Falling Drops of Rain by Akira Watts and Niomi Fawn.
I saw this project at the AHA fair and was immediately fascinated. What was a novel doing in a booth of its own? Turns out to be a collaboration between writer Akira Watts and artist Niomi Fawn, whose work is described as Neo-Pastiche, a photographic college technique to create alternate realities.
Akira explains: Basically, my goal in the collaboration was to come up with a way of presenting text in a visual/tactile/interactive way, beyond simply having passages of text coupled with a visual interpretation – we both wanted a way to integrate text and images into an immersive experience (for me, the work I did on the Meow Wolf’s Due Return, in particular on the archival component of the show, was a spark that set me off in this direction.)
So we started with the text: extracts of an in progress novel that I’ve been battling for two years, and which Niomi has been as immersed in as myself. We took four passages, non-contiguous, and Niomi came up with multiple images/pieces to accompany/complement/enhance each one. In addition, I wanted to come up with an interesting way to present the footnotes that litter my writing (I personally love footnotes, because they can fragment the narrative in an interesting way, allowing the creation of alternate stories, and letting me, as an author, intrude into the text). That led to the wooden blocks, each of which represented a single footnote from the source texts hung on the wall. I’m happy with how they turned out, although their actual meaning/function in the piece wasn’t always immediately obvious.
WHAT I WANT TO SAY right here at the beginning is that the one thing he wanted since long before he knew, was to go into space. To hurtle to the planets and stars in a lonely empty metal shell caked with the dust of galaxies. To go somewhere so new that no one had even thought to think it.
This needs to be so very clear because it is the one thing you must know about him before all this begins. He wants to go to space and this isn’t science fiction and the ending is determined and so he never will. This breaks his heart.
And so it must break mine and yours.1
1. Outside of footnotes, there is perhaps no greater cliché in the literary world than that of a writer commenting on his own writing.