in a nutshell
Unreliable Narrator is an interactive installation which keeps you in the dark, quite literally and then shows you a wonderful surprise when you turn on the light. This project was inspired by the fact that our lives is a story and we are the unreliable narrators of our lives. . We all have a definitive beginning and a definitive end but the path we choose to get there can be multiple. It can also be compared to a maze for which there is start and an end and various ways to through the maze. Each of us have a different way through life and it all depends on the decisions we take at every point in our lives.
“Unreliable Narrator!… Unreliable Narrators are considered a device, right?
Don’tanswer. They are. They are and they don’t get a lot of literary analysis
because it’s a gimmick. It’s a trick. I mean Canterbury Tales gets a
shoutout because,you know, it’s good but typically it’s used for popcorn
crime novels and thriller movies Agatha Christie, Usual Suspects, so on and so forth.
But I’m going to argue that every narrator by its very definition is unreliable because
when you tell a story there’s always an essential distance between the story itself and the
telling of said story, right? So therefore every story that has ever been told has an
Unreliable Narrator. The only truly reliable narrator would be someone
hypothetically telling a story that unfolds before our very eyes which is obviously
very impossible. So what does that tell us? That the only truly reliable narrator
is life itself. But life itself is also completely unreliable because it is constantly
misdirecting and misleading us and taking us on this journey where it is literally
impossible to predict where it is going to go next…
Life as the ultimate Unreliable Narrator.”
This monologue was delivered by the protagonist of the movie ‘Life Itself’ about the life of a New York couple as they go from college romance to marriage and the birth of their first child. The unexpected twists of their journey creates ripples of consequences that echo over continents and through lifetimes. This movie demonstrates by itself the concept of the literary device unreliable narrator. In literature, an unreliable narrator is a character who tells a story with a lack of credibility. This story also demonstrates how everything in the world is connected together through the concept of the Butterfly Effect.
The installation comprises of a map which is hidden. A pressure sensor which is mounted under a mat which when stepped lights up the map for a quick second, enough to memorize your path, an invisible ink pen with which you can trace your path and a black light which finally shows the entire path at the end of the experience.
The entire experience has been compared to life metaphorcally –
- The Map represents Life
- The sensors which light it up represents the cues and opportunities and hints we keep getting in our lives. These cues come and go and can also be disguised in many forms. They wont always present themselves but they will be there if you are looking for them.
- The invisible ink path represent all your actions, which may or may not always show tangible outcomes. They may not always be successful decisions but they will still help you get through the maze.
- The black light represents the time. The time for introspection. To see your progress.
- The final piece shows how no matter what path you take you are still going to reach the final end which is common to all. The journey, the path is what matters.
documentation and process
The project took 4 weeks right from conceptualization to production and then the final show!