Paradoxical Realities: A Creative Consideration of Realismo Maravilhoso in an Interactive Digital Narrative
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This artistic, practice-led thesis is concerned with the potentials of polyvocality and interactive digital narrative. The practical project, Saints of Paradox, is formatted as a printed picture book that can be expanded through the use of AR (Augmented Reality) technology. The technical structure of the book allows for the reading of different versions of a story told by three distinctive narrators (saints). These saints are syncretic and they interpret a story through changes in illustrative content and monologue. The artistic artefact is formatted as a series of pictorial sets 'in potentia'. Once engaged with through a mobile device, animated characters populated a luxuriously illustrated world accompanied by a complex cinematic soundscape. In the development of the illustrations, I draw syncretism and photomontage into artistic relationality and explore ideological tensions and mysteries resulting from decontextualisation and recontextualisation. Conceptually, the research project is concerned with storytelling and realismo maravilhoso (a distinctive form of Latin American magical realism), so the exegesis reflects on certain socio-cultural constructs that permeate divisions between belief and actuality. Methodologically, the project emanates from an artistic research paradigm (Klein, 2010) that supports a heuristic approach (Douglass & Moustakas, 1985) to the discovery and refinement of ideas. Thus, the research draws upon both tacit and explicit knowledge in the development of a fictional narrative, its structure, and stylistic treatments.