s t a r t l e  

based on 2 scenes from the 1922 film, Nosferatu, by F.W. Murnau, with audio from orchestral soundtrack by Hans Erdmann.

Interactive setting and programming by Barbara Lattanzi.

This is a work of low-bandwidth cinema.

This means that the download process (approximately 10min. with a 54k modem) is part of the experience of the work. During download, 2.8mb of text, images, and sound gradually will coalesce on your screen.

Interaction: After the opening title, there is only one main screen. How as well as where you move the cursor affects the images and the soundtrack. (Clicking the mouse generally does nothing, although one small button will get you to a credit screen.)

Your interaction serves to orchestrate image and sound. First, an algorithm, similar to a random coin toss, controls the text by determining whether the sequence of words progresses forward or backwards. A minute or two after the text appears, sound will be heard. If your cursor is over black, then the sound increments pitch upward. If your cursor is over white, then the sound increments pitch downward. (You can test this by holding the cursor over the black and white boxes at the edge of the movie frame.) As images begin to display on screen, they will change depending upon cursor movement or stasis, as well as the cursor's relative positioning on the screen. Eventually over 200 images of tiny file size will download to your computer. Images of a tiny figure will appear as the final quarter of the movie begins to display on your screen.

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S T A R T L E 


1. Nosferatu's agent, Renfield, understands that behind every appearance there are at least two meanings.

2. Hidden, almost camouflaged in the landscape, Renfield emerges from behind a rock. He is listening for his pursuers. He tells himself, "The Master is coming".

3. That same night, Mina Harker awakens out of a deep sleep. What does she hear that seems so near? On a previous night, before Jonathon Harker's return from Nosferatu's castle, she declares in a sleepwalking trance, "He is coming. I must go to meet him."

4. Somewhere in the phantasmal distance, we see a figure. Is it moving toward us?

5. An interface is a medium and a structured absence animated over time. The most mundane avatar is my cursor on the screen - a simulacrum of the inter-actor.

6. My symbolic representation (the agency of cursor and interface) both "knows me" and is able to substitute its own agency for mine, while giving me a stage onto which I "perform" causality and Will as strange or curious artifice.

7. My cursor puppet moves toward the representational image to wake it up.. I "move" the cursor and somewhere in the distance a representation responds. The interface is the "land of the phantoms" as far as the representational image is concerned...and, of course, vice-versa.

Barbara Lattanzi
March 2002