The Living Liberia Fabric: An Interactive Narrative Artwork Memorializing Civil War in Liberia

Symposium:


Session Title:

  • Digital Narratives & E-Literature

Presentation Title:

  • The Living Liberia Fabric: An Interactive Narrative Artwork Memorializing Civil War in Liberia

Presenter(s):



Abstract:

  • 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.

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