On the poetics of immersive multimodal narratives: Narration and formal experimentation in Earth Diver (2016)


  • Daria Baryshnikova RWTH Aachen, Karmanstr.17-19, Aachen 52062, Germany


multimodal narrative, transmedial narratology, immersion, you-narrative


Using Wouter van Looy’s performance piece Earth Diver (2016) as a case study, this paper examines the way in which media-specific forms of narration are manifested in an environmental installation which is focused on the sensual experiences of its audience. The paper illustrates how the performance enables access to simultaneous experiences and contextualises problems and historical references through various perspectives about perception and the functioning of the mind. I seek to demonstrate that the narrative of Earth Driver is constructed not because of various models which supplement one another, but also because it emerges from intermedial relationships. I am to do this by examining the specificity of the you-narrative in the poetic text by Paul Verrept which is the narrative core of the performance. I will also argue that the mode of intermedial relationships in an artwork can offer a new way for the construction of captivating art environments. The result is a synthesised approach that is pursued in this paper, combining narratological analysis with an investigation of the artwork’s musical and visual features, thus extending an understanding of the specificity of processes that create meanings in complex narratives.