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Alan Kwan is an artist, game designer, and technologist. He is also an assistant professor in the Department of Film, Video, New Media, & Animation of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). 

 

Completed his master's at MIT, he is primarily interested in building worlds, stories, and immersive experiences that are outside of the traditional gaming paradigm and typical tech fantasies of VR/AR. While most commercial video games and industrial applications of VR/AR simulate the physics of external reality, his works, including experimental video games, interactive animations, and VR installations, focus on creating psychological spaces in 3D virtual worlds, exploring the physics within our minds. He create first-person encounters with evocative and psychological spaces that do not urge actions but simply allow the viewers and players to wander, daydream, and reflect.

His experimental videogame "Scent" (link) won the Honorary Mention Award at Prix Ars Electronica in Austria, while "Forgetter", a videogame he co-directed with Allison Yang and collaborated with DSLCOLLECTION, an art collection based in Paris, won the Excellence in Innovation Award at the 2021 indiePlay China Indie Game Awards, as well as the Best Serious Game Award and the Honorary Mention Award at the GWB Game Awards. His videogame "The Hallway" was also acquired by the Hong Kong M+ Museum as part of its permanent art collection. His latest project is "The Eyes" (link). 

Alan's other projects, which include VR experiences, interactive installations, flying machines, etc. were presented at venues including Ars Electronica Center (Austria), International Bauhaus Colloquium (Germany), ZKM Centre for Art and Media (Germany), and Museum of Contemporary Art (Shanghai), and were featured in media including Discovery Channel, Popular Science, and Boston Globe. He was awarded the first prize of the MIT Harold and Arlene Schnitzer Prize, Asian Cultural Council Fellowship, and the Hong Kong Arts Development Council Award for Young Artist (Media Art).

Apart from his artistic interests, he is also deeply interested in how 3D virtual world, as a spatial medium, can help people organize or learn complex information by leveraging their spatial cognition. He started experimenting with the idea of building virtual memory palace in 2011, and then in 2016 he collaborated with architect and designer Meng Sun to make an interactive 3D educational tool.

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