ELEVATORS AND BUILDINGS AND GNOMES, OH MY!

This is the true story of one of my very first days at RMIT, a quintessential misadventure, which may have potentially led to the uncovering of my (potential) insanity in the eyes of my fellow media students.

MY QR TAG

One fine day, in what was only my second week at RMIT, I arrived at university relatively early and as I was evaluating in my mind whether I should just go and wait out the front of the lecture theatre or find something else to do with my time, I quite conveniently ran into a new friend, Marianna who was also a media student contemplating the same dilemma! After a bit of discussion we decided, we should just make our way to the lecture, after all we had been warned that sometimes the elevators can take a while occasionally.

So walking and talking we progressed on, to what at the time we did not ever suspect would be a grand misadventure. Right as we arrived outside the elevators the doors conveniently opened, and in we hopped. I went to reach over to press the button of the floor we needed to get to, a perfectly simple task yes? You’d be mistaken! As I reached over I suddenly realised things were about to go horribly wrong! There was no button for floor 13! This made no sense how could we get to a floor that did not exist… So out of the elevator we hopped at floor 11, and decided to make the most of being ever so lost and confused and do a bit of exploring.

Pushing open a bright green door we made our way down an eerily silent corridor, not a person in sight, the walls covered in architectural drawings. Suddenly a silver gleam caught our eyes and as we dwindled closer and closer, we saw them… An army of silver gnomes, yielding shovels as their weapons, an evil smile spread across their faces. Luckily they were trapped behind a glass barrier, but still, even to this very day the image of their shining silver faces haunts me! Contemplating the risk we would be under if the gnomes were to break free of their barrier and attack, we quickly fled the scene! I mean, there was hundreds of them and two of us we stood no chance. So off we ran to find floor thirteen, we went up a series of stairs only to discover the door was locked. I whipped out my swipe card and tried to unlock it, but this only set alarm bells ringing, I did not have authorisation to this door. So off we ran, back past the gnomes, avoiding eye contact and not looking back. We reached the elevator, hopped in and discovered we had been in building eight, the architecture building the whole time!

So down we headed, having a laugh about our stupidity, we recommenced our journey to get to the damned lecture. Into building ten we walked and headed straight over to the elevators. In we hopped, sighing sighs of relief as we realised there was in fact a button to take us to floor thirteen! Up the elevator went, the doors opening at floor thirteen, but something was still not right… This was not the lecture theatre from the last week, it looked different, wrong! Signage on the inside of the elevator quickly revealing we were in building twelve not ten. How did we possibly make the same mistake twice? Back down the elevator we went and in a state of confusion started walking back to… Honestly I don’t even know where we were walking to at this point, but on our way we ran into two other fellow media students obviously making their way over to those elevators to the lecture as well.

Puffing and out of breath (as one generally is after riding elevators…) I managed to quickly stammer “Nooo, elevator… doesn’t work… wrong place…. building eight… silver gnomes.”  Confusion spread across their faces as they contemplated what I had just said struggling to understand how an elevator could go to the wrong place (and undeniably simultaneously questioning my sanity). They quickly informed us that building twelve and building ten were in fact connected so the elevators would have gotten us to the lecture if we had just gotten out! As we made our way over to the lecture for what seemed to be the millionth time, I explained the story of the elusive silver gnomes of building nine; yet I could tell by their faces they did not have faith in their existence at all and had (quite accurately ) concurred that I was insane, I mean I am a media student after all! We did end up making it to the lecture, and I still and probably will forever stand by my statement that the silver gnomes do exist, why? Well that is one mystery that is yet to be solved!

THEY DO EXIST!
My QR Tag Displayed With The Silver Gnomes, Level 11 Building 8

Take That Lollipop (I Dare You!)


When posed with the statement: “Take This Lollipop, I Dare You” on a website, of course my initial instinct is to take it! Not only did it dare me to, but I am one of those people with a seriously sweet tooth who could always do with a lollipop! But this interactive digital story is not exactly of the sweet variety, check it out here… if you dare!

“Take This Lollipop” is a personalised digital story which will inevitably creep you out, so it was probably not the best idea to view it at 11:28 at night in my bedroom alone with the doors closed and the lights all turned off… (or conversely maybe this was the perfect setup!)  The power of the story lies in the personalisation of the piece, so to get the true experience you have to sign into your Facebook account and grant it access. And this is the way in which the story then proceeds to freak you out! Eerie music building up tension, amazing 3D graphics lead you down a dingy hallway to a room where an excessively creepy man sits at a computer, as the visuals turn to display the computer screen you watch as this creepy man logs into Facebook and accesses your very own Facebook account!! Your exact news feed on display post for post, before he clicks onto your profile and ever so creepily stalks through photo after photo, progressing through them as he begins stroking the screen with his fingers. The epitome of the creepiness when the stalker opens up google maps and types in your location, before proceeding to get into his van, a photo of you taped to his dashboard!

The true strengths of the digital story are not only in the graphics and the way it is interactive without too much involvement, but also the way in which it emotes and sets a mood without the use of dialogue but rather,through the use of colouring, excessively creepy musical score and sound effects, the various angles within the animation and the expressions of the stalker character. The viewer becoming well and truly immersed in the story. The only weakness in the piece, I am finding it increasingly difficult to even think of one, it was that well done, would probably be the ambiguity of the piece, if you have no idea what the story is before you ‘take that lollipop” (like me) you have no clue what you are getting yourself into. However, this could aso be quite intentional on the part of the creators. As far as horror stories go, the plot is not overly twisting or complex at all; but it is the whole seeing yourself cast as the victim that really draws you in.

This video whilst extremely creepy, truly for me just shows how far the world of digital story telling  has come and is indicative of all the possibilities for future stories, especially with the increasing progression of technology these days. The way the story becomes personalised for you the viewer, the overall construction and its ability to access your information a truly signifcant development for storytelling online and in general.

Many people in the world having a tendency to underestimate the power of social networks. Short and succinct this viral video also teaches an important lesson about the potential dangers of  online networking, sending a warning about being very careful with privacy, making you think twice about what you share on the internet and how you safe guard this information.

One final quick note for the future: don’t take candy from strangers, online or otherwise!