The magic of storytelling: inspiring visions about the future

You are on this planet, figuring out some reason for you being here

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 Device 6 by simogo

I believe that stories are the fundamental food for the soul. We can´t live without stories. In one form or another, everybody is living on them from the age of two until their death. People do not necessarily need novels to satisfy their need for stories. They watch television or read comic books or go to the movies. In whatever form they get them, these stories are crucial. It´s through stories that we struggle to make sense of the world.  

Paul Auster

 

Paul Auster, Simogo, Unknown Fields Division and Chris Davis have something in common: they all are storytellers.

Putting words on paper, making game-like things, venturing out on expeditions to the ends of the earth or making sense of open data. The significance of their work lies on the ability to tell stories that provide us with new models for interpreting our experiences, thereby challenging and renewing the cultural stock of narratives. In short, what Tournier called the oxygen of the soul.

On the 11th of April, Simon and Gordon rubbed their eyes in disbelief after receiving an e-mail. Morten was so touched by The Sailor’s Dream, that he booked a flight, grabbed his backpack and went to Sverige to spot all those secret places hidden in their artwork.

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Was this guy seriously telling them he had just visited all of them?

Confirmation came May 3rd together with a 20 page travel log.

The Sailor’s Dream is about beauty, it’s about life, it’s about decisions, it’s about love. For Morten, most of all, it’s about the sea and the sea is above all the source of his dreams. It gives me strength and hope. That’s why the Sailor’s Dream touched me so much, and once again confronted me with my own life far away from the waves.

Narratives inspire. And like Morgan, everyone after experiencing an inspiration has their own stories to tell.

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A game designer is a narrative designer. Among legendary creators and pioneers who shared their inspiring vision about the future of interactivity during Gamelab BCN2015, what we find is great storytellers:

Chris Crawford decided to leave game design and concentrate his energies on interactive storytelling. He served as a computer system designer and observer for the 1999 and 2002 NASA Leonid MAC airborne missions, also analyzing the resulting data. He is now working on an interactive story world entitled “Siboot”, to be published in 2016, after which he will be releasing his interactive storytelling technology as open source.

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Jordan Mechner began his career as a video game creator in the 1980s. In 2010, he became the first game creator-turned-screenwriter to successfully adapt his own work as a feature film with Disney’s Prince of Persia.

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Goichi Suda – also known by his alias Suda 51- takes multiple roles as director, script writer and game designer for most of his work, with an unique and distinctive style to create original worlds. He wrote his first known song for the PlayStation 2 game “Flower, Sun, and Rain” called “F.S.R- For You” around 2000. In April 2015, “Tsukikage no Tokio” (Tokio of the Moon’s Shadow), his first writing and scenario debut on an animated short film, was presented at the Japan Anime(tor)’s Exhibition.

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Borrowing from different techniques, they all use the power of story. The same do Tomorrows Thoughts Today: exploring the consequences of fantastic, speculative and imaginary urbanisms, they imagine alternative worlds as a means to understand our own world in new ways.

Often called “cli-fi”, climate fiction is now considered a new literary genre which explores the potential, drastic consequences of climate change. Cli-fi, like the science behind it, often presents bleak visions of the future, but within such frightening prophecies lies the real possibility that it’s not too late to steer in a different direction. As Margaret Atwood wrote in MaddAddam, “People need such stories, because however dark, a darkness with voices in it is better than a silent void”.

Wherever they come from, stories have the capacity to inspire action.

The point is to broaden the horizons of the present. This is what keeps us going.

We need to work together, with data, traditional and new resources, tools, technology, to craft new visions and worldviews, trying to make sense of what we´re doing here in the world.

Transforming our lives and trying to inspire collective will for a better future.

Telling life cycle stories.

We need breath enough to shatter windows. And yet we need breath we can hold for a long time.

René Char

 

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