The Breathing Wall

– The Breathing Wall (2004), Kate Pullinger –

The Breathing Wall is a digital fiction that responds to the reader’s rate of breathing. The innovative software enables the computer to register the physiological effect of the story on the reader and to alter the experience accordingly. The more relaxed the reader becomes, the deeper they enter into the piece. It tells the story of a girl, Lana, communicating with her boyfriend, Michael, through the wall of his prison cell. She is dead; he’s been falsely convicted of her murder. The story is told in parts, alternating between day-dreams and night-dreams. The day-dreams use image, text and sound to uncover the tale through a linear multimedia narrative. The night-dreams use video and sound loops; to experience the night-dreams the reader needs a headset that includes earphones and a microphone. By positioning the microphone under your nose, the night-dreams respond to your breathing. The goal of these sections is to induce a hypnotic or meditative state in the reader, allowing he or she to enter the dream.


About the Authors:

Kate Pullinger writes for both print and digital platforms. Her latest novel Landing Gear takes the story told in Pullinger’s collaborative multimedia digital work, co-created with Chris Joseph, Flight Paths: A Networked Novel, and develops it further. Pullinger collaborated with novelist and theatre-maker Neil Bartlett to create the digital war memorial, Letter to an Unknown Soldier. Pullinger’s novel The Mistress of Nothing won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, one of Canada’s most prestigious literary prizes. Her prize-winning digital fiction project Inanimate Alice has reached audiences around the world. New projects include a new novel, to be published in 2017, and a novel for smartphones, ‘Jellybone’. Pullinger is Professor of Creative Writing and Digital Media at Bath Spa University. Kate Pullinger gives talks and readings frequently. She is Professor of Creative Writing and Digital Media at Bath Spa University. As well as Landing Gear and The Mistress of Nothing, Kate Pullinger’s books include A Little StrangerWeird Sister, The Last Time I Saw Jane, Where Does Kissing End?, which were all published in new ebook editions in the spring of 2014. Other projects include a libretto based on Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, commissioned by the Slovak National Theatre in collaboration with the composer Lubica Cekovska. This work was premiered in Bratislava in November 2013 and well reviewed in the German, Austrian, and American press, including a good review in The New York Times. Kate Pullinger was born in Cranbrook, British Columbia, and went to high school on Vancouver Island. She dropped out of McGill University, Montreal, after a year and a half of not studying philosophy and literature, then spent a year working in a copper mine in the Yukon, northern Canada, where she crushed rocks and saved money. She spent that money travelling and ended up in London, England, where she has been ever since. She is married and has two children.

Chris Joseph  is a British/Canadian writer and artist who works primarily with electronic text, sound and image. His past projects include ‘NRG’, a bicycle-powered interactive multimedia narrative created during his time as the first Digital Writer-in-Residence at the Institute of Creative Technologies in De Montfort University, Leicester, UK; ‘Animalamina’, a collection of interactive multimedia poetry for children funded by the Canada Council for the Arts and Canadian Heritage; and the interactive multimedia fiction series ‘Inanimate Alice’, one of several collaborations with Canadian author Kate Pullinger, that include ‘The Breathing Wall’ and the collaborative digital fiction series ‘Flight Paths’. He has been awarded the IBM Prize for New Media and was the recipient of the first ‘Premio per l’Arte Digitale’ for his work on Inanimate Alice, awarded by the Italian Ministry of Culture, Department for Cultural and Environmental Heritage, National Museum for 21st Century Arts and the Fondazione Rosselli.

Stefan Schemat is a software artist based in Berlin.