Projects: Always Tomorrow


The early version of this piece was made for desktop and leveraged a unique eye-tracking technology created by Damon Loren Baker. The next iteration moved the piece into VR. The current version is a roomscale VR piece that places the user in an alleyway instead of a galaxy. Created with Unity support from Asseel Sidique. The viewer/reader is positioned in the centreof an infinitevisual galaxy populated by 40 small interactive spheres, suggestive of planets but textured with distorted images that resonate with the stories they hold within. The viewer touches the spheres in any order to activate audio and unfold a time-twisting, fringe-affirming, ether-inflected love story set in Berlin in the Weimar Republic with a tomorrow already speaking itself on the protagonists’ lips. We hope the piece resonates with the contemporary moment, too, somewhere between histories and futures; the objects of our desires and our longing, the periphery of the culture and its centre. It’s also a mediation on the power of poetry.

She draws poems out of him he didn’t know were possible. They are not anything he knew before he saw her. He writes in his notebooks and when they fill he writes on napkins, the words pouring and dirty and in an English that does not yet exist. This week’s variation: His poems are increasingly of stars; constellations: desire, bright lights, the curve of Isabelle’s shoulder. In his poem his tongue traces along the estuaries of her body and makes her scream. She is the Andromeda galaxy; she is a whore he t akes without words outside against a rough wall; she is once again the singer he is utterly in love with, kneeling in front of him, greedily taking him into a hot mouth; she is the end of all fucking poetry. In reality, he heads home to his pretty shabby r oom and dreams of her, his hand on his cock, helpless in the face of fantasy Isabelle: she is a machine. She is safety. She is the future. She is the next world war.
Berlin gives such incredible permission: what could you imagine if you were not afrai d? What could you write if your mind wasn’t utterly colonized by your century? All your portraits, he writes, your fucking instagrams (what’s an instagram?) all look the same. Trapped in your time. If you can’t even begin to think outside your universe, you need to be in Berlin, 1928, watching Isabelle. Isabelle is a cypher. Isabelle is a portal.

Electronic Literature Organization 2012

The conference, Electrifying Literature: Affordances and Constraints was held June 20-23 in Morgantown, West Virginia, home to WVU, a sponsor of the event.

Snapdragon version

This beta version of this piece was created using a custom marker tracking system and the user interacted with the piece by exploring the markers with a webcam, triggering small poetic voiceovers and videos.