lookingGlass

lookingGlass

A Digital Immersive Theatre and Gaming Experience 

Click Here to watch the Livestream
from Wednesday July 15 at 6pm EDT!

Past WIP showings May 15th and 16th, 2020

Join players across the world, live, as you work your way through this online WebGL video game on your own, or pull up the YouTube (Twitch-style) live-stream of the creator’s play-through demonstration, and experience what it could mean, in the words of Murray Bookchin, to “Demand the Impossible.” 


lookingGlass, an experiment in public engagement through digital immersive theatre, developed from a question NYC theatre company Mangeront asked itself late last September: 

Can we, given today’s social, political, economic, and ecological realities, responsibly maintain hope?

Reading this back today, it strikes with different, but not dampened, significance. 

Though the performance dates for the theatre version, titled The Future is Not a Dream, were postponed, the project has been completely re-envisioned for the virtual world we currently inhabit. 

The resulting project, lookingGlass, is an online immersive gaming experience, built with Unity, that functions as a site for virtual interaction with recorded artwork, giving the audience-player agency in their participation, much as would be encouraged at a live interactive show. This, combined with (secret) live elements and web interaction push the bounds of what a video game can be, offering a potentially unique digital art experience presenting the work of a wide range of visual, audio, text, and  mixed media artists. 


A video game that starts with a short, dreamy video prologue, lookingGlass then drops the player into a grimy, stale, dimly-lit office. The player has to discover how to feed their rapidly falling health meter while also figuring the way out. 

The next scene, in contrast, is one of light. A series of “doors to nowhere” actually serve as portals, transporting the player into worlds of beautiful and moving art pieces, created by a group of diverse artists working across many different media. As the player progresses, they encounter the same questions as did the artists: What is today’s date? What about your life as of this specific day brings you joy or contentment? What does your life today lack…  After watching each art piece, the player collects a key fragment, which, all collected, combine to form a key to the final door. 

The interviews that are at the core of the process, held over the course of March and April, and the responses that have since been created from these conversations, bear witness to the reality each day has brought with it since the onset of the global pandemic. They mark out space for pain, but also for joy, for longing, and– 

Yes.

For hope as well. 

Theatrical Concept by Mangeront (Janine Renee Cunningham, Jon DeGaetano, Emily Twines)

New Game Development since May by Adrian Cameron, and Michael Redman, Emily Twines

Interviews and Contributions from : Jane Ashe, Inkyoung Bae, Kai Custodio, Julia Frey, Ben Gorodetsky & Gus Farodetsky, Erica Kermani, Deborah Latz, and Su Wang


Emily Twines is an interdisciplinary performance and technology artist with experience directing, writing, programming, and designing interactive theatrical elements. She earned her MA in Theatre History and Criticism and MFA in Performance and Interactive Media Arts at Brooklyn College. Recent works include writing for “The House,” a short film by renowned director Cyril Teste and team, as well as work on “I heard an echo,” a collaborative installation at The Weeksville Heritage Center, for which she provided video and interactivity elements through use of Max MSP, a Kinect, and an Arduino set-up. emilytwines.com

Janine Renee Cunningham is a maker residing in Brooklyn. Her work has been presented at Dixon Place, The Prelude Festival, On the Boards, ESPA and the New York City Fringe Festival.  She has collaborated in New York with Leimay, Yinzerspilen, Allie Pinel, and Liz Charky and regionally with Theatre de l’ange fou and Atlantic Stage. In 2018 she was an EmergeNYC fellow with the Hemispheric Institute. She is currently an associate artist with Culture Push and The Commitment Experiment. She is a graduate of the Atlantic Acting School Conservatory, BA in International Studies from Portland State and currently pursuing an MFA in Interdisciplinary Art from Goddard University.

Jon DeGaetano is a scenographer and artist focused on building environments that encourage genuine human interaction.  His work is focused in design, performance, and collaborative making. Most recent work includes EXHAUSTED creator (The Tank), Love’s Labour’s Lost, set and lighting (Atlantic Stage 2/NYU), Will They Play Golf on Mars, designer collaborator with Janine Conningham (Dixon Place), Lacy Rose and her Starling Quartet, designer (HERE Arts).  MFA Brooklyn College.  jondegaetano.com

Adrian D. Cameron is a Brooklyn-based theater/performance/media artist and a recent graduate of Brooklyn College’s Performance & Interactive Media Arts MFA program. He began his career as a freelance director in New York City before relocating to Seattle in 2006 where, as the Founder/Bureau Chief of Irrational Robot Bureau, he presented numerous original experimental theater productions. His most recent work explores the intersection of live performance and technology.

Michael Redman is a media designer and technologist focused on collaborating to tell stories that are not fairly represented. Recent credits include – Off-Broadway: My Life On A Diet (Theatre at St. Clements). New York: Hairspray (Argyle Theatre), Seph (Araca Project), Bamboo in Bushwick (Working Theatre), Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom (Brooklyn College at Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre). Washington DC: Long Way Down (The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts), Dontrell Who Kissed the Sea (Theatre Alliance, Helen Hayes nomination). Michael currently serves as the Assistant Technical Director at Brooklyn College.

Contributions by:

Jane Ashe is a New York based performance artist who works in an extemporaneous fashion, without a script. Her work is based on biographical material. Jane’s performances are formed on a theme inspired by either sound, location or audience. Something of Emily’s interview questions came into me, and something of me went out and into the world, I feel changed by its wake. Thank you, Emily, for this deep, unforgettable experience.

