Beyond Manzanar: Creating Dramatic Structure in Ergodic Narratives
Interactive narrative requires new techniques in order to truly exploit the dramatic possibilities of the ergodic, first person experiential viewpoint. In the interactive 3D virtual reality installation Beyond Manzanar the author used concepts borrowed from music theory to focus dramatic development on the emotional states evoked in the user by interactions with the virtual environment. The piece explores parallels between the imprisonment of Japanese Americans at Manzanar Internment Camp in Eastern California during World War II, and Iranian Americans threatened with a similar fate during the 1979-’80 hostage crisis. Users experience the space in the perspective of the immigrant, their own movements triggering the dramatic inevitability of their own imprisonment.
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