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Mind My Gap is a mixed media project by Dutch artist/filmmaker Rosto.
It started with a bunch of rock 'n' roll songs, which were adapted into a graphic novel which incarnated online, which spawned a series of (short) films and a collection of songs again. The (online) graphic novel started in 1998 and was concluded in 2014.
The graphic novel Mind My Gap consists of two different timelines that intertwine, or precede each other, depending on the perspective of choice: The Open Horizon can be read before Diddybob’s Travels or one can hop between the two storylines, zigzagging in the order of their release dates.
Meet Diddybob and Buddybob! Everything seems hunky-dory for the happy presenter duo who live their life on the set of their TV show Living Interior. On air or off air, they don’t have the slightest notion of an outside. They live without questions or doubts because everything is taken care of. Every day their interior is changed and even more magnificent than the previous one. Their only raison d’etre is to present their interior design to an audience unknown to them.
The Open Horizon is about time: Another time, same place. This is how things built up to Diddybob’s eventual departure and how he ended up trotting the Big Unknown. Or is it?
Here we find Diddybob alone, without his pal and partner Buddybob and without the safe surroundings of their show. He travels from landscape to landscape, haunted by memories and dreams of his other life as we know it from The Open Horizon. Diddybob seems ignorant of the purpose of his odyssey as every scenery seems to lead him further away from home.
Diddybob’s Travels is all about places: Same time, another place. The road seems to be the destination in itself and doesn’t seem to be leading anywhere.
The Mind My Gap project was officially launched in 1998 with the publication of Map1: Highway in a Dutch magazine. Following the internet’s baby steps, the printed graphic novel quickly found its way online as a series of Flash movies throwing sound and interaction into the mix.
By the time the graphic novel was concluded in 2014, the magazine had long disappeared, the web had evolved into a dominating household commodity and Flash was considered obsolete technology. Mind My Gap had become a dinosaur on the internet as one of the first and longest running online graphic novels. Until the very end, it still owed to its magazine origins with its opening cover page and two intertwining story-lines (Travels and Horizon were originally published in two separate but related magazines).
artwork by Martin Draax
In the beginning, Mind My Gap was a chapter in Rosto’s project bible The Four Riders of Dog, a personal grid for his independent projects. Amongst the other chapters, Mind My Gap was the shortest, consisting only of a brief conversation illustrated with a huge smirking whale.
In 1995 he started writing a series of songs within a loose, intuitive concept about landscapes and crossroads. Performed by his group The Wreckers, the songs were the blueprint for the graphic novel. Every episode was based on one or two Songs from my Gap of which the musical themes often returned in the soundtrack of the online series (and later of the short films). MMG was an adventurous journey for the main characters as well as for their creator and audience as the series was intuitively developed on the go. Nobody knew what was going to happen next, until it happened.
The evolution of the web had been quite staggering (remember, kids, a Flash episode of 1 MB was quite a download in 1999!) but ironically also lost compatibility. Flash had been a dutiful and reliable factor over the 15 years of MMG, but was on its way out at the time of writing and expected to be obsolete in the near future. The only way to secure the original episodes for generations to come was to convert them all to video. Losing interactivity, and therefore a certain amount the immersing nature of the originals, at least the project will be available for another decade.