Culture Corner

Culture Corner – April 2014

 

2014 03-28 When is it Art?Most of this post will be about my awesome Nerd Weekend with Pax East 2014 and Captain America, but to start I’ll pretend to be much artsier than I really am.

If you’ve followed this blog for a while you know I’m obsessed with miniature street art. More recently I’ve been focusing on text and wondering whether text is art and if not where do they merge/diverge. I’m guessing this comes from starting to listen to the 99% Invisible podcasts a few weeks ago. A few weeks before I started listening I had to go to Lowell, MA for the a day long conference (which was actually a lot of fun) and one of the first things I noticed in this former industrial town was all of the text: old industrial signs, old advertisements, building/company sings and street signs. And then I just happened to look down at the cross walk (I was looking for the ridged spinning thing for blind people) and I noticed the above text. And I just thought it was kind of cool and even though it’s totally practical, it’s become a part of public space and to me is a type of art! And now for the nerdiness!

Pax East comes to Boston every year, and this was my third year attending. It’s by far one of the neatest things I get to do each year and even though the number of people and the noise and everything you can do is a bit overwhelming it’s still pretty cool. Take a look at this panorama of the exhibition floor:

2014 04-12 - Pax East - PanoramaAnd this doesn’t really even start to show the thousands of people on the outside of the hall or the table-top and bring your own computer area behind the back wall or those attending panels and checking out the numerous other rooms throughout the gigantic Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. I didn’t think my badge, below left, was ever going to show up but thankfully it did and I have NO idea what that giant monster, below right, is but it was HUGE you can sort of see it in the above panorama if you follow the right line of poles all the way back.

In addition to all of the games you can try to the panels you can go to, one of the greatest draws are the cos-players. Honestly, you could spend all day just taking photos of them. These are the only two I took:

Sonic playing and singing RockBand might’ve been the highlight of the day—it was the B-52’s “Love Shack” and they did a great job! And even though you can’t see his scythe the great dude on the right is the “black screen of death.” I only remember the blue one and I didn’t want to take up too much of his time to read his screen, but I actually chased him down to take the photo!

By far the coolest things I got to try that weekend was the Oculus Rift and although I didn’t go with the intention of trying one I’m so glad my friend Pete decided to stand in line (and thus I did too), even if it took almost two hours:

That’s Pete on the left and me on the right and we were demoing the game God Factory Wingman and the wait was worth it. It was by far one of the strangest things I’ve ever tried. If you’re not familiar with the Oculus, it is a virtual reality headset that puts you into the game and it was so weird. The game is a space game and you’re flying a ship in the middle of battle. I found the OR a lot easier to adapt to than using the weird controls they have (really I play a weird style so the guys, all cute ;), at the booth were kind enough to adjust them for me), but what I really struggled with was the unlimited scope of the device.

Once you put it on you can move your head anywhere and wherever you look the device supplies images. This got to me after about five-to-six minutes of playing and I had to take it off. I think a game with a clearly delineated top and bottom (a ground and sky) would be a little less disturbing and of course an OR calibrated specifically to me. Either way it was really cool and I look forward to seeing what they do with the technology in the future.

I also spent some time checking out the booths in the Diversity Lounge, PAX’s attempt to show they’re down with diversity and although it was cool it was definitely a lackluster attempt. There are better critiques/suggestions out there, like this one or this one, so I won’t go into it. You can just look at my pretty pictures:

I did, as only I could, pick up a book in the Diversity Lounge, but you’ll see that in my monthly wrap-up post if you don’t already follow me on Instagram and yes my friends gave me shit about going to a gamer convention and leaving with a book. I ❤ that sticker even though I don’t identify as wibbly-wobbly sexy-wexy. It made me smile to see it.

2014 04-13 Nerd Weekend continues w: Captain AmericaAnd as if spending eight hours hung over at a video gamer convention (Happy Birthday Caitrin, we celebrated that Friday night), wasn’t geeky enough, I made the decision to go see Captain America: Winter Soldier bright and early Sunday morning! I watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and I got to the point where I couldn’t watch anymore without there being major plot spoilers for the movie. I was hesitant about seeing it after hearing Pop Culture Happy Hour’s opinions of the movie, but I’m glad I saw it. As super hero movies go these days, I thoroughly enjoyed it and can’t wait to see what happens next in the Avengers’ universe.

Needless to say I’m a bit geeked out for a few weeks. No idea what next month will bring, but who knows. I know Caroline and I need to start crossing galleries off at the MFA if I am going to meet that one from my 30 x 30 list!

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3 thoughts on “Culture Corner – April 2014”

  1. I tried the Oculus at PAX Prime and it was a blast. Mine didn’t fit perfectly, and it was the low res version, but I could see the potential. The demo I had was standing up, though, and I’d definitely rather be sitting when first putting those on. Very disorientating! I spent most of the first few minutes just trying not to fall over.

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    1. Oh I would’ve fallen over no question. There was one that you were in a bubble machine that basically let you “walk” anywhere and any direction and I was like nope.

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