Online Computer Game, Interactive Installation, Digital Video (TRT: 5:50:00)
UCLA Broad Center Graduate Gallery, April 5th-7th 2022
I’m slowly turning my family into a dungeon. Mud Room is a peek into a room in that dungeon
“Mud Room” is a colloquial term for a transitional area between inside and outside of a home. “Mud Room” for me also recalls a room in a Multi User Dungeon (A foundational form of multiplayer interactive fiction). At my grandmother Dorothy’s house the mud room was a place where work was done and a family tragedy occurred. It was also a children’s room where my cousins and I played videogames. During the work of planning my grandfather’s funeral, the family left my cousins and I back in the mud room with the Atari to keep us occupied. Mud Room retrieves memories of dilligently playing games that had themes of of hiding and searching, and compares the occluded eye of fantasy play with the puzzling and sometimes fearsome experience of childhood.
Computers with connected single-button joysticks present a web-based game, accessible to players.
A wall of the gallery space presents a detailed 3d environment of a dungeon-like room, filled with assorted objects and what looks like a large funerary monument.
a wood and fabric kneeling pad is placed on the ground on the center of the room, it’s connected to another single-button joystick and is accessible to players. The pad has a pressure sensitive switch inside that sends a signal to a connected computer when it is knelt on.
Hidden behind the wall projections is a small CRT monitor playing a looping video, small sculptural elements accompany the monitor.
An alternate arrangement for smaller spaces replaces the projected element with headset-based VR. The work can also happen entirely online, with the 3d environment streamed and the web-based game as the sole point of player interaction.
As players of the web-based game explore a maze-like collection of interconnected web pages, they may encounter a room called “Mud Room”. On entering the room, their player avatars are then visible in the 3d environment, which is networked to the web-based game. The room’s monument is viewable online and holds an inscription and a history of player actions within the room.