Any machine-formed space or activity is inherently a magic circle subject to its own set of rules. Within this amorphous space of possibility, Portals (and friends) experiments with new ways of playing together. The system explores opportunities for idiosyncratic interactions by leveraging the affordances of the virtual world, the physical world, and the human imagination as a way to create an experience formerly impossible in the virtual or physical world separately.
Through a combination of interactive prototypes, specialized artifacts, and speculative scenarios, the project challenges our traditional ideas of co-presence and augmented reality by suggesting alternative illusions of playing together virtually and physically. Using the portals, players activate the virtual streets of Google Street View so it can be more like a physical public space, subject to fiction, mutability and personalized uses by multiple people. By literally reaching into the interface with their grabatar, players are able to spontaneously and collaboratively augment the virtual world with props and poppets. At the same time, rovos play in the real world location to make the street more like a virtual world, subject to fantasy, illusion, and co-presence. By summoning the power of The Cloud, players are able to freely enhance the physical world virtually.
Real-time collaging of portals, poppets, grabatars, and rovos in both the virtual and physical world creates a hybrid experience unique to our modern network culture, which is unfazed by notions of space, time, and authorship. The end result ultimately celebrates collaborative remixing and the power of working within a network culture, while proposing more playful modes of interaction between people and technology.