...what is it?
What is The Last Website?
About four-thousand individuals from all over the world have experienced our latest project – The Last Website – in the two weeks that it's been online. We got some nice feedback and it's been approved as an official Chrome Experiment.
So all is well, one should believe. But as it is the case with most new things, people seem to either hate it or love it. Whatever your feelings about it, the one issue people seem to have trouble with is the question: What is this thing?
So here is an attempt to define this, in all regards, new thing. Let's start by stating what it is NOT.
It's not a book. Quite physically it isn't.
It's not even an ebook. It goes far beyond of what is considered an ebook these days. (Hopefully, our conception of ebooks is about to change soon as well.)
It's neither a website in the common sense, nor is it an article of any sort.
It certainly is not a video, although it is very visual and it has a soundtrack.
It's also not a web application as commonly referred to, although we're getting closer here. But it's not a program either.
Then what the hell is it? It exceeds the limitations of these labels. We'll have to find a new name for it, and we're all in for suggestions.
Let's make this perfectly clear: I'm not talking about the specific text, nor the images, or the music. I'm talking about structure.
In this regard, it most certainly is literature, a "thing made from letters", something you read. Only that it exceeds that latter part also: the text, the visual artwork, and the sound in constant interaction. None of its parts is more important than another. They supplement each other, the sum of them becoming more than its parts combined. It is a new and hitherto unexplored form of literature. This will sound pretentious, but I will go as far as saying that it is a small step into the future of literature. It is a challenge to our synapses, to our innate sensitivity, to emotion.
The structure of it – and I am still speaking regardless of the specific story told in The Last Website – is the nucleus of the story; not a sequence of events in time, but rather the story in itself. A narrative that appeals to us by way of us being able to connect to it, of being able to relate to it on an emotional level. Something that is told, aesthetically. It is the frame and the core of the story at the same time. It is constant interaction without the strict parameters that, for example, a video provides. Its elements that are structured rather in the fashion of a game. Text, music, and graphics interact in the smallest space, but you may enjoy every one of them separately for as long as you like, or experience them as a conflation, at interplay. This, for me, is a representation of the elementary-ness of a story.
You may carry this as far as you like. I (as a person who has spent the greater part of his life with literature and the way it works) believe it is the heart of the story stripped bare and infused with mescaline by a radioactive robot from another dimension (which, as I just noticed, doesn't speak much for my literary education, I guess).
Anyway, to attempt an answer to the initial question: It has become a system. The system of the modern story. It is a system that is already inherent in most of us: when we read, we tend to visualize and everything that surrounds us (our environment at that time, as well as emotions and memories) will be part of the story we read. Now, we will able to have this but more: by way of the pictures and the music specifically designed to connect with the text, a new way of immersiveness is born.
The Last Website is, among other things, an immersive story system.