Day 1, Stream 5


Chris Caines: UTS, Australia


Fox Harrell: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States

Stacey Pitsillides: Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

Anastasios Maragiannis: University of Greenwich, UK

Stanislav Roudavski: University of Melbourne, Australia

Mariana Ciancia: Politecnico di Milano, Italy

Daniel C. Howe: School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong

Betty Sargeant: RMIT University, Australia

Clea T. Waite: iMAP, University of Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts, United States

Lauren Fenton: iMAP, University of Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts, United States



Fox Harrell, Chong-U Lim, Dominic Kao& Jia Zhang  The Living Liberia Fabric: An Interactive Narrative Artwork Memorializing Civil War in Liberia

The Living Liberia Fabric is an AI-based interactive narrative memorial supporting the goal of lasting piece in Liberia after years of civil war (1989-2003). Initiated in affiliation with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Liberia, it highlights the role of memorialization in moving toward lasting peace.

The Living Liberia Fabric is an interactive memorial artwork resembling a traditional West-African textile. It is grounded in a multi-year combination of empirical fieldwork and research into cultural needs, values, histories, and aesthetics.

The system begins by displaying illustrated figures representing different stakeholder groups as the sound of the ocean plays comprising a reflective space for mourning. Interaction proceeds via mouse-input, users select a stakeholder group, which subsequently guides the themes invoked.

Poetic captions narrate background information on the war, reflections by stakeholders, and ideas to support peace and reconciliation in the future. These stories are also presented in patterned frames displaying assets such as video clips and archival photography. The frames fade in and out, leaving traces behind after they are gone.

The system was built using GRIOT, an authoring platform for interactive multimedia narratives. User interaction drives the composition and layout of multimedia assets and the generation of narrative text. GRIOT uses an AI representation of concepts and analogy between assets to ensure thematic coherence as users interact.

The Living Liberia Fabric memorial, rooted in Liberian culture, dynamically and improvisationally tells multiple stories to counteract phantasms of civil war that enable subjugation, violence, and oppression while supporting the needs for survival, human rights, and empowerment.


Bill Psarras, Stacey Pitsillides & Anastasios Maragiannis  Dérive in the digital grid, breaking the search to get lost

Have you ever sat in front of your computer, looking at the little box with the word search next to it? This seemingly innocent box demanding your attention, demanding to be responsive to your every demand. Have you ever tried to deny it’s pleading emptiness and instead to go on a journey of discovery, charting new and unknown digital territories? During 20th century ‘walking practice’ was used extensively in the avant-garde movement as a critical method to challenge the authoritarian and capitalistic character of the city. Moving through the concept of flâneur who goes on an ethnographic journey (‘botanizing on the asphalt’: Benjamin, 1973), to the distinctly political implications of dérive, arriving at the comparison of ‘resistive walking’ in the physical environment which has a direct correlation to the resistive practices of online non-navigation.
An online psychogeographical dérive could be a form of digital resistance to the various ways information is being dictated to us from contemporary authoritarian rules and search engines. The current information architecture directs the citizen of the online space to find only that, which is highest rated, rather than allowing the tacit discovery of the obscured. The effective search limits the qualities of that which ‘I’ am searching for and in this way pushes our consciousness through a computation landscape discounting the emotional, the affective and the discovery that excites and stimulates our curious being.
This paper seeks to explore whether the psychogeographic technique of dérive can be used to break out of the directed pattern of ‘search to find’ in the online space following from Lev Manovich’s concept of the Poetics of Navigation (The Language of New Media, 2000: 223).


Stanislav Roudavski  Portmanteau Worlds: Hosting Multiple Worldviews in Virtual Environments

In their intention to persuade (or sell), conventional representations of architectural proposals often hide conflicting opinions, discourage participation and cull desirable possible futures. Dissatisfied with this situation, this paper considers a different approach to architectural storytelling. This approach aims to emphasize co-presence of multiple voices, disclose power relationships, demonstrate lines of resistance and present existing or possible places as politically charged networks of enacted relationships. Motivated by the capabilities of interactive narrative, cinematic mediation and role playing, the paper considers polyphonic potentials of screen-based game-like interactive virtual environments. Such environments can enforce preconceived worldviews as blatantly as any others. However, generative capabilities of computational media can also support simultaneous construction of multiple emergent interpretations. Can the co-presence of multiple reconfigurable narratives better represent multiple heterogeneous stakeholders? The paper considers this question in an innovative multi-media environment, called Virtual Braunstone, which was constructed for the Design Excellency unit of the United Kingdom’s National Health Service. This virtual environment attempted to consider a specific place – a health and community centre – as a conglomeration of embodied stories. In the case of Virtual Braunstone, these stories referred to particularly tense relationships given the location of the centre in a highly disadvantaged neighbourhood with generations of unemployment and high crime rates. The task of designing for this environment (the old centre was burnt down by the locals) brought together multiple stakeholders with different agendas that could not fit into a uniform propagandistic template. In attempting to incorporate this dynamic multiplicity of worldviews and behaviours, the Virtual Braunstone project implemented several artistic and technical innovations. While its practical implementation is just one of many possible approaches, its design and utilisation provide a fertile ground for the discussion of how power, politics, protest and resistance can (or cannot) be represented and enacted through new media.


