The Vasalisa Project


The Vasalisa Project is shared through a range of media and formats. The digital narrative work includes the interactive prose poem Bare Bones, the MFA thesis essay Vasalisa Electric, and a participatory gallery installation Hothouse (2001).  A public reading of Bare Bones was performed by a group of three readers in the Tweed Museum of Art in 2001. The fairy tale project was also adapted for print and published in Marvels and Tales. (Marvels and Tales, vol 16 number 2, October 2002.) Large scale, full color archival inkjet prints were shared in several exhibits.

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Fairy tales have been hijacked throughout history for various uses. Emigrating from one distribution method to another, they have been duplicated, mistranslated, and subverted. Buried among the world’s heap of Cinder tales, is the Russian version, in its multiple incarnations. The Vasalisa Project is a retelling of the tale of dutiful Vasalisa and her encounter with the fearsome Baba Yaga. By reshaping its text, imagery and format, I try to build a bridge for the fairy tale audience between traditional media and new media. The tale, as broken down into nodes, is meant to be experienced in an interactive story environment. Its voices interrupt and interject, as if told between gossiping friends. On the website, the audience is invited to weave between the fairy tale text, illustrations, and critical essay. Created in 2001, the original website was designed for earlier browsers and internet connections.

The Vasalisa Project website


Archival INKJET PRINTS by Joellyn Rock

Hundreds of images were generated during the course of the project. Many of these were combined to create a series of archival ink jet prints with help from a summer research grant in the Visualization + Digital Imaging Lab at the University of Minnesota Duluth. In this retelling of Vasalisa, the story of loss, servitude, and triumph over adversity is also the harrowing tale of a digital printmaker. The prints are the by product of several years of digital research, image-making, writing and design for The Vasalisa Project. These images of digital bricolage sample from that more complex investigation of digital narrative.