The Freud-Lissitzky Navigator
by Lev Manovich and Norman Klein

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The Freud-Lissitzky Navigator,1999
(© Lev Manovich)

The Freud-Lissitzky Navigator is the partial reconstruction of a mythical computer game whose history spans the whole of the twentieth century. It is a computer-game prototype; a narrative about software; a virtual exhibition; an imaginary software; a tool for navigating twentieth-century cultural history; and an experiment in developing analysis of new media that uses the very forms of new media (in this case, computer games and software interfaces). The project grew out of conversations between Klein and Manovich about a problem that Klein had been wrestling with since 1995: how to imagine a navigable game for Sigmund Freud’s book The Interpretation of Dreams. If our civilization runs on databases, then somehow novels constructed purely from data should follow. They should sprawl like Balzac or Tolstoy but also rush along as if the nineteenth-century masters were reincarnated as game designers.
Norman Klein
4513 Wawona Street
Los Angeles, CA 90065-5232.

Lev Manovich
Visual Arts Department
University of California at San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0084

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