Compiled by Amy McKinnon and Ann Danilevich
Works annotated below are listed alphabetically according to author, producer, or Production Company (shown in bold).
Founded by artist/designer Rob Landeros and writer/director David Wheeler, Aftermath is dedicated to the ideal of realizing true, interactive storytelling, fulfilling the promise of multimedia and broadening the market for interactive entertainment software. Their approach to interactive story development sets the company apart from other developers. Emphasizing the well-founded principles of storytelling such as plot, character development and pacing, our titles evoke something rare in interactive storytelling -emotions. Aftermath’s interactive stories scare, arouse, perplex, intrigue and engage. By combining the best elements of cinema, literature, visual arts and music with high production values and elegant, unique interactive design, Aftermath creates products which have an appeal that goes far beyond the limited range of the gaming community into that of the mass audience (www.aftermathmedia.com).
Tender Loving Care
Aftermath Media (1998)
TENDER LOVING CARE is a provocative, psychological thriller designed to take full advantage of the stunning capabilities of DVD technology, while lifting CD-ROM to new heights. Starring two-time Oscar-nominee John Hurt, and based on a novel by Andrew Neiderman (Devil’s Advocate), TLC provides all of the pleasures of a traditional motion picture while satisfying the voyeuristic and self-analytic interests engaged by its unique interactive elements. TLC is not like other so-called interactive movies; its design is unprecedented in that the viewer’s psyche is the invisible director of the tale, determining both character and plot development every step of the way. The possible alternative versions of the experience are virtually infinite.
You, the viewer, must help psychiatrist Doctor Turner (John Hurt) unveil the desperate triangle of power, lust, and deception formed by his beautiful, tragic patient, her dangerous husband, and the enigmatic, seductive psychotherapist who suddenly enters their lives. Your own psyche becomes the key to what happens on the screen. Your answers to Doctor Turner’s probing questions about the characters’ behavior, and about your own personal psychology, invisibly determine the course of action and outcome of the story. TLC is a sort of virtual biofeedback device that senses your desires, needs, and fears, and then shapes its story to reflect, and satisfy, your deepest cravings and terrors. You, too, become one of Doctor Turner’s patients. You can read your own developing personality profile after each Q&A session with the Doctor, and receive an extensive written psychological analysis at the end of the film.
Point of View
Aftermath Media (1999)
PoV is an edgy suspense story about obsession, art, eroticism and murder. It follows the story of a beautiful and mysterious artist named Jane. She is a recluse who avoids all real human contact, expressing herself only through her art. She is running from her past… a past that has seen her kill a man. She develops a strange attraction for a neighbor named Frank on whom she spies from her apartment window. She takes photographs of him without his knowledge and from these images creates composite drawings of the two of them together. Jane also observes and draws her friend Mary, who has a Lonely-Hearts relationship with an anonymous man whom she’s never seen. Eventually they agree to meet and Jane goes to the meeting in disguise but gets mistaken for Mary and is suddenly caught up in dangerous situations and bizarre events, both real and imagined.
is an artist-run center dedicated to the production, dissemination and distribution of independant multimedia works. Founded in 1993, TOPO provides assistance on a proposal basis for the development of projects presented by its members and other representatives of the artistic community. Agence TOPO’ focus is primarly on the convergence of visual arts and literature with new media. The interest is to mobilize the web as an instrument and a space for the renewal of the narrative genre, and for the presence of artists coming from diverse cultural and artistic practices and backgrounds. Agence TOPO also supports the independant multimedia productions with the lauching, in 2001, of an archive space for visual art projects, and a showcase for the dissemination, promotion and distribution of art and essay CD-ROM’s, DVD-ROM’s and DVD-VIDEO’s. The showcase presents over fifty titles from Canada, the United States, Australia, Belgium and France (www.agencetopo.qc.ca).
Who is …? (2005)
Mangus Bärtås and Agence TOPO
Who is …? is a body of work presenting with texts, photos and videos artist’s portraits created by Swedish artist Magnus Bärtås. These “biographies” articulate themselves around a series of statements, short sentences reconstituted through the memories of conversations between the author and the artists met randomly during journeys throughout the world. Agence TOPO proposes a multimedia adaptation of Bärtås’ work. Taking for starting point the narrative method of the artist, Agence TOPO adds an element of creation to it by opening a section where Net surfers can in their turn build a portrait.
In its interactive form, the project plays with the questions of identity with the Internet. Between the “googlisation” of people, the multiplication of the data banks and the self-representation of Net surfers who draw themselves a profile real or idealized in the community’s sites, the questions of identity remain fundamental while being sources of fiction, of staging. Translated into several languages (French, English, Spanish, Swedish, Russian and Latvian), the original work of Bärtås makes it possible TOPO to approach the universalization of the communities increasingly curious to communicate and elucidate the eternal mystery of Who is… Who?
The main screen of the work is vertically divided to reveal the photos and names of five people and a sixth mystery “Who is…?” section. Upon clicking a name you are taken into that person’s world where you can learn factual, formal, unexpected, and experienced aspects about him/her. Each category (factual, formal, unexpected, and experienced) has 4-7 images that one can click in any order. Once clicked a collage/montage or single image appears on screen, which correspond to descriptive narration that person recited by a young girl, such as: “He is an artist. He is 41 years old” and “She says that she and her boyfriend are the same height, which means they can wear each other’s clothes.” The sixth section of the main screen takes you into another screen with five names, likely compiled by other users and not the artist, as they are mostly unfinished. You can also create your own profile/biography.
Ejia Liisa Ahtila (1996)
Installation/ Nonlinear Film
Tänään/Today relates the history of a family in three chapters. Each sequence is projected on a different screen, which materially emphasises the different temporal and circumstantial space occupied by each character. The bizarre relationships within a family are observed by the audience, which becomes privy to its frustrations and fears. As in Ahtila’s other works, the narrative is the result of an earlier occurrence that sets off a series of individual reactions. The three episodes are bound together by sound, visual elements and by the plot—the grandfather’s death – but the subjectivity of each one is highlighted and made more acute by the characters’ enigmatic monologues, which is how they communicate directly with the audience.
The first episode deals with a young girl who relates her impressions about her father’s reaction to the old man’s death. The girl’s final words call everything into question and raise the possibility of a different reality. The second episode features Vera, a mysterious character whose place in the family is never explained, although she could easily be the man’s wife or the girl’s mother. Lastly, the girl’s father is shown, who is also the dead old man’s son” (B.S).
In her videos, Eija-Liisa Ahtila portrays human dramas, fictions that arise from her observations and experience, which thrust spectators into the everyday existence of psychologically tormented individuals. Characters are trapped in time, between the past and the present, showing us their concerns and reactions to such events as the break-up of a couple, the death of a loved one and the feeling of sexual dissatisfaction. These incidents spark major emotional crises in the characters that Eija-Liisa Ahtila narrates in a filmic style midway between pure documentary realism and fantasy.
Parts of the film can be seen at: www.mediaartnet.org/works/tanaan/images/1
Zoe Beloff (1997)
CD-ROM Interactive Artwork
“Beyond” is an interactive work which allows the viewer to explore a kind of mental geography, in which they find themselves traveling through time and space encountering my virtual alter-ego who, as a medium, that “interface” between the living and the dead, transmits “movies” that record her impressions. It is, in the words of Baudelaire, “a city full of dreams where ghosts accost the passers-by in broad daylight”.
“Beyond” operates in a playful spirit of philosophical inquiry exploring the paradoxes of technology, desire and the paranormal posed since the birth of mechanical reproduction. From around 1850 to 1940, there was an almost magical element in the way people saw these developments, an issue I feel important to bring to light as we enter the digital realm.
I am interested in letting the past breath through fragments of old films and photographs often found at flea markets. My QuickTime movies are made “live” without digital manipulation, by re photographing film and text with the Web Cam. Just as the earliest film makers struggled to find a new visual language through the newly developed technology of cinema, here I aim to invent in a personal way, a new articulation of space and time that both grows out of cinema yet goes beyond it.
For more information and to watch a demo go to: http://www.zoebeloff.com/beyond/main.html
Where Where There There Where
Zoe Beloff and Wooster Group Theater Company (1998)
“Enter the mechanics of a mind shot through by the forces of elctromagnetism, language and logical torment. This interactive film is inspired by the play Doctor Faustus Lights the Lights.
The director, Liz LeCompte invited me to make a series of QuickTime movies for the Web, also based around DOCTOR FAUSTUS LIGHTS THE LIGHTS incorporating the actors from the play. But in no sense was this work to be a document of the play itself. What my project was to become was up to me to discover. In relation to the play, one might describe it as a satellite work. It exists purely in the virtual realm.
I started by going to rehearsals, reading, thinking, collecting film from the period in which the play was written, as well as shooting the actors performing specifically for my work. I began making QuickTime movies, very idiosyncratically by rephotographing 16mm film, in complex rear screen setups, with nothing more than a black and white Quick Cam as a recording device. All special effects were done “live” using multiple film projectors rather than on the computer.
The next step was to transform the episodes into an interactive film on CD-ROM. In my project the “stage sets” became QuickTime VR panoramas within which the actors, as embedded video loops, perform. By clicking on a character a QuickTime movie appears which tell us their story and leads the user on a mysterious journey . Unlike film or video, it is a work that, is designed to be experienced more than once, since each time it is played, the user can choose a different route and discover new ways to interpret the characters.
The logic of the interface is simply that if you click on a character upon immediately entering a panorama you will see a movie that follows the train of thought inspired by the previous one, but if you turn 180 degrees, the character will now lead you off on a tangent, a new idea.”
A demo of the work and more background information is available at: http://www.zoebeloff.com/where/
Godard once said that a film must have a beginning, middle and an end but not necessarily in that order. MEANWHILE explores new ways to detour from the well-trodden path of narrative by giving the viewer a choice at the end of each scene as to which direction in time they want to move in the story. The nine scenes in this screwball comedy can be seen in any order; each path revealing the intricate interconnectivity of the characters’ follies, obsessions, and ambitions.
International Storytelling Platform created by Rachel Vulliens and Tom Kuo.
Painting the Myth (2005)
Interactive Biography Installation
Imagine you could paint one of Tom Thomson’s most famous works, while brushing the shroud of history from his story… Painting The Myth, a new system for interactive biography, allows you to illustrate the life and times of artists, their work, their histories and their stories by moving through increasingly rich and detailed layers of their best known works. This unique digital storytelling experience merges form & content into one engaging look at the story behind the canvas, the secrets inside the history, and the artist in each of us. Painting The Myth provides access to rich cultural heritage through elegant and compelling interaction.
Interactive Archival Audio Project
[murmur] is a documentary oral history project that records stories and memories told about specific geographic locations. We collect and make accessible people’s personal histories and anecdotes about the places in their neighborhoods that are important to them. In each of these locations we install a [murmur] sign with a telephone number on it that anyone can call with a mobile phone to listen to that story while standing in that exact spot, and engaging in the physical experience of being right where the story takes place. Some stories suggest that the listener walk around, following a certain path through a place, while others allow a person to wander with both their feet and their gaze.
Pax Warrior (2001)
Pax Warrior is a Hybrid New Media product for the educational and training markets that extends the nascent “Interactive Documentary” form to incorporate decision based simulation and collaborative learning tools. It is at the lead of the new genre of “Serious Games.”
Center for Digital Storytelling:
The Center for Digital Storytelling is a non-profit training, project development, and research organization dedicated to assisting people in using digital media to tell meaningful stories from their lives. Our focus is on developing large-scale projects for community, educational, and business institutions, using the methods and principles of the Digital Storytelling Workshop. We also offer workshops for organizations and individuals and serve as an international clearinghouse of information and resources about storytelling and new media (http://www.storycenter.org/about.html).
CineFocus Canada Interactive:
CineFocus Canada was founded in 1991 to produce insightful and entertaining television documentaries and educational videos. Today our roster includes over 20 hours of prime-time TV programs and more than 30 educational videos. These programs are often produced in both French and English and are sold around the world. In 2003, CineFocus Canada Interactive was created to expand the reach of our programs to new media platforms. Our goal is to change the way people watch – and interact with – documentaries and videos (http://www.cinefocus.com).
From Field to Studio: The Art of Paul Kane (2006)
This two-disc DVD package tells the story of Paul Kane, an artist whose travels along the Hudson’s Bay Company’s fur trading route in the mid-1800′s brought him face to face with First Nations and Métis cultures during a crucial turning point in North American history. Kane documented his years of adventure by sketching, painting and taking notes, later producing a series of oil paintings and a published travelogue. It is the dichotomy between Kane’s authentic fieldwork and his romanticized studio imagery and published book that make him a fascinating character to explore using the DVD’s interactive features.
Michelle Citron is a media artist whose work includes the films Daughter Rite and What You Take For Granted, and the interactive narratives As American As Apple Pie, Cocktails & Appetizers, and Mixed Greens. Her work has shown at the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Whitney Museum of Art (New York), the Walker Art Cente (Minneapolis), and the MCA/Chicago, as well as the New Directors, Berlin, London, Edinburgh, SeNef Seoul Net, VAD Festival Internacional de Video I Arts Digital, and Viper film/media festivals. She is the author of Home Movies and Other Necessary Fictions, and chairs the Department of Interdisciplinary Arts, Columbia College Chicago.
Her art experiments with ways to tell the stories of women’s lives. Initially, she made
structuralist films that told their tale through formal manipulation and metaphor. These
evolved into experimental narratives that intentionally blurred the boundaries between
fiction, documentary, and experimental practices.Her current work uses the interactivity of new media to probe the idea of story in our post-modern, digital age of TV channel surfing, interactive games, hypertext, and complex websites. She is interested in new media’s potential as a narrative art.
Mixed Greens (2004)
Mixed Greens uses interactivity to tell a story of the complexities of identity. It is a mixed genre piece using documentary, fiction, sound, and text. Mixed Greens interweaves two identity stories: of Citron’s paternal grandfather and his brothers who, as Irish Jews, lived in a “gray area” between Catholics and Protestants, and later negotiated a different set of identity issues as immigrants in Boston; and that of five lesbians, who live at a contemporary edge of assimilation and difference. With a combination of text and QT movies, Mixed Greens explores articulations of identity across sexual and ethnic lines.
