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the flat
By Andy Campbell
Inspired by the author’s own dreams and experiences, The Flat presents users/readers with a challenging mouse-controlled environment where narrative fragments left behind by an abandoned building’s previous inhabitants still linger. Through a combination of photography, parallax scrolling, snippets of written fiction and a soundtrack, the work allows various rooms in the flat to be explored by panning around with the mouse and clicking on shimmering ‘hot spot’ areas. The transient textual narratives themselves often change or progress when rooms are revisited. To add to the feeling of tension and urgency, and to encourage the work to be revisited, a timer ticks down in the top right hand corner of the screen before the user/reader is ejected from the narrative and transported to the front door of the flat, where someone (or something) lingers outside.
A first person point-of view invites the reader, despite her growing trepidation, to enter into a flat; its rooms full of evidences of the people who once were there. Text snippets hang shivering in the air, voices and sounds hover around you as you pass through the rooms. The sounds add to the feeling of discomfort and pressure, as does the clock that is ticking down in the top corner of the screen. As the reader’s minutes are up, the exploration forcibly ends, leaving the narrative and spatial experience unexplored and unsolved. Campbell’s narrative and multimodal aesthetic in The Flat appear in other works as well, such as Dim O’Gauble, establishing The Flat as one in a series of exploring the affordances of multimodal storytelling.