Civilian Analogs of Army Tasks

November 3, 2014 | Singpore

Speaker: Andrew S. Gordon, Catherine Wang, Matt Bosack, and Jessa Sininger
Host: International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling

Over the last decade, millions of people have used their public weblogs to tell personal stories about their life experiences. Often intended only for close friends and associates, publishing these stories on the web affords storytelling across enormous distances and time to unimagined audiences, who learn from the experiences narrated in these posts and apply their lessons to their own situations. This artwork, entitled “Civilian Analogs of Army Tasks,” challenges the audience to consider the longevity of these personal stories, and what their collective wisdom offers for audiences far away in time and space.

The piece consists of two main parts. First, through the medium of a digital graphic novel, it tells the story of a post-apocalyptic future where a dying father and his young daughter survive in a bomb shelter under the rubble of a drive-in theater. Second, through an interactive browser application, and a mouse interface, museum patrons navigate high level categories of military relevance, including “Battle Command,” “Stability Operations,” and “Leadership.” For each, they are presented with lists of civilian activities with overlapping skill sets, e.g. “firefighting,” “construction work,” and “sports refereeing.” In turn, each of these is linked to lists of weblog posts that tell personal stories about these activities, written by real people. In all, 1,425 stories are organized into 102 civilian activities, and eight high level military concerns. These stories are displayed as they appeared on the web in 2014.