Cocktails & Appetizers (2001)
An interactive film “inspired by lesbian pulp fiction stories from the 50s, Cocktails and Appetizers is a tale of falling into lust and love. The lurid covers of these books – two women, the innocent lying distraught on the bed, the butch leaning against the door frame smoking — are the inspiration for the visuals. Cocktails is about women looking at women, the pleasures of voyeurism, and the performance of gender. This interactive piece starts with a brief linear introduction. This is followed by an interactive section: we are at a gallery opening for Max, a photographer, whose work explores the performance of gender through butch/femme imagery. We hear ambient chatter and snippets of gossip overheard at such occasions. The screen offers a menu of drinks. By ordering a drink, the user accesses one often scenes. Each scene shows a photographic work at the exhibit while it eavesdrops on one of the conversations swirling around it. These ‘close-up’ audio and visual moments suggest the gossip lying just beneath the social surface. At the same time, they offer important clues that will add understanding and depth to the final, payoff scene. Thus the story is retroactively constructed by synthesizing the fragments of the piece. When all ten drinks have been ‘served,’ a linear narrative automatically runs: a flashback to the day Max spent photographing Jesse.”
As American As Apple Pie (1999)
“What happens after the honeymoon is over? Twenty-two random scenes reveal the story of Monica, a police detective, and Cilia, a psychiatrist, as they fight, love, work, raise their teenage son and commit adultery. Apple Pie explores the pull between monogamy and autonomy; the border between sitcom and melodrama; the ways in which we build stories of other people’s lives from fragments overhead. Along the way the viewer/player also learns how to make an apple pie.
As you move the cursor around the screen, words from the apple pie recipe are revealed. This should take around 4 l/2 minutes to ‘play.’ After this, [the viewer is] on [their] own. The cursor reveals both words and larger sections of the recipe. The piece is played until the entire recipe is uncovered and the credits roll. Each time Apple Pie is played the order of
the scenes change, and with it, the story.”
Database Imaginary (2005)
“Database Imaginary” was an exhibition at the Walter Phillips Gallery, co-organized with the Dunlop Art Gallery.
Databases drive culture. 33 artists take us on an imaginative and subversive ride. The artists presented in “Database Imaginary” use databases to comment on their uses and to imagine unknown uses. The term database was only coined in the 1970s with the rise of automated office procedures, but the 23 projects in this exhibition – which includes wooden sculptures, movies and telephone user-generated guides to the local area – deploy databases in imaginative ways to comment on everyday life in the 21st century. Using newly inflected forms of visual display arising from computerized databases, the works seem to raise questions about authorship, agency, audience participation, control and identity.
77 Million Paintings
Brian Eno (2006)
DVD/Art Software Package
$34.38 CDN available at amazon.ca or $31.99 available at amazon.com
The software uses the computer screen to create a constantly evolving painting created from individual hand-made slides randomly combined by the software, creating an infinite number of generations, accompanied by a soundtrack.
Folk Song for the Five Points
Interactive Soundscape Piece www.tenement.org/folksongs
Folk Songs for the Five Points is a celebration of cultural diversity and change, using “folk songs” as a metaphor to explore immigration and the formation of identity in New York’s Lower East Side. The project isn’t about absolute answers or clear definitions. We are celebrating the unexpected richness that confronts you at every turn – from the many languages of Canal St to the endless complexity contained in words like “immigrant” and “folk song”.
Rosa Freitag (1995)
Interacting with movies should allow personalized experiences for the participant viewers; they must be able to express their individual feelings. So the role a viewer plays in an interactive movie ought to be “him or herself”. There are already well established genres with puzzles and action heroes for those who want games, not stories.
Adding interactivity to stories is an arduous task for the writer/designer: if the audience controls the story, the dramatic content is likely to drop – and do viewers want to write the story, or do they prefer to be told a story? I’d rather leave the rol e of writing compelling stories to the experts, and introduce the rewards for interaction in the story development according to the viewer’s input. I have been developing techniques for interaction where the viewer can become emotionally engaged with the characters and establish a virtual friendship which simulates real life relationships.
Today’s technologies make it hard to develop interactive movies with the production values and charisma of traditional cinema. If interaction is mediated by a computer, there is also a need for higher levels of computing power in interactive movie making. Synthetic video and artificial intelligence are promising tools, and I hope they can become key elements of the process in the near future, solving problems and allowing greater creativity.
Mixed Emotions is an interactive film. Having a two-way conversation with the characters, you can give opinions and influence their attitudes. It’s not a role playing game, and you don’t win or lose. The role you play is to be yourself. If you identify with a character, give her some good advice. If you have a different point of view, try arguing with her. You can be responsible for a character’s success…or failure.
The interactive narrative structure of Mixed Emotions was designed to engage the viewer even if he doesn’t interact. Just want to sit and watch? There’s a complete linear story of which Aristotle and Hollywood would approve. If you decide to interact, play it again, give some input and watch the result….and truly interactive television. The ideal delivery platform for Mixed Emotions would be a digital broadcasting system. The prototype represents the first episode of a series. Imagine how much there is to talk about if you had caused a turning point in the story and your neighbor hadn’t!
An explanation of the project can be found on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHTyih8cGbY
The Institute™: Or, What We Do for Love
Vera Frenkel (2005)
CD-ROM and Web Project
CD-ROM part of Of Memory and Displacement Vera Frenkel: Collected Works 3 DVD + 1 CD-ROM (2005)
“Like Vera Frankels Body Missing before it, and its installation predecessor…Form the Transit Bar, works like The Institute™ stay in public consciousness because they are both living space as well as artwork environments, which contain their own lives, to which the visitor may choose to contribute as well as view. it is a twist on the notion of “interactive” that pervades much of new media art today, that instead of relying soley on mouse clicks for an exploration of narrative, it asks that you invest part of yourself and make a contribution to its existence” (Mark J. Jones Building the Institute™).
“A remarkable interdisciplinary initiative, The Institute™ is a professional and residential haven, providing support to some of the leading artists of our time. The only criterion is that artists must be over 50 years of age and in the full bloom of their creativity. Managed by former employees of previously great cultural agencies such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the National Film Board, or the Canada Council, The Institute™ – Hamilton is already in use. Other branches are scheduled to open later this year, each distinctly different, with its own special atmosphere, mix of residents and programme.”
Black Friday (ABC)
Dr. Tom Griffiths
Black Friday explores the worst bushfire in Australia’s history on January 13, 1939. Users are able to navigate the site and learn about this moment in history through video clips, timelines, interactive maps, and an interactive database including newspaper clippings and historical stories.
Marie Tyrell: A Short Film and Interactive Documentary
Flick Harrison (2004)
Narrative Video: A revolutionary on death row, as seen through her lover’s song, her psych report, her videotaped messages, her teenage diaries… based on a 1974 story by Vancouver’s D.M. Fraser (“his books were once in every leftist bathroom in all of British Columbia”). Starring Tom Scholte and Susan Box.
Interactive DVD: Watch the narrative drama, then click the video to interrogate the politics, authorship and production of this DVD. Original footage of Noam Chomsky, Svend Robinson, Scott Ritter, the Woodwards Squat, Arts Council jurists, antiwar protests, Larry Campbell, Stephen Osborne, original soundtrack music by Landscape Body Machine, with appearances by July 4th Toilet, Anti-Flag, the Gay, and more (http://www.flickharrison.com/marie.htm).
HyperBole Studios is a creator and developer of world-class interactive entertainment. Founded in 1990 by Greg Roach, one of the country’s leading interactive designers, HyperBole explores interactive media as a new creative form, developing intelligent, story-driven multimedia, games, and online entertainment. The company started with an interactive magazine, which was serialized for two years. HyperBole now develops CD-ROM titles, interactive technology and online content. The company has spent years developing VirtualCinema, an interactive engine, interface, and structural approach to interactive media (http://www.hyperbole.com).
The Madness of Roland
HyperBole Studios and Greg Roach (1995)
CD-ROM and online (but not currently available)
The Madness of Roland is an interactive, multimedia novel which was published both online and on CD-ROM. Based on the legend of the Paladin Roland, a knight in the service of Charlemagne, the story is told from multiple points of view, which you can move among at will. Each character tells their own, often contradictory, versions of the story. Roland uses text, digital color paintings, animation, Quicktime video, professional “radio theater” narration, hypertextual links and complete original soundtrack to transport you to the world of Charlemagne’s France. Interactivity: The user defines their own pathway through the material. Characters from the story confront the reader and ask them questions – the text will change based upon the reader’s responses.
Narrative structure: The story is told from five points of view simultaneously. The reader may move between the points of view at will.
Interface design: A series of Tarot card icons represent each character/viewpoint, allowing the reader to move between each character’s “leaf” in the story. Hypertext links allow selected moments inside the text to be expanded through the use of graphics, text and video.
This work was part of the Lumiere Festival of Interactive Film and Storytelling.
The Wrong Side of Town
HyperBole Studios and Greg Roach (approximately 1995)
Main point of view: The Wrong Side of Town is an interactive film which served as a prototype piece for a technique called perspective switching, which allows the viewer to watch the action filtered through the percepti ons of each of the characters in the film. The viewer clicks on characters and the movie then changes, in real time, to reflect how that character perceives of events. Every element in the scene is re-rendered according to that character’s orientation to the action and other characters.
Waitress point of view: The structure is quite simple, really. There are a number of simultaneous tracks to the film, represe nting the main (or neutral) thread and each of the character’s perception of events. The viewer navigates between these threads in real time. There is no interface other than the content of the frame itself. The content (actors) is the interface.
This work was part of the Lumiere Festival of Interactive Film and Storytelling.
Interactive Knowledge is a leading developer of interactive web sites, kiosks and large-scale interactive projects for museums, cultural organizations, government agencies, publishers, filmmakers and foundations. Our client list includes multiple projects with the Smithsonian Institution, PBS, the Mint Museums, ITVS, National Geographic, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Science Foundation and many more.
The company was founded by educators who believe in the power of content to provide an engaging interactive experience. Of course, we also offer fabulous graphic design and efficient and up-to-date programming practices. Our unique approach to creating intuitive, interactive activities has been extremely successful for our clients and for everyone who visits the web sites and kiosks we design (www.interactiveknowledge.com, “fact sheet”).
The Mystery of Love (PBS)
Interactive Knowledge (2006)
From the producers of the popular PBS series “Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers,” comes a documentary about love. The site supports the film’s exploration of the many kinds of love, including friendship, community, romance and divine love. Visitors to the site can write or record their own story of love using a unique phone-in feature.
Earth from Space
Interactive Website/Online Exhibition http://www.earthfromspace.si.edu/
This fun and interactive web site allows viewers to zoom in on spectacular satellite details of the earth. Designed with teachers and students in mind, the web site complements the Earth from Space exhibition organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). The site delivers stunning, zoomable images and educates readers about satellite technology and its myriad applications. This is the fourth web site developed by IK for SITES.
Learning at Whitney
Interactive Knowledge (2007)
Educational Website/Interactive Database/Online Exhibition
Interactive Knowledge was chosen by the Whitney Museum of American Art to design and produce a large scale educational web site for teachers, teens and families. This site offers a unique and comprehensive look at American art during the 20th century. This site is built on a powerful database that currently stores content on one hundred works of art and the context in which this art can be studied and understood. The site could expand to include the entire collection as Whitney staff continue to add new works of art and information about that art to the database.
iDel Corazon (Smithsonian Institute)
Interactive Knowledge (2006)
Interactive Database/Online Exhibition http://delcorazon.si.edu/
“¡del Corazón! Latino Voices in American Art” is a bilingual site that focuses on the art and artists of Mexican-Americans. Visitors to this site can learn about the inspirations and techniques that drive this group of artists. This project, funded by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, goes behind-the-scenes, using photographs, videos, and other resources to reveal the artists and their works.
Off the Map (ITVS/PBS)
Interactive Knowledge (2006)
Online Exhibition/Interactive Database http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/offthemap/
This online exhibition was produced by Interactive Knowledge for ITVS, in partnership with the American Visionary Art Museum. This site is one of the first and most comprehensive explorations of visionary art on the Internet. This site has been extremely popular with many experts in the field of visionary art. It also has a very devoted following of designers, artists and people who like to use the Internet to create and share their own art.
Solving the Rock House Mysteries (Charlotte Museum of History)
Kiosk stand-alone available for download on IK’s site.
Interactive Knowledge worked with the Charlotte Museum of History to design and produce the content for three permanent kiosks. The kiosks introduced unsolved mysteries related to the oldest surviving structure in Charlotte, NC, the Hezekiah Alexander Historic Homesite. The kiosks are helping to inspire patrons to visit “The Rock House,” which stands on the grounds of the Museum.
Girls are I.T.
Interactive Knowledge and Girl Scouts (2003)
Online Database/Interactive Education/Interactive Mobile
In 2003, IK teamed with their local Girl Scouts to win a NSF grant for a project designed to steer young girls into information technology careers. This three-year project will be delivered via the web and four unique, hands-on activities in a mobile classroom. The “classroom” is actually a re-vamped school bus outfitted with 12 laptops, PDAs, scanners, and robotic vehicles.
Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets (National Geographic)
Interactive Website http://www.nationalgeographic.com/grandcanyon/
National Geographic picked IK to create an interactive site to promote the 20th year of their ground breaking Imax movie on the Grand Canyon. The site features an interactive map, film trailers and loads of background information on the history of man’s interaction with the canyon.
The New Americans (ITVS)
Interactive website http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/newamericans/
The Independent Television Service (ITVS) picked IK to create a web site to accompany “The New Americans” series. The site provides educational context for the television program, which explores how recent immigrants deal with the joys and frustrations of living in a new country.
Race – The Power of an Illusion (PBS)
Educational Website http://www.pbs.org/race/000_General/000_00-Home.htm
The science, history, and social construction of race is examined in “Race – The Power of an Illusion.” This large, in-depth site was designed by IK as an online companion to California Newsreel’s three-part series that aired on PBS.
The Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation
Resource-Based Interactive Website http://invention.smithsonian.org/home/
The Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s Lemelson Center asked IK to redesign their site and add a wide range of new functionality for the Center’s staff. The redesigned site is rich with content, easily updatable and fully searchable.
Online Exhibition http://www.mintmuseum.org/elozua/
The Mint Musem of Craft + Design contracted IK to present an online version of “Constructing Elozua,” their retrospective exhibit of artist Raymon Elozua’s eclectic art.
Interactive Education/Online Resource http://www.betterreader.com/
Upon completion of a two-year U.S. Department of Education funded project, Interactive Knowledge has signed an exclusive licensing agreement with McGraw-Hill Contemporary Publishing to distribute the BetterReader System. The “BetterReader” increases instruction and track student progress. McGraw-Hill contemporary will distribute the product nationwide to schools and adult learning centers.
