The Broadside of a Yarn
is a multi-modal performative pervasive networked narrative attempt to chart fictional fragments of new and long-ago stories of near and far-away seas with nought but a QR code reader and an unbound atlas of hand-made maps of dubious accuracy.
This project is, in a Situationist sense, a wilfully absurd endeavour. How can I, a displaced native of rural Nova Scotia (New Scotland), perform the navigation of a narrative route through urban Edinburgh (Old Scotland)? How can any inhabitant of dry land possibly understand the constantly shifting perspective of stories of the high seas?
The Broadside of a Yarn
remediates the broadside, a form of networked narrative popular from 16th century onward. Broadsides were written on a wide range of topical subjects, cheaply printed on single sheets of paper (often with images), widely distributed, and posted and performed in public. During the Remediating the Social
exhibition, The Broadside of a Yarn
was posted as a grid of A3-sized square maps at Inspace gallery, and freely distributed as broadside-sized sheet. The images to the right (click to enlarge) offer a sense of the cartographic space of The Broadside of a Yarn
, but they are representations of the work, not the work itself. [Some of the QR codes in these low-resolution images may not work on some phones.]
Like the printed broadside ballads of old, the public posting of The Broadside of a Yarn
signified that it was intended to be performed. Embedded within the highly visual cartographic space of this printed map are QR codes which link mobile devices to computer-generated narrative dialogues. These digital texts may serve as scripts for poli-vocal performances. They may propose imprecise and possibly impossible walking routes through the city. Or they may suggest a journey of another kind, a pervasive performative wander through a sea of stories. The Broadside of a Yarn
conflates and confabulates characters, facts, and forms of poetic, narrative, cartographic and quasi-scientific accounts of fantastical islands, impossible pilots, and all manner of voyages into unknown streets, harbours, and seas undertaken over the past 2340 years or so. An incomplete list of references is offered to the right.
A poli-vocal performance based on The Broadside of a Yarn
wias presented Thursday 1st November 20.00 in the Sculpture Court, Edinburgh College of Art. Remediating the Social program
A comprehensive overview of the Remediating the Social conference and exhibition has bee posted on Electronic Literature Authoring Software by Judy Malloy: ELMCIP Invites Scholars and Artists to Remediating the Social, Edinburgh, November 1-3, 2012
Download a free e-book of the Remediating the Social exhibition catalogue
THE BROADSIDE OF A BIBLIOGRAPHY
A Civic Survey & Plan for Edinburgh (1949)
Agricola, Tacitus (97-98)
Antarctic Ocean, Defence Mapping Agency Hydrographic / Topographic Centre, Washington, D.C. (1967)
Bartholomew’s Pocket Plan of Edinburgh and Suburbs, Geographical Institute
Black’s Guide to Edinburgh and its Environs (1879)
Bleau Atlas of Scotland (1654)
City of Edinburgh Transport Map, Geographical Institute
Edinburgh Streetscape Manual, Lothian Regional Council (1995)
The Firth of Forth in Old Picture Postcards Volume 2 (1990)
Geography, Strabo (30 BCE)
On the Ocean, Pytheas (320 BCE - now lost)
Ordnance Survey Quarter-inch Map of Great Britain: Firth of Forth
The Owl and the Pussycat, Edward Lear (1871)
Pilot Handbook, Forth Yacht Clubs Association (1986)
Natural History, Pliny the Elder (77)
Scottish Island Hopping: A guide for the Independent Traveller (1994)
The Secret Sharer, Joseph Conrad (1910)
The Tempest, William Shakespeare (1610–11)
The Uncanny, Sigmund Freud (1919)
Victorian Ordnance Survey Maps of Scotland: Edinburgh (1896)
Voyages and Discoveries, Richard Hakluyt (1589–1600)
Walks From City Bus Routes, Edinburgh City Transport
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod, Eugene Field (1889)
, for commissioning this work.
To Mark Daniels at Inspace
, Simon Biggs and Elizabeth Hodson at Edinburgh College of Art, and Donna Leishman and Steve Gibson for Edinburgh ground support.
To everyone who helped me find maps, charts, books, phamplets and other ephemera at Old Town Bookshop
, National Library of Scotland
and National Museums Scotland in Edinburgh, and at The British Library
and The Bodleian Library
maps Reading Rooms.
To Totcom Copy Centre
in Totnes and Edinburgh Copy Shop
in Edinburgh, for their great patience with artist's print projects.
To the performance writing programming consultation team: Caden Lovelace, Braille Fem, Amy McDeath, and Steve Booth.
To Barbara Bridger, secret sharer of dramaturgy.
And to Jerome Fletcher for everything else.
J. R. Carpenter 2012