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ELO 2015: The End(s) of Electronic Literature

Eroica: A Hypermedia Fiction

Eugene Garber (SUNY Albany, NY, USA) and Lynn Hassan (Long Island University, Brooklyn, NY, USA)

End(s) of Electronic Literature Festival Exhibition
Wednesday, August 5 • 17:30 - 19:00 (University of Bergen Arts Library)

Eroica is a hypermedia fiction for web ( It moves on three dimensions: narrative/temporal, mosaic/spatial, interior /vertical. It tells three similar stories, one in fin de siècle Vienna, one in a mid-century mid-Hudson River mansion, another in the upper Amazon in the present day. Every narrative presents an innovative composer, his/her artist lover, and a conservative arch-antagonist. On the spatial level the work presents 88 kinetic images that the traveler is invited to assemble into a three-dimensional mosaic depicting artistic struggle. In the vertical dimension the work submerges the traveler in three descending layers: dramatic, psychological, and archetypal. The work is composed of image, music, text, and voice. Without pause or recursion it lasts two hours.

The work’s system of navigation gives the traveler options of temporal vs. spatial exploration, narrative constraint vs. total freedom, and choices of endings – order and randomness, logic and serendipity.

Thematically, the work portrays the artistic struggle against the counter forces of aesthetically ingrained conservatism, anti-Semitism, religious intolerance, colonialism and racism across historical epochs and geographical locale.

For demonstration purposes the artists propose to make available one, two or three computers running EROICA with projectors. If more than one computer is available, travelers should run the program simultaneously, each able to see the progress of fellow travelers projected contiguously on screens or white wall. Navigational prompts will be provided suggesting ways for travelers to experience the matrices of image, word, sound, progression and psychological depth. In this way travelers can experience the work’s paradoxical presentation of a virtual infinity of pathways vs. parallel narratives and commonality of thematic clusters.

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