In less than twenty-four hours, Memory Makes Us will cease to be a repository of long-remembered things and will instead become a living breathing text. Tomorrow, the brilliant Kate Pullinger will build narrative around memories contributed by anyone, make art from found objects, and interact with an audience both online and in person. The generosity of contributors has been overwhelming. If you haven't experienced the slightly voyeuristic side of trawling through other people's memories, I highly recommended it.
From 10:00 tomorrow morning (Australian Eastern Standard Time, kids), it begins. What kind of story emerges from the soup of other people's experiences remains to be seen. But Memory Makes Us is as much about process as it is about product. Exploring the future of the book means opening up the definition of 'the book' to include any means of connecting writers with readers and the text between them.
Kate has been busy talking about Memory Makes Us and digital narratives generally.
I’ve been trying to draw these two realms that I inhabit – the world of digital multimedia and the world of literary fiction. They’re very different but for me they share a sensibility, my projects have a certain authorial voice and an interest in certain types of stories that draw them together.
CD: So the computer doesn’t just save the final product; it actually records every little thing you do? Is that nerve-wracking for a writer?
Kate: That’s nerve-wracking, absolutely. I just have to hope that I maintain my composure and don’t start typing a whole heap of swear words… I was up worrying about that last night…
CD: In a collaborative project such as this, who do you consider the real author?
Kate: It’s a big, participatory piece of work, but I think the thing you do need is to give it a narrative voice. That turns it from a mish-mash to some kind of unified text.
CD: How do you do that?
Kate: Ask me at the end of the day on Tuesday! It’s not going to have a beginning and middle and end. It’s going to have middles.