Currently viewing the category: "Arts Practice"
Journeryer's Guidebook

E. Whittaker & J. Brocklehurst 2016 Journeyer’s Guidebook, illustrated book accompanying the iPhone app

Diagramming a species “…one can make exact experiments upon uniform diagrams; and when one does so, one must keep a bright lookout for unintended and unexpected changes thereby brought about in the relations of different significant parts of the diagram to one another. Such operations upon diagrams, whether external or imaginary, take the place of the experiments upon real things that one performs in chemical and physical research.” (Peirce 1906: 493) [1]

Imagine picking up a pen and noting down on the back of an opened, but clean white envelope, the words ‘expanded narrative’. It’s the name I use to refer to a broad and inclusive family of storytelling practices that challenge the form and experience of the book. These types of works can be analogue or digital, multi or transdisciplinary, and range from concrete poetry through to tabletop role-playing games, from participatory theatre to “puzzle novellas” [2] and locative narrative.

It’s the name I use to refer to a broad and inclusive family of storytelling practices that challenge the form and experience of the book. These types of works can be analogue or digital, multi or transdisciplinary, and range from concrete poetry through to tabletop role-playing games, from participatory theatre to “puzzle novellas” [2] and locative narrative.

Locative narrative, a term attributed to Jeremy Hight [3] can be defined as stories that are experienced in specific locations, delivered via mobile devices, and often, but not always, heard on headphones. We might think of Homing, created this year by Jen Southern and Sam Thulin [4] with the Lancashire Infantry Museum, or the National Archive’s situated oral histories of wartime secret service operatives, Spies, Spooks and Videotape [5].

Underneath expanded narrative, you imagine writing, ‘locative narrative’, from which you draw a satisfyingly heavy black line, and add to locative narrative its species, ‘ambient literature’.

Ambient literature, in fact, should be decorated with some small dashes to give it the semblance of flashing on and off, signifying its ‘in-progress’ status; a field becoming…

From this vantage point, the landscape spreads gloriously outwards, populated with many antecedents, including Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Teri Rueb, Blast Theory, Valentina Nisi, Duncan Speakman and Circumstance, to identify just a few. The authorial intention to mediate relations between the reader as a participant and their environment, with objects, people and features from the physical world depicted, symbolised or inferred within the text, sound or interface, perhaps indicates broad axes of the practice.

I am interested in questions around experience, how it is possible for us to have knowledge of the world and how our interpretation of events may be affected, within and below the level of our awareness. William James’ [6] radical empiricist philosophy explains that what things are known-as, are context dependent relations to ourselves and that far from being fixed, are highly mutable.

Building on a body of situated narrative smartphone apps, developed with my collaborator James Brocklehurst, I have been working with guided imagining, using techniques from hypnotic induction [7] and the practice of shamanic journeying [8] to devise the form and content of narrative. The result was an initial experiment, Journeyer’s Guidebook, an iOS iPhone app and accompanying illustrated book, that was showcased in September at the DRHA2016 and the Brighton Digital Festival.

Journeyer’s Guidebook [9] takes the participant on two parallel guided experiences, one beginning at the Jubilee Library, a physical walk to the Pavilion Gardens, and the other an imagined walk through the medium of an illustrated book, read inside the library. The form of the shamanic journey begins with the Axis Mundi, the entry point in this world, and proceeds through the aural depiction of a tunnel, a liminal space that marks the boundary with another world. Arrival in the garden signifies the beginning of non-ordinary reality. The journeyer addressed in the second person, is invited to explore the garden, via their own route, before enacting a personal divination ritual and a contemplation on interpreting its meaning. Both journeys are accompanied by binaural spatial sound that in the garden heightens the ambient sounds and is supplemented with tropical birds. Inside the library, the sound depicts the illustrated world. The inside journey begins with attention focusing techniques directed towards the body and the page, whereas the outside journey directs the participant to towards noticing their relations to the environment. The participant retraces their steps back through the tunnel before embarking on the alternative journey.

Our usual process of development involves a number of iterations to really hone the ideas and their implementation. Journeyer’s Guidebook script, interaction, sound design, field recordings, native app development, illustrations and book production were developed over a period of four weeks – a mighty fast turnaround. The feedback so far has generally been positive, but as is usually the way, testing on the ground presents many possibilities for further development. One of the themes that emerged from the last Ambient Literature seminar was the topic of creating situated literary works that can be experienced in many similar locations. The challenge is to write the world of the story so it pertains to participant’s environment, perhaps not wherever they may be, but in types of places the participant might be able to access, irrespective of their continent. This requires a particular approach to writing and interaction design that has the potential to open up ambient literature to the broader publishing industry. The next version of Journeyer’s will be rewritten to begin exploring this direction…

