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Tangible Storytelling

How can digital storytellers incorporate the physical context and body of a reader into the poetics of a work of interactive electronic literature?  We have several design explorations investigating this question underway including:

The Reading Glove

The Reading Glove is an interactive narrative installation comprised of a large horizontal display surface, a wearable RFID enabled glove, and a collection of narratively rich objects. When readers pick-up objects from the surface an associated fragment of audio narration is triggered. At the same time, a reasoning engine is tracking the reader’s choices and displaying navigational recommendations on the display beneath the objects to assist the reader in solving the puzzle of the narrative. The reading glove combines a wearable and tangible interaction with an expert storytelling system for a uniquely embodied narrative experience.

The Reading Glove uses the metaphor of psychometry to inspire a “hands on” interaction with narrative objects. Interactors using the Reading Glove explore and reveal the “memories” of physical artifacts by handling them.

The  Reading Glove was recently shown at the Pathfinders exhibit at MLA 2014

Learn more about the Creation of the Reading Glove at our blog

Or check out our research papers on The Reading Glove here.

Untitled AR Dollhouse Piece

This piece will challenge traditional notions of the audience in a dramatic work by combining motion-captured performances with augmented reality such that a renovated Victorian style dollhouse becomes the stage for an interactive ghost story.  Actors will perform and produce a rich drama within a greenscreen environment , allowing their performances to be placed within different rooms of our dollhouse “stage” using a tablet PC as an augmented reality window into the world of the performance.  The dollhouse itself will be augmented with motors, sensors, and actuators to move and react to the different narrative moments of the actors.  Readers will be invited to piece together the various mysteries in order to resolve unfinished narrative business of the protagonists by moving and re-arranging the locations of physical props on the dollhouse stage.

Untitled Travelogue Piece

This work will explore juxtaposition, spatiality, and context in a work of combinatorial electronic literature intended to be experienced while driving a vehicle on a long road trip.  Implemented as a mobile phone app, this piece will curate a soundtrack of streaming music as the background to an evolving story about the landscape passing by outside.  Using geolocation, weather data, time of day, and vehicle speed as controlling variables the piece will draw on a crowdsourced database of narrative fragments from public domain travel stories (such as Mark Twain’s travelogues, or Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road”) to create a unique fictional tapestry that reframes the passing landscape.  Using open-ended deictic language, the piece will invoke ever shifting comparisons between its language and music, and the listener’s surroundings.