Stories with a distance

We love the thrill of the chase – the pursuit of a love interest,
finding a new challenge, tracking down a recommended book – and the
chase depends on the target being at either a temporal or spatial
distance. Between here and there is a space of intrigue, or drive, of
desire, in which the ‘getting there’ is an exhilarating experience all
of its own – separate from the experience of arriving, achieving or

I’m reminded of Siri Hustvedt’s words in A Plea for Eros,; Hustvedt
describes the definition of yonder as ‘between here and there’ and
goes on to say:

“The truth is that what fascinates me is not so much being in a place
as not being there: how places live in the mind once you have left
them, how they are imagined before you arrive, or how they are
seemingly called out of nothing to illustrate a thought or story…
These mental spaces map our inner lives more fully than any ‘real’
map, delineating the borders of here and there that also shape what we
see in the present”

I also recall Emma Cocker’s work Not Yet There, which ‘explores how
ideas of irresolution, uncertainty, disorientation and the process of
getting lost can be discussed as strategic conditions of artistic
practice, and understood as part of a wider interdisciplinary
framework or cultural language.’ In my naivete, when I heard Emma talk
about this body of work, I asked whether the title ‘Never Getting
There’ would be more appropriate, reflecting the desire to perpetually
inhabit this between space/time, but I now think this misses the
point. This ‘between’ space and time functions only in that it is not
so much a space and time in itself, but a space and time on the way to
something else – that there is ostensibly something as yet unreached,
and as such is different, and ripe with possibility.

The notion of distance is especially pertinent to the experience of a
story: when we’re inside stories, as readers, listeners or member of
an audience, we deliberately inhabit the space-time between the
beginning and the end, always desiring to know what happens next, and
regularly disappointed when we reach the conclusion.

The stories I’m currently thinking about and creating oscillate around
two questions:

Who has inhabited this space that I currently inhabit, and what are
their stories?

Who, in this moment, is telling a story that I can experience?

With the variety of digital tools at our fingertips, and the
accompanying growing attitude of shaping and scheduling what we chose
to experience, the context illuminates the questions. Tools are
already being developed that will allow content to be spatially and
temporally indexed – think audioboo, seven scenes, anywhere 2.0,
Calvium’s PRL platform – but what I really want to discover or create
is the material that makes sense of, and exploits, the defined
‘between’ spaces that add currency to content.

If you know of exciting stories being shared in particular places, or
at particular times, please get in touch.


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