Chair Person: Kristy Kang
Presenters: Rosemary Comella & Andreas Kratky
This panel will present a body of work by media artists, scholars and collaborators who comprise The Labyrinth Project – a Los Angeles based research initiative on interactive narrative at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. Under the direction of cultural theorist Marsha Kinder since 1997, Labyrinth has been working at the pressure point between theory and practice. With media artists Rosemary Comella, Kristy H.A. Kang and Scott Mahoy working as creative directors, Labyrinth been producing award-winning multimedia projects that juxtapose fictional and historical narrative in provocative ways. In the process, Labyrinth has pioneered a new form of digital scholarship combining archival cultural history and artistic practice. Their “database documentaries” animate the archive and make history come alive for a wide range of audiences across the public sphere. Labyrinth designs their interactive works as transmedia networks—installations, DVD-ROMs, and websites. Their projects appear not only in cyberspace but also in the networked public spaces of museums, science centers, and other public venues. Labyrinth’s projects all grow out of broad, multi-tiered collaborations with artists, scholars, scientists, students, archivists, museums and cultural institutions. In the process, Labyrinth has developed three signature genres: the digital city symphony that explores urban space through layers of time; the interactive memoir that probes the networked memories and lived experience of complex individuals; and interactive science education that explores the interplay between biology and culture and the respective representation systems of art and science. Several of their works combine these genres. This panel will explore the diverse approaches and working methodologies for designing transmedia narrative experiences across a variety of public spaces by showcasing selected projects from Labyrinth’s repertoire of interactive cultural histories and by presenting emerging works produced by collaborators and members of the Labyrinth initiative.
- Kristy H.A. Kang is an award winning Korean-American media artist and educator at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, where she is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Media Arts and Practice. Ms. Kang has lectured and taught multimedia workshops internationally at universities in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Since 1997, she has been a Creative Director with The Labyrinth Project research initiative on interactive narrative and digital scholarship at USC. Contributing her background in digital arts and animation, she has served as project director and designer on a range of collaborative projects at Labyrinth. These works have been exhibited internationally and received numerous awards including the Jury Award for New Forms at the 2004 Sundance Online Film Festival which she received as co-director with filmmaker Carroll Parrot Blue and The Labyrinth Project for The Dawn at My Back:Memoir of a Black Texas Upbringing–an interactive memoir which explores the cultural history of race in Houston by juxtaposing official histories with Blue’s personal narrative and family archives. Kang was the director of Labyrinth’s two science visualization projects A Tale of Two MAO Genes: Exploring the Biology and Culture of Aggression and Anxiety, a collaboration with molecular biologist Jean Chen Shih, which is being used as a model for interactive science education at USC and universities in China and Taiwan, and Three Winters in the Sun: Einstein in California – an interactive installation about Albert Einstein exhibited at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Among Labyrinth’s projects on the city Kang co-directed are The Danube Exodus: The Rippling Currents of the River, a cinematic installation with Hungarian documentary filmmaker Peter Forgács which premiered at The Getty Center, and Tracing the Decay of Fiction: Encounters with a Film by Pat O’Neill–an exploration of the Ambassador Hotel and it’s surrounding neighborhood near downtown Los Angeles. Kang’s research interests include spatial and mobile narrative, digital humanities and transnational media studies between the U.S. and East Asia. Video Excerpts from “Tracing the Decay of Fiction: Encounters with a Film by Pat O’Neill” by Pat O’Neill, Rosemary Comella, Kristy H.A. Kang and The Labyrinth Project (2002). dornsife.usc.edu/labyrinth kristykang.com