in the Alps, and I play as protagonist Curdin. Every scene looks like it’s been hand-drawn, but it’s hardly a picturesque sketch. Each pencil line is oppressive and heavy, like a moving version of the old Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark illustrations.

I’ve felt the need to stretch my legs and go somewhere new and different. Luckily for me, Mundaun satisfied my urge to arrive in a different world. There’s nowhere truly like the little hand-drawn scenes of the titular village of Mundaun, which make me feel like the lead role in a classic horror film.” via Polygon

The Program — SF Neo-Futurists

“Press 1 to continue, says the slightly flat, robotic voice on the phone. I sigh and press “1.” Press 1 to continue. I press “1.” Again. Press 6 to continue. I press the button. Press 77 to continue. I press the button. Then: some instructional gibberish crawls into my ears and there’s no way I can keep up. Press what, again? Just kidding! says the robot. I start laughing out loud.

The Program is an “immersive one-on-one theatrical performance” lasting about 45 minutes and conducted entirely over the telephone; it’s a strange, hilarious experience by the San Francisco Neo-Futurists who mine the tropes of an automated voice system for all its worth.” via No Proscenium

Breonna’s Garden — Lady PheOnix, Sutu, Ju’Niyah Palmer

“Sometimes mourning is incredibly personal and other times entire communities need to grieve, particularly in the wake of tragic situations that reflect poorly on societies or even humanity overall. Healing and reconciliation come in many forms, and projects such as Breonna’s Garden demonstrate how emerging tech such as augmented reality can be used to provide a safe space to process grief.

Brimming with flowers and butterflies, Breonna’s Garden comes to life through augmented reality as a place where visitors can say her name without negation. Available through the App Store and Google Play, visitors to the garden can share memories, convey anger, express their sorrow, explore their feelings, or simply experience the moment in honor of Breonna.” via AR Post

Year of Uncertainty — Queens Museum

“Like many arts institutions, the Queens Museum has pondered how it can do more for its community. “We were asking ourselves how could we create a relevant model of a museum that is situated and informed by where we are and who our constituents and stakeholders are,” said Sally Tallant, the museum’s executive director. “So we thought, OK, let’s think about what we have: space, resources, and a brilliant team. How can we make available some of that to the wider community?” Part of the answer to that question is the Year of Uncertainty (YoU), a new program that aims to bring together a series of innovative programming with local Queens communities presently viewable in the form of an enigmatic and stimulating exhibition by the artist Mo Kong.

For YoU, the Queens Museum invited six artists and nine community partners to realize a variety of projects around the themes of “Care,” “Justice,” “Play,” and “the Future,” and Kong’s contribution is now entering the second phase of their exhibition, which explores entanglements between climate change, global trade, and xenophobia.” via Art News

Fairly Intelligent — A.M. Drake

Fairly Intelligent™ was commissioned by the Open Data Institute (ODI) as part of their Rules of Engagement show, curated by Antonio Roberts. The show aims to, as Roberts puts it, “make a case for ethical practices when working with data.” Fairly Intelligent™ launched on June 18th, 2021. In an ODI Lunchtime Lecture hosted by Roberts (which you can watch on YouTube), Darke discusses how the work is meant to appear game-like and playful, like a seemingly innocuous quiz you might click through on Facebook that will reveal a flattering truth about your personality based on the wine you enjoy. But, as Darke walks us through a bit of the work, we see this façade crack.

Dates — Ben Ditto

Dates are a series of characters generated by neural networks containing embedded metadata with encoded personalities. Each date is trained using machine learning to have a different character and the owner of the artwork will unlock a link to a unique and private Discord server containing the individual bot, who will converse with them. The faces of each date are produced by generative GAN networks and animated using open source AR, their names are drawn from the cultural sources upon which they are trained. Each date is only accessible to the owner of the artwork.

The work explores the space between open-source code and biological data and forsees a near-future when the boundaries between the two are completely erased within a proprietary metaverse, where our characters will be supplemented and augmented by code and the perception of our identity will be malleable by ourselves, corporations and hackers. The work speaks in the vernacular of the sex work economy and is for sale within the growing crypto market, a world of collectibles where ownership of bodies and sexuality can be tokenized, traded, fractionalized and decentralized.” — via Opensea

TM — Ontroerend Goed

“Now moving online, Ontroerend Goed has extended this strand to TM, a short and sweetly uplifting encounter that, like the company’s best work, gives you the emotional pleasure you seek in the theatre but without the trappings of a conventional drama. (This is a company whose script anthology is called All Work and No Plays.)

The key to Alexander Devriendt’s production are open questions that are universal but feel personal. After logging on and meeting your fellow audience members (mine were from Denmark, Belgium and Finland), you’re shown a video full of bright-eyed people singing the praises of an international cult known as TM.” via The Guardian

Interface — Jose Chavarría Sancho

With characteristics borrowed from different organisms, Interface proposes three masks that expand visual reality and extend the human experience. — Jose Chavarría Sancho

POV: Points of View — Alton Glass

“A hyper-digital scifi virtual reality series immersed in a near future Los Angeles where personal data is the new currency and weaponized A.I. Police drones enforce the law.

