Screenshots is a new weekly feature by Simon Groth, highlighting a project, app, or other resource of interest.
The Cartographer’s Confession
By James Attlee
The Cartographer’s Confession is the story of Thomas Andersen, who, as a child, migrates to London with his mother during the second world war and the fallout from that event in the decades that follow. Presented as a series of source documents—tapes, letters, and photographs—collected by the present-day researcher and screenwriter, Catriona Schilling, the app reveals its story through layers of fiction and non-fiction, timeframes, and locations.
Commissioned by the Ambient Literature project, The Cartographer’s Confession is designed to be experienced on location, appropriately using a map as its primary navigation. It’s not hard to imagine the power of walking through the streets of London as the story unfolds on in your ears and your phone. Though it does offer a chronological ‘armchair mode’, the app’s dreamy soundscapes and contrast of present and past lose some of their impact 16,000km away.
But even with a diminished experience, Attlee’s writing is concise and emotive, the performances are solid, and the app’s design, especially its sound, shows beautiful attention to detail. The soundtrack by The Night Sky is also very cool, if sometimes distracting. Given the quality of its writing and production values, it’s easy to see how The Cartographer’s Confession won over the judges of the 2017 New Media Writing Prize.
The Cartographer’s Confession is available to download from the App Store and Google Play.