Edited by Time’s Up, FoAM – PARN: Physical and Alternate Reality Narratives


Time’s Up, ISBN-13: 978-3200030756, English, 160 pages, 2013, Austria

The archival value of books is tested – for example – in the “catalogue’” concept for preserving coherent and exhaustive information about exhibitions, and in the “documentation” concept for the same type of preservation of projects. This book belongs more to the latter and it’s the result of an articulated project involving a remarkable number of partners across Europe. PARN has been focused on the construction of narratives that incorporate the crossover between physical and online space. Being developed in different contexts, backgrounds and countries, the experiments have become, more often than not, “narrative machines”, abstracted as systems that can be adapted to multiple contexts and extended in different directions. From FoAM’s “Borrowed Scenery” (including concepts like ‘psychogeobotany’) to the attempts by Nik Gaffney and Martin Howse to understand mushrooms as a network of transmitters, science and storytelling establish what can be described as ‘consensus reality’. Their fully illustrated schemes represent a more complex dimension and the alternate reality game format evolves into a potentially flourishing platform with a highly experiential value. The distinctive analysis of Tarot’s narrative adds another piece to the storytelling board. It’s also worth noting that the presence of clear tutorials and a few pages of sorted notes make this book a truly extended documentation, simultaneously plausible as a catalogue, a manual and a notepad. Alessandro Ludovico