Touch for Luckvisit touchforluck.com
Multiplayer art game
Touch for Luck is the inaugural digital commission of M+, Asia’s brand-new museum of contemporary visual culture in Hong Kong which will illuminate the M+ facade.
Touch for Luck is an interactive digital work that reflects our collaborative online presence and the mechanics of social platforms designed to hook you to the screen through a game. Staged on the M+ Facade, the pond of fish connects you to your phone and allows you to join up with others who are touching their own screens simultaneously.
Touch for Luck probes into the absurdity and problems of tour touch-fuelled online lives.
The full view of the pond will be projected on the M+ Facade, a 7000 m2 light-powered canvas facing Victoria Harbour, visible up to 1.5 kilometres away when viewed on Hong Kong Island. Players are able to see their own fish 1000x enlarged live on the M+ Facade.
In this art game your objective is to touch your phone screen without letting go. It’s all about touching your screen, and getting in touch with others who are touching their own screens simultaneously.
Your time spent touching earns you ‘Un-Touch-Time’; a time buffer during which you can have your finger lifted, without having to start over. The longer you touch, the longer you are allowed to lift your finger for. Excluding these short breaks, in a completed game you will have touched your screen for a total of three hours.
Under your touch a story unfolds. You receive small feel-good gems that begin to adorn your body. Your sustained touch keeps bringing you luck, so you can’t help but want a bit more each time.
You’re one fortunate fish. It’s all about you. Your perseverance is rewarded; your popularity grows, you gain influence over others, perhaps even wealth and power.
The gems you collect throughout the game are your ‘lucky charms’; they make you feel gratified and loved. These tokens of luck echo popular and addictive mechanisms like views, likes, followers or trending tags, but also features like face filters, selfies, popularity scores, and so on. This way, we refer to mechanics that frame our virtual identities and make people connect with their phones.
While the experience is beautiful, funny and satisfying, it probes the absurdity and problematic nature of this touch-fueled online presence.
Developing Touch for Luck was a process that lasted about two years. It started with the simple idea of people touching their phone screen simultaneously and they would see each other in one space. For the M+ Facade in Hong Kong we introduced the concept of luck and its symbolism, such as koi fish and lucky charms. The pond projected on the Facade is thus full of lucky fish.
I prototyped the initial look and feel of the fish in Cinema4D. Once I knew what parameters were important I rebuild the fish in Blender which is more suitable for web projects. In the browser we iterated on the movement and behaviour in code, and also added the charms. Jae Perris built a server-side collision detection system in Rust and did lots of other optimisations to make the project run smoothly.
The M+ building in the West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong is one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary visual culture in the world. Located at the southernmost edge of Kowloon overlooking Victoria Harbour, it is among Hong Kong’s most iconic landmarks. Designed by Herzog & de Meuron in partnership with TFP Farrells and Arup, the building is composed of a podium and a slender tower that fuse into the shape of an upside-down ‘T’.
The full view of the Touch for Luck pond will be projected on the M+ Facade. Facing Victoria Harbour, the M+ Facade lights up nightly as one of the largest media facades in the world. At 65 metres tall by 110 metres wide, it is visible up to 1.5 kilometres away when viewed on Hong Kong Island. This enormous light-powered canvas, embedded with thousands of LEDs, enlivens the Hong Kong skyline with ‘a new pond in town’.