Thorsten Nesch

- Storyteller -



When I applied for my Individual Literary Project Grant at the Alberta Foundation for the Arts I included in my proposal a public live presentation of the finished novel SUICIDE HOTEL. On November 21st that happened at the Casa in Lethbridge.

The lead up to it was very interesting as I couldn’t picture a classic reading doing my novel justice, and since over the last year I was able to work again more in audio and with visuals, I decided to go that route: a multi media presentation.

As prop I made and brought a scream-bag, a central item in the year 2112 in Lethbridge with a population of 17 million. If you need or want to scream, you politely use a scream-bag, so you don’t disturb others.

I got some really good results with Midjourney, a text to image A.I. platform, where I generated black and white charcoal drawing style images jiving with scenes from the SUICIDE HOTEL. I edited them in a ten minute video sequence that played on a loop during my reading/performance.

For the reading part I chose several scenes from the novel, all part of the very beginning. The programme took me 5 drafts until completion, a total length of approx. 45 minutes.

Another layer were atmospheric soundscapes I prerecorded and mixed for the presentation that accompanied my texts, like the humming of tattoo needles and the sighs of clients in pain.

Music and songs were also part of the SUICIDE HOTEL. My December album of my 1 EP a month series “Before the Angels come” goes along with the novel and two songs I played in part live.

If you want to listen on spotify or apple please follow this link.

I also let robot voices (from text to speech software) speak lines from the novel where I deemed it fit.

And then there was the side character of The Time Traveller in the novel who travels back in time and lands in Lethbridge 2022 (next year 2023). I played him in an improv-bit where I involved the audience.

So all in all not quite the reading you’d expect, and I finished with the promised QnA.

I would have prepared more props and performed music live but during my prep-time Covid went through my family, and I lost 2 weeks. I also would have posted this earlier, but we had a flooding in the house. Life, right?!

After the evening I thankfully received photographs and videos and I edited it all together to the song “Scream-bag”.

My thanks to everybody who came to the presentation and to Angeline Simon for the photographs, Brad Goruk for the videos and everybody at the Casa and the Allied Arts Council of Lethbridge.

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