About The Imaginary 20th Century
The Imaginary 20th Century is an interactive historical novel written by Norman M. Klein and Margo Bistis, and published by the media museum ZKM. With their team of artists and designers, the authors have invented an online narrative engine, where fact and fiction split off and return to each other to tell the story in a unique form.
The story is a tale of seduction as well as espionage, of archiving and the transitive poetics of excavation. According to legend, in 1901, a woman named Carrie selects four men to seduce her, each with a version of the coming century. Inevitably, the future always spills off course. We navigate through the suitors’ worlds; follow Carrie on her travels; discover what she and her lovers forgot to notice. In 1917, Carrie’s uncle sets up a massive archive of her life. For decades, Uncle Harry had worked for the oligarchs of Los Angeles erasing crimes that might prove embarrassing. Thus, as he often explains, seduction is a form of espionage. In 2004, this archive was unearthed in Los Angeles.
As the companion to the ebook, the media archive features 2,200 rare images– a scholarly journey within a comic picaresque. The various components work together as a single ‘wunder-roman’, with its reveals and contradictions.
Preview the Imaginary 20th Century