Taking the festival online with Digital Fringe

3 minute read
'Mad Deep Dish' serves up exactly what you don't expect in Digital Fringe. (Photo by Die-Cast.)
'Mad Deep Dish' serves up exactly what you don't expect in Digital Fringe. (Photo by Die-Cast.)

For those art lovers who won’t be able to see a live performance, or who are looking to explore new ways of interacting with art, look no further: Digital Fringe is serving up some new works that will challenge the way you think about digital spaces. There are several Fringe options online, and you don’t need to run to the MFL after work to make any of these performances.

Mad Deep Dish

A choose-your-own-video story, this is not your average pizza parlor—in fact, they don’t serve pizza at all. Guided by an automated RPG-style chat box that appears and disappears, users can use the menu to order, and are served videos and cryptic IM-bot conversation which hint to several layers of meaning and 30 interweaving stories.

Some videos have autocaption while others don’t have captioning at all, and the chat box (which often uses gifs) may not work with screen readers.


Described as “A multi-media meditation on the devolution of the Internet, the weaponization of the meme, and the ascendancy of dragnet surveillance capitalism,” Memerememberme is an interactive visual and audio piece that necessitates audience interaction with their striking visual imagery. Some aspects may at times seem disjointed but the jarring nature of this piece comments on the power (both great and terrible) of the information age.

This piece contains flashing images and does not provide captions.

Kingdom of Oz

Created by REAL (Revivalists Experiential Arts Lab), Kingdom of Oz is an interactive alternate reality game utilizing text, audio, and images to guide participants on a winding adventure that explores the real lives of L. Frank Baum, Ruth Plumly Thompson, and The Marvelous Land of Oz (the second book of the Oz books) through the eyes of an accidental interloper. This is reminiscent of narrative-driven mystery browser games and very fun.

Audio does not have transcripts, and the images have no descriptions and may also contain text (therefore not accessible to those with screen readers. Though parts of the image text are read, some is done very quickly and quietly making it difficult to understand).

Voicemail Poems

A more familiar medium, Voicemail Poems are just that; poems read by the poets who call the phone number and record their poetry as a voicemail.

The voicemails are streamable through an embedded in-browser Soundcloud player, and the poems are also available in text below each playable recording. As anyone can call the number and leave a voicemail, the poets and subject matter are beautifully diverse and sourced from all across the globe.

If You Can’t Make ’em Laugh, Make ’em Cum: The Life Story of a Thieving, Whoring Saint

Lights, camera, adoption! James Bradford’s audiobook excerpt was a surprise favorite. From the title, I expected this to focus primarily on the author’s exploits through adulthood; however, the Fringe Festival piece is a reading of the first chapter of his memoir by the same name and details the first two and a half years of his life. As a foster child and adoptee as chronicled through personal memory and detailed record keeping courtesy of a meticulous social worker, Bradford’s writing is neat and the honesty, humor, and enormous empathy he expresses while describing the challenges he and his families faced are both fascinating and heart wrenching.

Audio only; no transcript.

Unfortunately, four of the fourteen digital pieces seem to be unavailable: Ancestral Movements, Dear Friend Society, Pseudoverse, and The Island have either dead links or webpages containing illustrations but lacking the actual works themselves. Suspended Lives / Vidas Suspendidas does contain a digital element, however viewers must scan a QR code at one of their physical statues located at FringeArts, Cherry Street Pier, or the Christ Church Neighborhood House to engage in the online element.

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