Narrative Environment: The deliberate versus the unexpected - Currently no debate

Definition:

We looked at two examples of narrative environments.  One a visitor experience tracking the history of apartheid in South Africa the other a playful urban intervention in Rotterdam.

 

The immersive experience of the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg starts at the main gate where the visitor is randomly assigned as “white” or “non-white” on their ticket. Separate doors for each ticket class lead visitors into the exhibit, this action gives a sense of the experience of living through the Apartheid.

 

A very personal, emotive journey, the visitor is taken out of their comfort zone, not knowing what to expect or when they will be reunited with the people they came with.



In this narrative experience the audience have made a conscious decision to visit and learn about the Apartheid and have dedicated a set amount of time to engage with the exhibits.


A contrasting example is “Body Movies - Relational Architecture No. 6” a large scale interactive public projection by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer screened in 2001, in Schouwburgplein, Rotterdam. An example of urban play this piece invites the passer-by to interact with the screen and fellow users of the square. The audience engage by either actively participating or passively observing the actions of others. In comparison to the museum the audience  still adopt a role but it is optional and unexpected. The strength in both lies in the immersive quality of the narrative and the opportunity for visitors to assume a role in the story.

 

Antonia Grant, Beverley White, Crona Connolly, Katie Russell, Yukie Nagasawa.

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