Inside Blackwell Mansion

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Description (in English): 

"Inside Blackwell Mansion" is a historical-fiction digital narrative based on the life story of Sarah Pardee Winchester, the eccentric "haunted" widow of the heir to the Winchester Repeating Arms fortune. On advice from a psychic, Sarah Winchester built a sprawling mansion in San Jose, California, allegedly to avoid the vengeful spirits of the countless many who had been killed by the Winchester rifle. Building went on continuously for 38 years, without plan, and often without apparent purpose, until her death in 1922. Sarah Winchester's story is especially interesting, because it can be considered on so many different levels: spiritualism, skepticism, mythology, tourism, and feminism.

"Inside Blackwell Mansion" is a graphics-intensive, interactive application utilizing QuickTime VR, audio, and 3D graphics to unfold its narrative. The reader navigates through the mansion-museum of the late Abra Blackwell, accompanied by a tour group that serves as a multivoice narrator. The reader interacts with narrative-yielding elements in the house, such as books, furniture, or pictures, to gain insights into the many sides of the inscrutable Abra Blackwell. The reader's spatial progression through the mansion mirrors his or her attempt to gain access to the lost memories and hidden thoughts of Abra Blackwell.

(Source: DAC 1999 Artist's description)

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Scott Rettberg