Emma Whittaker


[1] Peirce, C. S. ‘Prolegomena to an Apology for Pragmaticism’. The Monist. Vol. 16, No. 4 (October, 1906), pp. 492-546 Published by: Hegeler InstituteStable URL: 14-03-2015 18:26 UTC

[2] Simogo (2016 ) Device 6 v.1.2 [iOS & Android Application] Retrieved from: [3] Hight, J. (2006) ‘Views from Above: Locative Narrative and the Landscape.’ In Wild

[3] Hight, J. (2006) ‘Views from Above: Locative Narrative and the Landscape.’ In Wild Naturea and the Digital Life. Special Issue of the Leonardo Electronic Almanac Vol 14, No 7-8, p.2

[4] Southern, J. & Thulin, S (2016). Homing. [installation and app]. Harris Library, Preston. 23rd May – 13th November 2016 [5] The National Archives (2016) Spooks, Spies and Videotape – London’s Secret War [iOS & Android Application] Retrieved

[5] The National Archives (2016) Spooks, Spies and Videotape – London’s Secret War [iOS & Android Application] Retrieved from:

[6] James, W. (1909) The Meaning of Truth. New York: Longmans Green and Co.pp.18-19

[7] Weitzenhoffer, A. M. and Hilgard, E. R. (1996) Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale: Forms C (Modified by John F. Kihlstrom). Palo Alto: Stanford University Press.p.8

[8] Harner, M. (1992) The Way of the Shaman. Harper Collins pp.68

[9] Whittaker, E. & Brocklehurst, J. (2016). Journeyer’s Guidebook. [iOS Application]. Retrieved from:

[8] Harner, M. (1992) The Way of the Shaman. Harper Collins pp.68 [9] Whittaker, E. & Brocklehurst, J. (2016). Journeyer’s Guidebook. [iOS Application]. Retrieved from:


Interview with Blast Theory, Wellington Road, Brighton, January 2012

Blast Theory is renowned internationally as one of the most adventurous artists’ groups using interactive media.

In this interview Blast Theory – Matt Adams, Ju Row Farr and Nick Tandavanitj – discuss a selection of projects created over the last twenty years including, Fixing Point (2011), Machine to See With (2010), Ivy4Evr (2010), Ulrike and Eamon Compliant (2009), I Like Frank (2004), Uncle Roy All Around You (2003), Desert Rain (1999) and Stampede (1994). Relationships between narrative, interaction and performance, dialogue as a structuring device, game design and methods of development are considered.

Funded by The Teaching & Learning Directorate, Plymouth University (2011-12)


The locative narrative The Lost Index: NATMUS  was featured at 8th International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling in Copenhagen.


The Lost Index: NATMUS, photo James Brocklehurst

Audio guides and games have long been staple modes of interpretation in museums. The medium of locative narrative, defined here as participatory site-specific story experiences that are heard on headphones, offers alternative modes of engagement with archives and collections where the visitor becomes a participant in an unfolding drama. The confluence of the existent world and narrative representations is an often-reported feature of “mixed reality” [1] experiences [2] [3] [4].

The Lost Index: NATMUS (2015-) [5], produced by Trulyimagined, aka Emma Whittaker and James Brocklehurst, is an interactive narrative that transforms the location of a museum into a dystopian story world. Situated at The National Museum of Denmark and the DieselHouse museum it explores how participants can experience the story across spatially distributed locations.

The Lost Index: NATMUS Copenhagen photo James Brocklehurst

The Lost Index: NATMUS Copenhagen photo James Brocklehurst

Your phone rings, “You have been selected… your help is required … time is running out…” Searching for objects from the lost index holds the key to stabilising the changes. In response to their actions participants receive phone calls – fragmentary updates from which possible stories build. But as time runs out the uncertain future draws nearer and so too does the metamorphosis of the museum. Binaural soundscapes layered with ambient sounds stimulate perceptual illusions and combine with attention focusing techniques to alter the perception of the environment.

Binaural compositions simulate the aural qualities of the fictional locations whose sounds are plotted temporally and spatially within the different museums’ rooms. Sounds are movement responsive and triggered by participants’ own smartphones through novel uses of Bluetooth low energy ‘iBeacons’. As the drama proceeds, the recorded auditory dimensions of the rooms’ subtlety change that can affect the interpretation of sounds as live, recorded or imagined.


Participants, in the role of protagonist, move simultaneously within the story’s locations and museum, physically situating the player within a fictional world of the game. The Lost Index: NATMUS develops William James’s [6] radical empiricist insight as an approach to interactive narrative that plays with the contexts of players’ beliefs, directing and misdirecting their attention and keeping knowing in transit.

and the Dieselhouse museum, Copenhagen photo Emma Whittaker

The Lost Index: NATMUS at the National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen photo Emma Whittaker

The Lost Index: NATMUS can be downloaded from the iOS App Store for use at The National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagenand the Dieselhouse museum, Copenhagen. Headphones are required.

