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3:30pm – 5:45 pm
A Torch in the Firewall:
VFX, Infection, and Affect in a Co-Created Superhero Storyworld
Alison Humphrey, PhD student, Cinema and Media Studies, York University
Dudenhoeffer (2017) argues that superhero narratives like “the X-Men films conduct a certain thought experiment… [and] stimulate activating changes in our cultural imaginaries… However, to do so… requires first that we conceive of objects, including our own flesh, as socio-material actors, combining with one another, co-functioning to shape forth events.”
Shadowpox: The Cytokine Storm is a participatory storyworld in the superhero genre. At the height of a pandemic, young, healthy volunteers step forward to test a new vaccine for a disease composed of viral shadows. But each individual’s commitment to joining the network of co-immunity will also be tested – from within and without – by a battery of modern anxieties and ancient fears.
This is the science fiction framework for a postsecondary “courseplay,” a story/syllabus in which students explore vaccination both as a biological phenomenon and as a metaphor for civic engagement. In 2018-2019, students on four continents will create their own character, a volunteer moving through the Phase I trial of the vaccine, and will upload their lab journal videos to a Shadowpox Research Network web portal, in an international hands-on experiment in the design and politics of networked narrative.
Participants in this conference workshop will have the opportunity to create a character, interact with digital effects motion-tracked and projection-mapped onto their body, and explore the Scalar-based story portal.
Dudenhoeffer, Larrie. Anatomy of the Superhero Film. Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.
Bio: Alison Humphrey plays with story across the fields of drama, digital media, and education. After starting out as an intern at Marvel Comics, she produced one of the first ever online alternate reality games for Douglas Adams’s Starship Titanic, initiated one of the earliest transmedia in-fiction blogs in a TV series, and co-created interactive, live-animated theatre projects Faster than Night (Toronto) and The Augmentalist (Silicon Valley). A Vanier Scholar at York University, her practice-based doctoral research explores how a science-fiction transmedia storyworld (shadowpox.org), co-created with drama students on four continents, can empower youth civic engagement and public health problem-solving. Alison’s earliest publication was in the letter column of The New Mutants, quoting Macbeth on the Demon Bear saga.
Jason Morningstar, Game Designer
WINTERHORN is a live-action game engineered to inform players about hardening their activism against government intrusion. It was designed by Jason Morningstar, the award-winning author of Fiasco and other analog roleplaying games.
In WINTERHORN you play government operatives tasked with degrading and destroying the eponymous activist group. At first you know almost nothing about WINTERHORN, but as the game progresses their threat becomes less clear, and the tools you have available may not be adequate for the task. With your jobs on the line and the group’s intentions uncertain, what will you do?
Attend this workshop to learn about WINTERHORN and other live-action games with social and political content from the game’s designer, as well as how kinesthetic embodiment leads to deep engagement and weird fun. Time and attendance permitting we’ll play the game as well.
Learn more about WINTERHORN here: http://bullypulpitgames.com/games/winterhorn/
About Jason: Jason Morningstar is a game designer who lives and works in Durham, North Carolina, USA. In addition to tabletop and live action role playing games, he has also made games for clients like Google and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His collaborations include the #feminism collection, Fastaval nominee Old Friends with Ole Peder Giæver, and the popular Love in the TIme Of… games with Matthijs Holter.
Jason’s games have been featured at Indiecade and in the Gen Con 50th anniversary museum. He has been a guest at a variety of events, including Ropecon, Gen Con, Lucca Comics and Games, and Dragon Con. Jason was a keynote speaker at the 2016 Living Games conference and helped organize the 2018 event.
Beyond roleplaying, Jason consults on the use of games for teaching and learning, most recently with the University of California, University of Michigan, Kaiser-Permanente Health Care, and the Innovation Learning Network.
In addition to design, Jason has written extensively on game-related topics. His articles have appeared in the anthologies Analog Game Studies, States of Play and Unframed.
About Bully Pulpit Games:
Bully Pulpit Games is the creator of innovative games of outstanding quality. We specialize in making award-winning tabletop and live action games that challenge assumptions and blur boundaries.
Our game Fiasco was an instant hit, won us our unprecedented second Diana Jones Award for Gaming Excellence, and has influenced a generation of other designers. Our historical games, like Grey Ranks and Night Witches, shine spotlights onto little-known stories at the fringes of popular narratives, and allow players to experience the joy and terror of bold lives full of contemporary resonance.
Our live action games, like JUGGERNAUT and WINTERHORN, throw players into impossible situations and confront them with deliciously difficult choices, all while defying the “larp” stereotype with crisp, self-driven games that reach a satisfying conclusion in a couple of hours.
And, of course, we’re always working to explore the edges of analog gaming, whether by experimenting with new ideas about character and player agency or by mashing up well-established formats into something new and weird.
Noa Kaplan, PhD student, Interdivisional Media Arts + Practice, USC
Photogrammetry is the emerging practice of scanning real-life objects into digital 3D files. Because it is relatively new, the field is constantly changing and adapting to new methodologies of production. In this workshop, participants will learn the basic tools and techniques for capturing objects and environments, as well as an abbreviated history of the field and its varied social/political uses.
For the last year, Noa Kaplan has been collecting photogrammetry point clouds from sites of ecological distress across California. She is currently in the process of translating these sites of emergency into unity-based interactive environments.
Documentation of the first completed work in this series can be found at http://www.noapkaplan.com
Bio: Noa Kaplan is an artist, researcher, and educator living in Los Angeles, CA. She analyzes and reconstructs overlooked, disappearing, and forgotten collections. Through virtual simulations, physical artifacts, and environments, she invites viewers to inhabit these collections, often at unfamiliar orders of magnitude.
Noa has participated in residencies and fellowships at IDEO, Jaunt, Autodesk, Electric Objects, and Eyeo. She has exhibited recent work at ACME., Rosamund Felsen Gallery, and the Hammer Museum. Her work has also been featured in Business Insider, Wired Magazine, and Discovery VR. Noa earned her BA in Sculpture from Yale University and her MFA in Design Media Arts at UCLA where she developed and taught original studio curricula from 2012 to 2016. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Media Arts + Practice in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California.