V[R]ignettes: A Microstory Series
Originally titled A Million and Two, V[R]ignettes is a series comprised of Virtual Reality crafted microstories. Each individual microstory, or vignette, is designed to encourage a kind of ‘narrative smearing’ – where traditional story techniques are truncated and mutated into smears (kinetic actions and mechanics, collage-like layered building blocks, visual distortions, dual-tiered text annotations) which requires a reader to make active choices in order to navigate each microstory space (storybox).
The microstories presented below are part of the ongoing V[R]ignettes Series. When exploring each microstory, a reader will experience poetically dense language (such as letters bracketed in words – requiring rereading – that are designed to expand and enhance meaning potentials) and various visual, textual and technological elements that require direct audience input (such as: do you choose to view each microstory in a 3D or VR space – through a Virtual Reality headset or a mobile phone or computer monitor? Do you set each microstory to autopilot, or navigate the experience through manual annotation click-throughs and spatial manipulations? Do you choose to use the model inspector and view the microstories without any post-processing effects, or in wireframe? Do you choose to enable audio? Do you read only the title fields or entire paragraphs?) Such smears are also designed to be combined by the reader to create a story piecing system that’s circular in nature, where a reader/interactor is encouraged to experience each microstory multiple times, in multiple ways. For instance, when experiencing In the Skin of the Gloam, if a reader chooses to read only the title line of each annotation, they’ll experience a minimal poetic (title) text version: if they instead read the rest of the annotation accompanying teach title line, the narrative is accented differently. If you choose to manipulate (scale, rotate, zoom) the 3D models in the space (and/or if you engage autoplay, or in the case of Wracking in the Upper Bubble read the wall text only), a reader’s experience will be markedly different from those choosing to experience each microstory in a VR space (where teleportation is an option and the spatial dimension is crucial).
To load each microstory, please press the white arrow in the middle of each V[R]ignettes storybox below (and if viewing on a mobile device, please make sure to view each storybox in full screen mode). After clicking on the white arrow, to begin reading the text please click on the “Select an annotation” bar at the bottom of each storybox screen: from there, you get to choose how you experience all other narrative smearing possibilities. If you need help with navigation and controls, please click the “?” located in the bottom right side of each storybox.
“An anthology of VR works that integrate 3D illustration with poetic text and a reading experience of visceral intensity. Each piece explores unique textures, atmospheric sound design, and texts that are by turns enigmatic, impassioned, and humorous. The navigation is intuitive, recalling page turns, but also allows for free non-linear exploration.” – Judges’ commentary about the project winning the Queensland University of Technology Digital Literature Prize as part of the 2019 Queensland Literary Awards.
“People aren’t used to receiving digital literature in such a visually powerful manner. As words turn into ideas, and ideas turn into images, this is how a digital mind in a space between life and dream would think. Hosting this vibrant but delicate work of Mez Breeze in our festival has been an honour and a pleasure.” – Enric Socias, Digital and Electronic Art Festival Head of “FunctionFest” where a V[R]ignettes microstory was showcased in May 2019.
“Fantastic! A brilliant way to showcase.” – Professor Deb Verhoeven, Associate Dean of Engagement and Innovation at the University of Technology Sydney.
“A wonderful and ambitious project.” – Chris Meade, CEO and Founder of “If:book UK”, awarding an Honorary Mention to V[R]ignettes (for the Dot Award) at the 2018 New Media Writing Prize.
“Fair warning: these V[R]ignettes works are atmospherically awesome.” – Kevin Ang, XR Artists Collective Co-Founder and Bingkoland Director.
In the Skin of the Gloam
Wracking in the Upper Bubble
The Thing Tableau