Shakespeare: Subject to Change
Interactive Education/Online Database http://www.ciconline.org/bdp1
Cable in the Classroom, the educational arm of the cable industry, contracted IK to produce the web site “Shakespeare: Subject to Change” to show how traditional education can be enhanced by multi-media delivered via broadband Internet.
Corridos Sin Fronteras – Ballads Without Borders
Interactive Education/Narrative Exhibition http://www.corridos.org/
This bilingual web site teaches the rich history of Mexico through narrative songs known as “corridos.” The site supports the Smithsonian Institution’s traveling exhibition of the same name, which means “Ballads Without Borders.” Visitors learn about revolutionaries, bandits, war heroes, drug smugglers and more through music, art, photography and video. A teacher section helps integrate the site into the classroom, and a resource section provides even more information on this popular musical tradition.
The Sport of Life & Death
Cross-Media Production/Interactive Education http://www.ballgame.org
“The Sport of Life and Death” was created to support a traveling museum exhibition about the world’s first team sport – The Mesoamerican Ballgame. It’s a fun, educational site that uses activities, QuickTime VR, music and more to teach history and social studies through Mesoamerican art. Aimed primarily at middle school kids, but fun for the whole family!
Mauve Desert: A CD-ROM Translation
Adriene Jenik (1997)
Mauve Desert is a CD-ROM translation of the novel “le Desert mauve” by Nicole Brossard. This interactive narrative seduces its drivers to trace the path of Melanie as she drives her mother’s car through the desert and into the lives of the author, the translator, and the artist.
Considered a pioneering work in interactive narrative, MAUVE DESERT was self-published by Jenik in 1997 for Mac OS. The CD-ROM contains more than 8 hours of original audio and video material voiced in English, French and Spanish. This meta-narrative of obsession (Melanie with the desert, Maude Laures with Melanie, Brossard with language, Jenik with the text and the struggle of audiovisual translation) invites the disc drivers to themselves surrender to their obsession to “know” and “understand” the story of Melanie and the desert.
The Labyrinth Project:
The Labyrinth Project is an art collective and research initiative on interactive cinema and database narrative at USC’s Annenberg Center for Communication. Directed by cultural theorist Marsha Kinder since 1997, the Labyrinth Project includes digital media artists Rosemary Comella, Kristy H.A. Kang and Scott Mahoy along with collaborative efforts from artists, scholars, scientists, students, archivists, and museums (http://www.annenberg.edu/labyrinth/about.html).
Immaterial Bodies, A Cultural Anatomy of Early Russian Films
Yuri Tsivian and Barry Schneider (1999)
Distributed by The Labyrinth Project from the Cine Disc Series edited by Marsha Kinder
This CD-ROM by Slavic studies scholar Yuri Tsivian examines Russian cinema before 1919. It highlights the major stars and principal directors from this period, explores the unique visual style of their films, and links that style to the broader culture in both pre-Revolutionary Russia and other nations (including Italy, Scandinavia, and the United States). Neither a database nor a game – though at various points, it may behave like one or the other – Immaterial Bodies contains a multimedia archive storing 100 film clips and 55 minutes of moving images with 75 minutes of spoken bilingual (Russian and English) commentary, hundreds of stills, and over 125 pages of bilingual texts (which can be switched back and forth at any time). For any given film excerpt, users can chose a musical accompaniment from dozens of period pieces. They can visit a 3-D representation of the Paris Morgue or stroll along city streets like a modernist flaneur. Each visitor can explore Immaterial Bodies according to her own interests and desires. Immaterial Bodies offers a choice of ten possible openings, or “pathways”, into the contents: Acting, Production Design, Lighting, Mobile Framing, Staging, Books, Pictures, Rooms, Dreams & Visions, and Music. One can move easily from one pathway to another, jump to other material related to what is being viewed, or investigate specific
areas of interest through the Search Index of over 500 terms.
Crazy, Bloody, Female Center
Nina Menke & The Labyrinth Project (2000)
This is a story about a woman who is haunted by circling images, trapped in violence. She asks you to enter her experience and her search for release. This brief text introduces an interactive world created by award-winning independent filmmaker, Nina Menkes, whose films all feature her sister Tinka Menkes as a deeply alienated woman in powerful resistance against violent, inhospitable landscapes. In this world Menkes tried to find the core energy field which fuels the work the two sisters have created over the past fifteen years, a field she calls The Crazy Bloody Female Center. Combining the bold visual language and aesthetic rigor of independent film at its best with the interactivity of digital media, this CD-ROM enables interactors, as in dreams, to draw from a reservoir of highly charged, deeply connected images and sounds and to reedit them with intriguing narrative twists. Menkes collaborated with Labyrinth designer Kristy H.A. Kang and programmer William Hughes on the interface design.
Mysteries and Desires: Searching the Worlds of John Rechy
Marsha Kinder and Kristy H.A. Kang (2000)
Challenging the borders between autobiography, memory, history and fiction, this interactive memoir presents a diverse array of personal materials by and about John Rechy and sets them against larger collective histories of Chicano culture and the gay world. Drawing passages from all of Rechy’s published novels, it also mines the outrageous fictions that circulate around this fascinating literary figure who, as a gay icon, a Chicano writer from Texas, a dedicated bodybuilder, a gifted teacher of creative writing, and the 1997 recipient of the PEN West Lifetime Achievement Award, has long been a subject of notoriety and fantasy. Combining original artwork, video, archival documents, and recorded interviews and commentaries, it lets you move through three interrelated realms – Memories, Bodies and Cruising – each with its own daring repertoire of gestural interfaces. The script and conceptual design were developed collaboratively by John Rechy and Marsha Kinder, and the graphics and interface design by Kristy H.A. Kang and James Tobias, with additional artwork by Augie Robles.
-Family and upbringing.
-Class-based and cultural issues in the formation of identity.
-Shame (family, professional, self).
-Blurs the boundaries between familial, professional, and personal spaces of Rechy’s life.
-Juxtapositioning of religious iconic figures with homosexual images and narrative.
-Issues of shame, pleasure, and pain.
-Performativity and sexual performance.
-Rechy’s status as a cultural icon.
-Non-intuitive navigation. Difficult to make sense of the narrative and the work because interactivity seemed to be guided by the text, not by the viewer.
Bleeding Through: Layers of Los Angeles, 1920-1986
Rosemary Comella and Andreas Kratky with Norman M. Klein (2003)
A co-production of The Labyrinth Project and The Center for Art and Media (ZKM),
Bleeding Through: Layers of Los Angeles, 1920-1986 combines a database detective story with a contemporary city symphony and a metanarrative reflection on storytelling in this new medium. The story’s setting is a three-mile radius near downtown Los Angeles, a city known for not having a center. This ethnically complex location is documented through archival stills and films and through contemporary images that either reproduce or evoke them. The narrative can be navigated in three ways. Positioned within a small window, author Norman Klein tells the story of Molly, a fictional character based on a real life person who may have murdered one of her husbands, and he invites users to collaborate with him in writing this fictional life. Secondly users can explore what Molly never noticed—the back stories of real people whose mini-memoirs preserve histories that otherwise might have been lost. And finally, the project leads users to reflect on this act of database storytelling and its cultural implications, particularly when set within LA’s urban dream factory. The contrast between past and present is most dramatic and uncanny in the back stories, where the user can slide fluidly between “bleed-throughs”, old and new photographs of the same Los Angeles cityscape taken from precisely the same angle, watching buildings instantaneously emerge or vanish.
Tracing the Decay of Fiction: Encounters with a Film
Pat O’neill (2003)
Based on Pat O’Neill’s 35 mm film, The Decay of Fiction (2002), this interactive project is an archeological exploration of the Hotel Ambassador, a vintage building now in ruins. Erected in 1920, the hotel played a crucial role in the development of Los Angeles and its urban sprawl. Well known for its glamorous Cocoanut Grove nightclub where Hollywood stars and movie moguls mingled with foreign dignitaries and downtown power brokers, the Ambassador was also the site of one of our nation’s most disturbing events—the 1968 assassination of Democratic Presidential Candidate Robert Kennedy.
Visitors wander through these abandoned rooms encountering cultural traces of the historical traumas and personal dramas that occurred there. Either they navigate within O’Neill’s original camera moves, or slide from one adjacent zone into another, or use the original designs of architect Myron Hunt (with detailed descriptions of each location in voice-over) to go directly to a specific room. Inside the hotel, the borders between past and present are deliberately blurred. Sometimes contemporary images are combined with dialogue from vintage movies and radio dramas, and modern voices are paired with period prints and newsreels. At other times old and new images are inextricably fused, as if ghostly figures and voices lie deeply embedded within the hotel’s decaying surfaces. Once outside the hotel on the city’s celebrated “Miracle Mile,” a stark contrast emerges between vintage stills and contemporary digital footage, especially when accompanied by provocative commentaries from noted cultural theorists (including Michael Dear, David James, Norman Klein, and Kevin Starr) speaking about the history of Los Angeles. The narrative impulse is experienced most strongly during earthquakes, which trigger a random montage of images and sounds drawn from the underlying databases. Functioning as a delirious automated search engine, these earthquakes generate new combinations that entice visitors to linger a little longer within this intriguing cultural space.
The Dawn at My Back: Memoir of a Black Texas Upbringing
Carroll Parrott Blue, Kristy H.A. Kang & The Labyrinth Project (2003)
Based on a memoir written by Carroll Parrott Blue, The Labyrinth Project has produced a DVD-ROM that expands on the book by encouraging users to explore unique visual fields of interwoven narratives and create their own pathway in response to their journey. Using an interface inspired by her great grandmother’s quilt, users can interweave stories that are embedded within several animated “panscapes” created from original photographs, video and archival materials. While exploring accounts of Blue’s family, they encounter oral histories by members of Houston’s black community and become immersed within a rich cultural landscape. With veteran actors Debbie Allen, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis performing the voice-over narrations that accompany this exploration, Blue and the Labyrinth team have created a provocative and engaging audio-visual experience. The DVD-Rom is being distributed with a print copy of Pratt’s work.
Three Winters in the Sun: Einstein in California
The Labyrinth Project (2005)
Three Winters in the Sun: Einstein in California, is an interactive installation that presents a multi perspective portrait of Albert Einstein that emphasizes the many contradictions he evoked. It looks at him through six lenses, each focusing on his relations with a different community with which he interacted while a visiting research associate at Caltech: Émigrés, FBI, Hollywood, Household, Jews, Science.
Each lens enables us to explore a stream of narrative particles–brief episodes that highlight a different dimension of Einstein’s life. Some particles have links to other lenses, showing the close connections among these six interrelated communities.
Although this portrait focuses on the winters of those three years that Einstein spent at Caltech (1931, 1932 and 1933), it shows this period was a turning point not only for Einstein and the six communities but also for the broader historical background that exerted such force over their lives.
-Jewish cultural analysis.
-Resource-based – database narrative/interactive archive.
-Multi-media portrait of Einstein’s life (personal, professional, and unconfirmed stories
about his life).
-Visual setup: narrative particles of Einstein’s life.
-Two navigational options: contents and visual (more complex).
Cultivating Pasadena: From Roses to Redevelopment
The Labyrinth Project (2005)
Cultivating Pasadena: From Roses to Redevelopment is the first installation in Urban Traces, a series of interactive rephotography exhibitions on Southern California communities. If the old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” holds true, then perhaps two pictures of the same place taken decades apart are worth exponentially more, for they offer us insights into a community’s development in a particularly visual way. This interactive installation explores this premise as it performs cross-dissolves between contemporary and archival images, and enriches these comparisons with an array of commentaries by Pasadena residents, experts and aficionados and with additional archival materials. Together these varied perceptions capture the central theme of the Urban Traces series, the distinctive ways that a particular city negotiates and reconciles two conflicting desires —the urge to preserve what is unique about a city’s history or civic identity and the drive to keep pace with the rapidly changing times. This perpetual process of negotiation is the primary subject on display in Cultivating Pasadena: From Roses to Redevelopment.
-Negotiation between the past and the present – issues of change and nostalgia.
-Flip Book documentary.
-Intuitive navigation, but not extremely clear.
The Danube Exodus: The Rippling Currents of the River
Created in collaboration with Hungarian media artist Péter Forgács (2002)
The Danube Exodus: The Rippling Currents of the River is an immersive installation about the displacement of ethnic minorities and the possible connections between them. Based on The Danube Exodus, an award-winning film by Hungarian filmmaker and Getty scholar, Péter Forgács, the installation premiered at the Getty Research Institute at the Getty Center in 2002. Visitors to The Danube Exodus installation are immediately immersed in three interwoven historical narratives. They can choose to enter the three separate spaces in any sequence, and, within each, to use a touchscreen monitor interface (designed by Scott Mahoy) to pursue a particular pathway. One narrative tells of Eastern European Jews fleeing Nazi persecution in 1939, trying to reach a ship on the Black Sea that will carry them to Palestine. The second story, set in 1940 following the Soviet reannexation of Bessarabia, tells of émigré German farmers abandoning their adopted homeland to return to the “safety” of the Third Reich, but eventually being relocated in occupied Poland. Both groups were transported along the Danube River by Captain Nándor Andrásovits, an amateur filmmaker who documented these voyages; he and the river are the subjects of the third story. The contrast between past and present is most explicit in the side spaces devoted either to the Jewish or German experience. Here one can watch recent interviews with survivors of the journeys juxtaposed with images of them on the ship, and examine their family photos, diaries and official records. In the central narrative space visitors can choose from among eighteen 3 to 5 minute orchestrated sequences from different ethnic databases which are interwoven by history. No matter which sequences are chosen, the stories still compete for control over the central narrative space, and the user is still confronted with the difficult task of “comparing the incomparable,” which becomes even more complicated with historical hindsight. Despite the minimal role of randomness, this ongoing process of reorchestration reminds us that History is like Heraclitus’s river. You can never step into the same river or the same history twice.
The Battle of Algiers
Marc Lafia and Fang-Yu Lin (2006)
“The Battle of Algiers recomposes scenes from the 1965 film of the same name by Italian director Gillo Pontecorvo. The original film is a reenactment of the Algerian nationalist struggle leading to independence from France in 1962. The success of the actual battle for independence has been attributed to the nationalists’ organization: a pyramidal structure of self-organized cells. Lafia and Lin recomposed the film along a cell-based structure, in which French Authority and the Algerian Nationalist cells are represented by stills from the film and move according to different rule sets. When cells of different camps intersect, they trigger video cells displaying each side’s tactics (as depicted in the film) according to the rules of the system” (Whitney Museum).
