A Dragon Walks into A Bar is an extremely simplified ruleset distilling the core components of D&D into an easily accessible improv-style game. Providing simple but concise character generation and combat encounter frameworks, with room for much potential imagination and silliness, easily understandable enough for a group of sufficiently entertainment starved adults to play at a dinner party. Only equipment required: and printer and some pens! No dice? No problem! ADWB's handy rock-paper-scissors gameplay's got you covered!
My favourite one of three major assignments for Game Design class; the other two being Persona, an intricate board game about deception, and Love, a brutal and cruelly fatalistic card game about self preservation. For this game drew upon one of the formative experiences of my youth, playing Dungeons and Dragons with my friends in our mom's basements. What I remembered about these games was that they always led to fun and indiosyncratic bouts of incredibly imaginative, and often hilarious, improvisational interplay between the DM's and the players. I wanted to try and distill the essence of this experience without all the laborious D20 rolls and rulebook tomb indexing that defines D&D.
Writer // Project for Master’s Class under NFB Veteran George Johnson's Visual Story class: “create an interactive story (loosely) based on a retelling and re-imagining of the experience of passengers aboard Charon's boat afloat across the River Styx from the Greek myth.” I took the opportunity to write this time around. I tried to make the wildest, most complex and mysterious a story as I could conceive, deciding to take as more direct inspiration Phillip K. Dick's semi-autobiographical story, VALIS.
Keeping in mind scope and budgetary limitations, I recreated Dickian psychadelic sci-fi conversations found in his work as into drawn-out, densely philosophical, Richard Linklater-esque dialogue scenes. All of the while incorporating glimpses of foreboding, darkly clad, voyeuristic men into the background of the shots. This symbol of existential dread, along with a chase in a lurid dream sequence, built to a climax where the protagonist confronts her own personified destiny aboard the mothership, 'Zebra', a cloaked spacestation orbiting the earth which uses pink laser beams to subtly enslave the human race by instilling their minds the very sense of human destiny. It was all very fun to write.
Toolset: Writing, Structure
FEAR, INC - PLAY
interactive art piece / 2005
Artist Statement: Fear inc. is a video game parody, but were it to be considered a serious video game, would most likely be classed under the 'simulation' genre. It is, in fact, a hypothetical simulation of the modern worker's psyche. Granted some people choose to be cubicle monkeys, but what is it that keeps the other ninety percent shackled by chains of existential slavery? If north americans are truly living in a free society, what is it that keeps making them make choices in favour of prudence over transcendence? Fealty over liberty? Sheepdom over freedom? Of course any number of social, economic minutia can be recited, but perhaps there is something more basic at play...
RHETORICA / DISASTER NO.69 ("Nothing. That is what it says") - VIEW FULL
video composition with sound (for projection display) / 2007
Artist Statement: Francisco De Goya endeavoured to convey the brutal reality of war that he bore witness to with as unflinching and intensity as possible. He did not shade the firsthand images he saw of warfare with redeeming or moderating qualities. Some of the disasters of war prints were allegories pointing to the causes of the horror; others represented the first instances of true, graphic depictions of real wartime horror. The disasters were also pioneering in the fact that they were cheaply distributed as prints to as many ports as Goya could get them to. at the very beginnings of mass media, Goya was there, finding new ways to send out truth and awareness. However, it was inevitable that mass media would take a massive right turn as predominating power structures realized their power. this piece is meant to be a video age homage to Goya's disaster of war no. 69 "nothing, that is what it says." Here, I have drawn a parallel between that print, and the often guileful ways that, today, American power structures use the mass media. With their vicious cycle of terrifying threats and placating promises, they aim to put the public into a confused coma in which they can neither see, nor comprehend the real truth, but will accept any placebo they are given to calm their discomfort.
PORTRAIT VANCOUVER - VIEW FULL
website & guerilla marketing campaign / 2005
Portraitvancouver.com was a participatory artwork in which random people were needed and invited to aid in its completion. I advertised the site through word of mouth and with large sticker graffiti I pasted around UBC. Any digitize-able media was welcomed on any subject matter as long as the artist felt that it is somehow linked to Vancouver (and wasn't a complete bullshitter/spammer).
Artist statement: By presenting artwork about Vancouver through multiple artistic perspectives, the piece creates a mosaic simulacra reflecting the diverse mosaic of Vancouver culture. Together we can create a mixed aesthetic of nature, beauty, culture, technology, and the marginalized aspects of Vancouver to contribute to a collective portrait of our city and home.
