Experimental Interaction #2

<Choose Your Own Aperture>

“The Mountain” is an interactive story presented on youtube by Xue Ru, Meishan, Whitney and Natalie.

Beginning video:


The whole video is slightly abstract and meant to be read as a metaphor– The stairwell itself is a metaphor for your own mind. The action of going up the stairs is you striving to do better. The rope is a metaphor for limiting yourself. The action of going down the stairs is you accepting that its okay to “fail” or temporarily give up.


The video begins in darkness– You are blindfolded literally, but figuratively it means that you are blinded.

The whispers in the background is your own voice– you are blinded by yourself. You whisper nasty thoughts/words into your own head.

You are forced to accept the help if not, you restart the game– When you are blinded by yourself, you need to learn to seek/accept the help of/from friends.

You are bounded by a rope, but you can choose to try and take another step or not– The rope is actually imaginary limitations/restrictions we impose onto ourselves. Sometimes before we even begin, we believe we cant do it. This idea cements itself into our minds, hence we cant do it. Perhaps if we were to just try before saying we cant, then we might prove ourselves wrong and succeed.

You see your friends climbing up, and you want to follow them– You aspire to reach their levels/standards as well. To make/do work that is better or equivalent to theirs.

However, when you go up, you find yourself returning to the same level you were at– You realise that you can’t follow them and you make no progress.  Sometimes in life, our effort is not enough for us to succeed; and no matter how hard we try, it will still be futile.

Another voice appears and tries to guide you– The voice (in red shoes) is yourself, an “enlightened” version that was finally able to get out of the stairwell. The voice tries to tell you that following your friends will go no where, because it knows.

The voice mentions that you’ve been here before– The times before when you’ve tried to do as well as your peers, but still failed to produce work as good quality as theirs. But you didnt give up and continued chasing after them. (until you burned out and accepted “defeat”)

You are forced to give up– It takes a while, but you have to accept the hard truths. Sometimes, no matter how hard we may try, our efforts are just not enough; and we just keep trying but failing and getting more frustrated at/depressed with ourselves. At this point in time, it is more beneficial to give up for now, and try again later.

When you walk down, admitting “defeat”, you can go out and breathe a breath of fresh air. You re-energize yourself and equip yourself( red shoes) to try again. You’re now prepared and ready (white shirt as symbol of enlightenment). When you try again, this time, you can climb up and up, reaching new floors and levels.

After we conceptualized our story, I came across a poem, and I felt like the poem resonated with the message behind our story. Hence, we decided to put the poem in. It was introduced subtley at the beginning-  set as the phone lock screen. Then at the end of the whole story, we let the image play, in hopes of tying up the whole story, so that it can further drive the message behind the story, and viewers will understand easier.

In our video we cut the poem down to its most relevant parts, but this is the full thing: