As I sat comfortably in the dimly lit lecture theatre at Laselle that evening, I honestly thought it would be a monotonous session happening right after dinner time. Taking quick glances from the second row, I realised the theatre was pretty packed. That was a sign that Matt was worth a listen.
Indeed, Matt’s opening slide was quick to catch my attention- the template powerpoint flashed the words
‘interactive = unfinished’
He did not go ahead to tell us what that meant, but proceeded to show us using example of his works.
Like most speakers would, Matt did the same by walking through a timeline of his works till the most recent. His works went through a notable evolution in terms of its quality and the works Karen and 2097 personally hooked my attention.
I immediately downloaded Karen and 2097.
I’ve also noticed most people’s attention went up when he shared on Karen, as compared to his older works. The medium itself was intriguing. It reminded me of my own project in year 2 of the POV interactive film, except with more flexibility for the users to input their choices and answers to Karen.
The idea of a personal exchange with a character in POV made the game more unique and of course, interactive. The example walkthrough shown by Matt seemed flawless, simple and fun to play, at least that was what I thought while Karen was downloading on my phone.
However, as Karen is a POV film, there was just so much files to download even to start a game. The download itself got me waiting 45 min and 300 over MB worth of space needed. That is rather unusable to start with. i thought it was just the bandwidth but after trying again, I realised the game itself wasn’t too user friendly with the download hence this is something crucial for the game makers to work on.
2097: We Made Ourselves Over
From what Matt mentioned he and his team managed to carry out, the 300 phone calls ringing city wide, actors appearing, short films played along the streets, the installation set itself, it made me realise that these many layers of a project would still be deemed as ‘unfinished’.
2097 shows us that indeed interactive is unfinished in the sense that it is just the beginning. Something is sparked. A conversation about the issue is sparked.
I was particularly impressed by the amount of research that went behind it, from the research workshops, to the different mediums of output. Most importantly, the participatory element in 2097 could be a contributing factor to the game’s success, or so Matt believes.
I have also downloaded 2097 but similar to Karen, the rate and progress of the game’s download seems too long and draggy to even download. Perhaps their content networks are in the UK.
It would be interesting to have Singapore’s version of 2097: We Made Ourselves over too. Perhaps not totally the same idea as Blast Theory’s but the same concept of an app, a nationwide event happening and most importantly the idea of audience participation to spark conversations about our country’s recurrent issues such as sharing of data or over-reliance on technology etc.
As a whole, it was an eye-opening talk that helps me to think about the different methods and mediums an interactive project can be carried out. Something that makes other think about change, reflect and want to change, invite ideas to be articulated that comes in moments big or small that we would have never thought or spoken about.