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Blast Theory:
Can You See Me Now?

Nov 2–5, 2006


Photo courtesy the artist

NOTE: This program is viewed online and does not take place in the MCA Theater. To join in, you can play from a web terminal at the MCA or from your own computer at Can You See Me Now?

The gameplay pushes us to understand aspects of ourselves, our communities and social responsibility.

The Chicago premiere of Can You See Me Now? is a chase game played simultaneously online and in the streets—it’s adversarial, playful, and ultimately full of emotion. Online players anywhere in the world are dropped at random locations into a virtual map of Chicago, along with live players who start at the MCA.

Blast Theory runners search for you in the very real streets using GPS and handheld computers to track down your avatar. Players can exchange tactics with one another, as streaming audio lets players eavesdrop on their pursuers: getting lost, cold, and out of breath on the streets of the city.

When you combine our ever-present cell phones, GPS, and broadband internet, it dramatically changes the nature of our communications. It’s not only that the zones of private and public space have become blurred, it’s also that real and electronic space are merging. Blast Theory uses the overlay of a real city and a virtual city to craft the hybrid space shared by players online and in the streets. In this newly forming realm, they wonder about absence and presence, and what possibilities there are for intimacy.

Based in England, Blast Theory is internationally renowned as one of the most adventurous artists’ groups using interactive media. Their work confronts a media saturated world in which popular culture rules. Using video, computers, performance, installation, mobile, and online technologies, Blast Theory asks questions about the ideologies present in the information that envelops us.

For more information on Blast Theory

Artists Up Close

Cyberconflict: Representations of War in New Media and Electronic Games
Presented with the Chicago Humanities Festival at the MCA
Saturday, November 4, noon
Tickets free but reservations recommended: CHF Box Office at 312.494.9509
Columbia College professors of new media Annette Barbier and Brendan Riley and veteran video game producer Kevin Scott Mills discuss the impact of new images on our perceptions of war.

Wi-Fi or I Spy?
Presented with the Chicago Humanities Festival at the MCA
Saturday, November 4, 2 pm
Tickets free but reservations recommended: CHF Box Office at 312.494.9509
Matt Adams of Blast Theory discusses the conflict between peace of mind and the siege against privacy brought on by digital and satellite technologies such as RFID (Remote Frequency Identification Device), and describes his group’s pioneering use of new technologies within the realm of live performance. Adams is joined by communications scholar Christian Sandvig from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Can You See Me Now? is co-produced in collaboration with the Mixed Reality Lab, University of Nottingham, and has won various awards including the coveted Golden Nica for Interactive Art at Ars Electronica. Support provided by the British Council USA.