My Personal Journey

April 9, 2009
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For my Video Art class at Emily Carr, I decided to move forward with the “Personal Journeys” project and so I went ahead and recorded the story of the day my mom died from ovarian cancer in 1994 and the Journey that I and my family went through that day and made a video about it. I published it on YouTube last night and wanted to share it with all of you:
– FlashAddict

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John DeVeaux is a second year Film, Video and Integrated Media student at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Classifying himself as a Digital Artist with future aspirations to work in either the film or video game industry, his work focuses on combining a wide range of media including crowd sourcing, data capture, film/video, installation, storytelling and web based material.

My Personal Journey tells the story of the day John’s mother died from ovarian cancer in 1994 and features the artist providing a solitary monologue over a black screen with white text providing an ongoing narrative, as he describes the mental images that haunt him to this day.

Inspiration for this video comes from Derek Jarman’s film, Blue, which showcases the director looking back on his life as he was losing his sight and dying from AIDS. The film is 79 minutes in length and features a single shot of saturated blue covering the entire frame of the screen.

My Personal Journey is also part of an ongoing digital art project dealing with personal storylines about significant or memorable Journeys in peoples respective lives and can be viewed at:

http://personaljourneys.wordpress.com


Reading Media Culture – Friday’s film class notes

March 16, 2009

ANTHROPHOMORPHISM
The endowment of creatures with human attributes, abilities and qualities.
– by Paul Wells in his book Understanding Animation
Creatures covers more than animals or plants as seen in The Brave Little Toaster (appliances)

There are 2 practices that explain this theory in greater detail:
– Animism – the belief that everything on Earth has a spirit and impacts on life
– Totism – incorporation of natural entities into ritual behaviour
(ie: dove with an olive branch = symbol for peace as a mental construct / candles on a cake = symbol for birthday)

In Eisenstein’s article, he refers to Vesilovski’s definition of Animism, “We involuntarily transfer onto Nature our own experience of Life which is expressed in movement in the manifestation of a force directed by a will.”

Key to the Animation Industry = Design characters that the viewing audience can identify with and would want to watch over and over again.
– viewers either see someone who they know or like, or possibly themselves (cross-genre use of animation and musicals are a natural mixture)
– this character can be an idealized version of who they are
– as a result, viewers feel more comfortable about who they are (personality animation)

The Three Little Pigs by Walt Disney

Anthrophomorphism examples from the animation:
– wearing clothes, talk, stand on 2 feet, procrastinate, dancing, building houses, play instrument, a pig that’s afraid (tails), picture frames, furniture, relied on others, showed hubris (extreme arrogance = get what you deserve for your cockiness), boiling water, understand english, use tricks to foil the wolf, lock the door, deceptive quality in the wolf, wolf uses threats, first 2 pigs form a collective where the third pig is on his own, have luxuries (welcome mat), portrait of the family in the pig house (2 of Father – one with sausage and one with a ham / and one of mother nursing), understood the concept of work, lived in capitalist society (if you don’t work, you are screwed), separation of class structures (pig represented as civilized where the wolf is shown to be a vagrant), different pitches of voices from first 2 pigs to third pig, Darwin theory of survival of the fittest, creation of suburbia (own your own house), have a fire, value of hard work, potted plants, self-serving mentality of the first two pigs, turpentine and mixing it into the cauldron, individual clothing and voice style, be prepared motto shown by the third pig, hits the wolf with the brush = defense strategy, opposable thumbs (foundation to human evolution), eyes structured like humans, mocking the wolf when they thought they were safe, have beds and pillows, ability to reason and negotiate

Most blatant examples are when the wolf tried to trick the 2nd pig that he had left and then showed up as a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Then he tried to pass himself off as a Fuller Brush salesman trying to put himself through college.

