Brown House Kitchen

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During the author's residency as a writer and designer of experimental computer mediated narratives in the Computer Science Lab (CSL) at  Xerox PARC,  the exploratory narrative, Brown House Kitchen was written and programmed  in LambdaMOO,  a MOO that uses an object oriented programming language developed at PARC by Pavel Curtis.  Influenced by conversations with Curtis and by the ubiquitous computing research being undertaken in CSL,  the narrative took place in  a future communal eating space where virtual interrelated devices integral to the functioning of the kitchen recorded events in various ways.  In Rashoman fashion, these devices related the details of things that occurred in a previous November in different but related ways. Players who "entered" Brown House Kitchen unfolded the story in various (unpredictable) ways by examining the things they found in the environment. For instance, the "narranoter" disclosed pseudo-randomly generated text using the UNIX date and was based on the
authoring system Malloy used to create Terminals, File III of Uncle Roger. Two of the other devices were time-based in a somewhat different manner. The information they disclosed varied according to the day of the month and the time of day that the reader entered the story. Some of the devices, such as simulated video and simulated audio, disclosed information that was seen when activated by everyone in the room. Other devices, such as an electronic book and a diary, disclosed text visible only to the player who activated them.  The greater transparency of the narrative in group situations was a designed to work with the social networking nature of MOO, and, as a whole, Brown House Kitchen, was structured with parallel intersecting data streams that were contained in and disclosed the programmed objects.  

The work is descibed in detail in
Judy Malloy, "Public Literature: Narratives and Narrative Structures in LambdaMoo", in Craig Harris, ed, Art and Innovation , the Xerox PARC Artist-in-Residence Program,  Cambridge, MA:  MIT Press, 1999.  102-117.

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Judy Malloy