contextual literature



I was at a conference this week sponsored by the digital knowledge management company Yext. One of the speakers was Ed Parsons, the Geospatial Technologist for Google, who essentially is a geographer and works on all their mapping projects. In the course of his really interesting talk he mention a concept called 'contextual literature' and cited an author by the name of Kate Pullinger who had created a piece of online literary experience delivered through your smartphone that responds to your presence by internalising the world around you. Using APIs – application programming interfaces – the story leverages data about you, including place, weather, time, in order to create, so the site says, an experience that is personal and uncanny.

So I went to the site and followed the instructions and launched the book on my phone...


As soon as I accessed the site, the story integrated bits and pieces of my life and surroundings in to the story. It's an experiment in personalizing a story and blurring boundaries between writer and reader I guess. I'm not sure that I need that, or that I actually like it very much but it ties very much into the shift towards an experience economy which is where we seem to be headed in virtually every area of our lives.