Alexandra Chasin




a novel by

Alexandra Chasin

Application developed by Scott Peterman


Written, designed and programmed specifically to be read as an interactive book, Brief randomly pulls images to illustrate the text of the novel. This provides a wildly different visual experience for every reader.  Alexandra Chasin’s fiercely entertaining debut novel, Brief, enters the realm of interactive books as a first in the oncoming wave of literary writing designed to incorporate the medium as an integral part of the storyline.

The Story

In a funny, angry, hyper-articulate monologue, an art vandal makes a passionate plea to a judge: you, the reader. The vandal has been charged with defacing a masterpiece of modern art, and asks you to consider the following argument: Maybe the way we turn out is less the fault of our parents and more the effect of larger cultural and historical influences — maybe history is the real culprit. Rich with references to the high art, mass culture, political ideologies, and military maneuvers of the post-war era, from the Cold War to the introduction of television, Brief chronicles the formation of an art vandal, until the story explodes in an enactment of temporary insanity.”


The Technology

Chasin’s collaborator, programmer Scott Peterman, helped design this iPad app-novel to invite readers into the story’s courtroom, and to enrich and complicate the art vandal’s defense. The app randomly locates images and then wraps the text around them. As a result, every screen of Brief is unique, generating new combinations and new meanings. Swipe forward and backward, you will never see the same screen twice. Torn into fragments, composited, detailed, and abstracted, the 700+ images in Brief do not serve to illustrate but rather to evoke the time period in play, and to probe the question of cause and effect in history.

FINE ART LIMITED EDITION OF BRIEF $8500.00 — Special Order Only5″ diameter snow globe, with miniature fake Warhol painting on easel. Wooden base contains tiny print copy of Brief buried in “vandalized” art.