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Digital Blood....

Fig. 1.

Digital Blood

by Marjorie Franklin

DigitalBlood (Figs 1 and 2) [1]---written and directed by Marjorie Franklin, virtual machines by Paul Tompkins---is an interactive narrative on CD-ROM about mothers, babies and artificial life. It is also about emotional machines, love for one's creations and the struggle for power in computer/human interactions and baby/mother relationships.

The narrative of Digital Blood is experienced through a series of virtual machines that the visitor operates. The visitor is introduced to the narrator and the story out on a cold, windy plain at a drive-in movie theater. After the introduction to the story, the visitor (visually) sinks into the mud, falls to the first station in the story and has the opportunity to operate the first machine in order to see and hear the first stage of the story. After each machine is through narrating its part of the story, the visitor sinks further to the next machine. After the narrative is finished, the visitor sinks further, then falls out of the sky into the drive-in movie again. Besides the narrative, further amusement may be had from the menu/poems and mouse games embedded in the story.

Fig. 2.

Digital Blood is the story of two friends, An (a researcher in benign virus/agent production) and Lin (an intelligent interface designer), both recent mothers who are taking some time off from work to care for and get to know their infants. To amuse themselves, they elaborate on each other's computer work. Lin creates surreal interfaces for An's viruses---making her machine sing and shout. An creates viruses that cause Lin's interfaces to evolve during use and to feel alive.

After months of this, as their game gets more and more intense and they make use of what their babies are teaching them, they start losing control of their computers. They finally realize that there is another entity inhabiting their systems. In the game, they have created an independent, evolving construct that one would have to say is living. Is this a threat to be destroyed or a treasure to be cherished and nurtured?

Digital Blood: Part 0 was shown at the opening of the Mill Valley Film Festival, October 1997.

[Note 1]:

Digital Blood: Part 0 was created on a Power Macintosh 9500 computer using Director, Photoshop, SoundEdit, Strata Studio Pro and Premiere software.

Figure 1:

Marjorie Franklin, introductory scene from Digital Blood, an interactive narrative on CD-ROM, 1997. (Virtual spaces and machines: Paul Tompkins. Poems: Alex Prisadsky.)

Figure 2:

Marjorie Franklin,Digital Blood, an interactive narrative on CD-ROM, 1997. As the narrative progresses, the menu bar often contains poems or bits of the story. (Virtual spaces and machines: Paul Tompkins. Poems: Alex Prisadsky.)

Marjorie Franklin, P.O. Box 14884, Minneapolis, MN 55414-0884, U.S.A. E-mail: frank046@tc.umn.edu>

| Copyright 1998 ISAST |

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