Merbabies by Walt Disney

Imaginary divine omnipotence – Eisenstein
– manufactured utopia – impossible dream to live in that environment – shown when the bubbles rise to the surface and reveal that the whole setting is imaginary
– mermaid characters were very cherubic in their portrayal
– defiance of the food chain – big fish eats the little fish

Bugs in Love by Walt Disney

What comes first, the chicken or the egg when it comes to animation?
– Chuck Jones, one of the greatest animators ever, talks about the creation of Daffy Duck.
– Producer Leon Schlesinger was a very bombastic persona who was authoritative, yet he spoke with a slight lisp
– Jones used this as creative license and added it to the persona of Daffy (wasn’t a duck in fact, but a transvestite chicken!)
– Jones asked Mel Blanc to do the voice and the track was sped up
– but then they realized that Leon would have to listen to the recording and approve it
– as a result they wrote out their resignation letters beforehand just in case
– “Jesus Christ, what a silly WOICE! Where did you get it?”
– moral of the story = where does an animator get inspiration for their work? – answer is that every animator has a mirror on the side of their desk to mimic facial expressions

I do not know what it is I am like by Bill Viola
– Video Art deals with the camera in a totally new way so that you have immediate feedback in what you are recording
– Failure of Knowledge is a major theme that they wanted to develop
– image is displayed will leave you in discomfort and wants to put the viewer in the piece itself rather than as an entertainment tool = leaves you in a state of frustration and you are stuck with it = anti-telivision and anti-constructed entertainment (not here to entertain you)
– feel like a spectator inhabiting the world of the bison – other than the camera recording the imagery, there are no obvious human interactions, not even a narration

Planet Earth – by BBC


The Personal Journeys blog is now active

March 10, 2009

Hello again everyone,

I wanted to take this opportunity to invite everyone to check out the Personal Journeys Blog that was publicly unveiled and launched earlier today for my Digital Interactive Arts class at Emily Carr. Everyone was very interested in reading about the stories that people submitted to the art project and would like to extend my deepest thanks to everyone who submitted their stories.

This is not the end of the project however, and I will be working with several faculty at school in pushing the project further over the summer. For those of you who wanted to participate, but haven’t had a chance to write up your stories, don’t fret because you still have the chance to send them in and I will put them up on the blog as they arrive.

Furthermore, two other avenues for the project that I would like to explore are to setup a venue at the Athlete’s Village for 2010 Winter Olympics, which I had previously mentioned; but the most important one to my heart is to contact the BC Cancer Foundation and see if they would like to work together in recording and documenting the Journeys of Cancer patients currently going through radiation treatment and chemotherapy as well as the stories from their families.

I will be contacting them tomorrow to look into the feasibility of this project as well as starting to piece together a video which recounts the details of My Personal Journey, which I wrote about January 28th, 1994, the day my mother died from ovarian cancer at the BC Cancer Clinic in Vancouver. I will keep you guys posted on how both of those progress.

So without further ado, here is the link to the blog:

http://personaljourneys.wordpress.com/

Read through the Journeys, click on the links to view the maps and also look at the Visual Journeys section of the blog to see other outcomes that I developed as well.

Sincerely,

John DeVeaux


Google Earth dives under the sea

February 2, 2009

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Please take the time to check out the new addition to Google Earth – it looks amazing!
– FlashAddict

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7865519.stm

Google has lifted the lid on its first major upgrade to its global mapping software, Google Earth.

Google Ocean expands this map to include large swathes of the ocean floor and abyssal plain.

Users can dive beneath a dynamic water surface to explore the 3D sea floor terrain.

The map also includes 20 content layers, containing information from the world’s leading scientists, researchers, and ocean explorers.

You can now dive into the world’s ocean that covers almost three-quarters of the planet and discover new wonders
Al Gore

Al Gore was at the launch event in San Francisco which, Google hopes, will take its mapping software a step closer towards total coverage of the entire globe.

In a statement, Mr Gore said that the update would make Google Earth a “magical experience”.

“You can not only zoom into whatever part of our planet’s surface you wish to examine in closer detail, you can now dive into the world’s ocean that covers almost three-quarters of the planet and discover new wonders that had not been accessible in previous versions”.

Approximately 70% of the worlds surface is covered by water and contains nearly 80% of all life, yet less than 5% of it has actually been explored.

