Tag: Interactive Narrative

SHARING 11: Nightwalk

Night Walk” is an interactive narrative project by Cours Julien.

It is all set in this really cool district in  Marseille and there is a lot of atmosphere going on here with fascinating street art. There is some narration like an audio guide and then we can wander about to see the neighbourhood and all this has been captured at night. So with the photos, images, videos, sounds and interesting facts, we can really become like “online tourists” for awhile and just enjoy this place miles across the globe.

Totally cool and sharing here with all of you. And it is best to experience it with headphones by the way!


SHARING 8: Flying High in Rome’s Interactive Web Experience



Rome was originally intended as a concept album for a film.

This interactive narrative experience powered by integrated the use of webGL within the Chrome browser. Rich graphical interactive experience with great music soundtrack!

Director Chris Milk is an artist primarily working with technology-generated emotional resonance. The interactive narrative is inspired by the music of Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi.


It is a fun experience really. I get to fly around and explore this bizarre yet beautiful world. And everywhere I go there will be animals galloping and birds flying around and the plants will just sprout out across the landscape that the mouse touches.


REFLECTION 2: On Fanthoming The Garden of Forking Paths

This short story is certainly captivating, although for the most part of the first 3 pages I was really trying my best to get a bearing over the situation as it unfolded.

The very first paragraph is a short preamble to kind of straighten things out where I understand that Dr. Yu Tsun is writing the statement that is to follow. And then I am told that the first two pages of this are missing. Thrown into the deep blue. I encounter with much intrigue a multitude of facts and clues to find out gradually what this story is about. I learn that it is about espionage, about Dr. Yu trying to evade the capture of Capt. Richard Madden until he could accomplish the mission of informing Germany of an eminent attack on the city of Albert. We are also told that Dr. Yu already knows that he will die at the end of this story. So there is already these sort of framework and foretelling where the narrative has set expectations for the reader or even rules for itself.

Yet there are many sort of ‘dualities’ in the story. So all these events, characters are both this and that at the same time and there are then these many possibilities that the story could have gone. Yu Tsun appreciates Albert’s respect for his ancestor’s literature and yet he has to kill Albert. Yu Tsun and Albert are both friends and non-friends.Capt. Madden has won the battle because he manages to apprehend Yu Tsun. However Yu Tsun has won the battle too, as he manages to alert Germany with Albert’s death published in the British Newspapers. Yu Tsun was both a spy working for Germany and determined to carry out the mission yet he is not truly loyal.

Yu Tsun mentioned that he took ten minutes to plan this elaborate scheme. Yet how much of this story could he have foretold at that point in time? There is a lot of descriptive detail going on and for the most part rather mundane and unimportant to the events of the story. Like what was in Yu Tsun’s inventory, how much cash he had left or the people he happened to see at the train station. So I really get the feeling like all these thoughts are still rather floaty and Dr. Yu is really trying to recall the events transpired here.  Coupled with that are his imaginative spells. I am both following along and getting lost in his stream of consciousness. This is the charming thing about the story that kind of intriguing haziness yet there is still a logic to it.

Also parallel to that story is the myth of Dr. Yu’s great grandfather Ts’ui Pen. Dr. Yu and Albert discuss about the conceptualization and interpretation of Ts’ui Pen’s literary labyrinth. Center to the narrative is this ideal maze of character, events, concepts and narratives that are explained to be a writing about time not space. This is contrasted with two non-fictitious great works of literature – 红楼梦 and 1001 Arabian Nights. These 2 works although vast in their amassing of  narrative are not infinite and all-encompassing. However Ts’ui Pen’s work is a true work of the labyrinth of narrative and time – “various future times but not to all”. Simultaneous outcomes, solutions, points of departure for the continuation and discontinuation of the narrative, a network of dominoes if you will. And I found that that was the true mystery of the short story. Can something like that even be written?


The Garden of Forking Paths (1941) by Jorge Louis Borges is a great read and it kind of attempts to write with much efficiency a taste of that sort of complex, conflated narrative like the ideal literary labyrinth of Ts’ui Pen’s. This is a great challenge to the traditional linear literary structures and I would say that The Garden of Forking Paths is a very conceptual piece that has and will continue to inspire many to the possibilities it has open and invites.

SHARING 5: Interactive Films at Sundance

Are Interactive Films Transforming Modern Storytelling? Sundance’s New Frontier Has the Answer

This is a really interesting and thought provoking article I read on IndieWire. You guys can check their site for more cool stuff too.

So it is talking about Sundance which is this huge film festival and there are a lot of really good independent films that show there. I usually am more drawn to these stories and concepts rather than the big summer blockbusters and immense screen presences.

Here we see that Sundance has recently embarked since about 3-4 years ago on a totally new category of films – Interactive Films. I certainly feel that this is a step forward for the modern film lover. Of course we cannot have all film going this direction either. But I appreciate the experimentation and this new ways of letting a story unravel in a sense that film makers now are not spoon-feeding us. They expect the audience to pick up our interest in what we see and decide for ourselves what we want to see and what we make of that. And this can be a very powerful experience.

I picked out from the article this example which is I Love Your Work (2003) which is a piece by Jonathan Harris. We have seen some of his work during class like Whale Hunt and his Birthday photography series. So this is done in the format of an Interactive Film and we can see how his photography experience and the way he presents his photos in those interfaces he created on his website, has translated into this film work. I Love Your Work is very realist and raw. We go into the everyday lives of nine young women who engage in lesbian porn. Over 2 thousand 10-second clips were shot taken at five-minute intervals over 10 consecutive days. So it is very candid. And we can interact with the interface to view around six hours of footage.
However it is capped at 10 viewers per day, and tickets cost $10 for each viewing, so I haven’t seen it. Probably in the near future when I can have time to really appreciate and experience this work as I think it will be quite interesting.

