Curlew is a narrative poem that tells the story of one man’s encounter with the forces of nature. It centers on Catsinas, a fisherman living alone in a makeshift shack on Curlew, one of several barrier islands in the Gulf Coast known as the Chandeleurs. Based on a true account, the story chronicles the man’s futile attempt to save Curlew’s shoreline from a storm’s destruction of his adopted home. It premiered at the OLE.01 Festival of Electronic Literature at the Royal Palace in Naples, Italy on October 8, 2014.
Curlew comes in three formats 1) a multimedia, spoken-word performance piece, 2) an installation for gallery exhibits, and 3) a web-based, interactive app for desktop computers and smart devices. The multimedia, spoken-word performance, submitted to the ELO 2015 conference, features one live performer who acts as the narrator of the poem and controls video projections and sound through her movements, a phenomenon made possible by a Kinect Game System. When the narrator lifts her arms, for example, the movement triggers the video projection of Catsinas tossing fish entrails to the hovering curlews and the audio file of the bird’s cries. As a projection on a single monitor, the work is created as a triptych with video framing words on the screen. As a three-wall projection, the videos appear on two side walls while the words of the poem are projected on the middle wall. The artists can accommodate either approach to performing the work and will provide their own Kinect Game System and computer. For the single monitor version, the performance requires a smart TV, 55” or larger; for the three wall projection version, the performance requires three HD LCD monitors. Both versions require a sound system; however, no internet connection is needed. The work takes approximately 15 minutes to perform.
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