Google Oceans aims to let users visit some of the more interesting locations, including underwater volcanoes, as well as running videos on marine life, shipwrecks and clips of favourite surf and dive spots.

The new features were developed in close collaboration with oceanographer, Sylvia Earle, and an advisory council of more than 25 ocean advocates and scientists.

Sylvia Earle, the National Geographic Society’s explorer in residence, said the new features would bring the blue planet to life.

“I cannot imagine a more effective way to inspire awareness and caring for the blue heart of the planet than the new Ocean in Google Earth.”

“For the first time, everyone from curious kids to serious researchers can see the world, the whole world, with new eyes,” she added.

There are also updates on the terrestrial side, including GPS tracking, virtual time travel (where users can observe changes in satellite images, such as the 2006 World Cup stadium or the desertification of Africa’s Lake Chad) and narrated tours of imagery and content in Google Earth.

There are also updates to the Mars 3D section, so if users have had enough of the blue planet, they can always look at the red one.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7865407.stm


DIVA 202 – Back to Skool…

January 7, 2009

Jeff Wall – Vancouver based photographer – featured on the cover of vanity fair (went to school with Ian)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Wall
http://moma.org/exhibitions/2007/jeffwall/

Fungible – ability to take any piece of a production and send it overseas where it can be done faster and cheaper
Fungibility is the property of a good or a commodity whose individual units are capable of mutual substitution, where one unit of a commodity can be exchanged for another unit of the same commodity in the same quantity and grade. Examples of highly fungible commodities are crude oil, precious metals, and currencies.”

Damien Hirst ($230 million – sold directly to auction – subverted the gallery system)

– The asking price for For the Love of God (below) was £50,000,000 ($100 million or 75 million euros). It didn’t sell outright,[32] and on 30 August 2008 was sold to a consortium that included Hirst himself and his gallery White Cube.

In December 2008 Hirst threatened to sue a 16-year old boy for £200 because he incorporated pictures of For the Love of God into grafitti stenciles and sold them on the Internet.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damien_Hirst

Marcus Garvey
– “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Garvey

– What makes digital art history compelling is that it is as much shaped by science and technology as it is by traditional art history.

– Digital art history is thus inextricably linked to the industrial-military complex, research centres, as well as consumer culture and associated technologies.

Leonardo Da Vinci
– Drawing showing cannon trajectories over castle walls

Rear Admiral Grace Hopper (USNR 1906-1992)

– PhD in Math from Yale in 1934
– joined naval reserve in 1943 and assigned to bureau of ordinance
– went to work in UNIVAC (universal computer), and wrote the first compiler
– co-invented COBOL and gave us…
– photo # NH 96566-KN (First computer “bug” in 1945)
– found an actual moth in the relay tape for the computer

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grace_Hopper

Dr. Vannevar Bush

– wrote “As we may think” – coordinated science to warfare
– build a computer back in 1929 – Differential Analyzer
– used the computer to design bouncing bombs used to destroy German dams during WWII
– envisioned a device called The Memex – basically an analog version of the PC, the web and google

– picture of the memex in LIFE magazine – circa 1945
– his essay predicted many technologies
“Wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready-made with a mesh of associative trails running through them, ready to be dropped in”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vannevar_Bush
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/As_We_May_Think
Earth versus the flying Saucers

– Hollywood used the actual computer for this film
Marshall University Differential Analyzer

Claude Shannon


– one of Bush’s graduate students – known as the “Father of information theory”
– A Symbolic analysis of Relay and Switching
– introduced to George Boole’s algebra as an undergrad
– proved that boolean algebra and binary arithmetic could be used to simplify the electromechanical relays then used in telephone
– enabled engineers to transform circuits from analog to digital realm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claude_Shannon

Theodor Nelson

– an American sociologist, philosopher, and pioneer of information technology. He coined the term “hypertext” in 1963 and published it in 1965. He also is credited with first use of the words hypermedia, transclusion, virtuality, intertwingularity and teledildonics. The main thrust of his work has been to make computers easily accessible to ordinary people. His motto is:

A user interface should be so simple that a beginner in an emergency can understand it within ten seconds.

– invented the words hypertext and hypermedia in 1961 – networked Docuverse

Douglas Englebart
– best known for inventing the computer mouse, as a pioneer of human-computer interaction whose team developed hypertext, networked computers, and precursors to GUIs; and as a committed and vocal proponent of the development and use of computers and networks to help cope with the world’s increasingly urgent and complex problems.

First computer Mouse

Early Macintosh Mice

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Engelbart

Marcel Duchamp
Rotary Glass Plates, 1920

L.H.O.O.Q.

– found imagery and appropriate it – READYMADE
– precursor of digital art practice
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcel_Duchamp
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L.H.O.O.Q.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Readymades_of_Marcel_Duchamp

FLUXUS ARTISTS
– a name taken from a Latin word meaning “to flow”—is an international network of artists, composers and designers noted for blending different artistic media and disciplines in the 1960s. They have been active in Neo-Dada noise music and visual art as well as literature, urban planning, architecture, and design. Fluxus is often described as intermedia, a term coined by Fluxus artist Dick Higgins in a famous 1966 essay.
– series of instructions to reach an event

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FLUXUS

John Cage

– pioneer of chance music, electronic music and non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde and, in the opinion of many, the most influential American composer of the 20th century
4′33″ (Four minutes, thirty-three seconds) – the sound was different wherever it was played because it was silence

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cage
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4%E2%80%B233%E2%80%B3

Grahame Weinbren

“The Digital Revolution is a Revolution of Random Access”
http://www.heise.de/tp/r4/artikel/6/6113/2.html
– Random Access is a basis for processing and assembling information
http://media.rmit.edu.au/students/projects/iiki/index.php/Grahame_Weinbren
http://www.yale.edu/dmca/dhtml/lectures99/weinbren.html

Sonata

– created by Grahame Weinbren, is an interactive narrative that is controllable by the viewer’s touch. The installation was exhibited internationally between the years of 1991 and 1999. Containing classical narratives of passion and violence by Tolstoy, Freud, and the Apocrypha, Sonata requests viewers to create their own narratives through interaction, and thus their own interpretations.

By touching the screen at any moment throughout the piece the viewer will affect the way the narrative continues. This includes viewing the narrative from a different perspective, superimposing future footage, or allowing a split-screen effect to show two different characters simultaneously.
http://media.rmit.edu.au/students/projects/iiki/index.php/Sonata

On Time

– one of the four short films produced for Garage Flicks. Directed by Ted Chung, with the screenplay by David Bradley Halls, and produced by Bianca Bodmer, Rich Ho Kok Tai, Elena Titova, and Vincent Schmitt. The credits also show their ‘Project mentor’ as Grahame Weinbren – his works, in my opinion, share similarities with the story of On Time. Sonata in particular as it experiments with future knowledge, just as On Time does.
http://media.rmit.edu.au/students/projects/iiki/index.php/On_Time

Howard Wise
EAI : Electronic Arts Intermix Funded by a number of American state agencies, federal agencies and organisations, Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) was founded by Howard Wise in 1971 to support video art. It is a non profit making organisation. As well as video art, it now rents and sells audio, CDs, CD-ROMs and other interactive media works by artists. Web projects are also featured online. The searchable online catalogue includes artists’ biographies, descriptions of the works, QuickTime excerpts and ordering information. The website consists of an alphabetical list of authors and titles; a new artists / new titles section; audio and interactive media; selections from the video archive; streaming video, where excerpts of the video collection can be viewed; and a Resources section, which includes bibliographies and information about exhibitions and events. The Features section includes Web projects, which can be viewed online.
http://www.eai.org/eai/index.htm

John Whitney – CATALOG

– computer generated pictures in 1965 – used analog military computer equipment to create his short film CATALOG
demo reel of work created with his analog computer/film camera magic machine he built from a WWII anti-aircraft gun sight.
– Also Whitney and the techniques he developed with this machine were what inspired Douglas Trumbull (special fx wizard) to use the slit scan technique on 2001: A Space Odyssey


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Trumbull
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slit-scan_photography

