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Prix 1987 - 2007

ORF Oberösterreich

The Lair of the Marrow Monkey
Eric Loyer

The Lair of the Marrow Monkey is an interactive investigation into the seductive power of digital technology. The website’s main focus falls on a single character who goes by the name of Orion17. Orion is a minimalist composer who is fascinated to the point of obsession with the patterns and logic that frame reality. “I would leave all this in a moment if I could be the marrow, the idea, the virus, the entry whose self is not corporeal,” he explains. When a powerful vision shows him the way to archieve his dream of uniting with the world of abstraction, Orion makes the leap and joins a small team of researchers at the newly-founded Institute of Investigation into the Mind of Marrow. There, he experiences first-hand both the euphoria and the frustration that comes from living life as a “marrow monkey.”

This project grew out of a realization that the severe limitations of the Internet could actually have a positive effect on my creative work in digital media by forcing me to take a fragmented approach to the design. The expansive storage capacity and (relatively) high data transfer rates of CD-ROM had influenced me in the past to conceive highly centralized, sprawling pieces. My experience in game design, however, had made me familiar with the dangers of this type of approach, most damaging of which is the temptation to lock the features and design elements for the sake of steamlining the development process, but which actually hamper creativity in the long run. Doing a piece for the Internet meant that I could experiment with many different approaches on a much more practical scale. The site consists of nine scenes, each of which functions much like an aria in the opera, a “frozen moment”during which a character’s current situation and concerns can be revealed in detail. Many scenes require active participation on the part of the user in constructing or exploring the meaning being conveyed. Users are encouraged to make use of the interface for these scenes to enact the relationship between the ideas, events and characters being presented as part of the narrative. The visceral and dynamic nature of the interactions help to make these relationships tactile and interesting for users, allowing them to experience Orion17’s obsessions from the inside out.