Thursday, 15 July 2010

Digital fiction is a different type of reading experience altogether

These days reading from a screen is considered pretty normal - every day millions of people read emails, news articles, blogs, online journals (often long) and book reviews from laptop screens, computer monitors, iphones, ipads or other portable devices - without considering printing anything out. Publishers are starting to finally, sluggishly embrace the digital transformation the music industry went through years ago and reproduce their catalogues in electronic format for paperlessly downloading and reading.

Although these moves into the digital arena are to be applauded, Dreaming Methods remains interested not only in trying out new ways of writing fiction, but presenting new and challenging ways to approach reading it.

Whilst many ebooks are now available in "enhanced" editions with audio soundtracks and other DVD-style extras, very few publishers are experimenting with the truly new storytelling possibilities offered by this gradual shift into digital.

In the digital world, text does not have to stand still, can be superimposed against colourful backgrounds, animations and imagery with no print design restrictions or costs, and it can also change and mutate depending on a user/reader's interactions. It is as if the physical entity that is text itself has changed from static to liquid, has learnt to move around and react in response to other media - and is thus able to form new narratives-in-motion which require different methods of both writing and reading.

Textual narratives are approached by Dreaming Methods as a key part of the multimedia mix rather than as the absolute central backbone - purposely open-ended, ambiguous, short, fragmentary - and are often additionally considered to be a powerful visual element: blurred, obscured, transient, animated, mouse-responsive.

Reading from the screen is not the same as reading from the page, and being able to fully read-to-the-end and/or completely understand (or even properly see in some cases) the streams of text within Dreaming Methods projects is not considered a requirement for a piece to "work".

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