On to the Philippines!

After success in Papua New Guinea, ZERO1 American Arts Incubator continues to Country #2. Kate Spacek brings her spirit of collaborative play to the Philippines' "Capital of Smiles and Sugar" - Bacolod, the largest city on Negros Island. 

With artist Felipe Castelblanco leading the way, Kate encouraged community participants to see their familiar spaces with fresh eyes and objective curiosity. To develop a variety of digital media public art projects addressing environmental health, four groups received grants - with each project taking a unique approach. From custom-designed school kitchens in rural areas to a floating eco-resource library to a youth music video-making education program, these concepts are igniting conversations that won't end any time soon.

Unity clap.

Unity clap.

Rapid prototyping to trigger discussion of an ideal environment

Rapid prototyping to trigger discussion of an ideal environment

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To learn more about each project and follow the progress, visit the Philippines Arts Incubator Facebook page.

Co-Creations in Papua New Guinea

LUDIKA's Creative Director, Kate Spacek, has the privilege of playing another exciting role -- as the Program Manager of the ZERO1 American Arts Incubator. Along with social artist Kendal Henry, Kate spent 4 weeks in Papua New Guinea facilitating youth and other locals to engage in collaborative public art-making that advocates for women's empowerment. In partnership with the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby, the program set out to address gender inequity, gender-based violence, teen pregnancy, and other big challenges faced by the people of PNG.

Four community groups were awarded grants to develop their proposed public art projects. Using an incubator-style, playful approach to co-creating, participants explored these sensitive topics, able to share dialogue across socioeconomic groups and see new perspectives. Strangers became friends, unified through creativity, movement, and laughter. Although the four groups exhibited their digital and multimedia outcomes separately, they now have found their own synergies and all are working together towards the next public art collaboration!

Plenty more images and stories on the PNG Arts Incubator Facebook page.

YBCA's Room for Big Ideas: Transflux

LUDIKA's Creative Director, Kate Spacek, was Coordinating Artist for Transflux, an exploration of the interconnectedness of our inner and outer worlds wherein visitors can realize the impacts of their individual actions on their larger environments. Kate had the opportunity to collaborate with the talents of Gene Felice, Nathan Ober, and Eve Warnock for an exhibit at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA). 

The "Room for Big Ideas" is one of many community engagement initiatives at YBCA, providing gallery space for mostly regional artists to showcase interactive work in almost any medium. The staff were almost as awestruck as the guests at the level of ingenuity the artists brought into the space. Transflux was a hit!

Meet My Shadow Debuts at a secret shindig

<< NOTE: Meet My Shadow is a prototype for a larger-scale digital media game concept that involves wall-to-wall projected silhouettes dancing to the choreograph co-created by the people dancing at a given event. >>

Can a warehouse filled with over 500 people really be secret? Not sure. Were you there? LUDIKA was - in part to test the newest collaborative art game. The only rule? Your traced shadow must interact with an existing silhouette.

Wow, the wall filled way quicker than imagined. Next time? An entire building of shadowy stories...

ATLAS @ Come Out & Play

In collaboration with Richie Rhombus and Jared Wood, LUDIKA introduced ATLAS at the Come Out & Play Festival in downtown San Francisco. After months of conceptual development, prototyping, and production, the designer trio was excited to find that the players LOVED IT! 

ATLAS is a chance-based urban navigation game, wherein players choose cards that send them in unexpected directions and alter their ways of interacting with their surroundings and fellow humans. The game invites players to create new and adventurous forms of navigating. Each game results in a co-created "map" that documents their collective journey. It's not unusual for ATLAS players to get lost in familiar territory, stumbling upon treasures always there but never noticed.

People were asking if they could buy a set or where they could order one. The most common feedback from players was that they didn't like having to choose between staying out in the urban wilderness to keep playing ATLAS, or return to the CO&P Festival so they wouldn't miss the rest of the games. The idea to have an all-day ATLAS SF event seemed to be a popular suggestion. Hmmm...

GLOW Festival @ MAH - HERD: Ways (v3)

Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History invited HERD to perform in the annual GLOW Festival. What's that you say? We get to light up the night with creepy crawlies? And herd innocent bystanders at the same time? We're in.

