The Broadside of a Yarn: A Situationist Strategy for Spinning Sea Stories Ashore

Critical Writing
Language: 
Year: 
2012
Presented at Event: 
Page Numbers: 
88-95
Journal volume and issue: 
18.5
Record Status: 
Tags: 
Abstract (in English): 

"The Broadside of a Yarn: A Situationist Strategy for Spinning Sea Stories Ashore", by J. R. Carpenter, reflects upon The Broadside of a Yarn, a multi-modal performative pervasive networked narrative attempt to chart fictional fragments of new and long-ago stories of near and far-away seas with nought but a QR code reader and a hand-made print map of dubious accuracy. The Broadside of a Yarn was commissioned by ELMCIP for Remediating the Social, an exhibition which took place at Inspace, Edinburgh, 1-17 November 2012. The Broadside of a Yarn remediates the broadside, a form of networked narrative popular from 16th century onward. Like the broadside ballads of old, the public posting of The Broadside of a Yarn signified that it was intended to be performed. Embedded within the cartographic space of this printed map are QR codes which link to web pages containing computer-generated narrative dialogues, performance scripts replete with stage instructions suggesting how and where these texts are intended to be read aloud. As such, these points on the physical map point to potential events, to utterances, to speech acts. The stated intention in creating this work was to use the oral story-telling tradition of the sailor’s yarn, the printed broadside and map, the digital network, and the walk-able city in concert to construct a temporary digital community connected through a performative pervasive networked narrative. Through the process of composition the focus shifted away from the temptation to lure people on walks through a city tagged with links to stories of the sea, toward a desire to compel people to collectively speak shifting sea stories ashore. This paper reflects critically upon this shift, toward an articulation of The Broadside of a Yarn as an collective assemblage of enunciation.

Pull Quotes: 

The purpose of this map is not to guide but rather to propose imprecise and quite possibly impossible routes of navigation through the city of Edinburgh, along the Firth of Forth, into the North Sea, into the North Atlantic and beyond into purely imaginary territories. This map was created through an engagement with the Situationist practice of dérive. [...] During a series of walks undertaken in Edinburgh in May 2012, regardless of the number of times that I set out towards the sea, dérive led me instead into museums, libraries and used and antiquarian print, map and book shops. The breadth and variety of this bookish drifting is borne out in the imprecision of the resulting map of influence. My own photographs and line drawings mingle with scans of obscure details of old maps, city plans, pamphlets,
navigational charts, coastal guides, guidebooks and other printed ephemera gleaned from intermingled map–chart, reading–walking, drifting–wandering.

Like the printed broadsides of old, the public posting of The Broadside of a Yarn signifies that it is intended to be performed. Embedded within the cartographic space of the printed map are QR codes that link to smartphone-optimized web pages containing computer-generated narrative dialogues. [...] Most, although not all of these, are intended to serve as scripts for poly-vocal performances, replete with stage instructions suggesting how and where they may be read. Thus, these QR codes constitute points on the physical map that point to potential events, to utterances, to speech acts.

Images: 
The Broadside of a Yarn - Detail || J. R. Carpenter

Events referenced:

Titlesort descending Date Location
ELMCIP Conference on Remediating the Social 01.11.2012
Edinburgh
United Kingdom
GB
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Record posted by: 
J. R. Carpenter