“This The Battle of Algiers deemphasizes the film’s dramaturgic components, focusing on the film’s modes of movement, its meanderings and collisions, its speeds and drifts, its points of intensity, its lines of force, its fluxes and flows. This The Battle of Algiers brings the database to the fore, articulating and amplifying the film’s multiple trajectories. The film’s images become the cells of this piece – echoing the cellular structure of the FLN – and we are able to see the film’s dynamics more clearly. Which is to say, we don’t see dramatic events per se but the modalities of the events, the shapes and movements – the trajectories – of the French-Algerian conflict” (Coffeen, 2006).
The Battle of Algiers is the second in a series of there works co-commissioned by Whitney Artport in collaboration with Tate Online.
Barbara Lattanzi (2004)
Installation and Online: http://www.wildernesspuppets.net/yarns/annotate/cspankaraoke.html
cSpan Karaoke is a free software for collaborative and convivial video viewing of public policy-making. It streams media from the public cSpan archives of CSPAN.org and interlaces the chosen segment with karaoke songs that are also available online. The viewer is invited to sing along. The song imposes a new interpretation onto cSPAN’s unfolding narrative.
Placeholder: Landscape and Narrative in a Virtual Environment
Brenda Laurel and Rachel Strickland (1992)
Mac CD-ROM or bit torrent download
Placeholder archive available on Mac CD-ROM by special arrangement. Bit Torrent of Placeholder Video Documentary and Archive available for download.
Placeholder was a Virtual Reality project produced by Interval Research Corporation and The Banff Centre for The Performing Arts, and directed by Brenda Laurel and Rachel Strickland, which explored a new paradigm for multi-person narrative action in virtual environments at the Banff Centre in 1992. Three-dimensional videographic scene elements, spatialized sounds and words, and simple character animation were employed to construct a composite landscape that could be visited concurrently by two physically remote participants using head-mounted displays. People were able to walk about, speak, and use both hands to touch and ove virtual objects.
George Legrady (1995)
Interactive Database Installation & CD-ROM Publication
Slippery Traces is a multi-linear visual narrative in which viewers navigate through a network of over 240 interconnected postcards classified into 24 categories or chapters. The intention of the work has been to explore database structures as a means of generating multi-linear narratives at a time when web search engines were introduced. I wanted to produce a narrative work in which three sets of cultural messages could intersect or collapse into each other. First, the archive consists mostly of commercial postcards selected out of 2000 to represent 20th century culture. The second level consisted of my evaluation of these images encoded through keywords and cross-listed through a database to maximize movement between categories. Third, the collection of these images signifies in a dispersed way my autobiography. Amongst the images can be found 1920’s to 1940’s family portraits printed on postcards, places I have been, and cultures that shaped me in various ways.
Slippery Traces was created as an interactive installation consisting of a large projection, interaction stand, and wall text. It premiered at the ISEA 95 Media Festival exhibition in Montreal and subsequently in a number of museums and was also included in the 1998-1999 travelling exhibition “Deep Storage” curated by the Siemens Kultur Programm. It was published in its cd-rom version the following year in Artintact 3, by the ZKM Centre for Art & Technology, Karlsruhe.
More information is available at: http://www.mat.ucsb.edu/~g.legrady/glWeb/Projects/slippery/Slippery.html
Ed Leung, Tim Ware, David Scott and Sean Sutcliffe (1996)
Cereal resents the viewer with a group of characters who live in an old apartment building where a string of grisly “serial” killings have put the occupants of an old tenement building in a state of unease. It seems that the killer may be in their midst, but who is it? And more importantly, when and where will the killer strike next? The viewer is allowed to follow a set of interrelated narratives from each of the characters’ points of view. It is an interactive film in which you follow the characters of your choice. Digital video clips are presented based on the user’s decision, at the end of each scene, to click on one of three characters who can be followed into the next scene. There are a variety of ways to experience the stories of these characters, depending on which characters are selected.
The Dentist owns the tenement building along with his nefarious partner. His hardened exterior seems to relax only during his visits with Daniel, a lonely artist who is his only real friend. His marriage to Mercedes is falling apart. She, like Daniel, is struggling to achieve a sense of identity.The Kook has an obsession with flying saucers that borders on insanity. He seems to know more about the murders than he’s willing to say. What has the Kook witnessed? It would seem that only the saucer people could tell us for sure.Narrative structure: We are introduced to three diverse characters who dwell in the same building. A series of murders bridges their lives. Each of the characters is a story in and of themselves, but there is a larger story overall. The story may change depending on the deci sions made by the user as to which character to follow into the next scene. There are points in the narrative where the events and characters intersect, and multiple endings for each of the characters.
This work was part of the Lumiere Festival of Interactive Film and Storytelling.
Clips from the film can be seen at: http://www.film.queensu.ca/Projects/Cereal.html
Michael Lew, Story Networks and Media Lab Europe (2002)
Office Voodoo is an interactive film installation for two people.
It tells the story of Frank and Nancy, two bored Irish officemates, condemned to spend their lives in an office. This infinite film is an algorithmic sitcom inspired from Sartre’s play “Huis clos,” crossbred with an office life simulator.
Two physical voodoo dolls, that represent the protagonists, can be manipulated in order to change the emotions of the characters in the film. It is a social laboratory where the viewers can experiment on the influence of emotions as initial conditions in any social interaction. As viewers get skilled manipulating the dolls, they can control the emotions of Frank and Nancy, and see what happens when : Frank is cranky and Nancy is hyperactive ? Frank is horny and Nancy is depressed ?
The interactive film is made exclusively of real lens-based footage shot with real actors, but it runs on a real-time editing engine that fluidly assembles the film shot by shot as one watches it, while respecting the conventions of continuity editing.
The installation is built as a little immersive wooden house for two people – a cross between a confessional, an arcade game booth and a kinetoscope parlour.
More information about the technology and a demo of the installation can be found at: http://alumni.media.mit.edu/~lew/research/voodoo/
Lumiere Festival of Interactive Film and Storytelling:
The Lumiere Festival is dedicated to the belief that interactive art and entertainment has a huge creative and expressive potential beyond what is currently explored in the moribund genre of computer and video games. To this end Lumiere serves as platform to stimulate discussion and a showcase for innovative work, creating a forum where important works are brought before a larger constituency (http://www.hyperbole.com/lumiere).
Lev Manovich is a Professor of new media art and theory in the Visual Art Department at UCSD and the director of the Lab for Cultural Analysis at the California Institute of Information and Telecommunication. Manovich has worked with new media as an artist, computer animator, designer, and programmer (http://www.manovich.net/).
Soft Cinema: Navigating the Database
Lev Manovich and Andreas Kratky (2005)
Soft Cinema explores “the possibilities of soft(ware) cinema – a ‘cinema’ in which human subjectivity and the variable choices made by custom software combine to create films that can run infinitely without ever exactly repeating the same image sequences, screen layouts and narratives.” Manovich and Kratky explore the creative possibilities at the intersection of software culture, cinema, and architechture in three films: Mission to Earth, Absenses, and Texas.
-Attempt to create a film without a predefined narrative.
-Nonlinear narrative that randomly accesses clips from a database, rather than interactive.
Mission to Earth
Mission to Earth is a science fiction allegory of the immigrant experience. It adopts the variable choices and multi-frame layouts of the Soft Cinema system to represent ‘variable identity.’ “In Mission to Earth the number of co-present windows show us what the main character is seeing, thinking, and remembering simultaneously. The motion graphics follow the story, visualizing its themes and feelings of the characters” (DVD).
-Sense of belonging and memory.
-Random sequence: software chooses from a number of alternative sequences that reflect
Inga’s variable and complicated identity.
-Multiple frames over layered with audio narrative.
-Presents several independent streams of information or narrative simultaneously on the
Absences is a lyrical black and white narrative that relies on algorithms normally deployed in military and civilian surveillance applications to determine the editing of video and audio. “Absences is a database exploration in the shape of a noir dream in which the soundtrack loosely follows the images. The visual qualities of the images are analyzed and used to synthesize sounds. So, as several clips appear on screen, their accompanying soundscape becomes more and more layered” (DVD).
-Visual negotiation between text, still, and moving images.
Texas is a ‘database narrative’, which assembles its visuals, sounds, narratives, and even the identities of its characters from multiple databases. “An experiment in ‘pure’ database aesthetics, Texas assembles its visuals, sounds, narratives, and even the identities of its characters from multiple databases” (DVD).
-Images are categorized according to geographic location, camera motion and distance, location and type of shot, and a description of the shot.
Little Movies Vol. 1: Microcinema: Cinema for the Early Net
Lev Manovich (1994-1997)
Online, DVD, CD-ROM, and interactive installation
Available to view online http://www.manovich.net/little-movies/
DVD/CD-ROMs may be available directly through Lev Manovich.
Little Movies is a lyrical and theoretical project about the aesthetics of digital cinema, and a eulogy to its earliest form—QuickTime. Beginning with the supposition that every new medium relies on the content of previous media, Little Movies features key moments in the history of cinema as its logical subject. As time passes, the medium becomes the message, that is, the “look,” more than the content of any media technology of the past is what lingers on. Little Movies reads digital media of the 1990′s from a hypothetical future, foregrounding its basic properties: the pixel, the computer screen, the scanlines. In the early 1890′s the public patronized Kinescope parlors where peep-hole machines presented them with the latest marvel—tiny moving photographs arranged in short loops. Exactly a hundred years later, we are equally fascinated with tiny QuickTime movies—the precursor of digital cinema still to come. Drawing a parallel between these two historical moments, the Little Movies are explicitly modeled after Kinetoscope films: they are also short loops.
Ana and Andy: A Streaming Novel/Emotional Movie Engine
Lev Manovich (1999-2000)
ANNA is Anna Karenina.
ANDY is Andy Warhol.
ANNA AND ANDY uses Tolstoy’s novel as a script, which drives a computer-generated re-creation of Warhol’s “Screen Tests.”
The project uses the principle of “pattern matching” to scan the complex text of Anna Karenina for a set of keywords. Whenever any of the keywords is encountered, the face animation in the right window advances to a different image. In this way, the emotional content of the novel is used as data, which brings to life still face images. The computer program extracts the passions of Anna to bring to life a subject robbed of emotional depth by modern media machines.
Lev Manovich and Norman Klein (1999)
Computer game prototype, a software narrative, a virtual exhibition, an imaginary software, a history browser… etc.
The Freud-Lissitzky Project is an experiment in developing analysis of new media, which uses the very forms of new media (in this case, computer games and software interfaces). The gameplay in Freud-Lissitzky Navigator largely consists of navigating through the narrative of game development. Each part of the narative (i.e., Freud’s meeting with Lissitzky; Eisenstein’s contribution; Prague episode, etc.) occupies a separate level. The player will have a chance to uncover various related cultural events of the 20th century for extra credit, hidden on each level. The key part of the game is the historical narrative; different software interfaces allow the user navigate through this narrative. They are based on common software interfaces such as a database, virtual space, hypermedia, image composing, and spreadsheet.
Data Beautiful (An Adventure in Info-Aesthetics)
Lev Manovich (2001)
Online http://www.manovich.net/Data_beatiful.html Inactive links!
Data Beautiful explores the ways in which the gathering, processing, and distribution of information may be considered and created as art forms. In doing so, Manovich argues that A Web crawler is beautiful. Quantitative data is beautiful. Multiple windows of GUI are beautiful. Email clients are beautiful. Instant Messenger is beautiful. Information is beautiful. In aiming to “de-functionalize” web crawlers and data visualization tools, the goal of Data Beautiful is to generate a data set, which will lead to a beautiful visualization to think of the “walk” crawler takes through the information space of the Web as an elaborate dance, and something beautiful in itself. In other words, the goal is to discover the beauty of the trajectory, rather than to treat this trajectory simply as a means to an end.
Chris Marker (1962)
The survivors of a destroyed Paris in the aftermath of World War III live underground in the Palais de Chaillot galleries. They research time travel, hoping to send someone back to before the devastating war to recover food, medicine, or energy for the present, “to summon the past and future to the aid of the present”. The traveler is a male prisoner, his vague but obsessive childhood memory of witnessing a woman (Hélène Chatelain) during a violent incident on the main terminal (“The Jetty”) at Orly Airport is used as the key to his journey back in time. He is thrown back to the past again and again. He repeatedly meets and speaks to the woman who was present at the terminal. After his successful passages to the past, the experimenters attempt to send him into the deep future. In a brief meeting with the technologically advanced people of the future, he is given a power unit sufficient to regenerate his own destroyed society. On his return, he is cast aside by his imprisoners to die. Before he can be executed, he is contacted by the people of the future, who offer to help him escape to their time, but he asks to be returned to his childhood. He is returned and finds the violent incident he partially witnessed as a child.
Chris Marker (1997, re-released 2008)
In Immemory, Chris Marker has used the format of the CD-Rom to create a multi-layered, multimedia memoir. The reader investigates “zones” of travel, war, cinema, and poetry, navigating through photographs, film clips, music, and text, as if physically exploring Marker’s memory itself. The result is a veritable 21st-century Remembrance of Things Past, an exploration of the state of memory in our digital era. With it, Marker has both invented a literary form and perfected it.
Jennifer & Kevin McCoy:
Jennifer & Kevin McCoy are a husband and wife team of artists working in the area of electronic arts. They “work with interactive media, film, performance and installation to explore personal experience in relation with new technology, the mass media, and global commerce. They often re-examine classic genres and works of cinema, science fiction or television narrative, creating sculptural objects, net art, robotic movies or live performance.”
Their work can be seen at: http://www.mccoyspace.com/
Every Shot, Every Episode
Jennifer & Kevin McCoy(2001)
“[M]uch photographic practice has been grounded in the idea of the archive as a means of collecting and constructing meaning from the made world…Unlike the archives of their predecessors, however, the McCoys pull apart, catalogue, and sequence thousands of individual shots that comprise a completely fictitious world—the 1970s cop show Starsky & Hutch. Lodged in the subconscious of an entire generation, the McCoys’ banal source material is subjected to the nonlinear, nonnarrative logic of the computer database, grouped typologically by structural technique (every zoom in, every special effect), stock character (alcoholic, bookie), or action (car chase, drug use). Both novel and traditional, Every Shot, Every Episode is a witty and thorough critique of media imagery, a portable reference guide for those raised and reared by television, and an updated version of a tradition as old as photography itself” (Metropolitan Museum of Art).
