Launched in 2009 The Flickerman was an a urban-noire techno thriller. It told the story of Cornelius Zane-Grey (played by Alex Beales), a loose footed and ill-fitting Brighton slacker who one weekend becomes caught in a swirling vortex conspiracy, violence, paranoia and deceit. The story was constructed from material found by writer Lance Dann online, principally images from the photo sharing web-site Flickr which were repositioned and re-contextualised to tell Cornelius’ story.
The Flickerman began as a radio drama series broadcast in the UK and abroad, later films and web media aspects were added to the narrative which unpacked in real time through 2009 and 2010. The series was broadcast in Australia, and the story followed, forming its narrative from photos and images contributed by listeners to ABC National Radio.
The Fickerman was a listener friendly ARG, it was an augmented audio narrative, it was an attempt to break the fourth wall, it was an exploration of a the new story telling spaces that the Internet offers. It was also a cracking thriller that featured explosions, beatings, slices of humor and moments of pathos. It was described in The Guardian as being “new and innovative” and “what people hope to create when they say “interactive”, but I’ve never seen it work. It is a strange and exhilarating project.” At its peak the site was attracting thousands of visitors, an estimated 2 million people have heard the series on line and around the world. It was run as a not-for-profit project, reliant on the input, good will and talents of a host of contributing actors, producers, designers, musicians and recordists.
In 2012, Dann wrote a novel based on The Flickerman, and it is currently being re-drafted in preparation for publication. While that happens the project is in hiatus, the full mystery of what happened to Cornelius may never be explained, but please, explore the site, listen to the podcasts, view the films, read the text and perhaps you can guess at what happened to him during those crazy few days in October.
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