We rehearsed some new herding techniques for this one.

Another audience, another iteration. HERD: Ways / walls+windows keeps evolving. Plus, eve Warnock and LUDIKA cannot resist pushing the envelope to add something new every time. Never a dull moment.

Amazing what you can do with plastic bags and packing tape.

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Thanks MAH Team for being super sweetness, as usual!

YBCA - HERD: Ways /walls+windows (v2)

On Saturday, October 4, HERD wowed the crowd at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in SF. HERD was the featured evening performance as part of Open City / Art City, a 3-day event exploring the technologies, communities, and values of Open Cities, and the systems, information, and people that will make them. As usual, HERD presented an eye-popping performance that left the audience considering the themes of Open City / Art City, in less logical, more visceral ways. 

 

Through modular setscapes and unique choreography, HERD: Ways entices the audience to move and be moved in ways unforeseen. The interactive experience instigates new questions of urban homeostasis, human vs. earth, and how we might inspire visions of growth in the mundane push through city landscapes. Bolstered by the captivating projection work of Gene Felice and the entrancing autonomous instruments of Nathan Ober, HERD will activate the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in a multi-sensory story of animal and human herding tactics.

As always, HERD processes from stage to street for an impromptu guerrilla performance. Rave reviews. YES!

LA Live Arts Exchange - HERD: Ways /walls + windows

How exciting! HERD was selected from dozens of proposals to be a feature performance at this year's Live Arts Exchange Festival in LA. And boy, did we perform. The audience did not know what to think.

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Once they realized they were part of the performance, though, they (mostly) embraced the opportunity. 

HERD: Ways/ walls+windows is an interactive experience rooted in the physical and psychological qualities of herding behaviors - in both animals and humans. Audiences are captivated by the aesthetically beautiful set and movements, and compelled by questions of control, isolation, collective thought & behavior, and personal space within the group. HERD: Ways/ walls+windows instigates a primary experience of herding and being herded. This risky, edgy, and hilarious take on art + science evokes equal parts thoughtful curiosity and wide-eyed surprise.

After delivering two full performances, the team learned A LOT. The LAX Festival showcased such a diversely talented group of artists; keep your eyes out for tickets next year. And what a perfect chance to prototype some new ideas in preparation for the big show at YBCA next month! See you there... October 4.

Chroma Craze Playtest - At the Birthday Party

What better time to test LUDIKA's newest creation than at Kate's birthday fiesta!

ChromaCraze invites players to strap on bizarre appendages, then use them to apply paint to the collaborative mural. Results were positive: A little paint in the hair, a lot of paint on the canvas, and all guests laughing their heads off. It was a last-minute addition to the party, so we went with appendages of the household and handmade variety. Next time, though, we will be strapping on totally wacky, artistically inspiring costume pieces curated to a given thematic or aesthetic. 


Weave Warp

A competitive weaving game? Well, of course!

Here are some prototypes using yarn, though the vision is to test various colorful yet durable materials that will withstand the outdoors so that a finished game may remain as a gazebo-like sculpture. Maybe we could even incorporate vine-type plants to wrap around the piece, and we could throw a picnic table underneath. Corporate courtyards... you know you want it!

Playtest 1

Playtest 1

Playtest 2

Playtest 2

Weave Warp is a competitive weaving game of speed, strategy, and art. Weave Warp adds some quick thinking to the fast fun of tag, but with a twist. Using boldly-colored weather-proof webbing (like the material used for backpack straps) as a strategic weapon, players race to score points by wrapping their own color around opponents posts. When play is complete, a beautiful canopy structure has been co-created, and becomes a colorful focal point and gathering spot. Weave Warp gives players a chance to engage in a sometimes chaotic, always hilarious collaboration that boosts the urban environment with something new - a  sculpture that conveys the unique aesthetic of the players’ actions, and invites connection, contemplation, and relaxation.

LUDIKA Emerges with HERD at the Sea

HERD, a collaborative creation by eve Warnock & LUDIKA, debuted at the Bloom Festival in Santa Cruz, CA last weekend. In a fantastical multi-media performance, HERD: Emergence brings the consequences of a polluted ocean to life with the emergence of an evolved self-organized species from our oceans. Using researched-based algorithms to inform movement, these species will evolve and transform in front of the audience. Compelling costumes, set, projection, and sounds will allow these organisms to dwell, feed, and reproduce among us.

