One of my Lakes International Comic Art Festival finds was the glorious Clockwork Watch, created by Yomi Ayeni of Articipate Media – a collaborative storytelling project set in a retro-futurist vision of Victorian England that launched thanks to a successful crowdfunding pitch back in 2011, and launched with a live event called Tomorrow’s World… Today! – an immersive live event held in London back in 2012.
A five-year immersive participatory steampunk story told through graphic novels edited by Corey Brotherson and drawn by Jennie Gyllblad , there will be nine books in all, with all those already published available through the Clockwork Watch online shop
Available now are Clockwork Watch: The Arrival, the story of Janav Ranbir, an eight-year old Indian boy, who arrives in London with his parents, only to find himself in a world where Clockwork Servants are de rigeur.
That’s followed by Clockwork Watch:Breakway set 20 years after the events in The Arrival, and find Janav is a troubled man. The one person who acted as his moral compass – his mother – has passed away, and Janav blames his father for putting work on Clockwork automata above family.
In Tick Tock: IPA #1, we meet Ervin, the first Clock to gain sentience after accidentally falling into a fermentation tank at the Hodgson Brewery. It fictionalises the origins of a popular drink called Indian Pale Ale.
As well as the graphic novels (beautifully realised by Jennie, who we interviewed a while back about her Arabian Night project) this intriguing transmedia project includes interactive promenade theatre, freeform role-play, online adventures, an interactive book, and a feature film. The tale makes the most of a non-colonial style of Victoriana, at a time when clockwork mechanics and science are the two most important developments in the world.
The Clockwork Watch web site (www.clockworkwatch.com) hosts updates from the story universe. The team invite participants to interact with news by contributing, photographs, videos, letters, even drawings showing how developments affect their characters, living in the Clockwork World.
The best submissions following the story arc will be given Canon status, incorporated into the narrative, and the authors will be awarded a contributors credit on the website.
Contributions that are literal in their interpretation of the Clockwork World will not be incorporated into the Canon, but will be hosted in the news section of the website, and may be referred to as the story develops.
“We launched the project with a crowdfuding campaign in 2011, where we raised £6500 to produce our first graphic novel,” Yomi explains. “Subsequently we won the 2012 IndieGoGo Best Crowdfunded Graphic Novel Award.
“Clockwork Watch is my second Transmedia film project, a love story set in a retro-futuristic universe, and the narrative is told through graphic novels, live events, an online newspaper, role-play, and film – it’s a five-year story.
Yomi is an award-winning transmedia producer, author, film maker, and digital strategist who specialises in crafting interactive and engaging narratives across multiple platforms. He designs live and immersive experiences for media projects, marketing / advertising campaigns, events, and brands and his work has been used to launch computer games, branded content properties, TV shows and films.
“Our aim is to create a sandpit where participants can experience a ‘make believe’ universe, interact with the narrative, contribute to an alternate history, and propose creative adjustments to the Clockwork Watch story universe,” says Yomi. “Our Production Blog lifts a lid on the making of Clockwork Watch, including press mentions, activities, and background.”
Do check out these books – the artwork is gorgeous and the story engaging. I’m glad I came across them.
• Visit the web site: www.clockworkwatch.com
Thanks to Jennie Gyllblad for the covers