The Staring at Computers Acting Class

By Caroline Record and Jing Xiao

The Staring at Computers Acting Class is a performative two way game. It is intended to both be played and be watched being played in equal parts. The player of the game attempts to do well in the “acting class” by matching short facial expressions that they are prompted with. The game uses facial detection to score them based on how well they match each expression. By moving their face and by allowing the light from the computer to reflect off their face, the player is performing in a larger story that only the audience can hear, but they cannot. The audience member hears a short passage from Phillip Lopate’s essay Films as Spiritual Life as the player’s face is illuminated and contorted in sync with the story.


  1. I enjoy the out-of-context aspect of watching the game and the acting portion. For the acting portion, however, I think you need to choose between the template and the prompt. When I am acting, I can only pay attention to one and not the other.

    If you choose to keep the prompt, then the template and grade may not be necessary. You could instead replay a recording of the player so that he/she can self-assess their results.

    If you choose to keep the template, then I would emphasize a grading system like DDR. For me, the sparkles aren’t enough of a feedback mechanism to tell me how I can do better.

    Great job Jing and Caroline!

  2. Nice job guys! As the audience member for the demo, I really enjoyed watching the actor make silly expressions. My only critique is that I wish the audience member could be more involved in the game somehow–if you want to keep the grading aspect of the game perhaps you could allow the audience member to evaluate / throw a tomato at the player at the end.

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