The World Is My Oyster – Mobility as a Challenge for Interactive Storytelling

  • Frank Nack
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 5915)


A place is a shrine of stories and with every visit we try to understand it better. Not every visit has the same reason though. Visiting a place might mean that we wish to perform a journey into our own past by walking through those then well-known locations or landscapes from which we hope that they still provide enough triggers to stimulate the stories that bring us back in time. Visiting a place might mean to explore unknown territory either through a comparison between what we perceive with what we know or through the encounter of stories that tell us about the experiences other people had at this location some time in the past. Visiting a place might mean to re-create it through the interaction with people who populate it at the same time. In all cases the exploration is based on experiences that are infinitely personal, and shaped and filtered by emotional and cultural memories, which constantly change as we experience them over and over again.

Until recently we could access a location’s memory mainly through media surrogates, such as books, drawings, film or audio files, or through face-to-face encounters with people who were able to knit us into the rich but hidden experience fabric of a place. The integration of low-cost pervasive and personal technology in the form of mobile devices and augmented reality into our everyday life starts to change our expectations about how to perceive the world around us. We are now able to leave traces of our emotional or intellectual experience as virtual attachments to any location. As a result we expect that any place, indoors or outdoors, reveals itself to us by confronting us with connection, context, and uncommon perspectives.

Yet, any exploration is in itself an experience and so we desire that the revelation is compelling and enjoyable on an individual level, which includes the connection to experiences already made in the current context or at other places or during other events. In short, we expect to experience the world around us as a continuous, flexible, and networked exchange of ideas that are routed in where and who we are and how these intrinsic facets of our experience are connected to those of others [2].

This interwoven play between the internal and external, the implicit and explicit, the static and dynamic, the real and the virtual, challenges digital storytelling with problems that need to be solved. As the real world is rather chaotic and does not provide us with a story space according to our likings [3,4,5], it is required to revisit questions that the methods and technologies we became so fond of do not cover any longer.

Where do the stories come from in such an open and endless space of dusted items? Where do these stories go to? How long do they accompany us – or do we accompany them? How does a story respond if I jump into it only because it attracted me while glimpsing at it as it bypasses me in a public space? What are the particles those stories are made out of? Their substance of expression [6] might be produced for purposes and reasons not much is known about, and yet, they will be used to form fluffs of meaning that twirl around with the drafts of the spectator’s movements and disappear with him – and nobody knows them any longer? Are these stories real or mere fiction and is this distinction important? Will these stories challenge the individual assumptions and perspectives or do they comfort the spectator/participant with a view on the world she cherishes?

This presentation will be an explorative journey into these type of mobile and interactive environments not yet known but it aims to show that whatever is generated in them will ultimately alter the world.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank Nack
    • 1
  1. 1.Human-Computer Studies Group (HCS), Institute for InformaticsUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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