Rebooting Electronic Literature Volume 3: Documenting Pre-Web Born Digital Media

Supplementary Materials for Megan Heyward

During Megan Heyward's visit to the Electronic Literature Lab to give a Traversal of of day, of night, she also gave a reading of her earlier multimedia novel, I Am a Singer. She also gave the ELL Team to do a screen capture of her mobile narrative, The Secret Language of Desire. They are both included in this section of this chapter. Also included is a conversation she had with ELL Director Dene Grigar about Australian digital arts. These video clips will be described as all other videos in this book.

Dene Grigar introduces Megan Heyward's I am a singer, produced in 1997. The artist herself begins a live traversal of the piece, using a machine from the Electronic Literature Lab to view it. Heyward felt that non-linear storytelling lent itself to themes regarding "memory," which the work explores.
Megan Heyward continues her traversal of I am a singer, noting that the work's non-linearity allows the user to weave together the events on their own by navigating it. She also mentions how she integrated physical artifacts into a digital environment, as she has done with several other works including of day, of night. She notes how the improved hardware on later machines made her animations run faster than originally intended, which was an aspect many digital artists had to grapple with. Additionally, Grigar and Heyward have a conversation about how engagement can be greatly increased through interactivity and rich multimedia.
Megan Heyward continues to traverse I am a singer, reaching the point where the protagonist regains her memory. Heyward observes the amount of content and work that went into creating the piece. 
Megan Heyward explains that I am a singer was her MFA thesis. Though she was coming from UNSW, a visual arts school, Heyward says she placed more focus on narrative. She exhibited it between the years 1997 and 2000 in France, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, U.S., South America, Japan and Australia. Heyward says that funding from the Australian film commission enabled her to generate her own content for I am a singer, in addition to hiring an actress and musicians. Dene Grigar mentions that Director was not as widely used for interactive narrative in the U.S. as it was in Australia. Heyward had taught herself how to use the program, and was drawn to the idea that she could produce her own work.

The Secret Language of Desire
Australian ELit

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