help un/wanted

Made by Michael James

speculating on the slippages and blindspots inherent in cognitive and technological representations of wellbeing and who should have access

Created: February 9th, 2017



My aim with this project was to create a speculative future in which technology is used to help students get support when they may not seek it themselves. I am torn about how such tools and systems should function as they are on one hand potentially life-saving while on the other hand potentially invasive. I intended to use the power of storytelling to place my audience in this future state, allowing them to sort through the tension between these tradeoffs. This piece relates to memory in that the way an individual's memory of their own wellbeing relates to a system's quantified memory of an individual's wellbeing. I am curious in the contrasting slippages and blindspots inherent in both representations of self.



I created a piece of interactive fiction to speculate on the influence of a future system that monitors students' mental health and general wellbeing. The non-linear story borrows structural ideas from what Chris Bateman refers to as narratives that are "parallel path" or "threaded".

Parallel Path


I used the tool Twine 2 to create a website that presents this interactive fiction. I chose the story format SugarCube 2, which influences how the experience is styled.

Here's an overview of an intermediate version of the fiction:

Twine allows you to link passages to others by using links. A link can set the values of a variable to allow for dynamic text in later passages that is based on the selections the interactor makes.