These interactive stories are narratives created entirely in Flash using text, photographs, audio, video, and other elements. The stories go beyond simple hypertext. Using diverse media, they create visual and audio environments in which the narrative can unfold, and in which users can interact and sometimes participate. My work is based on three basic premises: 1) the fictions should be multimedia events; 2) they should be easy to navigate; and 3) they should be interactive. In addition to navigating through the stories - and triggering certain Flash events - users can also write into some of these narratives, giving them the opportunity to contribute to the creation and continued growth of the stories.
Saving The Alphabet (2005) is a commentary on the use of language in a digital age. This story addresses governmental and corporate threats to the free use of language, as language is simultaneous constructed and deconstructed by Orwellian double-speak, trademark claims, and invented etymologies on the web. The story requires that users click on the appropriate buttons to proceed through the narrative. There is no set order of events - in fact, the arbitrary navigation of users through the story reinforces the underlying theme of how language is being co-opted, and how that co-option is often capricious and arbitrary. Those who navigate the site themselves become a contributing factor in the decay of the story, and their contribution to the fictional death of language suggests our wider social and aesthetic responsibility.
MyNovel.org (2006) is an interactive work that takes six classic novels (Moby Dick, Uncle Tom's Cabin, The Scarlet Letter, Lolita, 1984, and On The Road) and compresses them into four sentences apiece; these four-sentence novels play out against a shifting series of Flash background movies. At any point, if visitors wish to, they can write their own four-sentence novel by using the tools included on the site. These new novels, written by the viewers, remain on the site for others to read and interact with.
MyNovel.org challenges certain assumptions about traditional distinctions that partition the genres of novel, short story, and poetry. These distinctions, particularly as they pertain to how text typically appears on the static page, are made to overlap on MyNovel.org and merge into new forms. This site questions what form(s) a fictional work can take, and uses the Web as a venue for the presentation of a multimedia event that defies conventional definition.
Finally, American Ghosts (2006) examines personality archetypes as they appear in selected Revolutionary War heroes, and how those archetypes continue to survive, and be acted out, within contemporary American life. This last piece is not simply a commentary on historical perspective - through its ending, it suggests the full extent of our political and social responsibilities. American Ghosts synthesizes video, text, audio, and other elements as part of an ongoing effort to streamline the user experience and enhance the work's aesthetic efficiency.
Alan Bigelow Bio
Originally a fiction writer in traditional text genres, Alan Bigelow started working in Flash in 2000. He quickly recognized the potential within this application for creating stories as multimedia events, and the Web as offering a free market of new genres and, within digital fiction, a relatively undiscovered area of exploration.
Alan Bigelow's work has appeared in Turbulence.org , Rhizome.org , E-Poetry 2007, New River Journal , Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, FILE 2007 (upcoming), Austin Peay State University (upcoming), BlazeVox.org , and elsewhere. Recently, he was a visiting online lecturer in Creative Writing and New Media at De Montfort University, UK.