Au bord du fleuve

On the Riverside

August 2003

Supported by National Endowment for the Arts

Au bord du fleuve/On the Riverside is a poetic portrayal of the St. Lawrence River. The site replicates the river’s ambient calmness and serenity. Users embark on a journey that begins with an interface of aquatic images and continues with the exploration and discovery of animated ‘mosaics’: panoramic views, sailors’ songs and seagulls’ cries; and animated shorts.

The ‘data’ changes according to the real-time level of the river. Users interact by clicking on rollovers which appear in the various zones. Other parameters, connected to space and time, define a more or less unique experiment: the user leaves traces of her passage, like the imprint of a fire or foot, on the edge of the river. When she returns to the site she will be able, perhaps, to note traces left by others and, thus, realize that she had not been alone after all.

This Flash work has been emulated with Conifer by the Electronic Literature Lab in June 2021. Some popup windows may display in unintended ways. To view this emulation click here.


Translated from French:
“Space and time – the project takes as a starting point the phenomenon of the tides in the area of the south-coast of the St-Lawrence river. The structure of the site reflects the idea of a 6 hours continuous tide according to a temporal axis (the time of a tide) and a space axis (landscape of the riverside). The images of the river move forward and follow the tide and its inescapable course. The user can agree to this rule and benefit from the river but it will have to pay attention at time because “the tide does not wait.”
The WebArt project entitled “Au-bord-du-fleuve” invites the user to discover landscapes and the rhythm of the coast-of-south at the edge of the St-Lawrence river. Navigation is offered according to 2 axes. One horizontal, represents the course of the tide. It is composed of a graphic space of data connected to the table of the tides at the edge of the river. It is an indicating zone of the current time of the tide which influences directly the contents of the second axis, vertical, which includes the contents connected to the landscape of the river and the iconography which is attached to it. Thus, according to whether the tide are high or low, images and interactions change according to the level of the river.
The user interacts by clicks on rollovers which appear in the various zones. Others parameters, connected to space and time define a more or less unique experiment. The user can leave traces of his passage, like the print of a fire or footprint on the edge of the river. When the user go back later to the site it will be able perhaps to note traces left by others and thus realize that he or her was not alone to consult the site.
The purpose of the WebArt “Au-bord-du-fleuve” is to share a certain experiment of the river, the pleasure of stopping and of looking at the time which passes, to listen to the birds, the wind in the trees, to feel the marine spray on the skin. The project is an invitation to take its time and to escape from the urban stress; to share a virtual experiment of the coast-of-south of the St-Lawrence river. And who knows, perhaps the Net surfer will nourish the desire to release his keyboard to go to see by itself?”