Explore the archived site here.
video composition for projection display / 2006
Artist Statement: Andy Warhol created a prophetic vision of the replicated, commoditized image that would come with the introduction of new technological media. As Marshall Mcluhan would say, such media have become extensions of our senses. they fundamentally alter the way we receive information, while allowing the content of that information to be controlled by hegemonic power structures. A major factor in all of this is the cult of the celebrity. the celebrity’s image is replicated countless times so that they can offer a glamorous, dramatic, and interesting lifestyle that the common person can live vicariously through. In the piece, images flash by at an intense rate, intentionally obscuring the true message that can be clearly seen as long as one does not focus on the brightly charismatic faces within, a message that couldn't be said any better than the John Carpenter's They Live.
VIEW IT NOW.
ZEN FOR WAR - VIEW FULL
video composition (for projection display) / 2007
Artist Statement: In today's day and age of the supposed triumph of rational thought, why does war continue? Is it perhaps an irrevocable part of the human existence? And what is the reason for mankind's continued romanticization of war? In days of old, fantastic tales of heroes served to astonish and comfort, while today an undeniable hunger for war-like movie and tv spectacles contends with a presumed moral reprehension for war. Hollywood's spectacular illusion of war is so present in our minds that most people's concept of war probably includes a cameo from a Bruce, Arnold, or any of The Expendables cast. Nevertheless, hope still remains for freeing people from this state of mind. Though the hegemonic mediums of old convince us that war is permanent and inevitable, the more democratically controlled internet may yet show us differently.
drawing and subversive intervention / 2005
Replicated in both standard tabloid size wall-poster and smaller sized book sticker, spacemen was a small 'PSA' campaign targeted at the u.b.c. student body that I duplicated and pasted around UBC. It was aimed at creating a brief, subconscious moment of self-reflection amongst the endless flurry of dizzying, distracting stimuli otherwise firmly entrenched on the battle-field of the student's growing mind. Students are told to think, study, and drink coffee until the sun comes up, but for many of them, a true journey of self discovery is never actually achieved. Perhaps the answer that can't be found in a book, file, or substance must instead be looked for within?
Background: At UBC I had the further blessing of being taught Studio Theory by local famous artist and painting professor, Gu Xiong. Gu gave us a unique look at the struggles of the entire Chinese artist landscape, having faced this struggle himself. This in-depth look taught me much about what it takes to be an artist, and just how important it is to justify your conceptual ideas to the common art critic. It was a very enlighteningly pragmatic and business-savvy approach to art that stressed the importance of the pitching and communicating in the arts and applied arts fields.
Meanwhile in sculpture class, well-know local artist Richard E. Prince taught me the importance of focus in my artwork. "Sometimes it's not good to have an 'idea'" he told me one day when I fell short of ultimate execution on my sculpture because I wanted to add a conceptual twist. However the piece was extremely more successful when I went back and, following his advice, completed the entire sculpture with a cohesive design.
36”x50” digital print / 2006
Artist Statement: Today we live in the realm of the hyperreal: consta-fresh news from the entire world is fed to us via the wonders of information technology, without us ever having to leave our living rooms. We can easily forget that what we see on screen is merely a simulation of a real event. Although we know a drama represents something different from the news, or real life for that matter, we nonetheless experience it the same way, and on deeper level have trouble drawing a differentiation between the two. To represent this, this war will be televised shows a liquid stream of image information. Some of these images are real and some are fictitious, but together they all become homogenized towards establishing the current meaning of "war".
22" x 35" mixed media sculpture / 2003
Artist Statement: The mind body gap... are we just a cell-created body in space, shaped entirely by the world we live in and the forces it exerts on us? Or do we each have our own unique will that projects outwards from within shaping the world around us? And at what point does that internal will end and the outside influence begin? Jean Paul Sartre had an answer for this: that our personality is made up of a sum of two factors: our facticity -- the influence we receive from setting that births and shapes us -- and our transcendence -- our own personal ideal of who we are and would like to be. Furthermore, it is solely up to us to decide which one we allow to govern our actions. To what point then, is our mind trapped in the box of our facticity, how much are we complicit in the creation of this box, and how much further are we guilty of the creation of this box around others?
40.5" x 35.5" enamel on board / 2006
Artist Statement: Dualism is the inherent to the nature of our universe. This may be a blanket statement, but examples to support this wild claim can be found anywhere and everywhere of opposing forces that constantly counteract one another in order to maintain balance. and whenever one side of the opposing forces becomes stronger than the other, a dysfunction occurs until equilibrium can be restored. examples can be found everywhere: life and death, decadence and renewal, change and stagnation, openness and closeness, fear and love, taking and giving, fire and water, earth and sky, man and woman. For the first in a series of dualistic paintings employing two symbols, I decided to examine the dualist nature of my own psyche and the thoughts within it. Should I remain steadfast in my solid idealistic resolve, or be fluid with the ephemeral current of the world around me? of course, a balance of both would be best.