ARTIST: Quasi-Cause Heavy Media Industries (Sky Frostenson and
Ryan Schoelerman)
TITLE: BLOWHARD: respiring the rhetoric of fear culture
MATERIALS: PS2 game console, w/ custom electronics and software, shuttle case PC
with Max/Msp/Jitter, monitor, computer speakers
DATE: 2004

BLOWHARD is an interactive investigation into the rhetoric of fear culture, exploiting a carefully crafted atmosphere of anxiety by redeploying it in a breathtakingly new two-player game. Players compete by breathing into a specially crafted CPR mask, where a breath sensor translates cumulative respiration into the player's current level of anxiety, shown on the screen in the same friendly color-coded system used by the Department of Homeland Security's Threat Advisory System. Simply hyperventilating won't work -- players must increase their anxiety gradually, moving up one stage at a time. As the level increases, the media responds, with the video becoming more intense in an effort to match the player's state of mind. The first player to get in the red and stay there wins! Then get prepared for a special advisory alert message from the President of the United States of America!

BLOWHARD is part of the broader media art research agenda of Quasi-Cause Heavy Media Industries, a media art crew comprising Sky Frostenson and Ryan Schoelerman. Recognizing the broad base of knowledge required to comprehend and utilize media and computing technologies effectively in art, Quasi-Cause combines the talents of associated members for the production of art and performance that incorporates and critically engages the cultural ramifications of complex computing software and hardware technology.

ryan AT quasi-cause.com