In the first several days of being in Kuala Lumpur and working with students from the Multimedia University, we have cemented our conceptual ideas for our project as well as started the foundational practical work.
Myself, Yue Yamanaka-Nash and MMU students Ilham Harith Zulhazri and Liyana Rizal are going to present an interactive, choose-your-own-adventure style of narrative called Desolate.
We aim to create an interactive installation based on html, the project will involve simple animation, immersive audio and an interactive interface using makey makey and makeshift tools.
In the process of brainstorming potential project ideas revolving around the overarching theme of ‘City’, our group had decided to explore consumerist culture and loss of identity in being a part of a large metropolitan area.
A quote that stuck with our group came from a installation at the National Art Gallery in Kuala Lumpur; ‘Individuals are reduced to mere consumers’.
We felt this line resonated with our own feelings of large city life; rather than the tropes of cities being vibrant cultural centres, we wanted to explore the perception of city’s as a place where capitalist and hyper-consumerist ideals are displayed. Individuals are exploited to become just mere consumers.
We wanted to present a deserted and dilapidating landscape. Our initial ideas involved a post-apocalyptic, ‘Mad Max’ type of setting, but it was later decided that showing an apocalyptic landscape as a result of war or a natural disaster would be too cliched. We had then decided that our city would have been neglected, as opposed to deserted. There are still civilians there, but they are indoors, transfixed by their devices in a zombie-like state and are too preoccupied to leave. Our protagonist used to be one of these civilians, but is now making his escape.
We plan to make our piece a more sound driven experience rather than visual. This was mainly inspired by the inclusion of an antagonist known as ‘The Cleaner’. The cleaners appearance and origin are intentionally vague and left to the participants interpretation. As there will be no visual representation of him and instead he will only be represented by sound. This we believe will be more suspenseful as the participant will be left to imagine what ‘The Cleaner’ is.
From there, we decided the visual style should be minimalistic, allowing the sound design and narration carry the participant through the story.
A core functionality of Desolate is the utilisation of the Makey-Makey; a USB connected device that converts a the connection of two everyday conductive materials into a computer command. This makes for a fun interactive mechanic within our project that will be easy to interpret the user for by the participant.
Our aim is to build simple makeshift ‘tools’ that the participants will use to interact with the piece. The tools will be a hammer made out of a selfie stick, and a machete made from yet to be determined materials. The DIY tools are made to be symbolised how even when the protagonist is trying to escape the consumerist world, he still relies on these tools to survive.
Now that the core concepts of our piece are fully fleshed out, we will spend the next few days getting the audio and visual as well as the HTML coding foundations started. Yue is in charge of the HTML coding, Liyana is doing the animations, Ilham is doing the photoshop work, and I will be doing the sound design and composition.