"Truth changes with new memories. We do not
move into the past,
we bring it forward with new life." John Rechy
Mysteries and Desire:
Searching the Worlds of John Rechy
a description of the project
This work challenges the borders between autobiography, memory and
history. Drawing themes from Autobiography, a Novel (a work in progress) and
passages from most of Rechy's published writings, it assembles a rich network of personal
memories and family documents, setting them against larger collective histories of Chicano
culture and the gay world. It also mines the outrageous fictions that circulate around
this fascinating literary figure, who, as a gay icon, a Chicano writer from Texas, a
longtime bodybuilder, a gifted teacher of creative writing at the University of Southern
California, and a recent recipient of Pen West's Lifetime Achievement Award and The
Publishing Triangle's William Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement, has been a subject
of notoriety and fantasy. Combining original drawings and live action video, family
photographs, historic documents from Mexico and El Paso, archival footage, taped
interviews, word games and popular representations of the male body, and rearranging them
into three interrelated realms, it provides performers with a wide range of interfaces
that can be used to solve mysteries or generate new fictions.
In the realm of "Memories," a
3-dimensional VR representation of Rechy's subjectivity, you can explore a collage of
memorabilia, zoom in on any image, and activate any of the 16 hot spots that either
randomly trigger associations or jump to other realms of fictions. In "Bodies"
you experience the connections between religious ritual, body building, and writing and
the repetition compulsions they share: as you move among three zones (Passion, Confession
and Salvation), your interactions become gestural. In the realm of "Cruising"
you enter a 3-D representation of Griffith Park, where Rechy's novel Numbers
helped make one of the most notorious cruising sites in the world. Here you can find Rechy
and others engaged in the sexhunt, whose choreographed movements lead you on an
obsessional journey across America.
This CD-ROM was written, directed and
produced by Marsha Kinder, in collaboration with Rechy who wrote and recorded his own
commentaries. This CD-ROM is part of the Labyrinth Research Initiative on interactive
narrative, a project of the Annenberg Center for Communication at the University of
For more information on "Mysteries and
Desire: Searching the Worlds of John Rechy," click here.