SHARING 4: Putting it all on the Table – More on Narrative Adaptations

Snow White on the Table (2008) from hyojung SEO on Vimeo.


This is a rather interesting piece, again adapting upon an existing narrative, in-fact a fairy tale, one which we are all very much familiar. However there is all of things that appear rather subversive here and the viewer is given the chance to explore this in a non-linear way. So it is highly interactive and challenges us in the way that we are re-reading this story because it does not seem to be the Snow White that we all know. I guess it is also interesting to note that these fairy tales were rather dark in their original conception by the Grimm Brothers. So our fantasy-romance fairy tale told in technicolour by Disney back in 1937 really is not the only way the story exists. So I really like this thought put into the retelling of the story in Snow White on the Table. Just putting it all out on the table for us to see the story unfold.

SHARING 3: Adapting Narratives for Interaction – Takahiro Matsuo’s Prince and Migrant Birds

Prince and Migrant Birds Interactive installation made by T. Matsuo in 2007.


Takahiro Matsuo’s work here is really very interesting. Bringing to life the story of the Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Viewers get to go into and be surrounded by the wonderment of that world. I read Little Prince many years back and that was a  version translated into Chinese. But just looking at the videos of the installation I can feel the magic and would certainly like to be in it. This is a way of introducing the interactivity into an existing narrative and expanding the world that is built around it so that the idea of “interactive narratives” can come across rather strong and appeal to both existing fans and people who are first at encountering the story. I think this adaptation is done very nicely and Matsuo’s work will be in my following list now.


“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly what is essential is invisible to the eye”

The Little Prince

SHARING 2: Jeffrey Shaw’s The Legible City

Manhattan version (1989), Amsterdam version (1990), Karlsruhe version (1991), Computergraphic installation by Jeffery Shaw, with Dirk Groeneveld. Collection of ZKM-Medienmuseum, Karlsruhe, Germany.

This is a very exciting work by multi-media artist Jeffery Shaw. The interface is not foreign to any user, it is simply a bicycle. Hop on and cycle through Shaw’s world in the screen before you. From the video recordings of participants on YouTube, I can see that it kind of shows a cityscape while you are exploring, only that the buildings and infrastructure have been replaced with text.

Later on I found out that each of the cities named in the titles are what the participants are exploring. The artist has taken the actual maps of these cities and grafted them into his virtual reality, that is the texts we would see. We can read those and we can also listen to the narration that is going on. The Manhattan version features narration by President Trump. There are also monologues by ex-Mayor Koch, Frank Lloyd Wright, a tour guide, a confidence trickster, an ambassador and a taxi-driver.

The interface like I mentioned is very apparent and needs no explanation. What is interesting though is that you really need to put in the effort to cycle for it.  Every choice you make, your speed, direction as well as how you read the world, whether by text or through the audio, will become a highly spontaneous mixture of meanings and understandings. And in this cross-section of sensory experience, the user is faced with both the mundane and the historical.

That is what makes this a very meaningful and compelling form of “narrative interaction” and definitely make a significant note for my research on this topic. Although the experience will probably be heightened for a participant who have been to those cities or lived there. Simply because of the cultural interactivity that will transpire as a result of this sort of mapping that happens through the use of the contraption. So perhaps interactive narratives might require the artist to be more conscious of for whom he designs the experience for.


You may view Shaw’s work here on his website: http://www.jeffrey-shaw.net


SHARING 1: Maria Anwander – interaction through artistic intervention

I shared some works of Maria Anwander in class when we were trying to give some examples of what we think can be considered “interactive narratives”. However as I was giving it off-the-cuff, it kind of made me feel like I did not give a great example. Or that it might lack some relevance.

So just to recap: One of the works is The Kiss (2007) at MOMA. You can read about the intervention in the musuem label she put there. And you can also see her website here: http://www.maria-anwander.net/

Maria Anwander’s act of french kissing the exhibition wall at MOMA after she stuck the label. The old man contemplates the work as did all the other unsuspecting visitors to the gallery.

So my take on it was that Anwander’s work is one of intervention in a public space, in this case the MOMA in New York. What she does here is to make the work both a documentation of her performative act as well as that artistic presence she has left behind for the viewer. And it is through the backstory of this performance of surveying the area, planning out how to execute the action and eventually kissing the wall, we as a viewer are drawn to that simply because of the playfulness. As for the gallery-goer, he and many others are trying to interact with this new work. They might have their suspicions because it was uncatalogued or they might be just totally fixated in the encounter at hand.

And the other work is one about musuem labels she ‘borrowed’ or stole from various museums all over the world called My Favorite Art,  ongoing since 2004. Ongoing! In fact, I think museums are glad to let her steal from them.


So what do I feel about the example I raised now? I think that I can see why it is quite hard to say that they are interactive. However I would still like to try again. In reference to my response on Eric Zimmerman’s text the Four Concepts, I would say that Anwander’s work affects me on a cultural level and I feel that I interact with the work in a cultural interaction. Some of these works I have seen, in their rightful place. Some I wish to see but have yet to visit those countries. So it is really more compelling to a specific audience, one that has knowledge of art history or has seen the images before. In the absence of the image, we still connect to the paintings simply because of our previous interactions with the works of art. The narrative behind it is also very appealing in the sense that she is breaking rules here. Stealing from museums to create her work. She is not taking away those art works (the originals) themselves, yet we feel that the works are transferred unto this wall we see.

I enjoy the play and intervention that Anwander does with her work. Perhaps this could be seeds for brainstorming a project in the course. I am not sure whether I have better explained it by writing this reflection out. But as Zimmerman pointed out, it is simply because we do not know how to explain that we are able to find a way to come out with a new type of “interactive narrative”. And I certainly hope to learn new ways.