June 12, 2007 10:26 AM PDT

Virtual art heist, vivid impressions

For Margot Knight, the cops chasing her last Friday night were no laughing matter, even though she knew they weren't real.

For three days beginning Thursday, Knight was the central figure in a fictional art heist scenario that played out partly in the real world, and partly in a virtual world.

The project was part alternate-reality game (ARG), because it played out both in the real world and in the digital world, and part The Game, the 1997 Michael Douglas film, because it was a fluid, developing fictional experience with one person at its center.

Much of the game played out on the streets, restaurants, buildings and parking garages of Orlando, Fla. But significant scenes also played out in Olive, a customizable, standalone virtual-world platform from San Mateo, Calif.-based Forterra Systems that can be used for simulating medical, military, corporate and educational situations.

Undertaking the role of heroine in a good-guys versus bad-guys art theft scenario while keying off unexpected developments fueled by a team of actors took Knight's emotions on a roller coaster ride.

"It is a little reminiscent of The Game," Knight said, "because there's a sense of real jeopardy about it. It puts you on high alert. There's no question that all my synapses were firing in the virtual world and in real reality."

arg

The one-person ARG was designed by Jeff Wirth, director of the interactive performance lab at the University of Central Florida's school of film and digital media. According to Wirth, it was built around the fiction of a retired art thief who has made her fortune stealing from illicit collections--like those of Nazis--and selling the paintings to museums. She (Knight's character) is a sort of Robin Hood of the art thieves' world, Wirth said, who has worked with a crew she has mentored and to whom she plans on handing over her so-called business.

But she is pulled back into her previous life when her nemesis frames her in the theft of a valuable painting and she realizes the only way to clear her name is to find the work and return it before she is caught. And she must rely on the help of her crew in order to succeed.

Knight was chosen for the central role from the local community based on her interest and suitability to the experience. But unlike those playing the crew members, Knight is not an actress.

Wirth designed the game to be played out in several Orlando locations, but also in a faux Orlando fashioned in Forterra's Olive.

"We'd done a couple of these (games entirely in the real world) and they've been very successful, and each time we look for a new challenge," Wirth said. "Now we wanted to do it so the story took place in the real world and the virtual world. So sometimes she's experiencing locations they go to in the physical world, and then later (they're) going to the same places in the virtual world, or vice versa."

Essentially, Wirth explained, the idea behind the project is to explore the potential applications of interactive performance in digital media settings.

To proceed with the project, Knight received a series of text messages directing her to various locations. But if the message was preceded by "VW," it meant that she was to go to the virtual-world version of the intended spot.

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3 comments

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what a women!
Is peace worth a dame,is working for each other worth everything.
No just kidding thats not the topic.
If you could evolve yourself.
Year id grow a women give her a double tail that can collect up space energy(rocks/dust)
and use/absorb it.
Her fingernials would be able to swim in space at unimagnable speed.
The bridge of her nose would be able to vibrate and heal anywhere in her body.
and she would be charged with more chi than you can wave a glass of milk at.
Her eyes would also glow with the amazing things rapidly bumbbling up to the front of her powerful frontals.
She'd also have mega chi-energy teeth and ball tingling lips(just kidding honest).
I think the mesurments just span off the maths with this ideyzreal.
Posted by wildchild_plasma_gyro (296 comments )
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The evolution of female pursuits
If you look at it in this Waring world its easy to make a women looking to care for people as to help.
Howevever women could achieve a whole lot more.
Putting a women at the top of a male dirven engineering industry is enevtably a mistake.
Infact putting a women anywhere other than absolute top(inside a pyrimid) you will you not uneash anything like her full potential because she ain't got the balls.

If you look in nature at animals that are more evolved to form, the women have taken many roles that harmonise with the men.
If you look where women have looked deep into science you'll notice some in physics that are wathching frozen light or observing for evidence positive chi forms in subspace.
So the point being, given enough space a women can explore and invent in her own way.
With all the potential of the internet and the world as it's evolving given a top education(tailered to help them over come their usual difficulties and strenghen their strenghs) women could do a lot for this world.
The only way to do this is to pay care and attention from this mans world and notice the difference women can bring and also keep an eye out for where clever ladies are blosoming and make sure the don't get bullied or msused.

Considering we're in a war machine this is hard but the rewards in terms of stabalising markets and exploring more areas will be lost if we do not protect the interests.
Female is a diffrent creature when allowed she will explore intelligence when abused she will choose the safe option.
Unlike a man who will just keep battling until he pops his head through.
In recent years a lot has been done for this image but it's still to much of a token jesture causing to many problems at the bottom line where women are more complacent as a result holding men down.
Posted by wildchild_plasma_gyro (296 comments )
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Death of the sacred earth
This acidic pigmy chip can be so hertful.
No sooner has it learnt itself has it wanted to die and bring everying thing else down bar some rodents and such.
If you triangulated yourself in a computer you would be nothing more than an recorded instance of yourselves.
When you go out there and learn just how astonishing your galatical neghibours can be you'll be gutted.
Yes you do have the chance of growing it all back but what about the life thats here right now.
Why can't we develop an intelligent human migration process and work on the bases of true knowledge supporing the development of all human genia, making wiser usage desions and supoorting/regrowing the rest of life.
God is not worth fighting/abusing for it's not worth it one bit and will only serve to humiliate you in the end.
The home land is sacred and forests sacred they are more than just an effort for peace and it's people more than just a hand me down.
The wealthyist places on the planet is the wild bits how long will it take the pigme chimp to figre out it's mistake.
How much more diversity of life will suffer for the wars of similar creeds.
It seems we should never ask why and all assume the most valuable things on this planet are what we created just yesterday.
When we finnally make it to the stars if we do we will have access to all our exsistance and you'll see the truth because out negibours have surly stored it for us.
Then we will have to make up for lost ground.
Africa could be so Organicallytronically adapt and stunning but what does it look like to you on the salalite image.
It's never to late until we are dead.
I myself have been tryng quite a fw things and have had blocks demonstrating that more money is not the whole of the answer its fighting for the principle.
When they plonk me in that trianglulate afterlife it will be extreemly hard to fit me in there because i don't want heaven.
I have had my life threaened on numourous occations and never looked with hope for an afterlife(not a chance).
I see life as so much more than even langage is capable of yet.
Posted by wildchild_plasma_gyro (296 comments )
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