Slit-scan is an animation created image by image. Its principle is based upon the camera’s relative movement in relation to a light source, combined with a long exposure time. The process is as follows:

  1. An abstract colored design is painted on a transparent support
  2. This support is set down on the glass of a backlighting table and covered with an opaque masking into which one or more slits have been carved.
  3. The camera (placed high on top of a vertical ramp and decentered in relation to the light slits) takes a single photograph while moving down the ramp. The result: at the top of the ramp, when it is far away, the camera takes a rather precise picture of the light slit. This image gets progressively bigger and eventually shifts itself out of the frame. This produces a light trail, which meets up with the edge of the screen.
  4. These steps are repeated for each image, lightly peeling back the masking, which at the same time produces variation in colors as well as variation of the position of the light stream, thus creating the animation.

Naturally, this effect is very time-consuming, and thus expensive, to create. A 10-second sequence requires a minimum of 240 adjustments.

Billy Kluver
– art and science should colaborate
– was an electrical engineer at Bell Telephone Laboratories who founded Experiments in Art and Technology. Klüver lectured extensively on art and technology and social issues to be addressed by the technical community. He published numerous articles on these subjects.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Kluver
http://www.conceptlab.com/interviews/kluver.html

Techno Viking – original has now gone viral

World of Warcraft spoof

They’re taking the hobbits to Isengard techno spoof

http://technoviking.tv/

THIS IS SPARTA!

http://failblog.org/

THE ONION

– macbook wheel – the onion spoof
http://www.theonion.com/content/index

DIGITAL ART 2ND EDITION – CHRISTIANE PAUL

RED VS. BLUE

– Halo machinima movies

The Original Human Space Invaders Performance

– props to Julaluck (aka Bob) for finding this golden nugget!

MY SECOND LIFE
– created by Douglas Gayeton – hbo bought it for $6 million – Who is the Creator?
http://www.hbo.com/docs/programs/molotovalva/interview.html


Snow Crash and Alternate Reality Games

November 15, 2008

/ SNOW CRASH

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_Crash
http://www.time.com/time/2005/100books/0,24459,snow_crash,00.html

– lethal text as popular fiction
– Neal Stephenson stared writing Snow Crash in 1989; published in June 1992
– in 1990, Tim Berners Lee began testing the ‘world wide web’ at CERN in Switzerland
– in 1991, the world wide web was released
– in 1992, there were 26 websites, mostly associated with the University of Illinois
– in 1995, traditional online dialup services like AOL began to provide access to “The Internet”
– cyberpunk / post-cyberpunk genre novel
– Time listed it on the 100 all-time novels written since 1923
– a graphic novel without the graphics
– cyberpunk is gritty (technology bad – like Blade Runner)
– post-cyberpunk = technology is good (Hiro Protagonist – technology is celebrated – young urban professional with more social status)
– Phillip Rosedale who created Linden Labs (aka Second Life) – Snow Crash was their business plan
– there is a video game company named Black Sun
– Are the characters governed by their ideas and origins or their feelings and emotions?
– popularized the word AVATAR- virtual world-ware named Blaxxun (after the disco in the metaverse)
– Google Earth / Google Knol – monetizing information = CIC

– video of Neal Stephenson speaking in London in 2008

– did Stephenson write a technical vision of the future or did techies take his ideas and make it a self-fulfilling prophecy
– Dr. William Gibson – wrote Johnny Mnemonic (invented the term cyberspace)
– memes are self-replicating units of culture – memes to genes as memetics to genetics
– memetics = the theory that cultural information comes in chunks, and are transmitted like viruses.
– Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene
– principal thematic concern of Snow Crash is memetics – ideas are transmitted like code and are vulnerable to hacking
– the original Sumerian is analogous to binary/machine-level coding
– language and ideas are programs written by priests/hackers
– diversity in a culture is a good thing so as to not have everyone vulnerable to a single viral attack
– L. Bob Rife (metaphor of L. Ron Hubarb) seeks to control the media and UNDO the nam-shub and then recreate a lethal text that will control through hacking
– A TEXT THAT DISRUPTS OR DESTROYS THE MECHANISM THAT PROCESSES IT.
– a computer virus is a lethal text
– The Tower of Babel
– Die Laughing?

