Drift Interruptions Version 2 is an interactive software visualization of the path not taken. It attempts an aesthetic visualization of choice by presenting several decisive moments in literary accounts of travel.

The algorithm is a simple multiplicative abstraction. The current storyline is displayed as a solid line emitting pictographic representations of the story.

When the visitor provides a change in direction (through motion detection or
joystick control), the narrated storyline changes and a superimposed view of the opposing path appears. Each successive change results in this continued contra-concert, where additional storylines are spawned in the opposite direction of the current narrative. As time progresses, the relevance of former paths declines, and they are removed from view.

Curating the Narratives

The narratives chosen voice outsider anxiety and the author’s relationship to space. They all use flow as the vehicle that propels the story. This flow may be a river meandering down a Vietnamese river, a boat bobbing off the coast of Canada, or the perpetual movement of a bicycle in traffic.

Each line is meant to construct a virtual sculpture, which is built using contemporary western notions of storytelling. The visitor spins a yarn, or follows a story’s path until it expires. The result is an architected path, a score of one’s travels that lasts as long as the visitor continues to change direction. Otherwise, each path diminishes with time.

The result is an environment under which the visual and meaning are under tension. By directing the visual, meaning is complicated. By pursing cohesive meaning, the visual is made unremarkable.

The narratives include travel writing by noted authors Tim O’Brien, Andrew X. Pham, Cormac McCarthy and others.

The Visualization:

The visual concept on which this Version 2 is based is entirley derived from rivers and roads as one direction conduits of travel. The word Drift is meant to emphasize the way in which even the most resolute of objects must be pushed. While a leaf may drift along the road, or float on the surface of a river, even stones move under the pressure of perptual movement.

Gallery of Images    
Drift interruptions Version 2    

Reading and Reference

Drift Interruptions Version 2 (.pdf)