Senghor on the Rocks

Description (in English): 

Senghor on the Rocks (SOTR) was published online under a creative commons license as the first novel illustrated with Google Maps. Every page of the virtual book that was created for the online presentation of the novel is accompanied by a satellite view of the current location of the story. Readers experience the novel’s action as a journey on the map, including smooth panning from location to location as the characters travel around or different zoom levels showing areas in close detail or as an overview. The novel itself is written in German and deals with an involuntary journey of young assistant cameraman Martin “Chi” Tschirner taking him through Dakar and the Senegal. In the first chapters Chi is busy shooting a promotional film in Dakar and does not care too much about where he is or what the city he is hurrying through may be like – other than loud, dirty and inscrutable. Chi doesn’t like his job or the people he works with too much and the routines of his work prevent him from seeing the world instead of a series of changing locations requiring different light filters and lenses. The story takes its turn as Chi loses his job for sleeping with the producers lover and – deprived of the camera that normally shields him – finds himself defencelessly sucked in to the foreign and vivid city of Dakar. SOTR was written in the form of a classical novel well before its current format was developed. But because of its linear narrative structure, the consistent first?person perspective and the movement that happens throughout the text, it was very well suited for an adaption as an online "geo?novel". The text hardly was changed for the online version, but every scene has been geographically referenced and the chapter structure has been adjusted for online reading habits. In this respect the project may be substantially different from other e?literature projects because the conception and writing of the text was not driven by the possibilities of an electronic presentation format. One part of the projected presentation will be a reading of a chapter of SOTR featuring interesting map views and several changes of locations. A beamer and PC with internet connection would be sufficient for displaying the pages and maps in question during the reading. Listeners would then be able to see the maps while they can listen to the text describing the action taking place. As not too many of the participants may be German speaking we would like to keep a good part of the presentation open for a discussion in English. A short statement of the author may open a discussion on a topic that may be relevant for other authors as well: How does the use of information layers that are beyond writing such as maps affect the creative processes of reading information layers that are beyond writing such as maps affectand writing. A point to start from could be the question, if a map does enhance the realism or the fictitious character of a novel. 

(Source: Authors' abstract for Electronic Literature in Europe conference)

Contributors note: 

The following people have gathered in Vienna / Austria to create Senghor on The Rocks: Text & Geodata: Christoph Benda Design: Johannes Krtek / Flachware Programming & Production: Florian Ledermann

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Eric Dean Rasmussen