MONTY PYTHON – funniest joke in the world then die laughing

– lethal text paradox: no one can know the lethal text and remain capable of telling it (perpetual auto-responder computer paradox)
– many a malevolent computer in science fiction has been short-circuited by making lethal text queries that have no logical output (Wargrames)
– we can choose to lose at Tic-Tac-Toe – the WOPR in Wargames came to a rational conclusion about nuclear war by being force to play tictactoe

– “The only way to win is to not play”

– the brain can deflect paradox by ceasing to think about it, machines cannot – no one can win, so why play?

– is dystopic or futurist writing (in this case cyberpunk and post-cyberpunk) a form of memetic virus that infects the future?
– Mosaic and Google founders / CEO of Second Life / XBOX architect J Allard
– most prophetic aspects may not be the technology, but the depiction of a decentralized, post-statist social system
– has de-coupled the notion of land of sovereignty and redefined nations as people linked by values or interests

– posits an atomized, completely de-centralized future
– “Rhizomatic” structure; small, inter-dependent nodes, no central government
– the one nuclear power in the story  is an individual, Raven (the ultimate free-agent)

– Freidman wrote “The World is Flat” in 2005 – just won the Nobel Prize for economics
– international best seller – describes the mechanics of fungibility and out-sourcing
– documents flatteners like technology, workflow, the web, outsourcing…
– American economy needs to shift to a creative or value-added economy
– Blackwater = General Jim’s defense System and Admiral Bob’s National Security
– for-profit prisons in the state that has 3 strikes you’re out laws!

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ALTERNATE REALITY GAMES (ARG)

– an interactive narrative that uses the real world as a platform
– uses media and traditional game elements (like puzzles) to tell a story that may change or be otherwise affected by the participants’ actions or reactions
– the internet is the central binding medium for an ARG (cellphones, the web…)
– players are more actively ‘controlled’ by designers, as opposed to the AI-based characters in a video game
– does a game require an opponent?
– ARGs don’t necessarily have an opponent
– puppet master may change or engage players in real-time, but they want you to ‘solve’ things

ARG TERMS

The Curtain = a metaphor for the dividing line between the designers and the players (from Wizard of Oz – man behind the curtain)

Puppet master = the lead designer or producer of an ARG; directs or impedes the progress of the players through clues or puzzles

Rabbithole = AKA Trailhead, the Rabbit hole is the first clue or invitation to the ARG (Alice in Wonderland)

ARG DESIGN PRINCIPLES

Archaeology = not a single narrative, but a story that is assembled by player community from pieces scattered across multiple media

Platform Appropriate Media = using the best media to deliver pieces of the story (ie: download mp3, watch youtube, send txt / I Love Bees)

Crowd-source Solution = requires cross-discipline expertise within player community to solve

Whisper Rather Than Shout = present the entrance to the Rabbit hole with a whisper rather than a shout; get players to ‘pull’ out the story, rather than ‘push’ it on them

TINAG = this is not a game – actual phone numbers, URLs etc all worked – characters functioned like real people

NAH = Not A Hoax – at the same time, one has to be aware of creating panic, discomfort or a disturbance in players, public and civil authorities. It needs to be a game.

– – – – – – – – – –

CASE STUDY EXAMPLE:

http://ilovebees.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Love_Bees

– Halo 2 launch event website – they sent jars of honey to previous ARG players with ilovebees website and the countdown = rabbit hole
– around the same time, TV commercial showed a link to the ilovebees url
– these were not connected publicly for several weeks – curious players went to the website that had been “hacked”
– no direction or guidance was given – the community worked within itself to help this lowly beekeeper
– players were given 210 time codes and gps locations (turned out to be pay phones) which were when the pay phone calls would go down
– communications between puppet masters and gamers increased in scope – phone calls, emails
– the winners got to go to 4 theaters and play first edition Halo 2 game
– over 3 million people were playing the game
– game was designed and produced by 42 entertainment

http://www.42entertainment.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/42_Entertainment