Novelling

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Novelling is a digital novel from 2016 by Will Luers, Hazel Smith and Roger Dean and it is about fiction itself, and how we read and write it. The authors' aim is to analyze and combine the performances of reading-fiction and writing-fiction in order to create a "common system" in which the two activities work together. To make it possible, they employed three key-elements, as text, video and sound. Novelling has been written on a website using the languages of HTML5 and JavaScript and it is available on its website (novelling.newbinarypress.com). The authors created several interfaces which last 30 seconds - then, new interfaces will appear. Anyways, the user may change it whenever he/she wants just clicking on the screen. After 6 minutes, the novel restarts allowing the reader to experience a new reading direction. In this way the reader has the chance to try different "key-lecture" time by time. Novelling unfolds through the narrative connections between four characters, which are all immersed in their isolated-life-worlds. On the screen appear several 'he' and 'she' and never real names. This give you the feeling of a lot of voices that speak with any specific direction or purpose - consequently you do not really understand what is going on. At some point, it became easy to me to identify the four characters: even if they seem to be insulated in each of their words, it is clear how they are seamlessly connected to each other. There is no real or specific plot and neither a point from which the story can be spotted. It is funny to try to guess who the main character in every different text is. In this way the entire project is like a test of every possibilities of narrative.

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Novelling is a generative interface that renders a semiotic arrangement of sound, image and text. Readerly and cinematic, narrative and poetic, its sequential structure is variable. It unfolds without a strongly delineated plot, character or narrative structure and yet is suggestive of “novelistic” spaces. These are spaces of interior reflection and exterior gestures, intimacy and estrangement, things said and unsaid, action and desire, reading, writing and looking.Continuing an exploration of generative multimedia and potential narratives, this third collaboration of Will Luers, Hazel Smith and Roger Dean, takes up the subject of the novel as a virtual space of co-mingling subjects and settings. (Source: http://elo2016.com/will-luers-hazel-smith-roger-dean/, Artists' statement)

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novelling is a recombinant digital novel that employs text, video and sound. It poses questions about the acts of reading and writing fiction, and inhabits the liminal space between the two activities. The work is a generative system that algorithmically orders and spatially arranges fragments of media (design elements, text, video and sound) in 6-minute cycles. Every 30 seconds the interface changes, but the user may also click the screen at any time to produce a change. Straddling the lines between literature, cinema and music, novelling evokes the history of the novel (remixing and rewriting 19th and 20th century sources), but it also questions the form's basis in plot, character and words alone. novelling unfolds through suggested narrative connections between four characters. The characters, immersed in their isolated life-worlds, appear to be transported elsewhere by what they are reading. Are they reading and thinking each other? How does the writing relate to the reading? Are the words on the screen versions or even drafts of the novel? Do the sounds come from a different interior world? The work is suggestive of "novelistic" spaces, spaces of interior reflection and exterior gestures, intimacy and estrangement, gazing and being gazed at. The variable and deterministic system of selection and arrangement produces a fluid, ever-novel and potential narrative.

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Nikol Hejlickova