The Labyrinth Project is a research initiative on interactive narrative and digital scholarship at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts that has produced a range of award winning works in digital media in collaboration with experimental filmmakers, scholars, scientists and cultural institutions.  Its members include founding director and media scholar Marsha Kinder and media artists Rosemary Comella, Kristy H.A. Kang and Scott Mahoy.  Since it’s beginnings in 1997,  Kang has been a researcher, project director, and designer on a range of collaborative and pioneering projects which are excerpted below.  Please visit The Labyrinth Project website to learn more.

Adobe Solutions across the Campus: The University of Southern California & The Labyrinth Project
In 2009 Adobe Worldwide Education featured The Labyrinth Project’s interactive narratives in a series that explores innovative and creative uses of multimedia technologies in higher education.


The following are excerpts from selected Labyrinth Projects:


Tracing the Decay of Fiction: Encounters with a Film by Pat O’Neill (2002)
Excerpts from an interactive DVD-ROM by Pat O’Neill, Rosemary Comella, Kristy H.A. Kang, Marsha Kinder and The Labyrinth Project (2002, installation and DVD-ROM)

• Exhibition Premiere in Future Cinema, ZKM in Karlsruhe, Kiasma in Helsinki and the ICC in Tokyo, 2002 – 2004

Concept Design: Rosemary Comella, Kristy H.A. Kang, Marsha Kinder & Pat O’Neill
Executive Producer: Marsha Kinder
Associate Producers: Nsenga K Burton, Joanne Hanley, Alison Trope & Cristina Venegas
Interface Design: Rosemary Comella & Kristy H.A. Kang
Programming & Graphic Design: Rosemary Comella
Digital Compositing & Graphic Design: Kristy H.A. Kang
Sound Design: George Lockwood & Adam King
(see full production credits)

Based on Pat O’Neill’s 35 mm film, “The Decay of Fiction” (2002), this interactive project is an archeological exploration of the Hotel Ambassador, a vintage building now in ruins. Erected in 1920, the hotel played a crucial role in the development of Los Angeles and its urban sprawl. Well known for its glamorous Cocoanut Grove nightclub where Hollywood stars and movie moguls mingled with foreign dignitaries and downtown power brokers, the Ambassador was also the site of one of our nation’s most disturbing events–the 1968 assassination of Democratic Presidential Candidate Robert Kennedy.


The Dawn at My Back: Memoir of a Black Texas Upbringing (2003)
Excerpts from an interactive DVD-ROM by Carroll Parrott Blue, Kristy H.A. Kang and The Labyrinth Project

• Winner of the 2004 Jury Award for New Forms at the Sundance Online Film Festival
• Featured in Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980,  L.A. Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema, The Hammer Museum, October 21, 2011

Concept Design: Carroll Parrott Blue, Kristy H.A. Kang & Marsha Kinder
Project Director: Kristy H.A. Kang
Executive Producer: Marsha Kinder
Writer & Associate Producer: Carroll Parrott Blue
Interface Design: Kristy H.A. Kang & Laurence Tietz
(see full production credits)

Based on a memoir written by Carroll Parrott Blue, The Labyrinth Project has produced a DVD-ROM that expands on the book by encouraging users to explore unique visual fields of interwoven narratives and create their own pathway in response to their journey. Using an interface inspired by her great grandmother’s quilt, users can interweave stories that are embedded within several animated “panscapes” created from original photographs, video and archival materials. While exploring accounts of Blue’s family, they encounter oral histories by members of Houston’s black community and become immersed within a rich cultural landscape. With veteran actors Debbie Allen, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis performing the voice-over narrations that accompany this exploration, Blue and the Labyrinth team have created a provocative and engaging audio-visual experience.


The Danube Exodus: The Rippling Currents of the River (2002)
Excerpts from an interactive installation by Péter Forgács and The Labyrinth Project

• Exhibition Premiere at the Getty Center, 2002

Co-Directors: Rosemary Comella, Péter Forgács, Kristy H.A. Kang & Scott Mahoy
Executive Producer: Marsha Kinder
Original Concept Design: Rosemary Comella, Péter Forgács, Kristy H.A. Kang & Marsha Kinder
Interface Design: Rosemary Comella, Kristy H.A. Kang, Scott Mahoy in consultation with Péter Forgács & Marsha Kinder
(see full production credits)

The Danube Exodus: The Rippling Currents of the River is an immersive cinematic installation about the displacement of ethnic minorities and the possible connections between them. Based on The Danube Exodus, an award-winning film by Hungarian filmmaker and Getty scholar, Péter Forgács, the installation premiered at the Getty Research Institute at the Getty Center in 2002. The project grew out of a collaboration between Péter Forgács, well known for his compelling documentaries based on found footage from Europe in the 1930s – 40s, and the creative team of The Labyrinth Project.


