Kevin Brooks, a storyteller who worked with technology in many contexts, died last Friday of cancer. Kevin was finishing his PhD at the MIT Media Lab when I was there as a masters student. Although he was farther along in his studies and working on a different floor with Glorianna Davenport’s research group, he helped me with my thinking and became a real friend, discussing his work (from Tired of Giving In to his Agent Stories project for his dissertation, “Metalinear Cinematic Narrative: Theory, Process, and Tool”) and how to develop other sorts of interactive narratives. Kevin also introduced me to the storytelling of Brother Blue and the rest of the Cambridge storytelling community. Kevin was at Apple before coming to MIT and went on to work at Motorola and, later, Hallmark. When I came to MIT, I was interested in inquiring about narrative and poetics in the system-building work that I did, and I was lucky to encounter Kevin, who had been looking at the forms and structures of storytelling as well as its ability to treat themes, to change people, and to change the world.
There is a very nice profile of Kevin in the MIT News section Technology Review, from 2011.