Jennifer & Kevin McCoy (2003)
Soft Rains is a set of seven table-top platforms which hold miniatures, lights, micro video cameras and electronics. The cameras frame images of the models which, when edited together via a live, computer controlled editing system, make short, fragmentary films. .Soft Rain thus used digital technology to “stitch together hackneyed narratives lifted from countless genre flicks.” Extending from previous work of databased television and film material, the artists new work further explores the idea that thought, experience and memory are structured through genre and repetition, in this installation that examines narrative spaces.
This film and others can be seen at: http://mccoyspace.com/video/
Mediamatic is a cultural institution in Amsterdam doing new media work in a number of spaces and venues including: organizing exhibitions, salons, lectures, workshops, public screenings, and the development of software and new media art projects. Mediamatic runs Interactive Film Labs for database storytelling utilizing Korsakow
National Film Board of Canada:
Canada’s public film producer and distributor, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) provides the country and world with a unique perspective (http://www.nfb.ca).
Filmmaker-in-Residence at St. Michael’s Hospital
Katerina Cizek (NFB)
Cizek has been referred to as an “embedded filmmaker” in her approach to working firsthand with her subjects and in the spaces of her work. She believes that filmmaking starts within community. Her site includes films, photography, text, blogs, multimedia projects, and immersive online documentary.
Late Fragment (NFB/CFC)
Deemed Canada’s first interactive feature film. http://www.latefragment.com/
Eyelids smeared with black shadow, a teenage girl stands at the foot of the bed and pulls the trigger. The man waking from sleep barely knows what has just happened to him. In a single moment, lives can shatter: An oblivious and regretful mother is haunted by love, lust, betrayal and memories of a dead man. She lives in a world of denial. A repressed middle-aged security guard has lost everything -his marriage, a thriving career, and the respect of his teenage son. He sees real blood on the floor. Then it’s gone. A beautiful young man has a penchant for cutting himself in ritual sessions of self-abuse. Onstage in a nightclub, he dances provocatively for an older man. He could be a lover. Or a father. Or a stranger. Faye, Kevin and Théo – three troubled strangers, three lives fractured by thoughts and acts of violence. In the interactive feature film Late Fragment, their narratives interlock in a unique cinematic experience in which you play a creative and interactive role. Navigating through the movie, you uncover their stories, and their secrets, at will, controlling the flow and direction of the elaborate sequencing with a simple click. These characters, unknown to one another as well as to themselves, would never have met were it not for their participation in a series of Restorative Justice group sessions. In this process, perpetrators and victims of violent crime, broken by their lives, look for wholeness, balance, forgiveness, safety -and perhaps even redemption. In just such a setting, Faye, Kevin and Théo are compelled to confront their histories and unravel their secrets. The truth can be plain but it is not often simple. Restorative Justice is one thing; personal amnesty, quite another. You, the audience, piece together, both literally and figuratively, the cinematic narrative in front of you.
Noodlefilm is the name under which Oncotype’s interactive film projects are made. The name refers to a bowl of noodles, symbolising a film’s complex structure with lots of small film clips that can be consumed in different orders. But this also depicts some of the difficulties in consuming them. They are a soft paste that can take on different shapes and make demands on the user. Noodlefilm demands that the user not only watches a film, but uses it (http://2001.oncotype.dk/noodlefilm.phtml).
Frida and Simon are in a relationship, but something has changed where they must make a decision. Can they live without each other or will they fight for intimacy. They find themselves wishing for change, yet that wish stands in the way of their wish to hold on to the past. You are caught in this moment and through your choices you encompass their confusing condition, uniquely determining your own film experience. A trip back to a place in Sweden where they first met? a meeting at a café? Two places they consistently rendezvous. Frida’s sister schemes. Frida’s father returns from USA. A seductive DJ? A waitress that appears to have a connection to them all. Everything seems like a moment without an ending.
One-Minute – Tennis Table Tournament for Incompatible Personalities
Noodlefilm project created for n2art http://n2art.nu
One-minute movies consist of small one-minute films where two people meet in a table tennis match. To watch a movie the user has to select a personality profile. An opponent is randomly selected among other users and this choice determines what film is played. Each movie then confronts two persons from the real world, represented by personality types in the fictive universe of the game. The characters act according to pre-defined templates, and the meetings are played through in many different dramatic and visual versions. Altogether the project contains more than 100 possible compositions created as one-minute movies.
Intruder(Bath) or The Intruder
Re-released in 2005 and available to download
Interactive love-action film. The film starts with the artist sitting on his toilet reading Foucault – a woman is taking a shower – the door buzzer is ringing – a man is intruding. The story starts over and over again. By clicking the user changes the viewpoint and the powerplay between the characters and the story changes direction. The film explores how many different possibilities a simple situation contains depending on viewpoints and powerplay. The camera is a kind of actor/joker in this play. When the camera is changing hands, the power of the characters is changing too.
Interactive video installation
Enantiodromia is a jungerian notion that states that any extreme psychic condition contains its opposite – a love/hate relation is an example of that and this is the theme in this installation. Through interaction the relation between the two main characters changes but also the role of the subordinate characters transforms. From being subordinate characters in a fiction they change to become their real selves and shows to be experts: a psychologist, a biologist etc. The installation consists of a network of 3 computers connected to 3 projectors showing film on 3 walls.
Interactive video installation
An interactive video installation where the user has to shout, cry or sing to turn on movies. Text, statistic material about the Danish population through the last 5 years is rolling down the wall, a microphone is standing in the front. When someone starts using the microphone the text starts to crack and movies emerge. Movies where people tell stories about strange personal experiences. The user is drawn into a “catch 22″, an interactive dilemma between listening and shouting at the same time.
Explores what can happen when an image captured from a specific moment in time interacts with the fluid character of a computer.
Ocurix Films (1995-1999)
Perry Hall and Edward Jeremy Keller
Hypnagogue is an interactive CD-ROM that combines the paintings and music of Perry Hall and the architectural work of Ed Keller into a digital labyrinth that collides painting, soundsculpture, digita l architecture and non-linear narrative. The project contains digitally navigable paintings, continuously running 44.1kHz sound, spaces designed and rendered in Softimage and over 40 QTVR nodes. Hypnagogue attempts to combine the properties of painting, a rchitecture and narrative into a hybrid collage that embraces the aesthetic of the surrealist movement of the 30′s with the digital age.
Interactivity: The spaces and paintings are navigable; the sound recombines and phases dependent upon the viewer’s spatial navigation; narrative sequences are dependent upon the viewer’s choices and greatly effects the interpretation of the story; paintings can be altered by the viewer.
Hypnagogue is divided roughly into eight different architectural environments that can be explored in varying duration and in varying sequence; this is punctuated by more linear filmic sequences; found text, voiceovers, prose, symbols, artwork, sound elements and the design of the architecture all imply and suggest narrative possibilities of the nature of the environment, story and characters.
The original website designated to this work is no longer available.
Midi Onodera (2001)
ALPHA GIRLS is a unique exploration of non-linear, interactive narrative structure within the boundaries of recorded performance. ALPHA GIRLS features performances by three internationally acclaimed Canadian performance artists Kinga Araya, Louise Liliefeldt and Tanya Mars. www.alphagirls.ca
Midi: “I have always been interested in how different cinematic and video formats impact the content of a story. It has been a personal artistic challenge to use these formal elements of moving image making and implement them to further enhance the overall project. Similarly I have been interested in non-linear narrative streams of storytelling. Therefore, my desire to do this project came from my inquiries about the DVD format.”
I Want to be a Queer Porn Star
Anna Peak (2008)
This interactive DVD is a collection of interviews the artist conducted with eight queer porn stars in order to become one herself. There are two menus to chose clips from, one organized by the porn stars names and one organized by topics like feminism, family, being a porn star, advice, what is queer. After a chosen clip finishes the DVD takes you back to the menu you picked the clip from. The menu, which is arranged by topics, once clicked is then further subdivided by porn starts names—the stars who refer to these topics in their interviews.
Picture Projects (2001-2007)
Interactive Resource/Activism www.360degrees.org
360degrees started out as an idea for a website almost five years ago. It has since evolved into a major initiative with the collaboration of dozens of imaginative and dedicated scholars, statisticians, activists, ex-offenders, students, educators, artists, and programmers. The site resembles our initial concept in a few ways, but it has taken on a life of its own. Each team member brings to the project a unique experience and vision for building dialogue about the affects of race, crime, and incarceration in our communities. Includes stories and dialogues that can be navigated by the viewer/user.
Philip Pocock, onesandzeros, Gregor Stehle, Axel Heide (2002)
Installation and Online
Unmovie is an online participatory cinema project. It joins a chat room-like setting for online users and AI personalities (bots) ranging from 13th Century Zenmaster teachings and Nietzschean philosophy to Bob Dylan song lyrics and Andy Warhol solipsisms with a database of existing net video clips, which have been catalogued by keyword. The conversation with and between the bots generates a mutating “script,” which is used to query the database and dynamically generate an Internet video “cut up,” which has been streaming live since November 10, 2002.
It is an open system of “actor-media” and participants whose emergent dialog on the “Stage” becomes the Script for an always-unique playlist of Internet video clips (the “Stream”) to generate a mutating, never-repeating “unmovie.”
This work was in the “Database Imaginary” exhibition (scroll up to see description). In that installation users have access to the underlying database and can classify the video clips to affect the stream that is delivered based on the interactions of the bots.
Raid on Deerfield: The Many Stories of 1704
Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association (PVMA) / Memorial Hall Museum (2004)
Interactive Resource http://1704.deerfield.history.museum/
In the pre-dawn hours of February 29, 1704, a force of about 300 French and Native allies launched a daring raid on the English settlement of Deerfield, Massachusetts, situated in the Pocumtuck homeland. 112 Deerfield men, women, and children were captured and taken on a 300-mile forced march to Canada in harsh winter conditions. Some of the captives were later redeemed and returned to Deerfield, but one-third chose to remain among their French and Native captors. Was this dramatic pre-dawn assault in contested lands an unprovoked, brutal attack on an innocent village of English settlers? Was it a justified military action against a stockaded settlement in a Native homeland? Or was it something else?
Jenny Polak and Lauren Gill
Interactive Resource/Activism http://tenement.org/HardPlace/
Interactive Flash website that explores the ways in which immigrants in the INS (Immigration and Nationalization Service) detention.
P.O.V. Borders (PBS)
Ongoing Interactive Online Series http://www.pbs.org/pov/borders/index_flash.html
What is a border? How much is real, and how much is in your mind? ‘P.O.V.’s Borders’ is an on-going web-original series that explores the borders in our lives with new themed installments launched annually. Each episode will ask visitors to consider an aspect of their everyday lives in ways that challenge their reconceptions, and expand our own “borders” of understanding.
Faces (Interactive DVD)
Geoffrey Pugen (2004)
An interactive database exploring issues about censorship in Canada. Featuring over 25 portraits of a diverse cross-section of artists, activists, lawyers, professors, local store owners and media workers from Toronto. Faces is a work in progress. Additional portraits will be added and modified as the work develops.
Raid on Deerfield
Online Exhibition/Interactive Timeline/Archive
The website builds on the scholarship, relationships with Native groups, and expertise that have developed over time concerning the attach, and that have been finely honed in preceding PVMA/Memorial Hall projects.
Nino Rodriguez (1994)
CD-ROM and Installation
In Boy young woman searches for her early childhood. The fragments collide and tenuously connect. She struggles to reconstruct her history. A hesitation, and she starts again. Emotional truth provides little solid ground. A narrative erupts and immediately dis solves. Her desire for meaning imperfectly masks uncertainty. She re-examines her memory and assembles a new past. A participant watches the young woman speak. Her words fill the space behind her image. There is no more room. Her words disappear and begin again. The participant intervenes. The woman’s image is gone, but her voice persists. The participant interrupts. The young woman is here again. She repeats herself, but what follows is new. Another intervention. Another repetition. Another path. The young woman’s stories are divided into over one hundred short moments. The order she tells them is determined randomly. Our desire to pull meaning from the whole interferes with an awareness that the pieces follow each other arbitrarily. The encounter both portrays and reproduces the uncertainty of memory. Her desire to find truth infects the participant’s desire to comprehend. Where traditional media transform memory into nostalgia, we are discovering what interactive media will manufacture from our desire. Boycan be exhibited as a one-on-one experience, displayed continuously as an installation, or screened for an audience.
Participants can do two things: (1) Select the text of a previously-heard segment, taking the story back to that point, and causing a new sequence to be constructed; and, (2) make the video disappear by selecting it, or reappear again by selecting from the on-screen text.
Narrative Structure: Boy is an experiment in constructing narrative where there was none before—both in terms of the editing techniques used, and in raising the awareness of the viewer who actively creates a story in their head as they participate. The piece arises from documentary techniques–the source material is an unscripted interview–but confronts both traditional non-fiction and fiction methods for building a narrative.
This work was part of the Lumiere Festival of Interactive Film and Storytelling.
Agonistics: A Language Game
Warren Sack (2004)
Installation and Online
Agonistics: A Language Game is an interface to what Sack calls “Very Large Scale Conversations”, such as Internet newsgroups. Agonistics does a linguistic analysis in real time of every message to a newsgroup and computes interlocuters’ discourse positions in relation to each other. The interface has a game component, which places the avatar of the (current) most central person in the debate in the middle of the field.
Sack states: In the game Agonistics, players post to one or more online, public discussions (e.g., Usenet newsgroups) using any email program. The system translates players’ posts into a graphical display. Depending upon the content and the threading of the messages written, a player is assigned a position on a circle. The goal of the game is to win points and move to the center of the circle. Players score points if they are are in dialogue: if they mutually respond to or cite the messages of other players. To win the game, one needs to establish a dialogue with as many other players as possible. Scores are updated after each message posted to the group and a list of leaders is displayed. The players winning the game have their texts highlighted and so define the group’s response to current themes of discussion.
Since 1994, Second Story Interactive Studio has created over 80 award winning interactive projects, including media rich narratives, interactive archives and data collections, and interpretive and educational installations. Second Story includes a team of creative artists, producers, writers, animators, and programmers, such as Creative Director Brad Johnson and Studio Director Julie Beeler (http://www.secondstory.com/).
Second Story (2005)
Monticello Explorer takes you to the home of Thomas Jefferson, creating a historic portrait of Jefferson through interactive storytelling and exploration of a database full of information. This place-based storytelling tool provides multiple modes for diverse audiences to connect locations with database records. Either through self-discovery or mediated tours, records in the Monticello collection are revealed in context with rich visualizations of places. The house was accurately recorded with QuantaPoint laser scans and recreated in 3D. Visitors can navigate through the 3D house, look in any direction and access images, objects and information related to each room through which they pass. The tours provide “auto-play” opportunities to experience the site with narrated movies that pull visitors from room to room. A scalable interactive map displays buildings, roads, paths, farms, fields and other features according to the time period selected. Visitors can zoom in and out to change their view, select locations and access related materials. The collection is fully searchable, and the site will continue to grow with the addition of more artifacts, stories and archeological discoveries.
