Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Yr2 Week 4 (Wed 30 Oct - Film and Innovation)

Today's seminar marked the return of Helen Bendon as our lecture, who last year had taught us, along with Eddie, the basics of Film Production(not without some bumps along the way, with a particularly hilarious guff at the very start of term with first assignment. Read those entries if you wish to know more.) Anyway, she was here to get s talking about the other half of this module: Interactivity.

Interactivity forms part of that 'what is Innovation' question: how do we change the way people can experience a film, and what the boundaries of cinema are. In this case, what is Interactivity?
  • Giving the audience a means of control/manipulation with a piece of media, and what it can do because of said manipulation.
  • A more direct and personal engagement with a piece of media than just sitting back and watching it on a screen.
  • Invoking other senses than just sight, especially touch (this is a core element of interactive exhibitions at museums as well as video games).
  • This can have both negative and positive repercussions, since, on the one hand, you can offer a unique experience that can change each time you interact with the media. However, this can also lead to a loss of authorship, and the choice can interfere with conventional narrative functions.
One of the emerging forms of interactivity online is known as Hypertext, a concept that dates as far back as 1945, where multiple pages can linked through words (famous examples of this include online encyclopedias like Wikipedia, but there are a number of interactive fiction sites and competitions where, depending on what you click, you can change the outcome of a tale or learn more about a certain part, like a character's back-story). The beauty of his type of work is that is it can offer a bigger, broader than conventional narrative and media, as you can acquire a lot more information in not only less time, but without having to get other volumes/books or papers together.

In fact, that brings me along to the other topic covered in this lesson: Alternative structure, which interactivity, by its very nature, can afford us, and it cna provide fresh and exciting new possibilities with how stories are told and how the audience can digest them (already, in the print form, works like 'B.S. Johnson's The Unfortunates and William Burroughs' Cut Ups have played with the nature of structure and what part of a story can go first, and when each part can be read), and hypertext already affords us that technique in a less cumbersome fashion, as well as one not confined by things like pricing and material costs.

Our assignment for the following was to read up a section on riddles that Helen provided us, discussing how riddles relate to and can be applied to modern interactive fiction. So, in closing, while I would've preferred to keep on going with Guy so that we could, week by week, discuss and iron out all the 'bugs' with our work, this has certainly been an illuminating seminar on interactivity, something which, because we so often use in day-to-day life, we never really examine with much depth or thought because it is just 'there', and this project certainly affords a number of interesting and creative possibilities that I look forward greatly to trying.

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