Mariana Ciancia  What is Transmedia? Projects and thoughts beyond the buzzword

The Transmedia Approach is a cultural paradigm that allows audiences not only to access contents in a different way, but also to participate in the meaning-making process, with a subsequent changing in the relationship between the mainstream media (top-down) and participatory culture (bottom-up or grassroots). But what really means the term transmedia? Henry Jenkins (2006) described it like «Stories that unfold across multiple media platforms, with each medium making distinctive contributions to our understanding of the world». Robert Pratten (2011) continued said that «the engagement with each successive media heightens the audience’ understanding, enjoyment and affection for the story». Christy Dena (2009) defined the transmedia as «a working implementation of unity in diversity». Jeff Gomez (2009) advices us to become orchestra directors because «What transmedia does is it brings a few of those instruments together and attempts to compose music that allows for talented people to play them in some kind of concert». Or again Fred Fuchs (2012) said that «transmedia is evolved storytelling for evolved audiences». So many voices, so many projects, so several definitions for a common field, but the questions remain.
How this is changing the design practice? How aesthetic and economic issues work together in the ‘design ecology’? Is Transmedia a possible approach able to support the construction of a human landscape, relying on the storytelling ability to foster multiple perspectives and allowing people to become aware of their lead role in the contemporary mediascape?
Aim of this work is to suggest a framework to situate new media works in Transmedia. Understand the ‘DNA’ of such an approach in order to apply it not only to the big Hollywood (or transmedia franchise) projects, but also in local and small works within the limit of the everyday scenario.


Daniel C. Howe  & John Cayley Reading, Writing, Resisting: Literary Appropriation in the Readers Project

The Readers Project is an aesthetically oriented system of software entities designed to explore the culture of human reading. These entities, or ‘readers,’ navigate texts according to specific reading strategies based upon linguistic feature analysis and real-time probability models harvested from search engines. As such, they function as autonomous text generators, writing machines that become visible within and beyond the typographic dimension of the texts on which they operate. As the structures on which these readers operate are culturally and aesthetically implicated, they shed light on a range of institutional practices and present a critical perspective on what it means to engage with the literary in digital media, and with the linguistic commons as it is aggregated by corporate entities like Google and Facebook. Below we present the theory behind the Readers Project and the practical and aesthetic considerations that have guided its development, using as case studies the most recent set of public installations of the project. We conclude with a consideration of appropriation as a means of resisting the commodification of literary culture in the era of the ‘cloud’.


Betty Sargeant  Book apps and legacy media: How the humble picturebook informs interaction design

Digital technologies have permeated all sectors of publishing. There are increasing expectations that books will contain multimedia, interactive, multi-genre content. What once were static pages are now responsive media arenas. Book apps allow for picture books to be presented in a multimedia, interactive, playful environment. Like most digital mediums, book apps draw on the conventions deployed within legacy media. Children’s visual literature commonly combines textual expression, visual art, multimedia, interactivity and play. Multimedia content has been incorporated into picture books for decades. And the idea that children’s picture books should contain interactive elements and playful aspects was one that was developed almost four hundred years ago. This being the case, how can the techniques deployed in the making of picture books inform book app design?

Within this discussion I analyse the media content within children’s book apps and trace the connections between picture books and book apps. This involves tracking a history of print picture books and investigating the links between picture books, games and film. I also uncover the ways in which book app animation influences the user experience. This is with the view to assessing how picture book making techniques have shaped, or could shape, both book app design and interaction design. In this presentation I draw on picture book theorists Perry Nodelman and Maria Nikolajeva. I also refer to digital media analyst Janet Murray. In conclusion I propose possible future directions for highly interactive, multimedia digital books, assessing how these works have the potential to either strengthen or weaken the evolution of literature as an art-form. I also highlight the ways in which picture book making practices inform children’s interaction design, specifically within works that include animation, narration and text.


Clea T. Waite & Lauren Fenton  MetaBook: Cine-Installation

The project at hand is creating cinema in books, the MetaBook. These tactile, luminous, and stately volumes are technological poems and films played in a cinema of pages, illuminated manuscripts combining text and paper with embedded screens, pico-projectors, speakers, processors, and physical computing sensors within the format of a book. The pages of the “book” are segments of a “film” to be read or watched or listened to, or perhaps even changed – lingered over or skipped. Meta-Book.1: The Book of Luna is part sculpture, part film, and part literature exploring the philosophers of the Moon.

A MetaBook establishes several levels of presentation, forming layers of meaning. From static content, to time-based media on integrated screens, to augmenting content projected onto the perimeter around the object, the Meta-Book embraces its immediate environment. A book, with its pages, is possibly the most purely nonlinear of media. The format of a book presents the same potential as multi-channel, immersive video installation for the vertical and non-linear progression of a narrative, only on a personal rather than an architectural scale. By using the notion of the book, a more personal and intimate relationship develops between the viewer, the media object, and the content that is communicated.