Second Story (1998)
The experimental project XYZ is a triptych that explores intersections between interactivity and narrative. The site was created for the remedi project, an exhibition produced by Josh Ulm that aims to break down our preconceptions about communicating on the Web. XYZ brings together three separate narrative structures for three scenes: A horizontal axis (x) runs “Hey Diddle Diddle,” which pays homage to storybook pioneer Randolph Caldecott. A vertical axis (y) plunges for ruins at the bottom of the sea. A depth axis (z) looks back at earth from the curving grid of deep space. These three Cartesian-based axes come together not as a group of stories, but as ways to discover how a story is told.
Face to Face: Stories from the Aftermath of Infamy (ITVS)
Second Story (2002)
The site represents a special new media venture presented by the Independent Television Service. Collaborating with documentary filmmaker Rob Mikuriya, the site is designed to meld traditional filmmaking with the strengths of interactive media in an original program format distributed exclusively online. Linear narratives edited from interview footage are joined together in a non-linear format that enables visitors to make their own connections and unexpected discoveries. The visitor can choose to watch and listen to stories in an autoplay mode, or jump thematically through clusters of different individuals speaking about similar experiences of fear, anger, loyalty, and other topics. An Index of clips allows the user to find specific people, themes, and clips. If the user doesn’t have Flash, an HTML version of all story transcripts is available with downloadable QuickTime clips. Glossary and Activities sections encourage visitors to learn more about Japanese American and Arab American culture, and reflect on issues of democracy, prejudice, and citizenship in times of national crisis.
Circle of Stories (ITVS)
Second Story (2002)
Native American stories are as varied as the tribes and landscapes they come from—yet whether told by the Inuit of Alaska or the Seminole of Florida there are many common themes. This site explores the culture and legacy of this rich oral tradition and features four narratives from different regions of America. The storytelling Gallery and Culture Gallery use Flash, and the rich-media “stories” are Flash narratives that animate and reveal imagery from the storyteller’s region as their narratives unfold. All other background information, transcripts, resources and lesson plans are presented in HTML pages that incorporate the photography of the filmmakers.
Mark Twain (PBS)
Second Story (2001)
This site tells the story of Twain through the metaphor of one of his more famous inventions: a self-pasting scrapbook. Inspired by Twain’s invention, the interactive scrapbook tells Twain’s life story through a collection of texts, photos, illustrations, and clippings from his day, plus audio and video clips from the film. The site design is both simple and playful, using motifs and fonts inspired by Twain’s books and illustrations from his time period. The Scrapbook section uses Twain’s scrapbook design as the basis for the background. The images, quotes, and icons are purposefully arranged as one would arrange a scrapbook: thematically and by time and place.
Not for Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony
Second Story (1999)
The site traces the beginnings of the women’s rights movement and tells the story of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the two individuals who were instrumental in motivating the nation to grant women the right to vote. Both educational and entertaining, the site combines the personal and political with excerpts from archival photos, film, letters, speeches, and historical commentary. The heart of the site is “The Movement,” a Flash environment that combines cinematic and interactive features. The site encourages users to interact, explore, and discover the story of these women’s lives through a media collage of historical photographs, dramatic voice-overs, and commentary by historians and biographers. A content-rich research/response environment provides concurrent historical and cultural events, archival documents, and commentaries about Stanton and Anthony’s legacy. In addition to being a research portal for the suffrage movement, the website provides access to forums for posting and reading about contemporary women’s issues.
Frank Lloyd Wright (PBS)
Second Story (1998)
The Frank Lloyd Wright site was designed to capture the spirit of the man and his impact on architecture. The site’s use of technology is unassuming and transparent, and its visual design immerses the user in Wright’s personal style. Wright’s drawings accompany his biography and exterior and interior photos of his work. RealVideo excerpts from Mike Wallace’s interview with Wright brings the architect to life, and a database-driven “building locator” lets users track down the nearest Wright buildings by zip code, state, and building type to see his work for themselves.
The Face of Russia (PBS)
Second Story (1998)
The Face of Russia site is composed of an interactive timeline that encourages discovery and seamlessly integrates culture, art, and history. It combines video, audio, and hundreds of images with a simple, clean design to offer users both a quick overview and deep content. Users can gloss through the centuries, or click on highlighted text and images to explore expanded descriptions and media-rich materials. The historical timeline allows for both random and linear exploration as users navigate chronologically or jump directly to a specific period using the timeline key.
Sleeping Giants: Aviation Aftermath in the Desert (EastmanKodak)
Second Story (2001)
Using photographs by Kodak.com Editor David Kassnoff as the basis for the design, the site is structured to allow the aviation photography—and the voices of AMARC employees—to speak for themselves. Rendered in Flash 4, site visitors are serenaded by desert-inspired acoustic guitar riffs as they follow the process of planes from Hibernation to Awakening to the Flight Out.
From Silver to Gold (Eastman Kodak)
Second Story (2000)
The site showcases five filmmakers as they share their behind-the-scenes stories about shooting 1999’s Oscar®-nominated movies, including American Beauty and Sleepy Hollow. The filmmakers share insider information, from their favorite scenes and most difficult shots, to which film stock they used—for without this modest silver-based medium, there would be no Oscar® gold. The site also shows how motion picture film is actually created—how cellulose acetate comes together with silver to become film.
Digital Innovators (Eastman Kodak)
Second Story (2000)
Digital Innovators showcases the achievements of four “wired” innovators who use digital photography to explore uncharted terrain and human experience. Visitors to Kodak discover that digital frontiers range from the sea floor and cyberspace, to the imagination and the inside of the human eye. Four separate stories in the fields of medicine, art, natural history, and sports entertainment illustrate what makes digital photography unique. The site features their methods, technological advancements, and approach as they push picture-taking to new heights. Innovators include Quokka sports, National Geographic photographer Emory Kristof, ophthalmologist Dr. Peter Van Houten, and New York artist Kurt Strahm.
Taken on the Road: American Mile Markers (Eastman Kodak)
Second Story (1999)
How wide is America? The way engineer and amateur photographer Matt Frondorf measures, the answer is 3,304 photos—one 35 mm shot for every mile. Featured on Kodak, American Mile Markers offers an interactive version of Frondorf’s unusual photographic tour of the U.S. He spent six days driving across the country with a camera hooked to his car’s odometer, automatically snapping a picture from the passenger side every mile along the way. Whatever occurred along that stretch of road—thunderstorms over cornfields, used car lots, herds of Herefords—was captured exactly as he saw them. American Mile Markers puts audiences in the driver’s seat with an interactive map and “picture viewer.”
The Endurance (Eastman Kodak)
Second Story (1999)
In 1915, the Endurance sank off the unexplored coast of Antarctica, yet all 28 crewmembers survived, along with photographer Frank Hurley’s unprecedented record of the journey. The Endurance expedition, featured on Kodak, tells the crew’s story using Hurley’s photographs and excerpts from his journals, while an interactive map traces their route. Biographies of Hurley and Sir Ernest Shackleton, the expedition’s leader,profile these legends in exploration, while a timeline traces the full Endurance journey. Hurley’s efforts to capture the expedition on film were nothing short of heroic. He worked in a near-freezing darkroom to develop his images and dove into the frigid waters to save his negatives from the sinking ship.
Venice Dream Team (Eastman Kodak)
Second Story (1999)
A mentor named Bingwa brings together kids and cameras to create the Venice Dream Team. Their story, featured on Kodak, reveals a diverse group of young photographers whose work takes them places they never thought possible. Web audiences can explore animated galleries of their work and learn about their kinetic creative process. Kids as young as seven join the team, and they usually stay into their early teens. They are always in motion: Traveling, taking pictures, printing and exhibiting the photographs, selling them—and using the money to travel again. The group has traveled the world photographing events and celebrities including President Bill Clinton and Shaquille O’Neal.
Unwrapped: The Mysterious World of Mummies (Discovery/TLC)
Second Story (2000)
Online (site temporarily unavailable)
Designed for audiences with high-speed connections (DSL, TI, and cable modem), Unwrapped combines animation, story text, music, streaming video, and audio commentary to create an environment that is both cinematic and user-responsive. The site’s design and functionality are inspired by archaeological metaphor and the spirit of exploration. Users probe beneath a layer of linen mummy wrappings to move between story levels and find the mummies hidden underneath. Within each story, a controller lets the user pace the narrative and pause to access media-rich content embedded within animation sequences. In the Egyptian tomb, re-created by 3D illustrator Jim Ludke, a custom cursor simulates a flashlight, while a sliding controller lets users make and unwrap a classic Egyptian mummy. Each mummy has a custom soundtrack that transforms 10-second loops into complex, seamless musical scores.
The Bill Bowerman Story (Nike)
Second Story (2000)
To capture the spirit of the multi-faceted Bill Bowerman, this Web documentary simultaneously explores three storylines: Bowerman as athlete, designer, and teacher. While users watch one story, two others can be accessed in parallel, capturing the complexity of Bowerman’s passion and the depth of his influence. By combining random accessibility with self-running modes, users can actively explore how the different threads of Bowerman’s life intertwined, or sit back and watch the narrative unfold. The site utilizes Flash to combine animation, photographs and music not only as storytelling devices, but also as clues to the user’s progression along the story line. Users can also examine the implementation of Bowerman’s design philosophy in the shoe line, layer by layer.
Live from the Rainforest (NASA)
Second Story (2000)
Giving classroom-bound students an in-the-field experience was the goal of Live From The Rainforest. Scientists made weekly “live broadcasts” from the Amazon rainforest using RealMedia, Web chats and on-air email, along with daily updates from the field team—both online and via satellite. Video, QTVR, and animation let students see the rainforest live and breathe. An extensive database was used to collect and organize data, and teachers could register for the project, sample lesson plans, order multimedia kits, connect with online mentors, and track classroom participation.
Mick: Goddess in the Doorway (Virgin Records)
Second Story (2001)
To celebrate Jagger’s interest in artistic collaboration, the cornerstone of the site is Momentum, a song gallery of interactive art pieces inspired by songs on Goddess in the Doorway. The gallery is introduced with an arresting, iconic image of Jagger holding spinning orbs above his head, each of which represents the navigation to one of the interactive art pieces. Each piece was designed and built by an independent Web artist in collaboration with Second Story. The site also showcases a rich media retrospective of Jagger’s life in the Mythology Timeline and Photo Gallery, and highlights his film accomplishments in Movies. In addition, fans can stay up-to-date with Mick in News, and keep in touch with other fans in the Forum.
Exploring the Chesapeake – Then and Now (National Geographic)
Second Story (2005)
At the center of the site is an experiential Flash-based adventure that employs game-like interactivity encouraging visitors to explore the Bay virtually. Through a scalable map interface that toggles between views of the Bay from “Then” and “Now,” visitors can zoom in and out of either the historical or contemporary maps to compare the world James Smith encountered four centuries ago with the Bay today. Each map features a narrated tour following two paths: one focused on John Smith’s experience (including Jamestown, Powhatan and Pocahontas, Smith’s explorations of the Bay, and the wildlife and Native Americans he encountered) and one that explores the Chesapeake today to discover reflections of its past and clues to its future.
Forces of Nature (National Geographic)
Second Story (2004)
Witnessing the devastating effects of extreme weather phenomena—from the safety of a television set—proves to be awe inspiring entertainment for wide audiences. Drawing on the rich resources and expertise inside National Geographic, this companion site to the IMAX film of the same name helps audiences understand the science behind the earth’s most violent natural events. For each force of nature—volcanoes, tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes—a Lab section utilizes 3D models, illustrations, animations and diagrams to explore where each phenomenon occurs, what causes them, and how they are measured or classified. At the end of each Lab a special interactive lets visitors control the variables that cause each force to create their own volcano, tornado, hurricane or earthquake. Visitors can view images from historical examples in the Case Studies section, and plot when and where they occurred in the Map feature.
Lewis and Clark (National Geographic)
Second Story (2002)
Visitors follow the Corps of Discovery in this dynamic site through 22 discrete segments based on geographic milestones. A crop of the original William Clark map from 1806 illustrates each segment so that visitors can explore every plant or animal that was discovered, each tribe that was encountered, and examine the related journals and maps. The database-driven back-end organizes all the content according to location and time, giving visitors chronological and geographical context for all their findings. In addition, the flexible structure can easily accommodate the addition of new content modules over the three year bicentennial celebration of the expedition.
The Volvo Ocean Race 2001-2002 Round the World (National Geographic)
Second Story (2001)
Formerly known as the Whitbread Round the World Race, the Volvo Ocean Race 20012002 sends eight superfast sloops on an incredible round-the-world, round-the-clock race to the finish. Visitors to the National Geographic site experience and learn about the race in a variety of ways: Interactives, Geo Files, and Race Dispatches. The Interactives allow sailing enthusiasts to explore the anatomy of one of the VO Class 60 sloop boats or use a Sailing Simulator to test their skills against basic variables of wind and sail. The Geo Files teach visitors about the geography, climate and marine environments that the race boats encounter during the race. The Race Dispatches share insider stories from the race with correspondent Tracy Edwards, who joins various boats during the 9-month journey from September 2001 through June 2002.
Remembering Pearl Harbor (National Geographic)
Second Story (2001)
The goal of the site design was to create an immersive experience that presents the events surrounding the Pearl Harbor attack in a way that is both educational and evocative. The visitor’s ability to change time and geography selections to recreate a historic event demonstrates how new media technology can be used to both educate and engage people as active participants in a historical narrative. Each of the events featured in the Attack Map is stylized to evoke a period newsreel that combines narration, sound effects, and archival photographs. The voices and viewpoints of more than 30 American and Japanese survivors are interwoven throughout the experience to help make these events of 60 years ago become both real and personal.
King Cobra (National Geographic)
Second Story (1997)
Kaikoura (National Geographic)
Second Story (1997)
Traditional “live” Web sites blend dispatches with an archive of resources developed off site, but Kaikoura was created entirely on location by a team of content and design correspondents. Brad Johnson was “on assignment” in New Zealand with National Geographic magazine writer Tom Allen. For two weeks they transmitted their experiences to Web audiences, designing a site that revolved around the expedition’s key players—the crew, canyon, and its creatures. The site is media-rich with video, audio bites, QTVR, and 3D renderings to communicate what it’s really like to be on assignment.
