Featured Projects



FEATURED PROJECTS

A Doorway Into Future Discourse
In 2009 the New Museum in New York presented “It Is What It Is: Conversations About Iraq,” a commission by British Artist Jeremy Deller. I left the museum with quiet tears streaming down my face, deeply moved by the experience. Deller placed a living room setup in the middle of the floor and curated a group of veterans, journalists, scholars, and Iraqi nationals to have an unrestrained open dialogue with the visitors. I sat alone with Nour al-Khal, who worked as a translator in Basra and survived journalist Steven Vincent in 2005 when they were abducted, beaten, and shot by armed men.
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What Does the Future of Food Look Like?
Jinsoo An and Project Nourished are bringing food into the world of virtual and mixed reality.
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Gear Roundup
A collection of our favorite new tech items
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#100humans
No one knows for sure what will be the next great development in storytelling technology, but many are placing their bets on virtual reality. Since the Oculus Rift launched on Kickstarter in 2012, dozens of VR-related startups have emerged, creating everything from VR treadmills to documentaries.
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A Long History of a Short Block: The Greene S
Want to go to the Soho Apple Store? The Ralph Lauren and Dior stores? Sure you do. Like many streets in Manhattan, Greene Street has a long history—one that has changed with each quarter century. And Greene Street was not always the shopping mecca that it is today. As the interactive web documentary A Long History of a Short Block demonstrates, the street, like Manhattan itself, has played host to a wide range of infrastructure, communities, businesses, and people.
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Digital Storytelling Strategy
What if I told you that the “future” of storytelling the way people often think about it—Twitter and blogging and Internet-centricity—isn’t really the future at all? What if all of these “new” developments in storytelling are actually references to 100 years ago?
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D.R.E.A.M.H.O.U.S.E.
In November 2014, a scandal erupted around Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto after the media discovered that his enormous family mansion was actually owned by a construction company to which the government had recently awarded a multibillion-dollar contract. The mansion’s ownership raised suspicions of a quid pro quo agreement between Nieto and the construction company. In a country fraught with crime and violence, Nieto’s house—often referred to as the Casa Blanca—for many became a symbol of government corruption.
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Fantastic Contraption
Back in 2008, Colin Northway designed a flash game that was wildly addictive called Fantastic Contraption. With the simple goal of delivering a red orb from one side of the map to the other, players used different moving or static parts to construct their delivery device. It was the simplicity that inspired seemingly infinite solutions to each challenge—real feats of engineering and armchair ingenuity, like elaborate cranes and slingshots.
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Eyes of the Forest
In the Eyes of the Animal, created by Marshmallow Laser Feast, is a new virtual-reality experience that lets viewers see and explore nature as animals do. Created using a combination of 360-degree aerial filming, photogrammetry, and CT scans—along with a binaural soundtrack using audio recordings sourced from the surrounding woodland—the video offers a unique perspective of England’s Grizedale Forest and its local animal and insect inhabitants.
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An Interview with Eli Horowitz
Eli Horowitz is a writer, designer, editor, and previous publisher of McSweeney’s. His digital novel, The Silent History, won the Webby Awards in 2012, and his most recent project, The Pickle Index, was showcased at this this year’s FoST summit in the Story Arcade. The novel, set in a society where all citizens must participate in a pickle-centric recipe exchange, exists in three simultaneous stand-alone editions: an app, an interactive hardcover set, and a paperback published by FSG.
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An Interview with Alec Maassen
PHOBIA is a projection-mapped installation about “Digital Claustrophobia,” created by designer Alec Maassen as part of a senior project course at UCLA’s Design Media Arts program. A viewer stands in a small room and watches projections on each of the four walls, while a custom soundtrack plays in the background. The experience is meant to induce discomfort, anxiety, and even paranoia—feelings typically associated with claustrophobia. Maassen exhibited the piece at UCLA in June.
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Blackout
Specular, a creative studio known for working with emerging technologies, is about to launch a new VR experience called Blackout that explores the inner thoughts of passengers on MTA transit. Viewers don an Oculus Rift headset or Google Cardboard and are transported to a stalled subway car underground. Looking around the car, they can selectively listen in on the other passengers’ thoughts. Part video game and part documentary, Blackout allows viewers to not only ponder the inner worlds of the people around them but also begin to empathize with them.
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Happy Hour
Every Wednesday at downtown New York’s Gibney Dance: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center, the second-floor studio is transformed into a rollicking office party meets dance performance called Happy Hour. The room is carpeted and simply decorated with a single line of streamers, a few balloons, a karaoke machine, and enough booze and snacks to go around.
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Education Roundup
Anyone who has wanted to see the Great Wall of China, or the Mona Lisa, or ancient Mayan ruins in Mexico, but who hasn’t been able to due to money or time, can understand the benefits of virtual reality as a learning tool. This week’s roundup showcases four projects—some VR, some not—that give people access to places and experiences they normally wouldn’t get to be exposed to, perhaps teaching them a thing or two in the process.
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DIY Augmented Reality Book
Augmented reality is having a moment. Apps like Quiver, for example, can transform pages of a coloring book into living animations—where wheels spin, birds take flight, and fire-breathing dragons come to life. Other augmented reality apparitions rely on the use of glasses or a visor, like Google Glass or Microsoft’s HoloLens.
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Dada-Data
It’s 1916. While World War I sows death and chaos across Europe, artists seek refuge in neutral Switzerland. In Zurich, Hugo Ball and Emmy Hennings found Le Cabaret Voltaire, which will become the epicenter of the Dada movement—an artistic outcry over brutality, suffering, and destruction, born out of disgust over the political landscape, degradation of social structures, and evolution of trench warfare.
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A Radically New Approach to VR
Brett Jackson has such strong opinions about what makes a good VR experience that he has taken a year off to devote himself entirely to the production of a new game for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. It’s called Dimensional and it has entered its last day on Kickstarter, already fully funded.
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Back in Touch
Our crisis-driven journalism usually leaves very little airtime to post-disaster stories. Fascinated by numbers, facts, and definitions, news outlets rarely go back to show us the challenges of rebuilding a broken community. Even more uncommon is for Western media to give complete control of such narratives to the very people from those communities.
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A Walk Through Dementia
When talking about any serious disease, scientists’ work in the lab is only part of the equation. Increasing the public’s collective understanding of the disease is another. As a recent study by the organization Alzheimer’s Research UK shows, may people still mistake dementia with forgetfulness in the elderly, not knowing that the disease is in fact driven by physical damage in the brain. Given that 45 million people live with dementia worldwide—and this number is set to triple by 2050—increasing public awareness is important not only for achieving faster diagnoses, but also creating understanding for dementia patients and their families and friends.
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