- Brooklyn, NY
- Interactive Artist / Founder
- Always & Forever Computer Entertainment
George Michael Brower (b. 1988) is a Brooklyn based artist making interactive experiences for the web and virtual reality. He is the founder of Always & Forever Computer Entertainment, where he practices a broad range of disciplines from design and motion graphics to music composition, 3D modelling and programming. Sitting somewhere between game studio and art practice, Always & Forever makes highly stylized, immersive experiences based around music and play. Most jiggle.
George graduated from UCLA’s Design Media Arts department in 2010 and began his career at Google Creative Lab working as a designer and developer. There, he contributed to some of the web’s most celebrated interactive content, beginning with Arcade Fire’s seminal web-based music video, The Wilderness Downtown. In addition to his work promoting Google Chrome, George released open source libraries for making art with code, and directed interactive advertisements that ran in Times Square on some of the world’s largest digital billboards.
After 5 years with Google, George formed Always & Forever, in search of a place where no one would dare put their money, to explore his art in the absence of a brief. The studio’s first VR project, called Playthings, has been exhibited at TriBeCa Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival and New York Fashion week. He currently serves on AIGA NY’s Board of Directors and was named one of Print Magazine’s New Visual Artists under 30.
Playthings: VR Music Vacation
Playthings: VR Music Vacation is a virtual reality music playground for the HTC Vive. Set on a tropical island where you hit bouncy, musical food with drumsticks, Playthings is sure to delight whether you’re a musician, a gamer, or none of the above. You don’t need lessons to play gummy bears, and music masters will be making sweet symphonies in no time at all. Teleport around a hypercolor fantasy landscape with psychedelic portals, unlock kitchen tools that can rearrange the world around you, and climb the summit of a two story barbeque grill. Lose your body to a rhythm game full of flying hot dogs and hamburger drums, featuring original music by future-funk idols George & Jonathan. If Lisa Frank, George Foreman and Michael Jackson made a video game, the result would be Playthings.
Most people who aren’t excited about games can’t see past the litany of grime-caked sequels to Shoot Everyone VII. The video games that inspired Playthings are the sort that are really only called “games” out of convenience. I made Playthings to to remind people that you can play without a game. You can play on monkey bars, you can play saxophone, you can play with action figures, but you can’t lose and there aren’t rules (just gravity, tax returns, etc). VR is especially cool because there actually even less rules, and you don’t need a goal to have fun in another universe. Playthings was guided by the idea that, if we can make anything, it doesn’t make sense to let you play anything that makes sense. And if we can build our own worlds, they can welcome everyone. http://playthingsvr.com
Here at Always & Forever Computer Entertainment, we work hard every day to provide our customers with interactive artworks of the highest quality. The @aaf.nyc Instagram page is an effort to have an online open studio. There’s works-in-progress, including project documentation for both tech and art, apparel / custom A&F lifestyle accessories, plus some animated musical shorts. I like to use the feed as a test bed to explore concepts with motion or sound that might make for compelling interactions–something fun “to do”–in an interactive medium like VR. https://www.instagram.com/aaf.nyc/
George & Jonathan Music Visualization
George’s longtime musical collaborator, Jon Baken, contributes the music and sound design for most of Always & Forever’s products. Styling themselves “George & Jonathan”, the duo earned the everlasting devotion of chiptune fans worldwide for the release of their landmark albums The Best Music (2010) and Beautiful Lifestyle (2012). The pair toured internationally, and were known to shoot hundreds of dollars into their crowds with the use of high powered leaf blowers. Each of their albums came with a new website, culminating with the release of George & Jonathan III (2015) which included a custom MIDI visualizer that allowed you to explore an animated, three dimensional map of every note on the album. All of this being synchronized to the music in realtime, so you can actually “see” each note as it’s played. There is a special puppy-based video.