Dinosaur Eggs (National Geographic)
Second Story (1996)
Dinosaur Eggs was created specifically for 3.0-generation browsers and capitalized on the browsers’ capacity for borderless frames. The site was a continuation in developing linear stories with random accessibility: Using the process of embryo research—Hunt, Hatch, and Model—as a navigation metaphor, the site lets users explore by theme or by narrative thread. They can follow the same egg through the three thematic sections to find out how eggs and their contents are discovered, uncovered, and reconstructed, or they can thoroughly explore one theme at a time. Interactive QTVRs let users get a close-up look at the embryos nestled in their eggs, while a museum component provides in-depth support materials.
Voices (National Geographic)
Second Story (1998)
The Voices Web site tells the behind-the-scenes story of capturing the unforgettable images of National Geographic—and the shots that got away. Join the expedition crew via video and “phone calls from the field” as they face shark bites, amorous elephants, and exploding glaciers. Weekly “field tales” relate stories from an archive of old assignments, and in-depth “current assignments” feature first-hand tales of adventure.
The River Wild (National Geographic Kids)
Second Story (1996)
The River Wild called on the illustration talents of Chuck Carter, 3D artist for Myst, to create a virtual river rafting experience for Web surfers. Designed around the metaphor of a personal journal, the site balances random accessibility with a linear narrative to combine the storytelling and resource components of the site. Would-be white-water adventurers can follow the expedition day-by-day with a “virtual journal” that maps out rafting milestones. Designed for Netscape 2.0, The River Wild maximizes the media limitations of early Web technology: Animations illustrate paddling techniques, while RealAudio is used for both resource and ambient sound.
Online Exhibition/Virtual Archive www.skyscraper.org
Through exhibitions, programs and publications, the Museum explores tall buildings as objects of design, products of technology, sites of construction, investments in real esate, and places of work and residence.
PerfectlyNormal.ca, Your Video Therapy Dispenser
Michael Stecky (2007)
PerfectlyNormal is an interactive web based video project that presents a working model for a virtual therapist using the visual and written language of both the pharmaceutical industry and alternative medicine. Based on the users description of their current mental state a “diagnostic video therapy dispenser” offers one of fourteen short video therapies. Also see YouTube: http://ca.youtube.com/user/DrGravely
Illuminations: A Book of Letters
Barbara Sternberg (2002)
Illuminations: A Book of Letters is a CD-ROM Artwork which models book form. The twenty-six ‘pages’ or screens, one for each letter of the alphabet, contains continuous looped video in quick-time movies, graphics, and interactive still images and text. Illuminated Manuscripts meets computer technology. Science, religion and art remerge today as in (Leonardo) Da Vinci’s times. Flaming.
Substanz is a creative communications company, based in Los Angeles, run by Margi Szperling and Craig Ashby, that combines “technology, design and story, to create engaging interactive experiences that restore viewer control for entertainment, education and information” (www.substanz.com).
Substanz and Margi Szperling (2000)
Uncompressed was created by Szperling as a master’s thesis project at the Art Center College of Design in Pasedena, California. Uncompressed is an interactive film that allows viewers to choose the path that they will follow. Finding themselves in the middle of a world not far removed from science fiction, viewers become involved in a story avout human cloning. Six character’s tales are told from their own perspectives. The interface allows the audience to view the tale from any of these viewpoints and to switch between them at interaction points.
A demo can be seen at: http://www.substanz.net/uncompressed/
The Box Project
Sharon Switzer and Sue Lloyd (2007)
A CD-anthology of commissioned interactive media works by Candian artists who work in a variety of media. The interface allows user to choose to view works by the artists in any order they choose. It seems more like an interactive archive. Some works (after they are chosen) run by themselves, while others are dependant on the viewer’s participation—clicking of mouse, scrolling down, etc.
Michael Balser and Andy Fabo: Game of Art in a Box
To summarize the rules of the Game of Art, Fabo quotes Ginsberg: “You can’t win.” “You can’t break even.” And “You can’t quit.” Andy Fabo is a Toronto artist, writer and teacher who exhibits nationally, and internationally. Michael Balser (1952-2002) was an artist, writer, curator and teacher working in digital media.
David Clark: Less Time
A digital interpretation of an Andre Breton poem. David Clark is a media artist and filmmaker who lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and teaches film and media arts at Nova Scotia College of Art & Design. www.chemicalpictures.net.
Judith Doyle: fox : future
A chronicle of human / animal interactions, and the impact of ‘seeing’ technologies on our experience of nature. Judith Doyle is an artist, filmmaker and writer teaching at the Ontario College of Art & Design. http://www.readingpictures.com/foxthesis.
Michelle Gay: Experiments with a Reader (looploop, stretchpoem, futurenatural)
The genesis of installation works that use text and source code as an enterable virtual landscape Michelle Gay is an artist represented by Birch | Libralato Gallery. Art: www.michellegay.com; Design: www.steamworks.net
Sue Lloyd: Joybox
Hollywood love scenes between women are framed and looped: pleasure is prolonged, narrative punishment infinitely deferred. Sue Lloyd is a Toronto-based artist whose work has been shown across Canada and in the U.S.. She teaches in Visual Studies at the University of Toronto.
Steve Reinke: Finnegan’s Wake (excerpt)
Reinke recited James Joyce’s “Finnegan’s Wake” into a word-recognition program, and then recorded his recitation of the resulting text. Steve Reinke is an artist and writer best known for his single channel videos, which have been screened, exhibited and collected worldwide. He teaches at Northwestern Universityin Evanston, IL. www.myrectumisnotagrave.com
Sharon Switzer: Fortune
An automaton is paired with a series of fortunes that predict a mundane and humorously banal future. Sharon Switzer is a Toronto-based artist and curator whose media art has been shown across Canada and the U.S.
Barb Webb: Spirograph
Webb’s Spirograph-inspired prose pieces are from her digital work with popular toys of the 1960s. Barb Webb lives in Coe Hill, Ontario and uses memory as a trigger for stories.
Terra Incognita is an interpretive design studio that produces interactive educational experiences — projects that tell compelling stories. Since the studio focuses exclusively on developing interactive educational experiences, Terra Incognita has cultivated extensive skills in meeting the specialized needs of educational content. Terra Incognita has particular content strengths in history, anthropology, archaeology, and natural history.
Return to Midway (National Geographic Society)
Terra Incognita (1998)
Online Feature http://www.nationalgeographic.com/midway/
In this online feature join Robert Ballard, discoverer of the Titanic, on a journey to the depths of the sea and back in time as he searches for sunken ships from the World War II Battle of Midway. Visitors begin with a “dive down” to the ocean floor, passing markers that give a sense of scale to Ballard’s expedition. At 17,000 feet visitors find themselves at “Mission Command,” where they can examine the history of the ships, view archived photos, study ship schematics, and read personal accounts from people who were there in 1942. In May 1998 the site was updated almost daily with reports from the field as Ballard and his team located the aircraft carrier Yorktown and brought back images of the ship from the ocean floor.
At the Tomb of Tutankhamen (National Geographic Society)
Terra Incognita (1998)
Online Feature http://www.nationalgeographic.com/egypt/
Relive the opening of King Tut’s tomb in this online feature. Visitors can observe Egypt of the 1920s through the eyes of real-life correspondent Maynard Owen Williams. Styled after an imaginary “interactive edition” of the National Geographic Magazine, the feature invites visitors on a journey back in time to follow the daily dispatches sent “live” from the field by Williams as he arrives in Luxor, witnesses the tomb’s official opening, and finally enters the inner chamber of Tutankhamen’s tomb.
Outpost: In Search of Human Origins (National Geographic Society)
Terra Incognita (1999)
Online Feature (No Link)
In this online feature, visitors followed paleoanthropologist Lee Berger as he and his team hunted for fossils in Botswana and South Africa. The site included frequent dispatches from the field, including answers to questions posted by site visitors. To provide background information on the expedition, the site featured overview information on hominids and human evolution.
Monterey Bay (National Geographic Society)
Terra Incognita (1999)
Climb aboard the DeepWorker for a dive through an interactive kelp forest habitat. As visitors travel through the different levels of the habitat, they learn about the plants and animals that live in Monterey Bay, the United States’ largest national marine sanctuary.
Congo Trek (National Geographic Society)
Terra Incognita (1999)
Online Feature http://www.nationalgeographic.com/congotrek/
Hike through 1200 miles of the central African rainforest with Wildlife Conservation Society biologist Michael Fay. Survey the land and wildlife of the Congo River basin by following the fifteen-month hike using an innovative “Trek Viewer” interface. The feature, designed for National Geographic, was built in advance of the expedition and updated regularly with Fay’s frequent digital dispatches (sound files, photos, and text) by satellite.
Map Machine (National Geographic Society)
Terra Incognita (1999)
Online Map Machine
MapMachine is National Geographic’s online mapping application. Terra Incognita worked closely with National Geographic Maps and ESRI to develop and implement the initial release of this popular web resource.
African Voices (National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institute)
Terra Incognita (2000)
Online Exhibition http://www.mnh.si.edu/africanvoices/
This online exhibition explores the diversity of human cultures in Africa from the dawn of civilization to the present. Above all, the Smithsonian wanted the online exhibition to surprise people by showing them an Africa that is modern, diverse, and global. In this online exhibition visitors can walk through a noisy African marketplace, enjoy Afropop music, listen to the words of enslaved people from the Diaspora, explore many different meaning of wealth, and much more.
Tempus Fugit: Time Flies (Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art)
Terra Incognita (2000)
What is time? Is it a scientific phenomenon that can be universally measured and catalogued? Or do different cultures interpret time in their own unique ways? In this online exhibition for the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, visitors can explore the concept of time in works of art dating from 900 BCE to the present. In “World Times” they can journey through time and space to examine works and the stories behind them. In “Conservation Time,” they can examine time’s impact on the creative process and on conservation. A third section, “20th Century Time,” was based on loaned objects and closed at the end of 2000. It explored the concept of time as expressed by 20th century artists.
Becoming Human (Institute of Human Origins)
Terra Incognita (2001)
Interactive Documentary/Online Exhibition http://www.becominghuman.org/
Becoming Human is a groundbreaking original documentary experience that explores the question — What makes us human? Guided by Dr. Donald Johanson, who discovered the Lucy skeleton in 1974, guests can walk through a paleontological dig, meet leading scientists in the field, and trace the evolution of the human species over the last four million years. The site combines a 30 minutes original documentary with nearly fifty connected hands-on exhibits for deeper learning.
Views of the Fair (Adobe Corporation)
Terra Incognita (2001)
Online Feature http://www.terraincognita.com/1939/
Take an enjoyable stroll through the “World of Tomorrow” in this online feature. Adobe commissioned this project to showcase their newest technologies — much like Ford, Kodak, and other companies did at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. In this new twist on the Fair, visitors are invited to explore the design and architecture of the Fair’s streamline buildings through a nostalgic experience that evokes the time period with music, postcards, and photographs.
The Dynamic Earth (National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institute)
Terra Incognita (2001)
Collections Database/Online Exhibition http://www.mnh.si.edu/earth/main_frames.html
This extensive online exhibition is based on the National Museum of Natural History’s Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals. It contains dozens of exhibits ranging from the Hope Diamond and mining to plate tectonics and the solar system. One of the most powerful features in the Dynamic Earth is the GeoGallery, an integrated specimen database that lets visitors find specimens by name, type, and group. It allows for multiple views and connects visitors to related interpretive exhibits.
Lewis and Clark: The National Bicentennial Exhibition (Missouri Historical Society)
Terra Incognita (2004)
Collections Database/Online Exhibition
This web site both promotes and compliments the major traveling exhibition of the same name. Terra Incognita worked closely with the Missouri Historical Society to develop a multiple-phase online project. The first two phases redesigned an existing promotional web site and added dozens of extensive lesson plans. The third phase added a rich online exhibition using the materials developed for the physical exhibition. The online exhibition provides multiple entries into the subject. An innovative multimedia journey map combines Euro-American and American Indian cartographic traditions to tell the story of the expedition. Visitors can also explore ten thematic exhibits that examine the cultural landscape traversed by Lewis and Clark. Finally, visitors can search through over 350 objects in an artifacts gallery (which can be expanded and updated by the client through a custom administration tool).
Cycles: African Life through Art (Indianapolis Museum of Art)
Terra Incognita (2004)
Online Exhibition http://www.ima-art.org/cycles/
In this online educational project visitors come to understand the cycle of human life as expressed in African art. With emphasis on context and meaning, the objects featured in this site lead to new and deeper understandings of the varied cultures and of the art itself. The site’s unique cyclical interface reinforces the underlying themes of birth, maturation, transition, and rebirth. Although aimed at seventh-grade students, the experience is just as enjoyable for general audiences as well.
Los Adeas (Louisiana Division of Archaeology)
Terra Incognita (2004)
Online Exhibition http://www.crt.state.la.us/siteexplorer/
Built on the frontier of the Spanish empire, the outpost at Los Adaes was for over fifty years the capital of the Texas province. It was the scene of a unique cooperation among the Spanish, the French, and the indigenous Caddo Indians. In this online exhibition, visitors can explore the historical background of Los Adaes, reconstruct daily life on the frontier, and discover the stories that Los Adaes still reveals today.
El Nino’s Powerful Reach (National Museum of Natural History/Smithsonian Institute)
Terra Incognita (2004)
This kiosk at the National Museum of Natural History examines the causes and effects of El Niño. A geo-referenced interface allows visitors to explore El Niño’s early warning signs, its ancient past, its global connections, and its good — as well as its bad — consequences. To test their knowledge of the topic, visitors can also play “Blame it on El Niño,” a quiz with surprising facts about the events. As well as the installation, an online version of the interactive is available on the museum’s web site.
The Genographic Project (National Geographic Society)
Terra Incognita (2005)
Mapping Application/Online Feature
In this project for National Geographic, visitors can explore the history book hidden within their genetic code. Using DNA samples collected from across the world, population geneticists are creating an ever-more detailed map of how humans got from Africa to every corner of the globe. In the ultimate interactive experience, visitors can even submit samples of their own DNA and explore the routes of their own ancestors, right on the web site. Behind the scenes, the client is able to use a customized content management database that allows them to update the site based on the latest results of this global project.
