In December 2017, we launched Wander, a public artwork that offers an immersive, digital choose-your-own-adventure experience throughout downtown Austin. Created by artists Chris Gannon, Chadwick Wood and Brockett Davidson, with contributions from local authors and illustrators, the work comprises a mobile- optimized web app with four unique digital journeys and a sculptural starting point, entitled “Beacon,” sited near the entrance of Austin’s new Central Library.
HOW IT WORKS
To access the installation, participants will begin at the “Beacon,” a nine-foot steel sculpture (the only physical component of the artwork) located at the 2nd Street entrance to the Central Library. At this location, users can open the mobile-optimized web-app (www.wanderatx.com) on their phones to view four possible narratives, each comprised of a new work of fiction and companion illustrations created by Austin writers and illustrators. Once users select a story, they will receive the first chapter of their chosen adventure. Each chapter ends with a choice of action for participants, which will determine the next locations that they must reach to find out what happens in their story.
Local authors Lucas Schaefer, Jessica Topacio Long, Janalyn Guo, and Fernando Flores were selected to write the stories for Wander through a city-wide competition held by the artists in 2015. Each narrative was then illustrated by artists Brockett Davidson, Matt Rebholz, Hallie Rose Taylor, and Brian Maclaskey.
The Wander stories are intended to appeal to a wide age range, with two that are enjoyable for children and two that are appropriate for more mature audiences. The entire project is available in English and Spanish and the web app is accessible for the blind and visually impaired community. For those who prefer a more analog experience, the team has created a series of printed books of the stories which will soon be available at Austin Public Library branches throughout the City.