MAIMM Project 6: Kafka
Kafka alternative interface
Kafka alternative interface
Kafka newspaper interface
Kafka newspaper interface
Kafka alternative interface

The aim of this MAIMM project was to transform a linear story, in this case a short text by Kafka, into a multimedia piece with construct multimedia using non-linear narrative structures.

We defined the original story as containig two elements; the "given" on one hand, which is the information Kafka gives us, and an "objective" sequence of events, which can be described as the events Kafka drew on to write his narrative. The aim of the reader is to try to bridge the gap between the "given" and the "objective" sequence of events, constructing a mental image of the events based on the information Kafka makes available.

However, because the aim of Kafka's narrative is not to provide an account of the events, but to infuse meaning into them, Kafka directs the reader to certain conclusions. The same "objective" sequence of events can be interpreted in several different ways; the interpretation one draws from the story depends greatly on the information the author makes available.

The premise of our project to change the data made available to the viewer. In keeping with our thinking concerning non-linear narrative structures, we decided to present the user with the data available to each character in the story; the user will thus be presented with a choice of characters, arriving to different conclusions based on the information available to that character. The user is basically left to reconstruct the truth as seen by each different characters, without the influence of the author's interpretation.

As a result, we decided to create an interactive piece based on film clips, in which the user could follow each of the characters' perspectives over key moments in time. The filming was to be as stylistically plain as possible, to achieve connotations of objectivity. We also conceived two interfaces for the project, both of which allow users to choose which storyline they are following in real-time, with all four storylines being synchronised. The plain interface left more room to the storylines and less to the context in which they were placed, and in doing so was probably more successful at conveying the narratives. The newspaper interface offered users the possibility to interact with the content, leaving and reading comments on the behaviour of the characters, and carries with it the connotations of sordidness present in both the original text and our videos.

The media used were Director and DV film - the project timeframe was only two weeks, a large part of which was spent planning and doing the video shoot. More information on this project can be found on the project website. Because the videos would represent such a large amount of information to stream, the finished piece cannot be viewed online.

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