Motto is a playful, one-of-a-kind adventure—an interactive novella that uses thousands of tiny videos to tell the thousand-year tale of a kindhearted spirit named September. Part ghost story, part scavenger hunt, Motto finds a way to be both documentary and fiction—incorporating participants’ lo-fi, unstaged footage into its own emotional narrative. It’s like a mirror ball that refracts its audience’s imaginations, rearranging the way they look at the world. Discover its six chapters at your own pace—inside your home or out in the world, with your phone in your hand.
When viewers experience Motto, they enter a world of meaning-making and play. As the ghost story unfolds, they are asked to contribute to the experience—it’s a scavenger hunt of miniature video clips, each one an easy, digestible task. Motto uses an ingenious, hidden logic to weave these videos into its narrative, letting the viewers’ own images become stand-ins for the narrator’s daydreams and mementos. Gradually—and, in a crucial design choice, anonymously—everybody who experiences Motto is joining forces with those who have experienced it before, adding intimate fragments of their lives to a pool of collective memory.
Motto is told in episodes—an hour-plus experience presented as a series of discrete chapters. Because it lives on the web, as an interactive experience for mobile devices, users can take it with them, discovering each episode at their own pace. It up-ends the traditional role of the spectator, transforming the passive viewer into a protagonist and co-creator. You can contribute to the story even as you explore it—shooting clips with your phone that reappear in surprising and even emotional ways.
Motto uses a mixture of live video analysis, neural-network-assisted computer vision and its own custom curation system to integrate users’ footage, applying dynamic special effects and interactivity. Meanwhile, Motto’s creative team seeded the work with its own collection of videos, including a handful of startling set pieces. The resulting experience marries traditional literary forms with the short-form video vernacular of the 2020 Internet, from Snapchat to TikTok and Instagram Stories—a non-linear 2,000-page mystery that’s expressed in a dazzling array of anonymous, amateur video clips, growing larger every day.
Motto is an original collaboration between AATOAA, Vincent Morisset’s acclaimed digital production studio, and prize-winning novelist Sean Michaels. This is the third collaboration between the National Film Board of Canada and Vincent Morisset, after the Webby Award winners BLA BLA (2011) and Way to Go (2015).
(Text from Motto Press Kit)