Hypertropic Story Spaces: Ambient Literature in Practice.

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

The Ambient Literature project explores situated digital storytelling as it responds to the presence of a reader. Within an Ambient Literary work, urban space is reconfigured as a paratextual site to be ‘read’ just as we read the form of a book; becoming the site for story.

The foundation of the study are three commissioned works, each exploring an approach to the design and delivery of a digitally-mediated experience of urban space. These works, successively released in 2017 and 2018, comprise a research- by-practice approach to developing forms for digital writing – ‘It Must Have Been Dark by Then’, ‘The Cartographer’s Confession’ and ‘Breathe’ - each employ different approaches to the positioning role of the reader; the manner in which their presence is implicated in the construction of story; and the specific qualities of that presence within (and around) the works.

Drawing on an emerging form and grammar for digital writing in uncontrolled urban space, this paper argues that an Ambient Literature work - and potentially all situated storytelling by extension - induces a change in the nature of place for each reader; invoking an imperceptible hypertrophy of story within an apparently unchanged physical environment. Drawing on Doreen Massey’s conjecture that maps represent a temporal dimension in addition to their spatial representation alongside an examination of the legibility of urban space, the paper will explore how readers are implicated within an Ambient Literature canon, their role shifting toward a performative register, and accordingly shaping conventions for writing and reading in this form of practice.

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Akvile Sinkeviciute