screenshot of first page of Why Some Girls are Bad that I saw after adding it to FacebookI’ve seen some collaborative story-writing apps for Facebook before, but this is the first narrative I’ve seen that’s written to be read in Facebook: Why Some Dolls are Bad, by Kate Armstrong and Henry Khachatryan. I found it in the same way one finds most things in Facebook: two of my friends added it.

I only just added the app so don’t have much to say about it yet, but here’s the blurb:

Why Some Dolls Are Bad is a dynamically generated graphic novel built on the Facebook platform. The work assembles a stream of images from Flickr that match certain tags and dynamically mixes them with original text in order to produce a perpetually changing narrative.

Users who subscribe to the application in Facebook can capture pages from the graphic novel and save, reorder, and distribute them.

The novel engages themes of ethics, fashion, artifice and the self, and presents a re-examination of systems and materials including mohair, contagion, environmental decay, Perspex cabinetry, and false-seeming things in nature such as Venus Flytraps.

And here’s Kate Armstrong’s outside-of-Facebook presentation of the piece.

4 thoughts on “graphic novel written specifically for Facebook

  1. 2ndhandsoul

    Hmm, not to sound dense, but the idea behind this app is that you plug in some tag words — such as in the title — and then it generates various images and text that you can select or pass, thus assembling a graphic novel? I don’t have Facebook, and probably won’t ever register there either, but perhaps there will be Google-based apps with similar trends. Plug in keywords and it assembles images and text from across the web. Massive-multipage Online Storymaking.

  2. Jill Walker Rettberg

    Actually so far, the piece doesn’t seem that interesting. It has random text fragments that popu pwith random images. The positioning of the text is always the same as in the screenshot shown. Sometimes it works, often not. Few of the images are of dolls, which makes it hard to see hte point of the title. I think the main innovation is that it “lives” in Facebook, which is an interesting way of distributing a work of art or literature.

  3. Kate Armstrong

    Thanks for addressing the subject of the piece, which just launched a few days ago. There are a few bugs that I am still working out, so I apologize for problems, and hope that they will soon pass. There have definitely been some issues with this platform.

    I did want to clarify though how the piece works. It is a piece of fiction that has been designed to be broken into fragments and shuffled dynamically. The images are being drawn in from Flickr and are streams associated with a group of tags. The tags have been chosen to engage themes from the text, but of course the project is meant to embrace the openness of the stream, and to work with randomization and recombination.

    The other thing to note is that the user is invited to save and reorder the ìpagesî and to group them into chapters. It is very experimental but the hope is that this will allow people to interact with the text in a different way as well.

    Thanks for your interest, and congratulations Jill on the baby news!

    Kate Armstrong

  4. Amy

    Is this application still active? I couldn’t access it on Facebook, but I’d love to check it out.

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