Based in Gent/Brussels, Belgium
Please, Touch The Artwork is the project-name for a set of puzzling, relaxing and artful experiences/games for those who like touching the untouchable. It explores the question: What would happen if we did touch the artwork? It aims to be aesthetic, inspiring and educational while strengthening the bridge between art and games. It's a journey to the origins of modern art.
ProcessThe idea behind this project is to take existing modern paintings and try to generate them procedurally (by means of a set of rules). Only when satisfied with the esthetic result we add the gameplay. Season 1 contains 4 mini-games each based on a different Mondrian painting.
- Compositions in Red Blue Yellow
- Boogie Woogie
- New York City
- The Red Tree
The game has two outputs: a mobile game (for platforms such as iOS and Switch) and 2 art-installations.
Mobile versionThe mobile version contains 3 mini-games (Compositions RBY, Boogie Woogie & New York City) They are connected by a story:
Visit the exhibition of T. Waterzooi, an avant-garde digital abstract painter and a contemporary of Piet Mondrian, founder of art-movement De Stijl (The Style, 1917). While Mondrian was advocating pure abstraction, Waterzooi accidentally discovered an interactive world behind Mondrian’s canvases. However, people thought his work was too derivative and Waterzooi was never accepted as a real artist in the art-community. Now, a 100 years later, he finally is.
Art-InstallationsThere are two installations connected to this game (see pictures in image gallery)
Please, Touch The Artwork has the same name as the mobile game. It works the best if there's none or few people around. The installation looks like a normal painting but seems to be affected by vandalism. The rope that should prevent you from coming to close is cut and there's a dirty handprint on the canvas. It triggers the fantasy of being able to touch the untouchable. The visitor starts doubting cultural norms (you normally can't touch paintings) and gets the feeling they are doing something naughty.
Landscape Artist Without Landscape is about the fantasy of landscape painting. You get out there with your easel, canvas, paint and brushes and install yourself somewhere on a nice meadow with a thermos full of hot coffee. Next you want to start painting but you realise: there is no landscape! In this installation you're the one creating the landscape.
In 2018 Thomas was reading a book called ‘What Are You Looking At’ by Will Gompertz. In Dutch (his mother tongue) the title was changed and it freely translates to ‘My little sister can do this as well. Why modern art is art.’ Thomas has a technical background but very artistical parents. He's always had a complex relation with modern art so this title triggered him. It’s an anecdotal and informative book which sketches the chronology of the origins of modern art, from the impressionists to the present. You go on a journey and read about where these artists lived and worked, who their friends were and what drove them to make their art. It was the period after postimpressionisme - the period of cubism, suprematism, the style - that attracted Thomas the most.
The avant-garde abstract artists are considered one of the pioneers of modern art. They reflected the rapidly industrializing society. All artists portrayed their own inner criticism and opinions on that society thus their art became very personal. It is precisely that aspect - the emergence of the path of the artist - that I find so exciting about this period.
During a night of light insomnia Thomas wanted to try writing a Mondrian-painting generator which randomly generated paintings in Mondrian's famouse Composition in Red, Blue, Yellow style. He thought it would be nice if the user could manipulate the paintings as a way of ‘becoming the artist’. A little puzzle mechanic was added and ‘Please, Touch The Artwork’ was born.
- Aesthetic elegant puzzles
- Based on real famouse art
- Each mini-game based on a different painting
- Procedurally generated levels for replayability and uniqueness
- Simple controls (single-touch)
- Fit for ages 12 - 99
- No gaming experiences or skills required
- Color-blind options
- Left handed options
- Available on (almost) all mobile platforms
- No-stress puzzle-solving, no time-pressure
- Subtle challenges
- Jazzy-soundtrack thatcomplements the art-style.
- Get to know the story behind Mondriaan and De Stijl
- Contains artist-quotes
- Unlock parts of the story as you progress
- Adjustable difficulty after a long work day
- Infinite zen-mode for replayability
Trailer of Please, Touch The Artwork YouTube
Playthrough of Please, Touch The Artwork (Uncut/SPOILERS!!!) YouTube
Artist intention YouTube
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Awards & Recognition
- "Nominee INNOVATION IN GAMES Ludicious" Zurich,
- "Winner VERY BIG INDIE PITCH 2019 (Pocket Gamer, Helsinki)"
- "Second runner up INDIE SHOWDOWN (The Label, Mobile Publisher)" 2000k price for best mobile game
- "Digital exhibit at IndieX 2020" Lissabon, October, 2020
- "VAF Prototype funding" 25k funding from Flemish Government
- "Selected to exhibit at Indiecade Paris 2018" Paris, October, 2018
- "Selected to exhibit at INDIGO 2018" Utrecht, The Netherlands, June, 2018
About Studio Waterzooi
Studio Waterzooi is an immersive experience game studio based in Brussels, Belgium. We develop low threshold esthetic or narrative driven games inspired by culture, philosophy, society and art, with a focus on ‘the human condition’.
More information on Studio Waterzooi, our logo & relevant media are available here.
Please, Touch The Artwork Credits
Design & Development, Studio Waterzooi
Audio Engineer, Composer, Freelance