backstory-what we need to show in the interface

Notes sent to Janet:
For now, here are the basic functions of the interface that we need to show.
The first four make sense in sequential order… the last two can be determined within the context of the story.
1. analyzing/reading/interpreting a digitized version of a print document in multiple layers–part forensics, part close reading
2. taking a phrase from the document and performing a search on it within multiple (fictional) databases–(whose names reveal the politics and economics of maintaining the cultural record)–such as the American National Corpus, E. Remington Corporate Records, The Bill and Melinda Gates Poetry Collection, Google Yotta, The Open Access Project, University of Florida Archive of Advertising History, etc.–and returning results that show the phrase in multiple contexts (in the middle of sentences from different sources), along with lexical info like first appearance, concordance info–data/analytics… but results that end up coming in from strange sources–or very disparate, unexpected ones… she’s looking for patterns and context to make sense of the phrase… the data visualizations are muddled at best, erratic or perhaps just subtly off… the sentences could be quite interesting to read.
3. taking her ideas about the document or phrase she has discovered and making some kind of communication about it–probably multi-media like maybe a little video or text embedded with images or a facsimile of the original with post-it like annotations–something non-linear and multi-modal
4. sending her communication out into the info-sphere for feedback (peer-review, casual comment or explicit collaboration to any kind of network, defined or undefined… scholars, psychics, stepmom, etc… )…
5. receiving responses
* somehow, at some point, central to or tangential to the story, we need to show her talking with others who are not there in person… from text-based to video-based… personal, colleagues, collaborators, salespeople, her lover… whatever works… something to get across the idea of a potentially vast world of people right there yet not. That could also simply be some kind of messaging thing that shows up in the periphery like a gnat buzzing that she neither answers nor turns off or it could be foregrounded more… tbd with the story
* I also want to show an exchange within the real world while her device is active or on “low” or in “mixed reality” mode–on a walk, at the checkout line of the grocery store… can be anywhere that would be part of the daily routine—not a library or any kind of place related to her work.
I have two points of reference for this but it’s not the only way to imagine it–
There was a great story in the NYT about the death of Tobias Wong. Do you know his work? Apparently he was a somnambulist. The night he killed himself he was sleep-walking. His long-time partner said that he had done it his whole life and would spend hours and sometimes days in this sleep-walking state in which he would sometimes act erratically and sometimes absently, with low affect. His partner said that he could tell when he was talking to him by the empty look in his eyes that he was actually asleep. I’m haunted by that state of looking in the eyes of someone who is there but not there. There in body but elsewhere in mind, or at least in an alternate state of mind, or one foot in both–which is what we all are when we’re hooked up to digital devices.
The second story was on the late news one night that showed surveillance footage at a mall when a woman is texting who walks straight into a fountain, falls in, picks herself up and walks off, still texting, unfazed. Definitely not news, kinda funny, but mostly, oddly mundane.

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