The Narrative Edge: Reconciling Fact and Fiction


Session Title:

  • Art and Narrative

Presentation Title:

  • The Narrative Edge: Reconciling Fact and Fiction



  • Over the last half-century, the general loosening of the conventions of narrative structure has led to more plastic kinds of storytelling. This has significantly ruptured the margin between fact and fiction. New media enriches and complicates this shift in narrative form by making the movement between hard information and subjective consciousness more fluid. This renegotiated relationship between data and perception can offer new entry points to complex subject matter. This session presents two projects that freely mix narrative styles and which navigate between factual and fictive elements as a way of reconciling information and subjective perception. Both projects employ a range of discursive strategies, scaling from direct presentation of information to first-person narrative in order to construct a more nuanced and expansive exploration of subject. Mirage explores the dissonance between the romantic expectations of travel and the realities of place. Based on a journey to Morocco, Mirage examines the assumptions underlying leisure travel to an ‘exotic’ location, and the resulting distortion of reality engendered by romantic expectation, embedding ostensibly neutral ‘tourist’ photos with contradictory narratives and exposing a complex of economic, social, historical and psychological realities. In Mirage, the objective ‘reality’ of the tourist photo is questioned as the incremental layering of images and information suggest a rather contradictory reality. The Mirror That Changes explores problems of water scarcity and sustainability through pairings of water use in domestic environments and in nature. It integrates a matrix of autonomous factoids and fictional threads pointing to the connection between small scale actions and large scale effects. The Mirror That Changes uses the visual and aural qualities of moving water to create a languid atmosphere in which overtly romantic and lyrical representations of water intersect with narratives introducing issues of scarcity, purity and equity. The Mirror ties a flood of information on water issues with a meandering personal meditation on the nature of water to bring intimate scale to a global problem. Mirage and The Mirror share an approach to new media storytelling in which elements of oral, written and film genres are reshaped, and the resulting mix integrated with a range of information elements. This strategy provides a way of integrating fact and fiction, and multiple sensory inputs in the form of audio, text and moving images within a single narrative envelope.


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