Constructing the Artfact
The artefact is the product of adding chance elements to the elements generated by the students. Several versions have been generated, some as test and some as final installation screens.
Each line is separated. This breaks the narrative that the student has generated. The experiment is to see if, by inserting a chance element, can we recombine these story elements into a new narrative? The “reader” will process the elements and seek to connect them. This will possible lead to the construction of new narratives external to the authored stories. I have selected to insert a short pause between elements to allow the brain to process the preceding elements, and to allow the other elements from other screen to interject, breaking the constructed narrative in favour of the chance narrative.
Each combination of screens is intended to be played simultaneously and continually. Once started, they will not repeat their interaction for a substantial period of time. This allows fro the “blend and clash” of ideas, signs, symbols etc.
It has been noted that testing on a web site is not necessarily representative of the final physical installation – we have the added element if interaction. Therefore, the development phase has become more complex, as web versions are also generated!
The raw material. Each student is asked to edit their own performance down to the main 9 lines spoken. They were then asked to insert a pause between each line of 1-9 seconds. This is designed to allow the other screen elements to fall into the gaps. Initial tests of this version felt like a crowd was shouting at the viewer. Stories break through based on strength of delivery rather than ideas. However, it appears to be working in the sense that it is interesting, and there are some interesting juxtapositions of ideas. The web version has the added bonus that the viewer can select how many screen to experience, while maintaining the chance element of the pause.
A variation on the theme, I have selected 9 screens / stories to use for the installation. The idea is to allow the stories to intertwine, like a soap opera. This may lead to the reader following one specific face or story, but allowing others to interrupt without breaking the main narrative. This may lead to connections being made and the stories combining or connecting the the readers mind. Initial test still feel like a class in uproar, however I am hoping that the physical separation of screens and sounds will enable a “cocktail party effect”, where the reader can focus into one element at a time. This led to Web Version
which removed the chance timing of the pause. Each gap is reduced to 1 second, enabling the reader of the web page to have more control over the elements. This is not to be used as part of the installation, but is designed to add the interaction of control over each screen to replace physical movement to a specific screen location.
The idea here is to physically separate the story elements. Each line is kept in order, but the story is rotated through each screen – so Bekki’s Line 1 is on screen 1, Line 2 on screen 2 etc. This forces the story elements to combine, especially if the viewer persists with one screen rather than following a particular face. The “oh my god are they all shouting at me” effect led to Narrative Breaker v2, which extends the pause between story elements to 10 – 30 seconds. This is specifically for the physical installation, but on first tests feels too quiet. The brain needs input to make the connections, and this feels to controlled to my mind.
Lynchian Jackanory Web Version
All story elements are added at random to 1 of the 9 screens. For this web version, a 1s pause is added.
All story elements are added at random to 1 of the 9 screens. A pause of between 10 and 20 seconds is added (I like the cacophony of 1-9 seconds, but it needs a tad more space – but not as much as Narrative Breaker v2! The Random collision of story ideas is more likely to result in a newer narrative emerging in the readers mind.