New Media

  • The Imaginary 20th Century
    Norman M. Klein

Norman M. Klein and Margo Bistis, The Imaginary 20th Century archive, chapter map 1.2. Courtesy of the authors.

A science fiction-based historical novel, The Imaginary 20th Century is an interactive work with an original sound composition that includes more than 2,000 images culled from different visual archives. The story focuses on the whimsical adventures of a woman who, while traveling through Europe in 1901, selects four men to seduce her, each with a vision of the coming century. The user navigates the suitors' worlds, follows Carrie on her travels, witnesses what she and her admirers notice, and experiences the era, 1893 to 1926. A metajourney of adventures and misadventures across centuries, continents, historical events and places, social memories, imaginary worlds and futures, the project is a "wunder-roman" where fact and fiction split off and return to each other. Available online as an interactive archive and an ebook, this collaborative media work proposes a new approach to narrative.

Norman M. Klein is a novelist as well as a media and urban historian. He is the author of the award-winning database novel Bleeding Through: Layers of Los Angeles, 1920-1986 (a co-production of ZKM/Center for Art and Media and The Labyrinth Project/USC). His other works include The History of Forgetting: Los Angeles and the Erasure of Memory; 7 Minutes: The Life and Death of the American Animated Cartoon; The Vatican to Vegas: The History of Special Effects; and Freud in Coney Island and Other Tales. He is the author of the forthcoming book History of the Present: The Dismantling of the American Psyche. He teaches in the School of Critical Studies at California Institute of the Arts.

Margo Bistis, coauthor, is a cultural historian and curator who writes on philosophical modernism, urban culture, and caricature. She the author of the forthcoming book Fanfare for Bergsonā€™s Ideas: Popular Enlightenment in the Age of Mass Literacy and teaches in the Humanities and Sciences Department at Art Center College of Design.