Digital Book: The Whale Hunt

This is just extraordinary!

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The Whale Hunt by Jonathan Harris


The purpose of this project was threefold:

First, to experiment with a new interface for human storytelling. The photographs are presented in a framework that tells the moment-to-moment story of the whale hunt. The full sequence of images is represented as a medical heartbeat graph along the bottom edge of the screen, its magnitude at each point indicating the photographic frequency (and thus the level of excitement) at that moment in time. A series of filters can be used to restrict this heartbeat timeline, isolating the many sub stories occurring within the larger narrative (the story of blood, the story of the captain, the story of the arctic ocean, etc.). Each viewer will experience the whale hunt narrative differently, and not necessarily in a linear fashion, constructing his or her own understanding of the experience.

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I’d begin by reading a bit about the Interface:

The Whale Hunt website was developed as an experimental interface for storytelling. Given an epic real world story, with lots of content and lots of metadata, how can the narrative be faithfully retold? The project presented a number of interesting design problems, including: how to present a large set of photographs (3,214) online while keeping download times relatively brief; how to express both the topography of the entire narrative and the ways in which any single moment fits into that narrative; how to extract and reveal the many substories occuring within the context of the larger story; how to convey the many feelings experienced on the hunt (boredom, fatigue, curiosity, excitement, exhaustion, sublime beauty); and more generally how to restage an epic real world experience on the Internet. The resulting Whale Hunt interface is described in more detail below.

Click = big

Click = big

Go look. Warning: Bloody at the end!

— thanks to Steve Averill via Twitter.

One Response to Digital Book: The Whale Hunt

  1. laura says:

    Very interesting project to investigate storytelling and user interaction with digital content. Thanks for bringing attention to it.

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