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"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

usc.jpg (9459 bytes)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 Southern California.

For more information on "Mysteries and Desire: Searching the Worlds of John Rechy," click here.


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