YourFry.com at the V&A!

YourFry was previewed as part of London Design Week's Digital Design Weekend at the Victoria and Albert Museum. It was a fantastic gathering of makers, technologists, designers and artists alike. YourFry featured in the Open Collaborative Making strand alongside BBC R&D, Microsoft Research, the Met Office and other incredibly exciting digital pioneers. Find out more about the event and download the programme here. And here's the essay we released for the event:

YourFry: a meeting of text and technology

Autobiography is about memory – the representation and interpretation of memories. These memories are selected and constructed into a narrative of the author’s choosing. This is a subjective process, where the author makes themselves the subject of their storytelling. The publisher’s role is to give this shape and a form – physical and digital – and then to take it to the wider world, to amplify it.

Stephen Fry and Penguin’s YourFry project has been created to ask questions about the nature of how we create and publish autobiography in the digital environment. The web is responsive, interactive and chaotic – what if the conventional autobiography is thrown open to the web? What might the results look like, what form might they take?

Following our award-winning 2010 app, MyFry, we are again working with the inimitable Stephen Fry to launch YourFry – an interactive, collaborative global project to reinterpret the words and life story of Stephen’s brand new memoir, More Fool Me.

Through samples of text, audio, imagery and metadata taken from More Fool Me (as well as The Fry Chronicles), we invite participants at venues the world over – previewing at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum on September 21st, 2014 – to create something innovative and new from Stephen’s tale of success, excess, addiction and depression (with added slatherings of shameless name-dropping).

By us allowing Stephen’s memoir – his own interpretation of certain key events in his life – to be reinterpreted by others, we will explore how storytelling continues to evolve in the digital age. And in breaking down the barrier between author and audience, creator and consumer, traditional publishing at last acknowledges that texts are no longer static, but have become flexible, adaptable and, in new ways, alive.

As each new event happens around the globe so different cultural influences – language, geography, history, political and social concerns – will generate and shape different stories from the raw matter of Stephen’s life: his personal story will become global, multifaceted. Individual tastes and influences will breed unique, original interpretations.

After each event, participants will be invited to upload their creations to a website to be viewed, listened to or interacted with by a potential global audience of millions. We welcome ideas in any language and form, for example: text, data visualization, interactive web format, app, audio, film, photographic, animation, 3D-models, live events and experiences. The only limits will be the ingenuity of the participants.

The culmination of this series of events and global collaborations will see an esteemed panel of experts from publishing, gaming, tech, film and more, recognize and announce outstanding submissions across a variety of disciplines. To enter, creative individuals, groups, organisations, innovation labs, tech hubs, libraries and universities should download assets from YourFry.com, available from launch on September 25th.

We at Penguin believe nothing this intimate and personal has been launched on such a global scale before – a very private-public art project for everyone in the world to get involved in.

As Stephen Fry – logophile and technophile – says of the challenge: ‘Be bold, brave and brilliant in creating your own versions of my story. There are no rules: this challenge depends on you. Make of me whatever you will.’