Arts / Digital access

10 Digital Fringe experiences to challenge your definition of art

Ethereal graphics, online escape rooms and AI dreams: Take a look at a few gems from this year's Digital Fringe.

The digital component to the Fringe Festival features 26 art experiences. (Photo courtesy of Johana Austin)

This series of articles is underwritten by FringeArts. Reported stories were not reviewed by FringeArts prior to publication. Learn more about our advertising options here.

Because we’re living in 2018, an art festival doesn’t necessarily need to be a thing you go to anymore.

Though most of the lineup for Fringe Festival — Philly’s yearly encounter with “genre-defying” contemporary art performances curated by FringeArts — does indeed take place in a physical location, the festival also has a digital component, comprised of 26 digital experience that can take place wherever you happen to be logged on.

In Digital Fringe — a curation of 26 digital art pieces made by mostly local developers, creators and artists — the works really run the gamut: From standalone videogames to soothing visual graphics. From online chatrooms where you’re prompted to escape to mobile experiences where you can get all Shakesperian with strangers.

Though the pieces really live online, 10 of them will be under one roof for a free showcase on Wednesday, Sept. 12, at Harrisburg University’s Philadelphia Campus. The showcase will feature the artists themselves offering a glimpse into the creative process.

“Numerous exciting pieces will be available for attendees to see, play, listen to and experience,” said Jake O’Brien, the Flyclops founder and Philly Game Mechanics organizer who’s organizing the event. “A wide range of media are explored in the works, including virtual reality, motion tracking and artificial intelligence; film, games, narratives and audio experiences.”


(The event will have another special guest: The Phillytron, an arcade cabinet loaded with locally-made videogames.)

Here are the 10 pieces attendees can check out:


Developer Michael Stauffer melds the worlds of data and music in a virtual-reality experience where users create dynamic music sculptures while dancing to their favorite tunes.

Broken Bread

In this short film by Woody Fentress and Daniel Ostrov, two characters are linked by something indescribable and strange. Can’t make it to the event? Watch the film here:

We’ve Traveled So Far

Cipher Prime cofounder Will Stallwood rehashed the light-bending mechanics of his game dev shop’s opera prime (Auditorium) to create an interactive piece that uses motion tracking cameras to turn participants into entities of light.

Miscellaneous Space Odyssey

Remember that bit about defying genres? Here’s one example: Jenny Kessler created an interactive comic book  that touches on time travel, memory and unforgettable bakeries.

Reset Hard

A puzzle game where time can be manipulated to do seemingly impossible things, while playing in solo, co-op or multiplayer mode.


Another William Stallwood piece featuring visual design through emergent systems.

Satori Hue Protocol

Corey Waite Arnold, Spencer Edgers and Jason Corbett created a “synesthetic experience” that uses sound, color and language to connect imagination and memory.

Noiseless Space

You’re in space. What do you hear? One possible answer can be found in this audio experience that uses the sounds around us to explore a space far away.


We already told you about Jessica Creane’s mobile experience, an exercise in intimacy, role playing and creativity with a Shakespearean twist.

The Artificial Dreamers

Neural networks can do pretty much anything. But could they dream, too, if we taught them too?

Companies: Philly Game Forge

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