play/share beyond/in was a pervasive game project for the Beyond/In Western New York 2010 exhibition, Alternating Currents. The goal of the game was to get players, who might not normally think that a biennial art exhibition has things of interest to them, to visit Beyond/In Western New York 2010 venues, all while exploring the alternate, hidden, or forgotten history of Buffalo, New York. play/share beyond/in is a project of the Intermedia Performance Studio, and we received generous funding from the Digital Humanities Initiative at Buffalo and Beyond/In Western New York 2010. We received sponsorship from the Copy Store in downtown Buffalo, Deeplocal, Inc., Squeaky Wheel Media Arts Center, Hallwalls Contemporay Arts Center, the Burchfield Penney Art Center, the Albright Knox Art Gallery, and the Departments of Media Study and Visual Studies at the University at Buffalo.
Documentation photographs by Porsche Jones.
On the project, I served first as the community manager, and then as the lead designer and project manager. I was responsible for creative decision-making, coordinating the team, website upkeep, as well as working with the Beyond/In Western New York 2010 education committee and curators on integrating the game with artworks in the exhibition. Initially, I worked under Associate Professor Josephine Anstey; beginning with the fall semester of 2010, I took over the project.
“It was a constantly engaging way to discover parts of the city that even a couple of longtime residents hadn’t seen.” – Colin Dabkowski
The first incarnation of the game occurred during the Buffalo Infringement Festival. My team for this version included members of the University at Buffalo Department of Media Study summer course on pervasive games I taught with Josephine Anstey. This incarnation was a one-day event, launching at 10 on a Saturday and wrapping that afternoon. We hosted eight teams, comprising approximately thirty players, who created photos and video to document their journey around Allentown, Scajaquada, and downtown Buffalo. You can read a review and see media here.
Player photos by Jim Caughill, Katy Brown, Jim Caughill.
The second incarnation was a two-week long event during the first month of Beyond/In Western New York. My team expanded from the pervasive games course members to include collaborators from the Department of Media Study and the Department of Visual Studies. We hosted a dozen teams comprising more than fifty players, who created a variety of media including photographs and video. The play area was also greatly expanded, including sites in South Buffalo and Niagara Falls, as well as some previously used sites. These included venues for Beyond/In Western New York, with missions that required players to enter the venues, see and interact with the artwork, and document their visits. Winners took home prize packs from Squeaky Wheel Media Arts Center, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, the Burchfield Penney Art Center, and the Albright Knox Art Gallery. You can read some media coverage here, an interview with me here, and see player media here.
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