A "set" of stills form a collaged
panorama. A "mapping" of 8 spaces is collapsed together into a grid of 150 images,
presented in a Macromedia Director interface. Each image functions as one section
of the menu system. The viewer observes and interacts with this elaborate network
of images and text via a data projector presenting the navigational menu system.
The viewer can choose one section from this overview and zoom into a portion of
the panorama. Another section allows the viewer to zoom into a single image with
superimposed text. On each of the 150 image menu screens is a Haiku-like section
from a poem superimposed as a spatial collage. These stills are particularly physical
in their appearance including hard and soft surfaces, dirt, decay, and debris.
The viewer can navigate these spaces by moving the cursor over different parts
of the image/screen with a track ball, panning left, right, up, and down. If the
viewer reaches the edge of the panorama through navigation the system loops back
to the opposite edge. The poem is architectural/spatial and "passages" can be
"read" in any direction or order.
The viewer can at any time zoom back out to the "panorama" overview as well as
navigate to alternate sections of the "set" of images via another menu-"The Poem
Generator". Words are presented scattered across the still images. If a viewer
clicks once on the center of one of these words, then a new menu is called up.
This new menu functions as a poem generator. This chosen 'Word' is loaded into
one of the linguistic slots of the poem generator. Each of the approximately 800
text fragments included is cross referenced back to a particular visual menu screen.
Thus this menu presents a linguistic means of navigation through the menus as
well as a site of association and construction/displacement/replacement of meaning.
The poem generator consists of four lists, two vertical and two horizontal. All
of the words from the poem have been carefully repositioned into these lists.
As the viewer moves the cursor over particular parts of the screen, the lists
are made visible and scroll. The viewer can make selections from the lists by
motioning the cursor left and right on the horizontal lists or up and down on
the vertical lists. One word (or phrase) at a time gets blown up and becomes an
"active" word/phrase. They are driven to the poetic visual menu still which contains
it. Once the viewer chooses one word they can move to another list and make it
active. This process continues with four lists which when read make up new Haiku-like
statements. The viewer can click on any of these words to navigate through the
poem as well as to observe the word's original context in the poem. A "random"
button sets all four lists into rotation and then selects by chance a semi-random
If the viewer clicks on an individual picture (1 of 150), or on the word "Passage"
at the bottom of the screen, a separate (moving) video is triggered on an adjacent
video projection screen. Video is called up from videodisc (simultaneously presented
next to the menu "poem" / visual text image). A recombinant musical score is also
triggered via this selection. At this point the viewer hears the poetic text.
For the viewer this is like being in one space and thinking about/accessing another.
It also relates to the associative characteristics of "The Art of Memory" (see
Francis Yates) as well as referencing the potential hybrid engendered through
interaction via computer networks. A Pioneer 8000 Videodisc player holds the last
frame viewed while searching for the next triggered segment. A linear audio track,
forms the basis of the work. The viewer can also select linear play from a "play
button" on the menu, to play the videodisc. If this button is triggered the poem
is spoken in a linear manner with corresponding music and video imagery. The viewer
may choose to select linear play while navigating in the "Poem Generator" or while
motioning through the "Panorama" of menu stills.
A third screen presents an autonomous poem generator (the viewer can not effect
the left screen) which generates a new poem by selecting words from the same four
lists used in the "Poem Generator" menu found in the central interface. The computer
chooses one of four lists, then chooses one selection that lists and "writes"
a poem every four seconds. Only one list is accessed at a time presenting subtle
changes in the reading of the text. This text is presented simultaneously via
a data projector with the other two screens. Thus the viewer is watching three
different screens, all with different poetic functions; #1 Autonomous Poem Generator
(which the viewer can not manipulate), #2 Navigable Poem, #3 Related video / sound
/ spoken text. A single track ball interface is presented in front of these three
projection screens on a small podium.
The viewer becomes involved in the process of navigation of the poem as well as
the construction/navigation of new poems derived from poetic fragments gleaned
from this network of words, images, and sounds. Viewers who are not directly interacting
with the work still become engaged in the active reception of the various media.