Columbia’s Digital Storytelling Lab Proclaims its Annual Digital Dozen

Rivai H Tukimen
Life After BOB

Columbia’s Digital Storytelling Lab introduced its “Digital Dozen” earlier this week—its annual checklist of essentially the most modern examples of digitally enabled storytelling. In contrast to different awards packages, this one has no classes, so what you noticed was a sometimes eclectic mixture of XR, immersive theater and interactive installations, this time with some NFTs thrown in as nicely. However the Breakthroughs in Storytelling Awards, as they’re formally recognized, at all times include a couple of surprises, and this 12 months was no exception. 

The DSL’s high honor, the 2022 Breakthrough Award, went to “Life After BOB: The Chalice Study,” a story animation by the New York-based artist Ian Cheng that was first proven final June at Luma Arles, a brand new artwork park within the south of France. Relatively than a standard movie or video, “Life After BOB” is constructed on the Unity recreation engine, which suggests it’s generated anew every time it’s proven. This additionally means viewers can work together with it, exploring the world Cheng created by clicking on objects with their sensible telephones. 

BOB is an AI, its title an acronym for Bag of Beliefs. “The Chalice Research”—the primary of a number of deliberate episodes—is the story of a ten-year-old lady named Chalice whose father, a mad inventor named Dr. Wong, implanted a BOB in her nervous system shortly after she was born. Cheng, who studied artwork at Berkeley and Columbia and cognitive science at Berkeley, had earlier created a collection of BOBs—continually mutating, quasi-sentient crimson blobs that have been exhibited behind glass at artwork galleries in London and and New York. In presenting him with the DSL’s Breakthrough Award, Aramique Krauthamer, a famous set up artist himself, noticed that Cheng’s work “advantages from being advised by somebody who isn’t just an artist, not only a storyteller, however who has a background in cognitive science and has truly created AIs.”

An undercurrent of hysteria concerning the future was current in lots of the works cited by the DSL, together with not simply “Life After BOB” but in addition the Particular Jury Prize winner, a collection of artifically generated people known as “Dates” which are presently on the market as NFTs on the OpenSea platform. Created by Ben Ditto, a journalist and artistic director who lives in London, the work makes use of AI and crypto to create a barbed commentary on intercourse work and the metaverse in a future by which the road between information and biology has been erased. 

The theme of hysteria was significantly current in one other work cited by the DSL, a one-on-one on-line theater expertise known as “TM” from the famous Belgian troupe Ontroerend Goed. Whereas assembly with somebody from the “TM motion,” individuals are hit with a barrage of questions and assignments that goal to find out whether or not they might turn into a member of this group. The expertise brings to thoughts the present spate of weird conspiracy theories similar to QAnon, which holds that Donald Trump is combating to avoid wasting America from a cabal of devil-worshipping Democrats and different elites who feast on the blood of kids.

The opposite members of the DSL’s 2022 Digital Dozen are: 

“Forest of Us,” by Es Devlin: A maze of mirrors attracts parallels between the bronchial bushes of people and the bushes that change carbon dioxide for oxygen on this planet round us. 

“Neurocracy,” by Joannes Truyens: A hypertext novel that makes use of articles in a web based encyclopedia to inform a narrative of intrigue and assassination amid a near-future pandemic.

“Raining Stories”: Created by V8 Architects and narrative expertise designers Kossmanndejong, the Netherlands Pavilion for Expo 2020 Dubai (which passed off in 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic) was a round local weather system – a biotope—that housed a multisensory narrative expertise which addressed such questions as, how can we make it rain within the desert? 

“Breonna’s Garden, ” by Girl PheOnix and Sutu in collaboration with Ju’Niyah Palmer: An augmented actuality expertise to honor Breonna Taylor, the Black Louisville medical employee who in 2020 was shot and killed by law enforcement officials in a botched drug raid. 

“The Changing Same,” by Michèle Stephenson, Joe Brewster and Yasmin Elayat: An immersive, room-scale digital actuality expertise that takes you thru time and area to witness historic experiences of racial injustice in the US—ending in an Afro-futurist world that imagines an equitable future for all. 

“Wallace & Gromit: The Big Fix Up,” from Aardman Animation and Fictioneers: Britain’s beloved claymation characters have been up to date for the twenty first century in a extremely participatory AR journey. Wallace and his hapless pooch have began a brand new enterprise known as Spick & Spanners; your job, as their worker, shall be to assist them repair up town of Bristol. Good luck!

“Lizardly,” by Kat Mustatea and Heidi Boisvert: Vincent and Rebecca’s marriage is falling aside as they brace for an oncoming hurricane—and if that’s not dangerous sufficient, they’re additionally turning into lizards. A stay, mixed-reality play that explores the results of AI, environmental collapse, and interspeciality. 

“Obsidian,” by Jónsi: When Iceland’s Fagradalsfjall volcano immediately erupted after mendacity dormant for almost 800 years, Jónsi was unable to return from Los Angeles due to pandemic-related journey restrictions—so he conjured up its monumental pressure by means of a collection of installations that mixed sound, scent and sculpture.

“Otherly”: Created for Instagram Tales in a first-ever collaboration between POV Spark, the PBS showcase for nonfiction impartial movies, and the Nationwide Movie Board of Canada, “Otherly” is a collection of brief documentaries about discovering one’s place within the twenty first century. 

In a web based presentation hosted by DSL founding director Lance Weiler and awards director Frank Rose and produced by Aaron Matys, this 12 months’s Digital Dozen have been offered by Paola Antonelli, senior curator of structure and design and head of R&D on the Museum of Trendy Artwork; Jake Sally, chief working officer of Jadu; Ziv Schneider, winner of final 12 months’s Particular Jury Prize for “Sylvia”; and Krauthamer, govt inventive director of No matter. The awards themselves have been have been created by Weiler and Takaaki Okada and co-created by the viewers in real-time earlier than being minted as NFTs.

Columbia’s Digital Storytelling Lab Announces its Annual Digital Dozen

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