Make It Real
by Kathe Koja
Hey, boy, welcome to reality – David Bowie
When you write a book about reality, when I wrote this one, you need to consider what reality is, really. Is it tangible, physical? a rapturous hug from the one you love, a tasty cocktail sipped in the sun, a broken thumb, a lit cigarette, a stubborn headache, the view from a balcony? Or is it a metaphysical construct, an art school joke, a philosophical itch, a lone proverbial tree forever falling, falling? Is it emotional vertigo? Is it vertigo? What if reality defines itself? How would we know?
Dark Factory considers reality from a club dancefloor, from the dusty paths of a would-be forest, from an office with blue windows, from a borrowed bedroom, from a screen; from many screens, inside the story and out. Dark Factory is a narrative transmedia concept, an immersive novel that exists across a series of platforms—on a site, on the socials, at a live event, with a downloaded mask, an uploaded piece of art, printed paper pages, a scrolling ebook, audio murmuring in the mind’s ear—and every facet makes up the totality of the Factory. It’s the same way we encounter, and share, our own real and daily lives.
Reality persists in all circumstances – Max Caspar
Max Caspar is a smart, sad, prickly conceptual artist who believes in creating art so relentlessly real that you could trip over it, literally. The more Max sees of Dark Factory—dance club, experience vector, vector of change—the more his beliefs expand, unwillingly, inexorably, like a stone thrown in deep water, and the more art he creates.
Ari Regon is a nightlife star and savant, a producer who believes that the party is everything. Dark Factory is his playground, proving ground, ground zero for the launch of a new way, or maybe a very old way, an ancient way amplified by tech, by art, by DJs—one special DJ in particular—to get the whole world onto the dancefloor.
Ari knows Max is pure; Max knows Ari is unstoppable. And they’re both situated exactly where they need to be: in actual reality. Just like you, and me.
I’m here to make things happen – Ari Regon
Dark Factory the club and Dark Factory the novel tell the same story, and offer readers the same invitation: to dissolve the spaces between themselves and that story, just as Ari and Max work, scramble, tussle, succeed, dissolving the walls between art and the club, into a world that is openly, mysteriously operating exactly that same way: it’s the gnarly root curled at our feet, the thin tech tiara hooked to our minds. All of it is real.
And all of it is made for all of us, for everyone and anyone, invited to contribute, to make all the beauty and fruitful chaos we can, and keep that world alive like a beating heart, our own hearts beating faster as we dance, and dance, and dance.
Reality is how we feel it, chase it, sometimes lose it, and how it inevitably finds, and defines, and extends itself to us. Sip the drink. Consider the cosmos. Turn it up. Let’s dance.
You make me feel mighty real – Sylvester
Kathe Koja writes award-winning novels (most recently, Dark Factory) and short fiction, and creates and produces immersive events. Her work has been multiply translated, and optioned for film and performance. She’s based in Detroit and thinks globally. Find her on Twitter, Facebook, and at https://darkfactory.club/
This essay is part of Koja’s blog tour for her new book.You can also enter here to win a gift card from publisher Meerkat Press.
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