Narratives for Interaction – Deconstruction of Narrative

Narratives are usually associated with the linear, from one singular output. However, contemporary interactive narratives involve the deconstruction of stories and their presentation, making the process of navigating and finding the narrative an interesting one. 

Lynn Hershman – Lorna (1979-1984)

Lynn Hershman, «Lorna», 1979 – 1984 Installation view: ZKM | Center for Art and Media | Photograph: ZKM Karlsruhe | © Lynn Hershman

Lorna, the first interactive video art disc, was presented on a television screen within a installation space of various furniture and narrative-specific objects. The space is constructed as Lorna’s (the main character) apartments and each object tells a piece of information of Lorna’s life and history. The work consists of 17 minutes of video and 36 chapters and when approached by the viewer, re-contextualises the work as the sequence changes.

Lorna is a woman who is confined to her apartment with no contact to the outside world, except for the television. The viewer interacts and make choices for the protagonist, and searches for logics and connections between the deconstructed narrative to form his own. In some way becoming the protagonist, the viewer is positioned in her space and is confronted with the self-directed existence of a person alone.


Cecile B. Evans – What the Heart Wants, Handy if you are learning to fly and Endurance Study: A Pictorial Guide

Cécile B. Evans ‘What the Heart Wants’, 2016, Installation View. Courtesy Cécile B. Evans/Andres Parody; Barbara Seiler, Zürich / Zurich; Galerie Emanuel Layr, Wien / Vienna

In What the Heart Wants (2016), Evans dives into the future where technology becomes so advanced that the line between human and machine is questionable. In a time known as “After K”, the non-linear narrative centers around the female protagonist, HYPER, an omnipotent system. Humanity is questioned in a time where machine and consciousness are interconnected.

In the Berlin biennale, the work is curated and placed in front of a T-shaped platform surrounded by water. The video features various scenes including students in the car of a robot, commercials, an immortal cell named “HELA,” a memory of 1972, and various other narrative strands. Surrounding the platform are stands of moving holographic images of butterflies, an airplane, a crowd and 3D mass of arms from the work Handy if you are learning to fly and Endurance Study: A Pictorial Guide.

The works come together as an interactive narrative installation to present an imaginative but unsettling piece of science fiction. His work reinvent the way a narrative is presented, using space and video to present a reality in multiple dimensions.



Cécile B. Evans “What the Heart Wants” at Kunsthalle Winterthur

Interactive Spaces – Using the Intangible as material


Interactive art that inspires me combines new media technology with the physical to redefine the human artistic experience. New digital possibilities allow for inventive forms of interaction to experience art. The following examples of interactive art works manipulate and use the intangible (light, sound and new technologies) within a designed space that balance between physical beauty and revolutionary transcendence.

Wave UFO (1999-2002) by Mariko Mori

Wave UFO, 1999-2002 Brainwave interface, vision dome, projector, computer system, fibreglass 207 x 446 x 194 inches (528 x 113.4 x 493 cm)
Wave UFO, 1999-2002 at ARoS Museum, Aarhus, Denmark Brainwave interface, vision dome, projector, computer system, fibreglass 207 x 446 x 194 inches (528 x 113.4 x 493 cm)

Wave UFO (1999 -2002) is a large scale interactive installation by Japanese  digital artist Mariko Mori, whose futuristic works challenge reality. A streamlined ovoid-like structure is constructed with fibreglass to contain an interactive capsule within. To enter the space, the participant must ascend stairs of circular discs and through a bubble-like automated door. In the inner cavity of the structure, there are three chairs made of Technogel, which mould to fit the form of the participants who lie on them. A vision dome is stretched across the interior surface of the capsule where projections are captured.

Wave UFO (interior), 1999-2002 Brainwave interface, vision dome, projector, computer system, fibreglass 207 x 446 x 194 inches (528 x 113.4 x 493 cm)

Combining art with technology, this work involves fitting the participants, three at a time, with electrodes that measure brainwaves. The interaction combines neuroscience, computer graphics and sound to project the live “thoughts” of the viewers in the form of moving abstract cell-like orbs onto the vision dome where they are in view of. The use of architecture and engineering in the construction of space and the series of animations produced using the biofeedback create a transcendent and surreal experience of Mori’s futuristic visions.


SPECTRA (2004) by Ryoji Ikeda

Another interactive work that manipulates the intangible, sound and light, within a constructed space is Spectra (Terminal 5, JFK) by Ryoji Ikeda. The commissioned installation at JFK International Airport created was a luminal tunnel with a plunging vanishing point where the viewer is subjected to intense brightness of an utopian but unnatural state.

Spectra (2004), Meyer SB-1, CD player, HMI lamp 100m long, “Terminal 5”, JFK airport Terminal 5, NY, US (curated by Rachel K. Ward) Image from:

Within the space, sounds of ultra-frequencies are played which are inaudible to the human ear. As the viewers walk down the aisle, the movement causes subtle oscillation patterns around their ears. The dynamic experience of sound caused by the physical interaction with the space creates an ephemeral experience in travel.


CARNATE (in-pinking) by Rachael Archibald

“Exhibited” in virtual gallery Paper-Thin created by Daniel Smith and Cameron Buckley, Carnate is a virtual reality installation which explores light, space and material in another dimension. Paper-Thin is a virtual art platform that is designed to look like a real exhibition space, providing a grounding and familiar framework for artists to explore within without the constraints of the physical one.

Carnage (2015) Image courtesy of Paper-Thin
Carnage (2015) Image courtesy of Paper-Thin
Carnage (2015) Image courtesy of Paper-Thin

Carnage explores space with anti-gravitational boulder-like structures  and glowing walls and light. The virtual model and work expand the possibilities of space and installation but redefines the interaction with in works. The viewer navigates the modern art space using arrow keys on a screen that can be access anywhere and at anytime due an open database. It is an alternative to experiencing art but it questions the experience of a space on a two-dimensional surface.



Your thoughts come to life in Mariko Mori’s UFO