Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Holo-bard

As I recently put in motion plans for a new monthly reading series, I've had a little more pep in my step. When doing The Liquid Burning series I enjoyed the feel of a regular community of writers, a place to try out new work aloud. I've been thinking about the oral tradition, Homer, mythologies, campfire stories. Some of my own writing, I think, benefits from the live experience. One of my short stories in particular lends itself better to a performative reading, a piece called Nagasaki Lagoon has done quite well piquing rapt crowds and rousing laughter at various readings but has had trouble finding a home in the lit journals.

I've been a bit of a homebody over the past year, and I do enjoy being a homebody, because I like my home and pitter pattering around like a fogey doing my own thing, minimizing occurrences of feeling rushed out the door to something, but I do feel the urge to get out a little more, and enjoy the thriving literary community in Chicago. 

I recently read Dave Eggers' A Hologram for the King. I actually skipped out on hitting up a meet and greet with him at Book Cellar in Lincoln Square this morning, so much for me getting out more! But this was because I did get out quite a bit last night, attending my photographer friend Zach's studio launch party (the free wine, beer and some African wine of sorts that was beyond strong did me in) and another little party downtown right after at the Hard Rock Hotel where my friends Chris and Candace were using a Groupon stay and celebrating their recent engagement; hotel room stocked with hard liquor. And I was supposed to go to another housewarming party after that but I was in no shape. So in all fairness, I decided not to breathe fumes on Dave Eggers. 

In his book, an IT company bids to do such services for King Abdullah's Economic City in Saudi Arabia. Their premier product; a holographic teleconference system. I've been fascinated with where holographic technology may develop, and how that, combined with motion sensor video game technology can make way for some radical virtual reality systems. True, we're ever usurping real life experience with digital varieties, and I do regret this sometimes. However, I am interested in how a virtual reality system could foster risk taking to be practiced later in the outside, real arena. Dreams are thought to serve a similar purpose; a hypnogogic playground where actions don't have consequences.

I'd be curious in how the development of holographic technology could expand the literary experience and preserve an author's live readings for a long, long time. This could never replace the in face experience of an actual reading at a bar, cafe, or bookstore. No, what excites me is instead of YouTubing your favorite writers and their taped readings, let's pull up a holograph of George Saunders in your living room! As live lit is booming in different cities, there's a resurfacing of the oral tradition, and as technology continues to expand capabilities, it'd be rad to see such technology complement the storytelling experience, exploring new varieties within mediums,  though not replacing them. Let us conjure the likes of modern Homers to haunt digital pathways.

1 comment:

Jeb said...

Have yet to read any old Eggers (sans a short story — sorry for saying sans) but if we're talking holostyle, I can't ever step away from some of the brilliance of Star Trek: TNG.

Long live Picard, long live the Homeric tradition.