by Annie Briard*
The Woōds is a handmade world that can be explored via text messages sent from mobile devices to a curious resident of a surreal forest named Celia (a playful anagram of Alice). A video camera enables Celia to motion-track passers-by and follow them with her eyes. If someone stops in front of her, she will wave, inviting the person to communicate with her. One initiates a narrative sequence with a text message via an extensive database of keywords programmed to activate various scenes. Celia might lick a mushroom, lose her mouth, or grow a bird beak. She could eat a seed and be enveloped by a cocoon or give her eyes to the trees to watch over her. This choose-your-own-adventure structure conflates fictional and real time and plays with perceived control and actual agency. The following video sequence, created for this issue of Interventions, is one of dozens of possible narratives prompted by a text message.
Video documentation of the interactive process taking place on the streets of Victoria, BC last August can be viewed here.
The Woōds was produced in association with Limbic Media, with support from the BC Film and Interactive Media Fund, Emily Carr University’s President Fund, and The Banff Centre.
*Annie Briard is a Canadian artist whose videos, animations, drawings, and installations have been exhibited across Canada and in the United States, Europe, Australia, and China. She holds a BFA from Concordia University and a SSHRC-funded MAA in media arts from Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Her work is represented by Joyce Yahouda Gallery.