New Projects Across America

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Did you all have a good April Fools day? We hope so, because now it’s time to get back to business — and new projects are no joke! Check out our favorites, below, and make sure to stop by our Discover Projects page. There’s loads of good stuff in there these days.

Malls Across America — by Rumur

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When I was a kid my mom made a point of letting us know that we were never going to be kids that hung out at “the Mall.” At the time I didn’t understand, but as I watch the video for Malls of America, a photography piece shot around the country in 1989, I get a good sense why my mother didn’t want me kicking between the Orange Julius and the Arcade. The young lady with the “Youth Gone Wild” t-shirt, pretty much sums it up. It’s a pleasure, after all these years, to finally reveal in the fluorescent glow of the American Mall via this fascinating photo project, which, in turn, allows me to rebel against my mother. Take that, Mom! — Mike M.

Seedfolks Seed Library — by Kerstin Keifer

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Is there anything more thrilling than putting a seed in the dirt and then waking up one morning, a few days later, to a plant? Well, maybe. But it’s still cool. I love these “seedfolks” for so many reasons. One, because they call themselves “seedfolks.” Two, because the idea of a seed library combines my two greatest loves: seeds and libraries. Three, because they are fighting The Man, or as they put it, “empowering the community to manage their own seed procurement and to break the dependence upon multinational companies.” They’re educating us, sending us seeds, giving us a space to hang out with our seeds, and teaching us how to grow stuff ourselves instead of going to the fancy bodega for basil every 3 days. Speak seeds to power! — Meaghan O.

Tweet Land, the first set of games that play with reality! — by Villalobos, Espinoza, Vasquez, Cartin(s)

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Though I derive little pleasure in launching an Angry Bird and tire easily of ninja slicing fruit, I do enjoy me some pixelated play. Also enjoy me a big group of young and award-winning Costa Rican developers. That may have just come out horribly wrong, but the point is this: Tweet Land is kEwL. Every time someone tweets something, the tweets affect the gameplay of Tweet Land by triggering certain keywords like “meteor,” “tsunami,” “beach,” “zombie,” “hate,” or “love” to name a few. Featuring lo-fi graphics and retro game tunes, Tweet Land takes social media 2.0 and runs it right through beta. Available for the iPhone or on the web, I am so glad this whole internetz thing really is world-wide. — Elisabeth H.

Moviesandbox — by Friedrich Kirschner

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Filmmaker and software developer Friederich Kirschner is no stranger to 3D animation. His previous work includes re-purposing computer games using real-time animation technology to create machinima films, and interactive performances. That real-time animation technology will soon be available for all with Moviesandbox, Friederich’s open software project. It’s compatible with outside applications like MIDI-Controllers, Kinect sensors, Milkscanners, and Arduino, allowing users to easily scan real objects and begin animating them in 3D. Friederich demos some of the software’s capabilities in the video above, including dropping an Astronaut figurine into a bowl of Coca-Cola (as part of the animation process, of course). Along with the software, he’ll be creating a short animated movie to show what Moviesandbox is fully capable of. Hopefully the Astronaut will have a starring role. Cindy A.

Ivy and the Wicker Suitcase — by Brian Beattie

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Kick off your video with tan velvet diorama curtains and you might just suck people in; call your project an epic surreal musical audio drama, and heads be a-turnin’. Valerie Fowler illustrated a beautiful little book that husband Brian Beattie’s adding tunes, dialogue, and sound effects to, in order to create a record/book double-whammy. Bill Callahan (!) and Daniel Johnston (!) are on board to join in, and 11-year-old Grace London plays the heroine Ivy Wire. — Daniella J.

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