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Thanks for the memories  July 26, 2012

The art of Angry Birds gestures

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Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

(Credit: Evan Roth)

Artist Evan Roth spent a lot more time than we would have creating this fascinating depiction of the gestures used in Angry Birds.

When you play a touch-based game, there's no such thing as an input cheat: no combo of left, right, A and B to give you the ultimate power-up, and no concrete set of instructions for hitting just the right pixels on the screen. Your input is fleeting, gone as soon as you remove your finger from the screen.

Not anymore, for Paris-based American artist Evan Roth and Angry Birds. In an artwork called Angry Birds All Levels, he has recorded every single gesture used to finish the game.

His methodology was simple, but time consuming: learn how to beat the game, then lay a piece of tracing paper over the screen, dip a finger in ink and repeat.

The resulting display measures a massive 188x150 centimetres, and is part of a larger series called Multi-Touch Paintings.

According to Roth's web page:

[Angry Birds All Levels] comments on the rise of casual gaming, identity and our relationship with mobile devices. Consisting of 300 sheets of tracing paper and black ink, it's a visualisation of every finger swipe needed to complete the popular mobile game of the same name. The gestures exist on a sheet of paper that's the same size as the iPhone on which it was originally created. Angry Birds is part of a larger series that Roth has been working on over the last year called Multi-Touch Paintings. These compositions are created by performing simple routine tasks on multi-touch handheld computing devices [ranging from unlocking the device to checking Twitter] with inked fingers. The series is a comment on computing and identity, but also creates an archive of this moment in history where we have started to manipulate pixels directly through gestures that we were unfamiliar with just over five years ago. In the end, the viewer is presented with a black-and-white representation of the gestures that have been prescribed to us in the form of user-interaction design.

Angry Birds All Levels is currently on display at the Dublin Science Gallery's Game: the Future of Play exhibition.

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