- "Since the 1990’s Andy Campbell has experimented with the possibilities of writing fiction for the computer screen and, although most people still consider fiction something they’d read from a book, an explosion of blogs, online journals, text-based “web art” projects and the introduction of electronic portable reading devices has generated a new wave of mashed up narrative experiments and intrigued (often confused) audiences.
Andy Campbell’s website Dreaming Methods combines fictional narratives with other media such as film, photography, animation and music. The results are highly challenging but compelling reading experiences that explore dream inspired states, the subconscious and the deterioration of memory. Projects are often visually haunting and atmospherically immersive where the text itself floats, mutates and gets entangled with motion graphics creating powerful ‘scenes’ throughout the ‘story’."
Background on Andy:
Co-director on One to One Productions with Judy Alston create films, do web design, regeneration, public space, charities etc...
Current Project: archiving and digitising Tibetan literature
would swap computer games with friends, on disks, "you were posh if you had a hard drive."
interested in the possiblity of merging writing stories (on the Amiga) with game design
Review of "Dark Portal" from CU Amiga in 1994: "The quality of the writing is very good and the stories themselves are fun to read and none too obvious in the outcome."
"The Amiga is dead" when Doom came out...so Andy shifted to the pc but it was Photoshop that convinced him of the merits of the pc.
The limitations of print and the creative desire to create something other, something you couldn't print out, writing designed for the screen as though it was a liquid paper with boundaries different form print, more intriguing that things could move (maybe even the writing) rather than user interaction.
Saw the potential with Flash where text can be treated as an object, you can do anything with it...visually.
Creating Fractured "felt like shoving everything into a food mixer." But then began to think about how someone might approach it...but did it even need to be read *properly*?
"Inside" (2002) first collaborative project (the first to use streaming video over writing). Based on *real* dreams, it was coming from a subconscious source, a recorded reality.
Decided that enough experimentation, to look to personal experiences (memory and dreams) the first project was "The Flat", based on a series of photos that Andy's brother took. Text wouldn't be the focus, it would be transient and not *in your face*.
Andy believes that these kinds of stories are best experienced on a one-to-one basis rather than on a big screen.
Stories usually start with one scene and then grow, in a prickly way, into folders ad folders of images and sounds which are then woven into a sequence, dream-like with lots of different angles. The writing itself is done in the flash actionscript window, having the object attached to the language. Andy says he finds himself stripping down language, honing it down, and thinking about how it interacts with what's around it. Qite like memories themselves, how they get honed down, how they disappear or reappear in different places and times.
Capped (2006) the narrative logic parallels dream logic where users have to finish a *task* in order to proceed.
Dim O'Gauble (2007) inspired by Andy's grandmother who loved colour and patterns. She would blue tack wrapping paper to the walls if she liked the colour. With Dim O'Gauble tries to capture those feelings (Andy was also reading about hynogogia).
Most recent project is Clearance (2008) inspired by a friend who carves stone. The friend decided to *distribute* his stone heads (he left them outside people's gates and on their front steps). He go onto the local news and then the national news and then the international news: "Mystery Stone Heads Appear." Billy fled to Scotland and so couldn't be contacted by interested people and the press. Andy and One to One productions took the brunt of this publicity. The papers thought that the dispersion of stone heads was actually a publicity stunt for their latest creation.
The creations are "between" a lot of things, between photography and film, between reading and writing...hard to categorise, maybe "web art" is the best word. Future projects will rely on the text but provide subtle electronic twists. Using e-pub to allow content to adapt to whatever device it's being viewed on...and hybrid e-books that contain flash animations rather than illustrations. E-books readers and Kindle are starting to poke away at this market but actually writing itself is largely uncharted territory.
Though people read more online is happening but not reading a *book* yet...the phrase: "this might mean we'll see new types of authors" keeps resurfacing. But, "we also need to see new types of readers."
Role of sound: spends a great deal of time on sound. Sometimes has a scene with no sound to get an idea of what the ambiance should be and then develops the sound
Teaching: Andy is entirely self-taught.
What Market is Andy aiming for and how do you make money: A) "I'm not aiming for a market and b) I'm not making any money." He has 1000 people on his e-mail list and there is a huge cross-section of people, government, media students etc...
Do you write into the action script?: There's never a script. Sometimes writes notes down but usually ends up scrapping that because you have everything inspiring around you. "I find it hard to write things externally."
The actual text, the fiction, is that mulled over in your head rather than writing down notes...": "I still edit it and revise it then throw it down and come back to it and keep going over it till it sounds right and works with everything else."
"It's definitely not me to do something pink and fluffy."
Do you consider how long it would take to read: "I do think about it and try to design projects as though they could be navigated through without seeing everything." There are quite a lot of links that are quite hidden...but in terms of seeing everything you get how much time you *invest* in it. "The narrative is glimpsing." "There is a lot of symbolism that repeats throughout the pieces." Childhood is "like a mine" to grab from..."there is a que of ideas..."
"Writing is a large part of it."
"Trying to evoke something that is more than just the writing..."
How do you feel about reader's being frustrated with not finding things...?: "I have aken some notice that people have been frustrated so I offer some tool tips but you still have to search the screen intensely." Doesn't want to be constrained by readers. "I intend to make it more accessible, I think it's important from the writers point of view."