[ISEA2002] Artist Statement: Megan Heyward – of day, of night

Artist Statement

‘of day, of night’ is an interactive work that is part narrative and part game, part memory and dream. It explores intersections between new media and the nature of dreaming – the collisions and juxtapositions of the everyday within dream experience, and dream as a model for database narrative. In ‘of day, of night’, a woman has lost the ability to dream. Setting herself a series of creative tasks, she attempts to regain it. Collecting found objects from various locations in the Day, and imagining their fictional traces and histories; the objects and their stories collide, transmute and create new meanings in a regained, reimagined dream environment of Night. ‘of day, of night’ moves across a range of languages – cinematic, textual, new media -in a manner which inherently involves exploration, uncertainty and intersection. Structurally and thematically, ‘of day, of night’ is associative, intertextual – across text, sound and moving image; across game, cinema, hypertext and new media forms; across memory and dreaming; across the activities of Day and the dreams of Night.

Wandering is a key notion within ‘of day, of night’. On first entering the work, the user or audience finds themselves within Day, a map of sorts revealing locations, activities and states of mind to wander through; as the woman, Sophie, and her circumstances, are revealed. The map updates as the audience explores, revealing a range of activities to be undertaken and further areas to investigate. There is then a gradual slipping away of the prominence of Sophie, and a growing emphasis on the discovered objects and their traces, histories, intersections and juxtapositions. After completing a range of activities, dreams return and the audience is thrown into Night . The dreams found here represent a set of interweaved narratives comprising aspects of various cultural traces and identities, where the objects and their histories are refracted and reconfigured to create new stories and meanings.

For some time I have been interested in the intersections of interactivity and narrative, in the texts made possible when narrative is shaped in new media. Fragmentation, multiplicity, collision, wandering – these are the sorts of qualities I seek to play with. For me, memory and dreaming represent particularly alluring themes in this regard. The fragmented nature of memory, the unexpected collisions of dream experience, their shared qualities of intertextuality, of referencing and reconfiguring a range of sources and influences; resonates strongly with the nature of new media.

  • Megan Heyward is an Australian new media artist and educator. With video, sound, text and interactivity, she writes in new media. ‘of day, of night’ (2001), has been exhibited in Australia and Europe, and was a finalist in the 2002 Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature. It was developed in association with the Australian Film Commission and UTS. Megan’s previous interactive work ‘I Am A Singer’ (1 997), has been widely exhibited internationally; including Transmediale, Viper, VideoBrasil, the FCMM, (all 1998) and Contact Zones (1999). Megan is a Senior Lecturer for the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences, UTS.