Please let me offer you a look into the future of storytelling. Imagine… You are wandering about town listening and looking around while being caught up in the story you are reading. Yet at the same time, the story is catching up with you, too. It’s responding to your presence in its setting. The way you experience the story, as a result, is partly out of your control, adding another dimension to your imagination.
Rules of the reading experience
This is what the incredibly interesting British research project named Ambient Literature, lead by writer and designer Tom Abba, is all about. By launching three location-based literary works, in collaboration with three British writers, he will aim to prove how the rules of the reading experience can be redefined through technology.
Playing with data
As a critical follower of the developments in the field of Big Data, I think this is one of the more sympathetic examples of how our data can be played with. Sympathetic, because a reader of ambient literature will always make a conscious choice to share their data, and even more sympathetic because they will immediately get something special in return – a literary experience that will bridge the physical gap between the reader and the story.
If being offered this new form of, sympathetic, literature is fun, it might prove to be just what people, who normally do not like to read, need. Apart from the fact that technology tends to have an enormous appeal to people, ambient literature turns the written word into an exciting aural and visual experience – a virtual reality fed by their own imagination. And that’s exactly what could makes it a viral success of epic proportions – bye bye Pokemon GO.
Books in Browsers
However, for avid readers like me – one of those who still prefers printed books, that is – the success of ambient literature will stand or fall with the quality of the stories and how they will be presented. In June 2016, the project was launched through experiment i, which was posted online recently, so you can try it out yourself. The Ambient Literature project will be lectured on at the Books in Browsers event on November 4th in San Francisco – please visit the Ambient Literature website if you want to be kept posted. In the meantime, I have a stack of books waiting patiently for me.