Citron


Norma and Virginia lived together in Chicago for forty-five years. They died one after the other alone in their home, the vibrant lesbian community of their youth long gone; their tiny Chicago bungalow stuffed with objects – matchbook covers of bars where they’d danced, paint-by-numbers left half finished, bowling shirts Norma wore, and over two thousand snapshots of lesbian life spanning four decades. Leftovers, an interactive narrative, uses their snapshots and objects to explore the unforeseen trajectory of a life lived at the margins. It examines the complex relationship between objects, memory, and experience: How do objects mean at the psychological, social, and historical level? How do we use objects, especially home images, to construct identity? How does this meaning change over time, even after our death? At the same time Leftovers reinvents the way we tell stories.

Leftovers is the forth, and final, section of Queer Feast. Earlier sections of this larger work – As American As Apple Pie (1999), Cocktails & Appetizers (2001), and Mixed Greens (2004)— were shown at iDEAs 2005. Each piece in Queer Feast is a stand alone work; together they create a multi-course meal, which is simultaneously a mosaic of lesbian life played out through its contradictions of class, desire and the minutiae of daily life. Created at the intersection of film’s linearity and new media’s interactivity, Queer Feast represents an evolving investigation into the paradoxes of narrative: How is coherence created from fragments? Can users be sensitized to narrative’s constructed nature? Can stories be structured to respect contradiction? Leftovers is the final experiment in the series. A documentary narrative, created in Flash, it is mainly linear with large sections of interactivity that allow viewer/users to explore the snapshots in depth.

Leftovers is divided into 16 chapters. Each chapter has an interface, which has within it a paint-by-number photograph. By clicking on the photograph the user gains access to the content of that chapter, which is presented in one of three formats: a Flash movie, a QuickTime movie, or an interactive movie. Played chronologically, the sixteen chapters tell the story of Norma and Virginia during the last years of their lives, juxtaposed again the images and objects of their youth. The piece is filled with movement that is sometimes programmed and other times motivated by the user. There is also a strong visual contrast created by the juxtaposition of the illustrative (the paint-by-numbers, which were created for Leftovers from Norma and Virginia’s snapshots) and their actual photographs.