 
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Mad Libs in Motion - at Autodesk

The Marketing team at Autodesk in San Francisco wanted to shake things up a bit... and shake they did! To meet management's goals of opening minds to fresh ideas and unifying the employees into a cohesive working group, LUDIKA designed "Mad Libs in Motion."

Mad Libs in Motion is a movement-based, add-on game, wherein each participant takes a turn being the "Director." The Director draws a card that prompts the creation of a new movement, group formation, or other element of choreography. The Director also is invited to choose a Qualifier card, which shapes the first element with descriptions like "slow as molasses," or "5 times fast." 

The Director performs his/her newly-created movement, and then the group copies it (while the Director makes any desired refinements). The music starts up again, and all players start the co-created choreography from the beginning, adding on the newest Director's addition. 

The result? An impromptu performance of a synchronized, whimsical dance that defies rules or expectations... co-created by a group of colleagues who arrived silently from their respective cubicles with stressed expressions, and walked out together as activated creatives still laughing while rubbing their jaws from smiling so much.

A 6-Month Course in the Art of Play

What if ten people in a class speak ten different languages? How do you find a common method of communication? One answer: Play!

For six months, Kate Spacek facilitated weekly "experiments" to explore what Play is and what it is not, what is required for people to enter a playful state of mind and body, and how perceptions of Play differ across cultures. 

Using games as a foundational tool to integrate art, movement, story-telling, sound, non-verbal communication, team challenges, and all sorts of spontaneity, the course content was a surprise to every student, every time. To find each student's own definitions and parameters of Play, occasionally the activities triggered some discomfort, which in itself was a powerful learning experience for all involved. And Kate pushed her own boundaries as well, making it a rule to add at least one newly-designed game or untested activity to the curricula each week.

Most frequently, classmates who entered the studio as strangers were crafting lunch plans together after class. Middle-aged men and women became teary-eyed, confessing they had not felt these sensations since childhood. Students entered as adults busy with the rigors of daily routine and walked out calm, liberated, and wide-eyed to the possibilities of creative potential around them and within them. 

HAPPY Bootcamp - Revisited

How fortunate! LUDIKA was invited again to facilitate an afternoon of Play at HAPPY Bootcamp, the brilliant creation of HAPPY: The Movie's producer, Eiji Han Shimizu. Rooted in practices of mindfulness, HAPPY Bootcamp gently and effectively invites participants to find their "happy" from within.

A genuine state of Play brings people to the present moment, letting go of concerns about their task list at the office or looking bad in front of others. Play and mindfulness go hand-in-hand.

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HAPPY Bootcamp!

With the Grand Jury Prize from the Amsterdam Film Festival and a slew of awards and accolades from international festivals and top film critics, HAPPY: The Movie has gone beyond a compelling documentary; HAPPY: The Movie is a movement. The film's producer invited LUDIKA's founder, Kate Spacek, to add some pizazz to his newest creation - HAPPY Bootcamp.


One small detail... none of the campers speak English. Another opportunity to reveal Play as a common language! This crew of shy yet kind and eager individuals opened slowly but surely to the freedom brought about by collaborative art and games. By the end of the day, our faces hurt from smiling.

Pecha Kucha 20x20 Indonesia: The Power of Play

LUDIKA Founder, Kate Spacek, shares why Play is one of the world's key - yet untapped - resources. 

"Whether you want to make a difference in the world, be filthy rich, raise your children to be incredible human beings, live life to the fullest, or all of the above... Play is your answer, but maybe not how you might think. Play is a primal and biological process, as important as getting enough sleep or exercising. Without play, life becomes mechanical, your mood darkens, you become less productive, less alert, less connected, less healthy, less happy."

In Bali, Indonesia, where the people's smiling eyes and openness to the unexpected exemplify the qualities of Play, the audience embraced the message through this new perspective. Kate invited the eager crowd to see Play as a state of being as opposed to something you do, and that this state of being requires intentional action. Incorporating playfulness into our physical and mental realms will impact every area of life, from family and health to relationships and corporate culture, on both micro and macro scales..