Narrative 2: Disoriental Style

Even as Fast City foregrounds reader disorientation as a narrative characteristic, various aspects of popular culture have schooled the public in appreciating disorientation as itself a form of popular aesthetics: witness techno and hip hop tunes that splice soundclips from films, documentaries, political speeches, etc, into a new composition; or digital short films and animation clips that parody/interrogate mainstream movies through a montage of "found footages".

In many cases disorientation has become less of an ideological strategy, but rather an expression (and exploitation) of contemporary street culture stylistics. Much of the narrative experience of Fast City oscillates between aspiring to convey the energetic if eccentric experiments of Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar Wai, best known for his film Chungking Express, and the uneasy economy of pithy, enigmatic haiku poetry.

However, the reading experience here does offer a degree of reading pleasure and re-orientation, through the audio design. In navigating the narrative, the user inevitably triggers soundclips and samples over a brooding, hypnotic drum loop. This creates a piece of improvised music in a style commonly referred to as ambient dub, and provides musical unity to the reading experience as a compromise. Wong Kar Wai himself is also known for favouring a variation of ambient dub -- trip hop -- for his film soundtracks; thus further accentuating Fast City's homage to Eastern popular culture.

While the audio elements reflect the action within the story world (eg, police car siren, gunshot, analogue synthesizer sample, crying, etc) they effectively "float" over and between lexias, lingering from one reading scene to another and even a few more down the narrative vector. Because these triggers are touch sensitive, and Fast City is designed on the whole to capitalise on the physicality of interactive reading, the user cannot help but constantly contribute to the sonic (and textual) weaving of the narrative.