in Research

Example of Projects I think addresses data-base narration or interactive storytelling

  1. Gram-matron
    This piece was done up by Mark Amerika and published onto the WWW in 1997.
    This multimedia extravaganza utilises 2000 hypertext to various forms of media such as audio, videos. By distributing his own narrative content throughout the Internet, he was intentionally constructing an experience in which the reader would experiment and form his own personal literature and interpretation.

    Though this might seem gimmicky in this era where technology is more advanced, in the context when hypertext narrative was just emerging, I personally think this piece is a smart play. This piece draws parallel to choose-your-own-adventure books, which were readily available in the print. However, what I believe made it stand out was the touch of hypermedia with the aid of the Internet. Though ironic to the nature of this piece, with the use of hyperlinks, it creates a more coherent narrative. For sure, what is presented are just random piece of information or visuals, however the flow in which this form of interactivity induces helps the reader create their own story. The conditions created also help the observers relate themselves as readers, which I think is a fairly important point that is often overlooked.

  2. Timescape
    When we had to research on database narratives, I could not stop thinking on this collaboration that was shared with us during Art History a year back. Collaboration between Prof Michael Walsh and Hiverlab in 2017, led to a VR piece which showcases Armenian church in Famagusta, Cyprus. Users can walk around the modest-looking church and click on built-in hyperlinks using motion controllers, which opens up nuggets of information about the church’s history. There is also a time-lapse feature that allows a user to go back in time and observe how the church might have looked at a certain period in its history. This was done in hope of further plans for historical site conservation.

    As a user, you’re immediately put into the spot as an explorer. The subject might be made explicit however, the storyline formed I believe would still be up to your personal interpretation because of the arbitrary placement of information. This works well with the nature of the subject. As an historical site, it is not guaranteed that this place comes with a 12 act story structure to it. Hence, having a story lined up to the random choices a user makes allows for a natural development to the narrative.

  3. Battle for South China Seas
    This is a special interactive report done up by CNN. Its narrative revolves around 6 chapters. Within each chapter, though randomly scattered information, it is stringed together with various visuals. The layout of the reports allows for easy navigation through the progression of the events.

    Even though as this point it might seem as though the readers have no part to play with forming their own stories due to the drastic difference in layout as compared to the previously mentioned pieces, I personally feel due to the nature of the content, seemingly unbiased and relatively fact-based, readers can still form their own point of view to the case presented.