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  • Brief-Uliana

    Poverty is a big problem and the goal of  Vicious Cycle is to show how poverty is a never-ending loop and that it is very hard to get out. Our game uses tiles to represent stages in life; to move forward on a tile, players have to pay one token. In this game, there are also Paydays, Ultimatums, and Setbacks. When the players land on a payday the player takes eight tokens to help them go forward in the game. If the player lands on an Ultimatum spot the player can do something mentally or physically grueling and get two tokens, or they can do nothing and earn nothing. On the setback space, the player has a choice either to pay an amount of money or not to pay and instead pay later. In the middle of the board, there is a big funnel that the player throws their tokens into all of the tokens and puts them into one big jar.

    Brief-Rowan

    Vicious Cycle: A real-life board game that allows you to explore systematic classism in an abstract way.

    In today's society, there is a disconnect between upper and lower classes around the world. Upper and Lower classes have little understanding of each other's lives, causing a lack of sympathy for around the world.[try to strengthen this underlined lead-in; can you restructure to avoid “there is”? can you clarify the contrast intended between “separated” and “lack of connection”—is it meant to be physical vs. emotional?]  This art installation hopes to help rectify this separation through a game which allows you to experience systematic classism. The installation is a life-sized board game in which players physically move from space to space when they pay a token. Along the way, you come across tiles that give you money, tiles that give you money if you do something physically or mentally challenging, and tiles that take money. The circular shape of the board game simulates a cycle, with an exit tile allowing you to escape. The catch is that the spacing of the tiles and the tiles themselves are designed so that you can never reach that large sum of money to exit the cycle. This gives the player a sense of the game being rigged against you by setting a goal that you cannot reach; for this is how our economy works for more than 14% of Americans today.

  • Shadow of a Doubt: an interactive art installation that entails a simulation of each passerby's shadow, designed to bring the users' attention to issues surrounding lack of access to mental health care. The concept is demonstrated with a Kinect that tracks people's movement, and a large back-lit projection screen. Some of the shadows will intentionally be made to "malfunction", and another person's shadow will have to help them by walking almost uncomfortably close to the "malfunctioning" person. 

    The project tackles the lack of proper mental health care in Cambridge and it's surrounding areas. Mental illness is often stigmatized in such a way that badly impacts the amount of funds given to mental health services. People who donate to charities often don't realize the intensity of some mental illnesses or are brought up to dehumanize those who have them, so they often are unaware or unwilling to help. The hope is that Shadow of a Doubt will make people reflect on this fact and be more likely to take initiative to help others, just as those with functioning shadows can choose to help those whose shadows are broken. Users will walk past the projection and some will notice that their "shadow" is "malfunctioning" but they can't fix it. Only someone who's shadow is normal can fix the "broken" ones. The malfunctions look inhuman to represent the dehumanization of the mentally impaired, and sometimes even if the normal shadows try to help, they will not always succeed to show that not all illnesses can get better with simple tactics, and some never get better.

  • An interactive art piece that uses a projected bench to raise awareness of the problem of homeless-deterring architecture. The installation uses amoebas and a bench with dividers that move up and down to show how bench dividers prevent homeless people from sleeping.

    The Amoeba Bench is an Interactive art piece that uses a projected bench to raise awareness of the problem of homeless deterring architecture. The installation uses amoebas and a bench with dividers that move up and down to show how bench dividers prevent homeless people from sleeping. In Cambridge, there is a large homeless population. Both businesses and the city put in homeless-deterring architecture to solve this problem. Some of this architecture looks harmless while some of it looks hostile. The Amoeba Bench aims to point out the hostility in the harmless-looking deterrents. To most people an armrest is just an armrest to add comfort. To some homeless people, an armrest prevents them from being able to sleep on the bench and off the ground. The bench is projected onto a wall of a building next to a bench with deterring architecture. In front of the projection, there are three buttons on a stand. Each button can raise or lower one set of armrests. A computer takes in keyboard inputs and displays an animation of an armrest splitting the sleeping amoeba into segments. This exhibit hopes to reach the non-homeless population to awaken an awareness of the impact this architecture has on so many people.

  • Gerrymandering tinder is an art installation that informs people about gerrymandering through a parody of the popular dating app "Tinder".

    Gerrymandering Tinder is an art installation made to inform young voters about the strange and possibly disenfranchising process of gerrymandering. The project plays on how deformed gerrymandered districts are by putting them in Tinder. Where judging merit by appearance exclusively is not only commonplace but expected. Tinder was chosen not only due to this parallel but also to attract the projects target audience (youth). People within a few years of the minimum voting age are most likely to be affected by gerrymandering without knowing what it is, and most likely to recognize Tinder. The project has users "like" districts if they think it has been gerrymandered, and "disliking" if they think it isn't. If they correctly guess that a district has been gerrymandered, they will "match" with that district and be able to send and receive messages with that district. The chat functionality is where the user will learn about the district. To accommodate the possibility of multiple people interacting with the installation, the project doesn't let the user interact with the program directly, but rather use a set of buttons to vote what action will be taken next. Once voting begins, a timer starts counting down. Once this timer gets to 0, the program will execute whichever function has the most votes. Overall, this installation is not designed to fully inform someone about gerrymandering but rather to quickly inform them of its existence through an entertaining medium, and encourage users to do further research on their own.

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