Truth or Consequences: An Interactive Global Warming Game

Nina Yankowitz

Independent Artist and Director/Partner
NYArtProjects, USA

Martin Rieser

Professor of Digital Creativity, Institute of Creative Technology
De Montfort University, UK

 Fig 1.  TruthOrConsequences Global Warming Game, 2012, ©Yankowitz & Holden.

TruthOrConsequences Global Warming Game, 2012, ©Yankowitz & Holden. (Used with permission.)


Truth or Consequences: An Interactive Global Warming Game enables participants to interact with a video projection or QR code costumes to opine about global warming weather conditions that threaten our universe. ISEA2012 attendees used smart phones to scan the codes and choose options from a menu of possible global warming outcomes that best reflect their views about the environmental dilemmas we face today. A tally of the most voted upon options that ISEA2012 participants made are available to view at a dedicated website after the conference closing.


The QR code was chosen as a near universal interaction device, enabling audiences to collaborate using mobile phones regardless of platform. Before entering the space, people were invited to download a free QR code scanner to their smart phones.  They then encountered a large (9’x16’) video projecting a landscape displaying various effects of global warming weather conditions that threaten the habitat.  The animated pastiche included: atmospheric elements, water, geological formations, and flora and fauna found within the New Mexico borders.

Embedded animations peppered the landscape image projection. For example, rocks in the projection slowly cracked and crumbled, revealing molten lava possibly spreading and smothering the earth. Or a peaceful animation of a rippling mountain lake slowly moving abruptly evaporated and changed into a withered, barren lakebed. These animations looped on the wall for 15 seconds until an image froze on a QR Code embedded in an area of the landscape projection. The audience could then scan these live codes with smart phones to review issues and choose responses from a menu of text options presenting possible reactions to global warming threats.

After the presentation, the team wore shirts with printed interactive codes for other ISEA2012 attendees to engage with the game/survey. All were instructed to choose options they believed best reflected their personal views about today’s environmental dilemmas.

Examples of an issue with three alternative choice options for topical themes Air and Earth sections were:


Many countries violate air pollution standards

A. Each country should enforce existing regulations and fund new research that resolves how to reduce emissions.
B. Emissions are the price we must pay for freedom of travel and industrial development.
C. Individuals should be responsible for overseeing and protecting their community by reporting violations.

In the Earth section the following three options were posed for the audience:


Companies drill for oil and deplete the earth’s natural resources

A.  This is the price we must all pay for progress.
B.  We need oil to keep warm and fuel our energy needs.
C.  New strategies should be funded and implemented to achieve renewable global energy.

While the options were not necessarily mutually exclusive in either given example, they had been carefully chosen to reflect three major strands of opinion which will help further analysis of the priorities most selected by audiences in different States. They could roughly be categorized as ‘individualist and anti-environmental’; ‘practical, but regretful’; and ‘collective, ecologically concerned and interventionist’. We envisage a further tour of the work gathering data, with tailored video presentations for each venue. From this we hope to construct an online environment reflecting an opinion map of the States.

A tally of the ISEA2012 group’s preferred options were available to be viewed after the conference closing.


Concept and Realization NYArtProjects: Nina Yankowitz and Barry Holden.
Conceptual and programming contributions from Martin Rieser and Rasmus Vuori.
Consultants: Pia Tikka, Mauri Kaipainen, Margarete Jahrmann.


Nina Yankowitz

Interactive technology and video projections are used to create artworks that challenge assumptions about ‘reality.’ By creating multiple perspectives for people to search, they may find the architecture of memories via traveling both real and fictive spaces. Environmental portraits expose the current instability of gravitational trust. E.g. CloudHous2004, a floating cloud continually changing shape as the external barometric weather conditions change. Global Warming/Bursting Seams is an installation displaying the fickle nature of global warming at the “Museum Quarter” in Vienna, 2011-12. This site-specific installation included virtual beads of water seeping through architectural moldings in the gallery. Exhibited works include “Museum of Modern Art” Kiev, “Museum of Modern Art” New York, “Pop Rally” National Academy Museum New York, Whitney Museum of American Art “Whitney Biennial” NYC, Collaborations: “Third Woman Interactive film game” Kunsthalle, Vienna, Thessaloniki Biennial Greece, Director – Third Woman Interactive game & Performance W. team at Galapagos theatre NY Crossings interactive Installation, Thessaloniki Biennial Greece 2009.

Martin Rieser

Professor Rieser has worked in the field of interactive arts for many years. His
Track record as researcher and practitioner in Digital Arts and Design stretches back to the early 1980s. He has been a pioneer curator of international exhibitions in electronic art, including The Electronic Eye: European Electronic Art at Watershed 1986, and the first International survey exhibition of Digital Printmaking: The Electronic Print, Arnolfini in Bristol, 1989. More recently he co-curated the Inside Out exhibition of rapid prototyped miniature sculptures made as an artists’ exchange between Australia and the United Kingdom, shown at venues in Australia and across the UK. He is research Professor at the Institute of Creative Technologies in The Faculty of Art, Design and Humanities at De Montfort University. His art practices in Internet and interactive narrative installation art have been seen around the world including China, France, Holland, Austria, Greece, London, USA, Germany, Italy and Australia.  He has published numerous essays and books on digital art including New Screen Media: Cinema/ Art/Narrative (BFI/ZKM, 2002), and has recently edited The Mobile Audience, locative technology and art (Rodopi, 2011).