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A Space of Time
A non-linear hypermedia experience
by Dr. Diego Bonilla


Awards

Honorable Mention: XV Videobrasil International Electronic Art Festival. Brazil, 2005
1st Prize, Internet/Multimedia Category: XXVI Moscow International Film Festival. Russia, 2004
Art Direction Award: Philadelphia Documentary and Fiction Festival. Pennsylvania, June 2004

Festivals

VideoBrasil International Electronic Art Festival (Brazil, 2005)
European Media Arts Festival(Germany, 2004)
Basics Festival (Austria, 2004)
Media Arts Festival (Netherlands, 2004)
Philadelphia Documentary and Fiction Festival (USA, 2004)
Toronto Online Film Festival (Canada, 2004)
New Forms Festival (Canada, 2004)
Arte Digital: Poeticas y lenguajes (Cuba, 2004)
Artronica (Columbia, 2004)
Viper Basel (Switzerland, 2004)

Synopsis

A Space of Time is not a story, it is a space that contains one. David, the main narrator, is a homeless person who has found shelter in a century-old abandoned building. Once settled he starts suffering temporal lobe epileptic attacks and having visual and auditory hallucinations. Reality then becomes a mix between his past, the building's past and their common present. As he explores and inhabits the aged structure he comes to believe that it contains fragments of time, and that these fragments narrate instances of the people who have entered it. Through a series of interviews, David cleverly intertwines his life and the stories he believes are held inside “the container”. Foremost, the life of a young woman named Pandora. She entered the building with a group of friends and since that day David is able to experience fragments of her life. He also narrates stories related to Ira, the janitor, and Jeremiah, his nephew, who both use the vacant building for their enjoyment and gain.
As David narrates, Pandora has a grudge against the advertising industry. Beyond any criticism of any specific advertisement she condemns mostly the sheer volume. She believes that the pervasiveness of advertising in people's lives has a reached a level in which it has negative psychological consequences. Pandora explains that the implied reality in most advertisements is that there is a need and that need has to be fulfilled to be happy. She points out that the repetition of that implied reality engenders anxiety and lessens our psychological well-being. Without a real opportunity to change things, Pandora then decides to rant on the Internet by writing powerful animated poems that express her believes about the advertising industry. The rants lead her to participate in a TV show that probably David watched before Pandora actually entered the building.
As the story moves forward David and Pandora's characters get more defined and at the same time more interconnected. The non-linear presentation of the fragments of time inside the container slowly constructs the overall story and shows the intricate interlacing of the plots.

Description

A Hypermedia Experience

A Space of Time is a non-linear hypermedia experience that is only possible thanks to computer processing power. The main purpose of A Space of Time is to take computer assisted alternative narratives out of the realm of hypertext and into the realm of hypermedia. A story is non-linear because its narrative is presented outside of chronological time. Viewers of A Space of Time may see scenes from the "end" of the story before experiencing ones that introduce key characters. These scenes, however, are created in such a way that they are brief stand-alone glimpses into the lives of these characters.
The experience is broken into more than 700 videos, 190 QTVRs, 105 audio files and 18 Flash animations that are displayed in two different ways: 1) “Limbo” and 2) “Stream of consciousness”.

Limbo version

The “Limbo” version of the story entails the exploration of a photographic quality Immersive Environment. As the user peruses the structure, different pieces of the main plot can be extracted. The virtual environment is a century-old building where part of the story itself unfolds. Giving the user the opportunity to interact with the same space where the scenes occur augments the immersion effect.

Stream of Consciousness version

The “Stream of Consciousness” version creates a different linear piece every time it is experienced. The scenes and the complimentary videos that form the story are re-arranged by following a series of statistical formulas. New technologies and the latest computer processors permit immediate access to video streams, which in turn allows the shuffling and presentation of the scenes in different chronological order. The algorithms in A Space of Time not only reshuffle the content based on predetermined probabilistic patterns but also can eliminate or add video sequences to the final experienced version.
The beginning and the end of the story are fixed in order to create cohesiveness among all the pieces.