A summer games festival, in July 2016, for which I crafted two experiences: Symphonic Picnic and Faces of New York, utilizing practices of UX and Interaction Design. Sponsored by the Times Square Alliance and New York University, the event was featured by The New York Times, Time Out NY, and NYC1.
Playtimesquared -Symphonic Picnic
Known more affectionately as "Shroom City", Symphonic Picnic was an anti-game designed to transform the typical experience of Times Square from that of a bustling, hectic tour to a lengthy, meditative journey of self. Players were invited to lay down on fake grass covered in picnic blankets and to interact with toy mushrooms scattered across the space. Each mushroom had two sets of headphones, and three buttons. Players would wear the headphones and listen to an ambient backing track, while clicking the buttons to add their own unique sounds of distorted nature. These sounds were transmitted to the other mushrooms, creating a playful banter without the use of traditional language.
playtimesquared - symphOnic Picnic
Symphonic Picnic accomplished everything I dreamed about when beginning the project. I avoid Times Square and similarly buzzy areas when best I can, as the inability to stop and soak in sights and sounds can drive me mad, eliminating any sense of belonging. To produce my desired experience, then, I had to alter the space it inhabited. Covering over 250 sq ft, Symphonic Picnic provided an oasis of sound and space to ignore certain natural stimuli in favor of others, generating states of contemplation and wonder.
Playtimesquared -faces of new york
Faces of New York was a collaborative mural making activity, in which players were given a small portion of an image to replicate onto an equally-sized canvas. Players were given a wide variety of drawing materials and full freedom of expression for their replications, ultimately resulting in murals of vibrant styles.
playtimesquared - faces Of new york
One challenge in creating an experience for Times Square is to leave a lasting memory on your visitors. With thousands upon thousands of tourists visiting, your time there can feel like but a small blip to be forgotten. Faces of New York, in that vein of thought, gave visitors a chance to leave their mark, and to do so alongside their fellow tourists from across the world. Visual art is a language spoken by all, and the mural created by our collective of players represented a network of discourse and collaboration. The most pleasing aspect of it all was seeing the joy of realization, when their portion was added to the mural and the face surrounding it was further revealed.