Building on Carroll Parrott Blue's compelling written memoir and enriching it with video documentation, interviews, and animations, this DVD-ROM makes her personal story and the historical background come to life. It works both as a companion to the book and as a stand-alone interactive memoir. Featuring voice-overs by Blue and by actors Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis, and Debbie Allen, as well as moving testimonies from Black Houstonians, the narrative unfolds through a gospel-like layering of voices and music and a quilting of vivid photographs and movies. Users navigate through the mindscapes of Blue's "Homeland" and "Hell," where they find traces of the people, buildings, media images, and events that shaped the community's struggle against racism and Blue's development as an artist. As users gain a deeper understanding of how this personal story is interwoven within the broader cultural history, like Blue, they reach the "Dawn." Here they gain access to a uniquely patterned quilt that documents their own personal pathway through this labyrinthine narrative field.
Under the creative direction of Blue and new media artist Kristy H. A. Kang, this DVD-ROM was produced by the Labyrinth Project, a research initiative on interactive narrative directed by Marsha Kinder at the University of Southern California Annenberg Center for Communication. Since 1997, Labyrinth has been producing award-winning interactive documentaries and museum installations in collaboration with independent artists. Their first two CD-ROMs were official selections at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival, and "Mysteries & Desire: Searching the Worlds of John Rechy" won the NewMedia Invision Award for best overall design. Made with additional support from the Rockefeller Foundation, three recent DVD installations are featured in ZKM's "Future Cinema" exhibition in Germany: Pat O'Neill's "Tracing the Decay of Fiction," Norman Klein's "Bleeding Through: Layers of Los Angeles, 1920-1986," and Péter Forgács' "The Danube Exodus," which premiered at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.