Leftovers is research into nonlinear storytelling, and how we can carry stories with us, influencing our experience of the world. We propose a two part project, an installation and an unconventional art book based on an original text. The installation will use video, objects, and a recording of a fragmented narrative, with a collection of related sounds, triggered by the audience. Everyday objects in the space will take on magical significance in the context of the story, which delves into the most unsettling aspects of family relationships. Similarly the book will present artifacts and loose pages which the reader must interpret and arrange into their narrative. The book mythologizes the installation and becomes a way of re-experiencing and sharing the event.
Storytelling can help us cope with dark subject matter and reveal communal fears and values. Leftovers paints a warm and familiar landscape, where the listener is tasked with piecing together snippets of dialogue and events. The characters’ true identities and the nature of their intimate relationships are called into question. In uncovering the increasingly sinister facts, are you implicated? Has your curiosity made you complicit with the potentially unsavory actions of the characters. The audience will be forced to question their relationship to the story, its form and purpose.
Is the human obsession with narrative an evolutionary survival mechanism? Thinking hypothetically allows us to asses situations and make choices based on imagined experiences. This opens up our potential to learn, to envisage outcomes, from other’s experiences and from fragments of knowledge. We can explore even the darkest elements of reality in the safety of a fictional environment. Fairytales often imbue everyday objects with magical or metaphorical qualities; a conduit between a fantasy and reality.
Fairytales emerged from the oral tradition of storytelling, which was formerly interactive and social, reinforcing communities and their values. Across cultures, storytellers create collective experiences; from the griots of West Africa, to the Greek chorus, and the cantadoras of Latin America.
But what is the contemporary method of creating an interactive narrative? So much of what we consume is passive, although we now see an emergence of immersive theater and interactive video games. Games and productions, which can be tailored to each participant, appeal to our social and creative impulses. Likewise, in Leftovers, scraps of story may be unearthed and pieced together to the extent that your curiosity demands. What role can fine art play in this contemporary manifestation of storytelling?