Digital Narrative Project: The Vapidistas
A Three Way Book as a Blog
Visit the ‘blook’ here.
What it is:
- A book in a blog format.
- A digital narrative project
- Every post is a page.
- Each page is done in response to the one before.
- One author per page in a set three day rotation.
- There is one page created every day for 21 days.
- It is 21 days as that was how long one author was in another country for.
- Each entry must be in black ink pen on plain paper.
The Book as a temporal object:
The book is written in live time, the reader experiences as it is a work in progress or once complete as the finished object. This follows on from the tradition of the book as a serial, whether in the genre of comic books or as writers such as Dickens were originally published. This temporal framework creates an importance for each page to have a cliff hanger, or a new action.
The meaning of each pages content is instant. The often humorous narrative hinges upon a combination of clear visuals and succinct handwritten text. The immediacy of understanding the content becomes more vital as there is an impatience with on screen technology that leads us to expect instant results.
The level of thought and time put into the posts creation also reflects the way in which we usually interact with blogs and social media. In these forms the value is often placed on the new and the immediate. The pleasure we get from accessing new information. Within twitter especially there is little time spent in editing a tweet beyond ensuring what you have to say still makes sense within 143 characters. Each post had relatively little time spent on it for the most part. With my own entries never taking longer than half an hour, from initial idea right through to tweeting a link to the completed post.
The distance of time in the narrative called for an extension of the imagination and a suspension of belief in the story. It called for some heavy handed artistic license. There was also the physical space factor, with each author creating a page from 100’s or 1000’s of miles away from the other. The hand written creation of the book transcended time zones and the timeline.
The way in which the blog was displayed bothered me. I wanted the pages to appear with the last one first so that the reader scrolled down to reach the next page. This follows along from how we would read a traditional scroll, but is not how blogs work. Here I can see that I view time as having an expected visual direction.
Media dictating the content:
A gaping hole in the blog’s plot appeared as one character transformed from a cat into a human with no explanation. This was down to a low res image being misinterpreted as the cat being human and the subsequent page continuing with what they thought they had seen. Providing a clear example of how a glitch within the blogging format, changed the direction of the plot.
The blog’s style develops in a way similar to a wiki page, as a kind of open source multi-authored piece. As the book progresses you can see a ‘house style’ begin to form. The characters appear consistently dressed from author to author, as does the tone of voice and level of action in each post. The nearer the end of the book you are the more consistent the style.
As the time limit meant that the author of the page never had more than 12 hours within which to complete a page the simple pen and ink drawing style was developed. Described as similar in style to David Shirigly the pages use text and image to quickly put across an often humorous point.