POV: Points Of View is a Sci-Fi VR Series & Installation developed to experience the systemic threat of bias in A.I, Artificial Intelligence. AI’s are machines that learn from US. The unconscious bias being programmed into their code right now could easily replicate into systems of oppression. Our goal with POV is to raise awareness of the dangers we face and use it to affect real change, before it’s too late.” via Project Site

*Project premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival 2021

Inscryption — Daniel Mullins

Inscryption has lots of secrets lurking beneath the surface, and players learn pretty early on that something is amiss with the card game they are playing and the opponent who is testing them. But if you pay attention, there are little clues and hints that seem to have no real conclusion. That’s the trick to Inscryption, and it’s present within all of developer Daniel Mullins’ games. There’s a larger mystery at play, and it’s an alluring one.

Fans have already tracked down all the clues, solved all the puzzles, and even found an extension to the game’s ending. Is all of this additional information necessary to enjoy Inscryption? Definitely not. In fact, the game might be better without all of that extra stuff. But that hasn’t stopped fans from creating videos and Google Docs that dig into the game’s secrets and link them back to Mullins’ previous titles — making solving the mystery a kind of game unto itself. via Polygon

Neurocracy — Joannes Truyens

“Perhaps most of all, Neurocracy‘s wiki format added to the plausibility of its fiction. Set in the year 2049, Neurocracy‘s plot centres around the murder of a Chinese trillionaire whose company is instrumental in the creation and operation of a controversial biometric monitoring system. It’s a tale that explores many pressing contemporary issues, such as surveillance capitalism and relationships between governments and large transnational corporations. “The story of Neurocracy is hard science fiction, in that the science comes first and then the story in the fiction is built from that,” Truyens says. “The medium of Wikipedia automatically confers a sense of realism and verisimilitude”. via NME

Thickett — Cirque du Nuit

“Cirque du Nuit invites you to join their newest experience: THICKETT, a virtual immersive quest, where the world may turn on the stories you tell. Dive into a digital adventure with live actors, hidden mysteries, fairy tales and corporate espionage.

You’ve just been hired by THICKETT — a mysterious company in charge of gathering the lost pages of an ancient, powerful book of tales. The CEO has a hidden past, the three departments are in competition, and everyone is waiting to see how you will play. Who’s side are you on? Whose tale will you tell?” via Everything Immersive

10_Tapes — unknown

Earlier this spring, the TikTok user hamcitynr2 moved in to a new ground floor apartment in Stockholm. A few weeks after settling in, he found a strange flyer with GPS coordinates taped onto a road sign outside his apartment, just out of reach from the street. Curious, he did what all too many of us would have done in that situation: he balanced precariously on his windowsill, snatched the flyer, and went off to investigate the coordinates with the words, “beautiful day to not get murdered.” via ARGN

10_Tapes Analysis (SPOILERS)

Metaverse Noir — Kathryn Yu

“THANKS TO TWITTER, Kathryn Yu just earned an A. She’s currently finishing an interactive media MFA at the University of Southern California, and the professor of her Advanced Storytelling for Interactive Media class, Maureen McHugh, made a promise: If any student could create an interactive narrative on social media and get 500 followers, they’d ace the course. Yu put up @MetaverseNoir last Saturday. As of this writing, its follower count is up to 523.

That may not seem like much, but getting the attention of 500 people on the internet is no easy task for a grad student/non-celeb/non-influencer. In fact, no other student in McHugh’s class has ever done it before. It’s a study in virality, and what it takes to achieve virality at a time when the Quirky Internet (a title I just made up) is giving way to the Serious Internet (That Is Also Full of Petty Fighting and Misinformation).” via Wired

The Walks, Rimini Protokoll

“THE WALKS is an app with a series of walks by German theatre company, Rimini Protokoll. Each walk is a short audio experience for a specific place in your city, and an invitation to rediscover and interact with your environment.

It takes approximately 20 minutes to do an audio walk. Get going whenever you want. You decide how many of the walks you’d like to do and in what order. The stories and soundscapes in the short audio experiences are global in scope. “The Walks” connects people around the world in a local experience via the fundamental human action of walking.” via BorderLight

The Book of Separation — Odyssey Works

The Book of Distance is a piece for two. Ideally friends who have been separated from seeing each other during the pandemic, but its structure can handle other configurations. There is, blissfully, no homework. The first ten minutes consist of an automated series of questions which take place over a phone call. OW’s Abraham Burickson — well a recording of him at any rate — does the intake work. The questions are largely about your friend, who you are assured is going through a similar interview at that moment.

These elements and more are woven into a narrative that unfolds through an audio-video anchored narrative. Not a movie or a TV show, but graphical sequences that accompany storytelling that is interjected with sequences calling on us to take action and then snap a photo of the results to send to our friend.” via No Proscenium

Awaken the Giants — Juliana Loh and Nicholas Liang

“Awaken the Giants represents a personal story of self-actualization and the role humans play as an expression and extensions of well thought experience design within a metaverse setting. (altspace) It features the first fully designed google tiltbrush wearable masks while using words and hidden imagery as channels to encourage critical thinking and community building.” via Project Site

Neonz — Sutu

“Neonz is the first project of the Sutuverse — Sutu’s own Metaverse! Sutu is exploring ways where owning Neonz will unlock future content in AR and VR. Both AR and VR experiences are already in development. More info on this coming soon!

Also in the works we have Prosthetic Reality V2, the world’s first NFT AR Art Book (coming in November 2021). This project showcases artistic talent across the blockchain community through the lens of Augmented Reality, bridging the gap between printed art, animation and the blockchain. You can count on seeing Neonz in the book along with other amazing NFT Art.” via Project Website



lance weiler
Columbia DSL

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