Burton has been using the micro-blogging platform to resurrect the character that originally featured in his book of children’s poetry, The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories.
The new story is being constructed line-by-line using tweets submitted by members of the public (appended by the hashtag #BurtonStory). A digital cadavre exquis (translated meaning: exquisite corpse) is a twist on a process used by surrealists in the 1920s, who produced stories and drawings collaboratively without seeing the whole piece until it was complete. In this case the best tweets each day are selected to continue the story, with the authors credited on burtonstory.com.
The project is being used to promote TIFF Bell Lightbox a multi-arts venue and home to Toronto International Film Festival. The venue is playing host to an exhibition of Burton’s work alongside a film retrospective and family activities (26 November 2010- 17 April 2011).
Sitting at the intersection of technology, film, literature and audience participation this is an exciting venture which has already received global press coverage. Yet I’d be curious to know beyond the PR hype that a ‘big name’ brings (and the use of social networks) how else audiences are being approached to participate.
I was impressed that the site includes a short intro/explanation of Twitter to encourage people to get involved. It will be interesting to see if this use of social media entices different audience segments that wouldn’t normally engage with the venue in this way to get involved, as well getting current attenders and non-attenders through the doors. I’ll watch with interest to see how the success of the project is evaluated. Not to mention how the rest of the story unfolds.