The Purgamondo Project is an immersive archival interface to assist in the understanding of complexe universes that give body to stories . This project departs from the premise that the concept of the “Storyworld”, the world where the characters of a story live (Ryan, 2013), is often neglected in favor of time, place or plot when it comes to archiving a work of literature. His research-creation project attempts to answer the following question: how can digital archives be spatialized and crossed-referenced in an immersive environment (VR) for a Storyworld-Centric experience?
Alouache chose the epic poem Purgatorio, the second part of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy (1321), as the object of his study. Seven centuries after the publication of the original work, the “Storyworld” of this poem is today enriched by numerous remediations. The Purgamondo Project proposes to archive its countless linguistic and media adaptations (translations, paintings, commentaries, etc.), made by artists and scholars whose interpretations are deeply rooted in their respective eras.
In order to represent the complex “Storyworld” of this major work, Alouache uses the metaphor of the debris of an exploded planet, where the fragments together form a spherical archive; the timeline begins at the center and ends at the periphery. The goal of this metaphor is to reimagine the Purgatorio through various secondary sources derived from an original, forever lost. Thus, the “Storyworld” results from a combined interpretation of several fragmented individual works.
The interface recreates the navigational experience of slowly drifting in outer space. This allows us to enter and exit the orbit of the fragments encountered, which we can access as we are held in their gravitational field. Following the viewing of a fragment, its different elements can be crossed and compared with any other element of the same textual modality, in order to bring out the intertextuality of the works. Similarly, the visuals that appear can be compared with any other visual in the archive. Sound and video are also made available and will be part of this expanding ecosystem.
Alouache conceives of this navigation system as transfictional approach that encourages an interpretive journey through different texts and mediums (Ryan, 2013): one can access the entire archive from any point of entry, beginning, for example, the reading in the 20th century, before continuing it in the 17th century. It is a sort of leap in space and time made possible by the semantic linking of the navigation metadata that avoids the use of static hyperlinks. Beyond the interface, the project becomes a tool that promotes the exchange of data in a context of co-creation and co-research. During a search, the interface takes notes and records metadata corresponding to the specific part of the navigation. The noted elements then form a constellation that gathers coherent interpretations and a path can be displayed at any time to see what has been explored. In general, the interface transforms the usual use of databases in order to design a “Storyworld Centric Archive System.”
This DEMO is presented as part of the midi-rencontres Sur_Exposition, co-organized by UQAC – École NAD, Laboratoire MIMESIS and Hexagram. SUR_Exposition presents works and initiatives on modalities of artistic creation, dissemination, and mediation through the new virtual and immersive spaces.
Reda Alouache is a 3D generalist who has worn many different professional hats in his 16 years of experience in the animation industry. He worked as a 3D artist and animator in advertising, events, and television for a decade, and then held management positions for 3D animated series for several years. In addition to his studies in graphic design for the printing industry, he studied webmaster at the time of the advent of Web 2.0. This study introduced him to working with different types of interfaces for the web and later interfaces for production pipelines. This has shaped his approach to digital creation. Currently, he is a student pursuing a master’s degree in digital art and 3D Animation at NAD-UQAC, under the supervision of Yan Breuleux [Co-investigator member, NAD-UQAC].
All images are from Reda Alouache.
For any question, contact Reda Alouache : firstname.lastname@example.org