Three Winters in the Sun: Einstein in California (2005)
Excerpts from an interactive project by The Labyrinth Project (DVD-ROM and Installation)

• Exhibited at The Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles 2004-2005

Writer and Producer: Marsha Kinder
Director: Kristy H.A. Kang
Interface Design: Andreas Kratky
Sound Design: Juri Hwang
(see full production credits)

Three Winters in the Sun: Einstein in California, is an interactive installation and DVD-ROM that present a multi perspective portrait of Albert Einstein and emphasize the many contradictions he evokes. It looks at him through six lenses, each focusing on his relations with a different community with which he interacted while a visiting research associate at The California Institute of Technology in Pasadena: his household, science, émigrés, Jews, Hollywood and the FBI (which opened a file that eventually amassed over 1,400 pages on his political activities). Although this portrait focuses on the winters of those three years that Einstein spent at Caltech (1931, 1932 and 1933) , it shows this period was a turning point not only for Einstein and the six communities but also for the broader historical background that exerted such force over their lives.


A Tale of Two MAO Genes: Exploring the Biology and Culture of Aggression and Anxiety (2010)
Excerpts from a science education project by Dr. Jean Chen Shih and The Labyrinth Project (DVD-ROM)

Director: Kristy H.A. Kang
Executive Producers: Marsha Kinder & Jean Chen Shih
Interface Design & Programming: Rosemary Comella
Animation: Debra Isaac & Aaron Biscombe
(see full production credits)

This interactive science visualization project contains six hours of compelling multimedia material designed for diverse audiences–from K-12 to Graduate school, from science majors to the general public.  It focuses on Dr. Jean Chen Shih’s thirty years of pioneering molecular research on a crucial pair of brain enzymes, known as the MAO A and MAO B genes (monoamine oxidase) that help control aggression and anxiety.  Her work provided the first tangible evidence for a biological basis of aggressive behavior.  Besides addressing the latest advances in molecular biology and in the human genome project, this multimedia presentation also treats the interplay between biology and culture and ethical questions in science (concerning stem cell research and cloning, the use of laboratory animals, and unequal access to drugs and treatment). By documenting the exciting discoveries of Dr. Shih and her colleagues and by presenting interviews with several scientists explaining how they became interested in biology and describing what they have achieved, this project also encourages youngsters to choose science as a career.  In addition, a Mandarin version of this project is being used as a model for interactive science education projects in China and Taiwan.


Mysteries and Desire: Searching the Worlds of John Rechy (2000)
Excerpts from a CD-ROM by Marsha Kinder & Kristy H.A. Kang with John Rechy and James Tobias

Recipient of the New Media Invision Gold Award for Overall Design, 2000

Written & Produced by Marsha Kinder in collaboration with John Rechy
Interface Design: Kristy H.A. Kang & James Tobias, in consultation with William S. Hughes & Marsha Kinder
Art Director: Kristy H.A. Kang
Programming: William S. Hughes
Sound Design: James Tobias
Additional Graphics: Sergio Ramirez, Augie Robles, James Tobias, Raqi Syed & Han Yi
(see full production credits)

Challenging the borders between autobiography, memory, history and fiction, this interactive memoir presents a diverse array of personal materials by and about John Rechy and sets them against larger collective histories of Chicano culture and the gay world. Drawing passages from all of Rechy’s published novels, it also mines the outrageous fictions that circulate around this fascinating literary figure who, as a gay icon, a Chicano writer from Texas, a dedicated bodybuilder, a gifted teacher of creative writing, and the 1997 recipient of the PEN West Lifetime Achievement Award, has long been a subject of notoriety and fantasy. Combining original artwork, video, archival documents, and recorded interviews and commentaries, it lets you move through three interrelated realms – Memories, Bodies and Cruising – each with its own daring repertoire of gestural interfaces.