Suits: A Narrative of About Twenty-Seven Hours, More or Less

Description (in English): 

Author's description from The New River: 

This piece tells the story of a character's response to her father's death. In creating this piece, I worked in Flash ActionScript 3.0 to code a random trigger function, so that when you click on the suit icon a random sound file plays and an associated text appears on the screen.

The randomness of the click is not accidental; in generating this piece I worked to explore the nature of narrative and the development of a coherent story. The majority of stories that we hear, read, or tell are linear in pattern or chronologically organized (A leads to B, B leads to C, C leads to D, End of Story). Yet our self-narratives, as we experience them and as we remember them, are rarely so neatly packaged. Frequently, we come to know to the stories of self only through loosely-connected, non-temporally located vignettes. When we think of who we are, we do not first think of the first day that we were born, and work our way up from there. Instead we construct our sense of self, like a patchwork, in bits and pieces that fragment our autobiography. Yet when we present this personal narrative to others, we clean it, presenting an amalgam of what actually happened and what we think we remember happening. As history has shown time and again, frequently these remembrances are, objectively speaking, faulty in some way or another. This piece is a reaction to that “faultiness,” suggesting instead that in terms of the truth of any event and its impact on an individual person, these linked, yet scattered remembrances may be significantly more factual. Frequently this piece pulls up a single scene more than once, occasionally returning to it several times. I made the decision to allow repetition within the piece consciously, again in deference to the rhizomatic, nodal structure of the mind and memory and the process of narrative creation.

This piece works in conversation with other new media art, such as Deena Larsen’s “Carving in Possiblities,” which reveals snippets of text only as the user mouses over parts of an image to reveal the sculpture of David underneath. Another piece that I drew inspiration from while working on this narrative was Thom Swiss, Motomichi Nakamura, and Robot Friend’s 2004 “Fresh Icons,” in which the user interactions causes doors to open and close and reveal figures in silhouette having short bursts of conversation with each other. Both of these works integrate user participation with the process of uncovering, revealing their full text only as the user makes use of the apparatus before him or her. The narrative, then, for these texts and my own, is stunted, fragmented, changing and reliant upon someone else to be made whole, to become understandable in any true sense.

In order to experience this piece, click the suit. Continue clicking the suit to hear short fragments that work to present a fuller picture of the scene being described. If you are keeping track, there are 14 total extracts within the larger piece.

Screen shots: 
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Record posted by: 
Scott Rettberg