September 30th, 2011
Composition No.1 for iPad
Features: Shuffle feature narrative
Production credits: Visual Editions
Launch date: 26 July 2011
When Visual Editions created their beautiful Composition No.1 book in a box – an unbound story which could be read in any order – they looked at how this edition might translate to iPad format. Composition No.1 by Marc Saporta, a re-imagining of a book originally published in the 1960s, is a unique reading experience. “Each page has a self-contained narrative, leaving it to the reader to decide the order they read the book, and how much or how little of the book they want to read before they begin again.”
Interestingly Visual Editions found that readers were reluctant to shuffle the pages of the physical book – that somehow shifting the order of the pages was sacrilege. The iPad app edition of Composition No.1 leaves the reader no choice. With a beautiful introductory title page – where letters can be pulled around in an interactive concrete poetry-esque experience – readers are then led to the main text. The pages automatically shuffle and it is only when the reader places there finger on the screen that the shuffling stops enabling the reader to… read. Once the finger is released the pages start to shuffle again taking the reader to the next page.
As a reading experience it’s a complete challenge but fascinating how digital can almost force the reader to approach narrative in a different way. Psychologically when presented with ‘book’ format, it seems we still find upsetting the linear routes to narrative too challenging – but when presented with the same text in digital format we’ll just give it a go…