Individual Work
Accounts of the Glass Sky

Implementing flash, HTML, text, photography, and audio clips, M.D. Coverley (otherwise known as Marjorie Luesebrink) creates an interactive narrative that brings you through the mid-1900's Los Angeles.

The home page opens up to a picture of a skyscraper, using this as the frame to house the rest of the images, which contains links, allowing the reader to explore through the pages at their own will and speed. Once into these links, Coverley lays out the pages much like journal entries, showing an image juxtaposed with audio and and a few lines of narrative poetry. Once on a page, a scheduled flash animation degrades or changes the visibility of the image, providing further narrative and representing change from past to present. Each narrative recounts a time and an event from the past, but also reflects on how that event or circumstance has either changed or stayed the same over time. The significance of the sky is to offer a main point of memory, experience, and loss in the human life.

The most prominent theme in this piece is the theme of transitions. The sky is the center of attention throughout the work, but the way Coverley portrays the "blue sky" is almost in a post-apocalyptic sense, playing on fear and boundaries, instead of portraying human's hopes and dreams. The use of black and white imagery, ominous audio clips, image transformation, and touching stanzas about the affected lives of the people in the photographs resonates with more present issues such as those affected in the September 11 terrorist attacks. Though the images and sounds are real, this is a work of fiction. Coverley uses these images to create a mocked background and event. However, the intention is to appeal to a certain aspect of the readers life that they either like or dislike and play off of those emotions, allowing each user to take something different from the work.

Coverley uses a unique form of narrative to tell her story. By implementing flash based animation into her story, Coverley was able to add much more narrative then just the text and images can portray. However, Coverley believes that sound, text, and image are not the characterizing points of the piece, but more of how the implementation of these things show a change (ie. degradation of an image, movement of an image, etc.)

Author statement: 
Accounts of the Glass Sky is an exploration of disillusion and loss of the past. I began Glass Sky (August 2001) with photographs of skyscrapers in the LA downtown and a stack of old images from a shoebox. My intention was to weave a story around the images of the people — using the buildings to frame a Flash interface. I was still working on the storyline on September 11, 2001. For weeks following, I was unable to continue. I could no longer envision an unbroken narrative connection between "before" and "after" — that was when I realized Glass Sky was not about the buildings, but about the sky itself. In this piece, I tried to capture the experience of fluid negotiation between a past that we think we know and a present/future we recognize only in the moment of transmutation. Text and image in movement already signal a kind of narrative; however, this "story" is characterized not by image, text, or sound, but by the oscillations among them. The black-and-white photos, seemingly windowed in the glass facade of a skyscraper (or stone circle), suggest a time when we might have believed in the reliability of our senses.