[1] Milgram, P. & Kishino, F. (1994). ‘Taxonomy of Mixed Reality Visual Displays’. IEICE Transactions on Information and Systems. Vol. E77-D, No.12 December 1994. <>

[2] Montola, M., Stenros, J. & Waern, A. (2010) Pervasive Games, Theory & Design. Burlington: Morgan Kaufmann

[3] Benford, S. Crabtree, A. Reeves, S. et al (2006) The Frame of the Game: Blurring the Boundary between Fiction and Reality in Mobile Experiences. CHI 2006, April 2227, 2006, Montréal, Québec, Canada.

[4] Reid, J. (2008) ‘Design for Coincidence: Incorporating Real World Artefacts in Location Based Games’. DIMEA’08, Athens, September 10–12.

[5] Whittaker, E. & Brocklehurst, J. R. (2015) ‘The Lost Index: NATMUS’ [iOS Application]. Apple Inc. []

[5] Whittaker, E. (2016) ‘Inside the Snow globe: Pragmatisms, belief and the ambiguous objectivity of the imaginary’. Technoetic Arts: A Journal of Speculative Research, Vol. 13, No. 3 


StrangeBooks, Strange Stories for Strange people in a Strange World

20 Mind-expanding Short Stories

“Inspiring, liberating, otherworldly, magical, surreal, bizarre, funny, disturbing, unique… all of these words have been used to describe the stories of mike russell so put on your top hat, open your third eye and enjoy: nothing is strange.”

Strange Books are Mike Russell (Mr StrangeBooks) & Jay Snelling (Receiver and Transmitter Maintainer). More about StrangeBooks

Buy StrangeBooks on Amazon

University of Greenwich

DRHA2014 at University of Greenwich

The Digital Research in the Arts and Humanities (DRHA2014) conference took place between 31st August and 4th September at the University of Greenwich, convivially convened by Anastasios Maragiannis, Academic Portfolio leader in Design and Senior Lecturer in Design Theory & Practice.

Professor Susan Broadhurst, of Brunel University and current chair of the DRHA, informed delegates that the conference, albeit with slight changes to its name to emphasise the centrality of the arts, was in its 29th year. Performance, exhibitions and workshops ran alongside multiple streams of academic papers encompassing a breadth of interdisciplinary arts and design practices from sound to architecture. Reflective of current critical debates in the arts, the themes of space, embodiment, narrative, social media, code, data ethics and geo-political issues, proliferated the critically framed critiques of practice and expositions of theory through practice.

Highlights of the week included the paper, After the Death of Cyberflâneur by Efthymia Kasimati of National Technical University of Athens who presented a revised model for contemplating in the city. Independent scholar Sarah Jaffray’s critical exposition Aesthetic Action: Instagram’s Technogeographies of Resistance considered the changing role of Instagram as social media site from travel mementoes to guerrilla journalism, where meta-tagged images are mobilised for political activism.

Expanded narrative practices featured in themes across the conference. In the inspiring and informative workshop Practice in Writing: A recipe for Creativity and Creative Interpretation, lead by Professor Janis Jefferies of Goldsmiths, University of London and Anastasios Maragiannis, an overview of recent interactive narrative on mobile and tablet platforms framed the creation of Twitter fiction. Participants experimented with chatbots, Siri, rhyming dictionaries, alternating first-person narration and rule based systems amongst other operations of creative play.

Academic papers in narrative practices were given by Daisy Abbott of Glasgow School of Art who considered spectacle and interpretation of National Theatre Live, in her paper “Cut me to pieces”: Shakespeare, fandom and the fractured narrative. Christina Papagiannouli in Etheatre Project: Political Participation in Theatre discussed the form and implications of audience participation – “cyber collaboration”, in her theatrical re-staging of Brecht plays online. In the work of Emma Whittaker and James Brocklehurst of Plymouth University, sci-fi adventure in museums with locative narrative smartphone apps The Lost Index were considered in the context of perceptual illusions in the paper Playing With Perception: Locative Narrative and Sonic Virtual Locations. Laura Carletti of Nottingham University discussed the use of NFC tags with photographic and oral histories of Latin American Communities in the UK in Transmedia Experience Design for Audience Engagement: An Experiment with Near Field Communication.

'So Pleased to Meet You' directed by Jillian Wallis.

‘So Pleased to Meet You’ directed by Jillian Wallis.

Narratives, scripted and promoted through online interactions were the subject of the play So Pleased to Meet You, directed by Jillian Wallis of University of Greenwich and performed by the company Pattern Fight. Existential questions of being, boredom, presence and imagination were comedically posed with stagings of Chatroulette.

