project definition – refined

Part of presenting our work after assessment is exhibiting at the grad show (details to come!) for which we need a short blurb or bit of information about our work.

This is what I’m working on so far – your thoughts are appreciated!

The Infinite Unimaginable

The Library of Babel is a short story by Argentinian author, Jorge Luis Borges, which explores ideas of language and the infinite, through the metaphor of the universe as library. My work proposes this story as an interactive book for the iPad.

 This project utilises the interactive potential of the medium to illuminate the themes of the story, which is rich in symbolism and unknown to many readers. The iPad app ‘Borges’ Labyrinths’ links ideas and imagery in the story in a way that is presently uncharted in interactive books. It allows you to enter the labyrinth that Borges has created, a rich reading experience for lovers of literature.

 A combination of type, photographic and motion elements draw the reader into the story in an immersive exploration that goes deeper than the printed book is capable of.

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labyrinths: suggestions from others

My tutor sent me these links:

“Borges essays, while short, can be baroque affairs. They are the mark of a “delirious archivist,” as Umberto Eco called him, of a man who lives amidst legions of chattering books. He constructs his essays like a vast puzzle, piling quip upon quote, leading you ever deeper into a thicket of metaphors. Occasionally, they are almost formless, as if their writer has been so carried away by the force of his reading that he has forgotten the point he set out to make. Yet, a careful reading will always reveal the fragile thread between each idea, the links that made Borges not only a consummate reader and thinker but a peerless writer.” NANDINI RAMACHANDRAN

A friend reminded me of the labyrinths in Alice in Wonderland

And also the maze in the fourth Harry Potter book, The Goblet of Fire:

I also watched Bowie’s 1986 ‘The Labyrinth’ on Friday – which probably deserves more than a passing reference, but I’m a bit busy, as its assessment submission day for task 2 of 3.

With less than subtle references to Escher in creating an incomprehensible reality.. While I was on vimeo I also found this, a typographic treatment of a quote from the Borges story, The Aleph.

Borges’ Labyrinths + Doctor Who – Part 2

Continuing my collection of the labyrinthine imagery contained in the new Doctor Who series…

Murillo suggested  that “each of Borges’ stories contains one or several variations of the labyrinth theme… the plan of a city, the sands of the desert, a spider web, a flaming pyre, and the dream state…” (‘The Labyrinths of Jorge Luis Borges’, 1959)

The opening of series six begins with a flaming pyre, beginning a confusing sequence of events in space and time. 

The dream state made an appearance early on in series five, in ‘Amy’s Choice’ (Nye, S., 2010, 5:7) where the character of the mysterious Dream Lord who conjures two false realities to force Amy to make a choice. Interestingly, the TARDIS also features a lot of hexagonal design this season. Coincidence?

My mother suggested to me that I had missed the main point – the TARDIS itself is a labyrinth. 

This is actually explored a bit more in The Doctor’s Wife episode (2011, Moffat S., 6:4) in which the two companion characters, Rory and Amy, run through a maze-like arrangement of the TARDIS’ corridors, pursued and taunted by the omnipresent voice of the creator of this particular labyrinth.More hexagons (references to Borges’ ‘Babel’?), fear, a beast that appears to destroy them, apparent death, and finally salvation by the actual owner of the TARDIS, the Doctor, who alone can unravel the maze.

 

Interestingly enough, the Minotaur has made an appearance before in Doctor Who (1972, Bernard P., season 9)…

and will appear again in the second half of series six, as indicated in the trailer for part two.

Have I missed any? What other labyrinth metaphors or allusions are there in Moffat’s new Doctor Who?

REFERENCE LIST:

Murillo, L.A. 1959, ‘The Labyrinths of Jorge Luis Borges: An introductory to the stories of The Aleph’, Modern Language Quarterly, 20:3 , pp.259-266.

All images from the television series Doctor Who, episodes indicated.
New seasons’ screen caps from http://doctorwho.sonicbiro.co.uk/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Borgian labyrinth imagery in Doctor Who – Part 1

An article by L..A. Murillo (1959) discusses the idea of the labyrinth presented in the work of Jorge Luis Borges, and in reading this article, I noticed a lot of parallels with recent plots and settings in the remake of Doctor Who. This is a cumulating collection of Doctor Who labyrinth imagery and/or metaphors as described by Murillo, referring to the works of Borges.

Murillo suggests that  “each of Borges’ stories contains one or several variations of the labyrinth theme. In The Aleph it is not overly difficult to make out the nucleus of images that Borges uses for the labyrinth: the plan of a city, the sands of the desert, a spider web, a flaming pyre, and the dream state…”
(‘The Labyrinths of Jorge Luis Borges’, 1959)

Russel T Davies and Gareth Roberts use the metaphor of the sands of the desert when creating a planet that is entirely sand dunes (2009, ‘Planet of the Dead’, 4:15)

Interestingly, they also work in the labyrinthine city image – the planet used to be a thriving metropolis-planet in the past: 

The most relevant example for this project is ‘The Silence in the Library’ story arc (2008, Steven Moffat) which imagined a planet entirely composed of books – called ‘The Library‘. The darkness lurking there and recalls Murillo’s associations of the labyrinth with the fear of death and the helplessness of man (p.266, 1959). The plot recalls the original labyrinth myth in the terrifying beast/destroyer lurking in the library and the apparent inability to escape, but for the maker of the labyrinth – the character whose family created The Library is the one who possesses the knowledge to let them escape.

In another interesting layer, it also recalls Borges’ Babel in the sidelined role of humans within the library, and the search to find out what is at the heart of the library and discover its purpose to decipher it. Characters are ‘saved’ or ‘consumed’ (depending on your viewpoint and understanding of labyrinth stories) by both the character at the centre of the library (Cal) and also the ‘beast’ (the Vashta Nerada). 

More to come!

Reference List:

Murillo, L.A. 1959, ‘The Labyrinths of Jorge Luis Borges: An introductory to the stories of The Aleph’, Modern Language Quarterly, 20:3 , pp.259-266.

All images from the television series Doctor Who, episodes indicated.
Screen caps from http://doctorwho.sonicbiro.co.uk/.

elegy – Borges & experimentation


Draft experiments, working with the text of Elegy (Borges, J.L. 1964, translated by D.A.Y.)


(all images by me)

Not sure if this is heading in a final direction //
or if its just a dry run for The Book Thief (Zusak).

I like the incredible concepts in Labyrinths by Borges, and the turn of phrase is interesting, but not as lyrically compelling as The Book Thief. In some ways, this almost means there’s more reason to express it visually; to intrigue people to read it; to promote an author who is slightly less accessible.

On the other hand, is it worth it? And are the concepts along the line with my thoughts on reading and the richness and power of stories? I need to search for some excerpts/the vibe of the Book Thief. Then we’ll know a bit more about where things are heading.

//

Had a look at ‘the Brief’ requirements for next week. Have some bare bones thoughts, but they seem surprisingly inadequate and empty compared to how I’ve been describing it to people. Need to mine this blog, my smaller ‘thoughts’ notebook, and possibly record some conversations where I explain the project.

precedent/inspiration/experiment

in multiples of: ONE

Alice in Wonderland for the iPad


(I need to get this)

Image by Edward Sumner

“I imagined a place encircled by a single bookshelf in the form of a spiral. The domain encased within the infinite spiral itself is the library. Infinite forest of books is created from layering of 9m high walls punctuated by large apertures.”Amy Frearson, dezeen.com

– Jorges Luis Borges – The Library of Babel