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ELO 2015: The End(s) of Electronic Literature

Fish Net Stockings

Joellyn Rock and Alison Aune (University of Minnesota Duluth, USA)

Hybridity and Synaesthesia
Thursday, August 6 • 17:30 - 18:30 (Lydgalleriet)

Fish Net Stockings is a new multimedia installation project in development and is inspired and informed by historical mermaid legends and their myriad literary variants. One discovers mermaid tales clinging like barnacles onto historic seaports, sharing themes of the cross-cultural outsider, human trafficking, economic injustice, environmental imbalance, and gender inequality. Both cautionary and emboldening, mermaid tales inhabit the blurred boundary between childhood longing and adulthood regret. In variants of the little mermaid tale, we find a story of the passage between worlds. Den lille havfrue, Hans Christian Andersen’s sacrificial rite-of-passage story screams out for alternative endings. Instead of silencing the little mermaid, Fish Net Stockings aims to give e-literature sirens a space to speak up, sing out, and hook on their stockings. In the installation, a back projection screen serves as canvas for a richly layered mix of digital video, text, and silhouettes. The participatory space allows the audience to disrupt, subvert, and make virtual waves inside this new version of an old tale. Digital projections include a mashup hybrid of historical references, video, animation, and story fragments gleaned from the project database. Fish Net Stockings also incorporates paper-cut collage images by contributing artists, inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s improvised performance art of scherenschnitte, or live scissor writing. Bifurcating imagery, like that made by folding and cutting, will play a role in the aesthetics of the work. In this way, the story will unfold with multivalent versions echoing folk art patterns and digital iterations. The audience has multiple modes for interaction: by feeding text into evolving the online story thread, by uploading images to the project database, or by diving into the projections and moving their own bodies inside the colorful underwater world.

The collaborative team includes:

  • Joellyn Rock, Assistant Professor of Digital Art, University of Minnesota Duluth.
  • Alison Aune, Professor of Art Education, University of Minnesota Duluth.
  • Kirsten Aune, Independent Artist, Duluth, Minnesota.
  • Deborah Mersky, Independent Artist, Johnson City, Texas.


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