Ghislaine Boddington of body>data>space presented Collaborative Share Spaces and Future Digi-bodiments, a historical overview of her curatorial involvement with artists in the field of virtual worlds and telepresence over the past 25 years. The work of contemporary artists such as Joseph Hyde and his work ‘me and my shadow’ demonstrated the reoccurrence of the desire to occupy the apocryphal ‘holodeck’ and encounter teleported people (via data projections) from across the globe. Elena Papadaki discussed the relationships between sites and interactivity in Communicating Technology: Interactive design and interdisciplinary collaboration in the digital arts.


Federico Casalegno, MIT Mobile Experience Lab

While the technologies may be new, the ideas however, are frequently re-workings of artists’ earlier experiments with digital technologies, often prefigured by pre-digital practices in cyclical reoccurrence, as Professor Janis Jefferies rightly seemed to suggest in the panel discussion Research in the Digital Arts – historical perspectives and future innovations. Navigating city spaces was celebrated by Baudelaire, critiqued by Debord, narrativised by Cardiff and played using GPS enabled mobile platforms such as mscapes developed in early 2000’s by Hewlett Packard. Keynote speaker Federico Casalegno, director of MIT’s Mobile Experience Lab discussed Locast, the GPS digital mapping platform, developed in 2004 and since utilised in a number of collaborative projects including Mapping Moby-Dick.

Indy Saha, Google Creative Lab

Keynote speaker, Indy Saha celebrated a series of innovative projects developed by Google Creative Lab including YouTube Space Lab, Google Web Lab, Science Fair and the recent DevArt project aiming to promote artists as coders, currently exhibited as part of the Barbican’s Digital Revolution show. While the DevArt projects, such as Zac Lieberman’s ‘Play the world’, a keyboard that accesses live broadcast radio, are genuinely exciting, an acknowledgement of the historical precedence of artist as coders since the 1960s and previous innovation by research groups such as i-DAT would have been welcomed.

In Ghislaine Boddington’s concluding remarks of the conference she recounted that her fellow curators in East Asia require digital art to be at least as innovative and engaging as the digital environment that their audiences daily inhabit and urged that digital artists everywhere take up this challenge.

The peer reviewed DRHA2014 Book of Abstracts: Communicating futures: Connecting Interdisciplinary practices in arts/culture, academia and the creative industries, edited by Anastasios Maragiannis is available as a PDF and in print from 

The new edition of Multidisciplinary Design Practices by Anastasios Maragiannis is now available. 

DRHA 2015 will be hosted by Dublin City University 6-9th September.


Bespoke immersive storyworlds that are experienced in real-world locations using a mobile phone and your imagination.

Trulyimagined create immersive storyworlds that participants can step inside. These bespoke virtual locations are experienced within public buildings or outside in gardens, parks and urban spaces, using participants’ own smartphones to affect perceptual illusions and stimulate the imagination.

  • narrative to create immersive experiences
  • game mechanisms to produce engaging interaction
  • spatial sound to create illusions and simulate virtual locations

Trulyimagined  work with heritage sites, museums and commercial enterprises to develop new ways to engage audiences, creating immersive narrative experiences that inspire and inform. We welcome commissions from historical sites, museums, theatres, public spaces and the commercial sector. We also develop academic research projects.


Emma Whittaker: emma.whittaker [at]

James Brocklehurst: james.brocklehurst [at]


Unbuilt Room SethKriebel4

The Unbuilt Room: Scratch Quartet – Part 1 

At the Battersea Arts Centre,  Friday 5th Sept, 9pm, pay what you can.

“Small groups of players wander through rooms real and imagined in a collaborative act of memory to create imagined, immersive theatre. ”

And at The British Library new edition of the  Unbuilt Room, written to accompany the BL’s World War One exhibition Enduring War: Grief, Grit and Humour.

The British Library,  Tuesday 16 Sept from 6pm.

“The Unbuilt Room is a performance-game exploring histories and memories of World War One. Written to accompany the invaluable digital resource created from the Europeana 1914-1918 project and the exhibition Enduring War: Grief, Grit and Humour at the Folio Society Gallery of the British Library, players experience objects from the collection in a new way, navigating poetry, patriotism and doomed youth in a verbal maze. Inspired by early text-adventure computer games and Alan Turing’s famous test, The Unbuilt Room combines theatre and choose-your-own-adventure stories to form a live game of interactive fiction. Small groups of players work together to explore an imagined landscape… without leaving their seats.”

More info at




RIDERS Project Event

25 November 2013, Manchester

This event will mix creatives with computer scientists to create a day of synergy, IS exploration and great networking opportunities.

There are a talented and diverse line up of speakers,  Christine Wilks, Daniel Kudenko, and Oliver Case. Nathan Jones from mercyonline, the experimental literary and new media organisation, running the digital creative writing workshop so members can get hands on with some experiential digital writing. The full agenda on the talks and workshop to follow shortly.

Spaces will be limited, first come, first served. Interested parties can email Vivienne at: to notify their wish to attend.