Inkyoung Bae is a video and performance artist who depicts a weird but heart-warming world through surreal and fun images. Starting her work with Mom, am I doing well?  which was supported by National Geographic Channel Korea and KOCCA in 2013, she focuses on video works, interactive art and performances. The Dino Show, a video-sound performance & interactive installation art premiered in NY. She exhibited the newest interactive installation art Unreachable in Brooklyn and was also invited to the film festival Twisted Oyster Film Festival with her interactive documentary Never Be the Same. Recently she was invited to Andy’s summer playhouse in NH and worked on a project Drea-m-odd which explores kids’ nightmares. She’s working on The Weather Channel, which is a TV opera about the end of the world. 

Kai Custodio (aka radar dark) is a queer trans latinx multi-disciplinary artist and musician born and based in Brooklyn, NY. Their work interchanges and converges audio, video, mixed-media, and performance as a path to reconnect with their afro latin indigenous roots. As a 2nd generation Peruvian and Puerto Rican artist, their work is an ever evolving exploration of identity, self-expression, and relationship to ancestral heritage through analog and digital emotive sounds and visuals. You can find them on IG: radar.dark and SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/radardark

Julia Frey is an actor, deviser, projection designer, and video programmer working in New York and Philadelphia. She co-founded the new media theater duo Casual FreyDay with Sam Day Harmet. Together they wrote, programmed, and performed A People’s History of Silicon Valley (ANT Fest 2019 at Ars Nova) and Containertopia (Jalopy Theatre, Brooklyn and Philly Fringe 2017). She is a company member of the Obie-winning experimental ensemble New Paradise Laboratories (O Monsters, The Adults, 27, Prom, 10 Unnameable Spectacles) and the classical repertory company Quintessence Theatre Group (Uncle Vanya, The Wild Duck, and more). In addition to her work with Casual FreyDay, recent video design credits include Medea (BAM – 2020 Drama Desk Nomination for Outstanding Projection Design), Starlight Express (Marymount Manhattan), The Jungle (St Ann’s Warehouse, associate designer), as well as projects at the Public Theater and MassMoCA. For over a decade Julia has performed, hosted, and taught comedy improv in her two cities, across the country, and on a giant boat. MFA: Performance and Interactive Media Arts (PIMA) at Brooklyn College. BA: Bard College. juliafrey.net

Ben Gorodetsky is a theatre maker, improviser, movement artist, writer and dad based in Waterloo, ON. His performance work has been presented by Movement Research at Judson Church, The Tank NYC, Brian Webb Dance Company, Expanse Festival, Living Things, and Rubaboo Festival. He is the former Associate Artistic Director of Rapid Fire Theatre (Edmonton) and has performed and taught improvisation in Atlanta, Detroit, Austin, NYC, LA, Reunion Island, Vienna, Ljubljana, Montreal, Toronto, Yellowknife, and Vancouver. He’s co-creator of political comedy duo Folk Lordz (VICE). He holds a BFA from the University of Alberta and an MFA from Brooklyn College – CUNY. www.bengorodetsky.com

&

Gus Farodetsky is a kid. He was born in Brooklyn, but now he lives in Waterloo. Gus likes to jump off stuff and do balance beams and flying lifts called “самолет” (which is Russian for airplane) with his Papa. Gus understands English and Russian, but mostly just speaks English. Gus has never had a haircut.

Erica Kermani (b. 1983, Los Angeles; New York City) is an Iranian-Jewish queer femme artist, educator, and community organizer.  Her work focuses on rituals for resistance, collective care, and technological sovereignty. By creating speculative fictions and alternative histories, she puts forth her vision of liberation and transformative healing.  She has presented her work internationally at spaces including Mona Bismark American Center (Paris), the Science Gallery Dublin, and Musée des Arts  Decoratif.  Erica has designed curriculum, research and public programs at organizations including Digital Equity Lab, Data & Society and Eyebeam, and is adjunct faculty at Parsons the New School Design and Technology where she teaches about ancestral and emerging technologies.  She is also co-founder and organizer of the festival Radical Networks, a Board Member of Global Action Project (GAP), and a member of Raha Feminist Collective.  Erica holds a BA in Visual Arts (Media/Computing) and Political Science at the University of California, San Diego and an MFA in Design and Technology from the Parsons School for Design (NYC/Paris). http://kermani.work/

Deborah Latz is a Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist. She is a vocalist, musician, composer, actor, improviser, theater/film maker, voice teacher, and educator. In 2015 she received a four-star DownBeat review for her fourth jazz vocal release, sur l’instant. In 1999 she won the best actress award for her one-woman performance of Juliet at the Jerzy Grotowski Theatre Festival in Wroclaw, Poland. Deborah is co-founder of the neo-folk, jazz fusion vocal duo with Pat Wictor. She curated the VoxEcstatic Series at Cornelia Street Underground in Greenwich Village from 2016 to 2018. For over fifteen years Deborah has been a facilitator of vocal and communication workshops at the Cooper Union School of Engineering in New York City. Deborah holds an MFA in Performance and Interactive Media Arts from Brooklyn College and a Bachelor of Science from CUNY BA Brooklyn College in Music and Performance Art Studies.

Su Wang immigrated from China to New York City at the age of twelve. She is the first in her family to hold a bachelor’s degree. After graduating from Hunter College in 2016, she became a school instructor and has since enjoyed teaching and broadening students’ social perspectives.”

Original No Proscenium listing here

Please contact me for prototype event footage or to be a part of the next phase!

IG: #playlookingglass