Individual Work
Zaira, City of Memories

Zaira, City of Memories, by Gökçen Ergüven, is a Flash-based hypertext loosely inspired by Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities. The piece combines interactive visual imagery derived from photographs of the urban settings to which the piece refers with brief descriptive passages, aphoristic statements, and poetic musings. The overall structure is organized around a map-like navigation tool which allows readers to follow the text along forking paths, reminiscent of the subway interface of Geoff Ryman’s 253. Unlike Ryman’s hypertext novel, Ergüven’s work follows a single narrative perspective, but does so across the space of three different cities and temporal frames: Ankara (the capital of Turkey, where, according to the author’s abstract, Ergüven was born), Istanbul (where the author lives), and London (where the author would like to live). Zaira is the imaginary city where the past of memory, the present of being, and the desire for the future coexist.