Churchill and the Great Republic (Library of Congress)
Terra Incognita (2005)
Online Exhibition http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/churchill/interactive/
This online exhibition examines Winston S. Churchill’s lifelong relationship with the United States — the nation he called “the Great Republic.” Interconnected paths offer visitors three ways to experience the story. The timeline offers a chronological look at Churchill’s long life and career, and it places him within a broader world context. Visitors can also follow major themes in Churchill’s life, such as his relationships with American Presidents and his commanding role in World War II. Within this interpretive section, audio tours by the curator are combined with detail animations to bring important objects to life. Finally, visitors can examine over 200 objects related to Churchill, including letters, photographs, maps, and personal documents.
Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution (Jewish Women’s Archive)
Terra Incognita (2005)
Online Exhibition http://www.jwa.org/feminism/
This online exhibition explores Jewish women’s key roles in building and advancing the modern American women’s movement, and the impact of feminism on the American Jewish community. Based on personal artifacts and short essays from 74 leading Jewish feminist activists, this project contributes to the emerging history and historiography of Second Wave feminism and the 1960s-1990s.
Benjamin Franklin 300 (Benjamin Franklin Tercentary)
Terra Incognita (2005)
Collections Database/Online Exhibition http://www.benfranklin300.org/
This multi-part web initiative explores the genius and wit of Benjamin Franklin, in celebration of his 300th birthday. In an online exhibition, visitors meet Franklin in Boston, as a rebellious, ambitious teenager, and then travel with him to Philadelphia, London, and Paris. As visitors learn about Franklin’s scientific experiments and civic initiatives, they have the chance to see the world through his ever-curious eyes. The Frankliniana Database (launching in February 2006) will offer an electronic catalogue of known surviving objects with a close association to Benjamin Franklin. Entries include images of him that were created during his lifetime; and artifacts he is believed to have bought, owned, been given, or gave away. Behind the scenes, a custom content management interface allows curators to manage the content in the database.
The Lost Gospel of Judas (National Geographic Society)
Terra Incognita (2006)
Interactive Timeline/Online Feature
This online feature for National Geographic explores the history of the Gospel of Judas and its importance in our understanding of early Christianity. In the site, visitors can examine selections from the document, and compare Coptic transcriptions and English translations. There is also a detailed timeline of early Christian history and information about how the document was preserved and authenticated.
Making a Molded Athenian Cup (J. Paul Getty Museum)
Terra Incognita (2006)
This five minute interactive video supports the exhibition Colors of Clay, presented at the Getty Villa. It examines the process ancient potters used to create mold-made vases, using a double-faced drinking cup as an example. Original video footage of a modern potter was combined with an animated 3D model (digitally scanned from the original vase) to trace the process from construction to painting to firing. In the exhibition, the video is positioned next to the original vase so visitors can examine the vessel with a better understanding of the process used to make it.
Asia Trail Dilemma Stations (National Zoological Park)
Terra Incognita (2006)
Conservation involves making difficult choices. In order to bring these dilemmas to life, this series of kiosks installed in the National Zoo’s new Asia Trail exhibition puts zoo visitors in the role of decision maker. They are first introduced to real-world issues, such as dam construction, wildlife preserves, and road construction, and must then decide which choices they would make. Video interviews with actual stakeholders such as villagers, conservationists, and researchers allow visitors to meet the people who are impacted by their decisions. After visitors submit their choices, they are able to see how other zoo visitors voted. Zoo staff is able to monitor (and manage) the kiosk feedback through a back-end interface.
Born in Bavaria in 1972, Florian Thalhofer lives and works in Berlin. He studied at the University of the Arts Berlin (MA and Meisterschüler) and at the UCLA, Los Angeles. Thalhofer is the inventor of the korsakow system, a software to create database narratives, a new media artist, and motorbike test rider. From 2001-2004, he was a lecturer at the University of the Arts, Department of Experimental Media-Design and from 2005-2006, Thalhofer was a guest-professor at the German Literature-Institute Leipzig (DLL), University of Leipzig (www.thalhofer.com).
Florian Thalhofer (2007)
Website, Korsakow Documentary www.1000stories.com
What is life like in the United States of America? I am curently traveling through the US on a BMW-motorbike. New stories every day till November 15, 2007.
Collaboration with Juliane Henrich (2007)
Interactive installation, website, DVD-Rom www.forgotten-flags.com
What is life like in Germany? A sea of black, red and gold. The 2006 Soccer World Cup changed the way Germans perceived their own country. What is left over half a year later? Juliane Henrich and I traveled 2562 km all over Germany to talk to people that still have a German flag outside their houses. We met astonishing people with all kinds of different German accents (subtitles in English). Presented by the Goethe-Instititute as part of the project “Odysseus: A Quest for Europe”.
Collaboration with Kolja Mensing (2005)
Interactive installation, website, DVD-Rom http://13terstock.thalhofers.net/
What is life like in shopping heaven? Florian Thalhofer and Kolja Mensing spent a month in a shopping mall in Bremen. We collected material for a new Korsakow-film, that will be published in June 2007 (published by Verbrecher-Verlag, Berlin ISBN 3-935843-534).
Collaboration with Mahmoud Hamdy (2003)
Interactive installation, Website, CD-Rom http://www.7sons.de/
What is life like in the desert? A collection of stories in the sand.
Collaboration with Mahmoud Hamdy (2002-2006)
Interactive installation, Website, CD-Rom
What is Love like in Cairo, Berlin, Singapore, Dublin and New York City? The LoveStoryProject is an ongoing Korsakow-Film that started in Kairo in 2002. Last update: August 2006.
Nonlinear and interactive documetary film.
What is life like being drunk? A research on the phenomenon of alcohol.
Get Rich with Art
Collaboration with Anja Lutz and Jim Avignon (1999)
CD-ROM and board-game published by shift! magazine.
What is art-life like? Experience the ups and downs of an art collector.
Small World/Kleine Welt
CD-ROM, published 1999 by Mediamatic, Amsterdam and 2001 by Spex-Magazine,
What is life like in Bavaria? 54 little stories on what it is like to grow up in a small town.
Thomson & Craighead:
“Jon Thomson & Alison Craighead are prolific media-artists and have been working with video and sound since 1991. More recently they have been exploring the possibilities of the Internet and screen based multimedia to create navigable or user led environments. Many of their internet-based works seek to manipulate existing data (websites, sound tracks, ring tones) in surprising, critical and humorous ways” (V2_Archive).
Together they created Template Cinema, which uses the vast database of the web to create an endless number of short films by recycling existing data. Low-tech networked movies made from existing data appropriated in realtime from the world wide web. Template Cinema first started in 2002 with a gallery installation called Short Films About Flying. It was uploaded online in 2004.
To view Template Cinema films go to: http://www.templatecinema.com
Template Cinema: Short Films About Flying
Thomson & Craighead (2002)
Installation and Online
This initial genre piece, Short Films about Flying, matches a live feed from a web-cam from Logan Airport in Boston with a single random selection from a database of over 150 audio soundtracks (which were all directly sourced from Internet radio feeds) and random selections from a database of over 200 inter-titles (sourced from online message-boards). Thus the template for each low-tech mini-movie remains constant while the actual film itself is never replicated.
The work was displayed at the Database Imaginary Exhibition in 2005 (described earlier in this annotated media works and producers bibliography).
Of all the Template Cinema projects, Short Films about Flying is designed as a gallery installation and relies on a mixture of what can be deemed “live” web and data-based information. For example, the camera feed from Logan Airport was indeed live, give or take a few seconds of buffering, whereas the inter-titles originated on-line but have been edited and compiled into a static data-base, which sits on the hard disk of the computer running the installation. This way of working permits the artists quite tight control over the set of conditions they are creating. Other in-progress Template Cinema projects are made entirely from live elements referenced in real-time both on and from the world wide web. In the artists’ words, “it’s almost like the web is a piece of string and we’re just tying different knots in it, and by placing the viewer centrally, s/he joins the pieces together that are often un-related. In our case the knots lack utility in its strictest sense, but they do have form. Our interest is not about expanding cinema per se, but about visualizing things about [all] our experience of such a huge networked space like the web. It’s about bringing some sense of order to a tumbling data-base for a moment and then seeing it fall back to disarray.
Template Cinema: Short Films About Nothing
Thomson & Craighead (2007)
Short Films about Nothing is the sequel to an older work called Short Films about Flying. It’s a networked installation where an open edition of unique movies are automatically generated in the gallery in real-time from existing live data found on the world-wide web.
Each ‘movie’ (replete with opening titles and end credits) combines a live video feed with randomly loaded net radio sourced from elsewhere in the world. Text grabbed from a variety of on-line message boards is periodically inserted, appearing like cinematic inter-titles when viewed in combination with all the other components. The result is a coherent yet evocative combination of elements that produce an endlessly mutating edition of low-tech mini-movies that we call, Template Cinema.
Short films about Flying now only exists as a simulated archive because some of the resources it uses have expired so Short Films about Nothing as seen here is our update that allows the conceit of the work to continue; i.e. that it is a dynamic and ephemoral work that uses live information as its material.
A Short Film About War
Thomson & Craighead (2009)
Installation and Online
A Short film about War is a narrative documentary artwork made entirely from information found on the worldwide web. In ten minutes viewers are taken around the world to a variety of war zones as seen through the collective eyes of the online photo sharing community Flickr, and as witnessed by a variety of existing military and civilian bloggers.
A Short film about War is also being developed into a two screen gallery installation, which we hope will be completed by the end of 2009. The second screen will resemble a command line text dump that shows us in real time where the elements comprising this ‘movie’ were found online. This work has been developed with editing assistance from Simon Fildes and sound dubbing by John Cobban. Script by Jon Thomson, Alison Craighead and Steve Rushton.
Grahame Weinbren’s international installations, extensive publications, and development of interactive cinema have led to his status as a pioneer of interactivity. Weinbren was the editor of Millenium Film Journal, taught in the Computer Art and Photography programs in the School of Visual Arts, and was a visiting artist at Harvard University in 1997 (http://www.mediaartnet.org/artist/weinbren/biography/).
Grahame Wienbren: Selected Works (1976-2004)
Includes essays, films, and the following interactive media texts:
The Erl King
Roberta Friedman & Grahame Weinbren (1983-1986)
The Erl King explores the connection between two famous 19th Century texts: Goethe’s “Erlkönig” and one of the dreams analyzed by Sigmund Freud. Interactivity makes it possible to forge any number of connections between the two texts. By pointing at the screen, you glide from Schubert to gospel music to improvised trombone to New Wave performance, from Sigmund Freud to Jacques Lacan, from stock car racing to abandoned, wrecked cars decorated with lines from Goethe, from a chicken-plucking machine to a Chinese chef to chickens dyed red, green, and blue.
Grahame Wienbren (1991-1993)
Sonata develops a conception of interactive narrative in which the viewer is able to modify a flowing stream of story. Its subject-matter conflates two classical works: Judith, the biblical story of a woman who decapitated the enemy general Holofernes by tricking him into thinking that she was seducing him; The Kreutzer Sonata by Tolstoy, in which a man stabs his wife to death because he suspects her of having an affair with a violinist. Viewers of Sonata are able to look at each story from multiple points of view, or move from one to the other – the stories keep unfolding, and the viewer navigates by pointing at a projection screen through a specially designed interactive picture frame. One idea is to be able to retain the powerful features of cinema like suspense and surprise in an interactive form. This work was exhibited internationally in the 1990s exploring the process and problems associated with interactive cinema and was part of the Lumiere Festival of Interactive Film and Storytelling.
Grahame Wienbren & James Cathcart (1997)
In his children’s novel Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Salman Rushdie describes an Ocean of Streams of Story containing currents of narrative in fluid form, “weaving in and out of one another like a liquid tapestry of breathtaking complexity.” A swimmer in this ocean would encounter different streams of story, and even cause them to intermingle by the turbulence of his own motion.
March is partly inspired by this image. In the architectural space of the work, a viewer discovers different story fragments, and movement in the space accesses the stories, sometimes causing them to combine or affect one another in other ways. The narratives unfold against a background projection, which, mirroring the viewer’s movements, lurches and swoops across an image landscape composed of several paintings and photographs, focused around the Rembrandt painting The Sacrifice of Isaac. The overall theme of the piece is the classical conflict between duty and desire, between obeying an external law and following one’s inner impulses-and how this tension is played out in the era of Nintendo and Netscape.
Grahame Wienbren (2002-2003)
Interactive, three-screen projection work, using infra-red sensor arrays to detect user input, combined with randomly accessible video under computer control. Frames uses Hugh Diamond’s photographs — the first photographs taken in a mental institution — as a starting point for an examination of the relationship of photographer to subject in the representation of mental disorder. By pointing through hanging gilded frames at projected video images, a viewer gradually transforms young actors into 19th century madwomen.
Frames suggests a bridge from the most recent technologies to the breakthrough technology of 150 years ago: black and white portrait photography.
Grahame Weinbren, James Cathcart, and Sandra McLean (2000)
The coal tunnel has no architecture. Its walls consist of the stuff the mine produces. It has no exterior, an interior shaped by the task for which it is intended, surfaces that are nothing but raw materials, and a shape that must follow the coal seam wherever it goes and stops when the seam stops. Its floor and ceiling are designed not for support or shelter, but simply to give access to the walls. It is dark and free of images. The architecture of Tunnel reverses these aspects of the coal tunnel, making visible the latent assumptions that define it. It is a tunnel in the air that requires supporting struts and enclosing walls. And yet the experience of being inside it is not unlike that of being in an underground tunnel. Vertigo replaces claustrophobia. The work speaks about progress, conformity, and time.
As the visitor traverses Tunnel, a person appears under the feet. Viewed from above, the crown of the head and shoulders are visible. He or she is walking at approximately the same speed as the viewer. It is a ghost from underground, an avatar. Like the visitors to Tunnel, the avatars walk in single file. As long as the visitor keeps moving forward, his ghost walks along too, and each visitor has his or her own avatar. As the tunnel gets crowded, the `virtual space’ beneath it gets crowded also. When the viewer stops, those in the world below stop too. When the viewer moves against the flow of traffic, the images below change, giving, for a moment, a glimpse of a parallel universe, populated with strange creatures, fires, and floods. Only by breaking the rules does this world become visible.
RE-ACT CD ROM
Paul Wong (2001)
RE-ACT is an interactive CD ROM document of video performances by Paul Wong. Selected works from 1975-1999 are represented in this first retrospective of his live art projects. The disc includes videoclips from major media spectacles, photographs of rare one off collaborations, words written while on tour, graphics used in projections, interdisciplinary scripts, drawings of stage devices, new documentation and a critical essay by Elspeth Sage. Navigation of the catalogue is facilitated by a performance chronology as well as conceptual categories. Also available is a set of digital prints.