Future Cinema

Course Site for Future Cinema 1 and Future Cinema 2: Applied Theory at York University, Canada

Research Essay

Hello Everyone,

If anyone is interested, I have attached a copy of my research essay based on my presentation from last week with this post.  I really enjoyed Future Cinema, and learning from everyone’s unique projects and insights throughout our term.  If anyone would like to keep in touch, my personal website is CaseyRobertson.net (also includes links to my Insta, Facebook, etc).

All the best!

Casey

CRobertson – HUMA6245 – Research Essay

Thu, December 6 2018 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: Casey

First of all, thanks for the reminder email. Totally forgot to do this. And, secondly sorry for taking so long in getting these up. I’ve been up to my eyes getting assignments done and finishing the funding applications, so I hope I’m not too late with my comments on the presentations last week.

AUGMENTED REALITIES

Lia “The Use of AR for Decolonization”

Great Presentation. I love how new social activists are using technology to pursue justice and change when they cannot actually organize in person in the streets. Its one of the best uses of social technology so far. My one question is this: How can people who do not have money to use this technology, use it? What I mean is this type of demonstration and social rebellion limited to those who have access to the technologies used. Does this mean social rebellion will be led by the middle-class?

May Massijeh “Memories Collide”

I love how you created a great AR project that is both personal to you, and at the same time, a great idea for your entire community. It was very nicely conceived and executed. I’m not certain what I can add, but to agree with Caitlin about adding video and audio.

Casey Robertson “Exploring Sounds as a Means of Agency in Future Cinema”

Why, in movies, does the sound support the image and not the other way around as recorded sound was created first and the visuals were created to go along with it? The study of sound is something that is drastically overlooked in cinema studies and yet it is one of the most interesting aspects of it. You are using interesting theories to examine your subject and I suspect you are going to write a very interesting paper.

Rory Hoy “Transmissions of Algorithmic Emergent Narratives”

So, what you are doing is not creating a narrative so much as placing somewhat related images together and then the viewer creates the narrative in their head. I suppose this works the same way as paintings in an art gallery work. It arranges its images, symbolism, motifs and allows the viewer to create the story behind it. It seems to me that this is a new digital version of a long tradition in visual art.

Nicole Alexander “A Day in the Afterlife”

Watch “Caprica” for a more serious and literal version of what you’re doing. They take this concept literally. A cult tries to build a digital afterlife for its members when they die by creating avatars that are identical copies of you down to your personalities. Its a little difficult to explain properly and you have to sit through a mediocre series to get it all, but its interesting none the less.

In addition to this, I just realized that I also forgot to post my questions for The Rise of the Videogame Zinesters, and so here they are:

We’ve talked a lot in class about VR and videogames ability to educate and help people understand and have empathy for those from different lifestyles, cultures or refugees etc.

Government funding agencies have funds to create new media, but making the games is one thing, the question remains how can we get people to know of their existence and play them?

If making games is an expression of one’s culture or social/political ideas, then isn’t having other people play these games something to be pursued, especially if you are trying to evoke empathy?

Should government funding include marketing, not necessarily in the same sense as a game like Call of Duty, but some sort of grassroots campaign to attract at least some sort of an audience?

It strikes me, when I read this book how history seems to repeat itself. On page 98, Anthropy writes that working in the game business is, “unpaid overtime. Your masters want the game done by Christmas, so you don’t leave the office until its done. This is why people in the industry arent’ healthy, this is why they burn out and quit games within a few years. This is why you miss the second year of your daughter’s life.” This reminded me of the old movie studio system, but even these studios would occasionally produce a ‘prestige picture’ because it would be good for the entire industry.

Why can’t game studios adopt this idea by occasionally producing something different, prestigious, or an art game to push the entire industry forward?

“Gang Rape…is an example of using the capabilities of games…not to indulge in escapist fantasy, but rather…to educate players about the dynamics at work within a horrible real life experience, and how those dynamics might come to be as a product of individual choices and responses” (60).

This is a great idea, but how much input was given to real rape victims, psychologists etc., in the design of the game?

Do the game designers have the responsibility to ensure the game they design represents psychological truths in the choices that the characters make?

When you try to create a game that is supposed to educate, it this no an important consideration regardless of the content?

Do games like this need more than just a designer and programmer?

Tue, December 4 2018 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: Tom

ARG Q’s

1. Jeff Hull in the VICE article claims that “anything” can be a game. How does his definition intersect or differ with Anthropy’s definition (”games have rules”)?

2. Kim et al say, “as usual, digital games are on the forefront of this technology use, creating and shaping various attempts to use new media in pursuit of different objectives.” Have games pioneered tech or innovations in the past that we take for granted today?

3. Kim et al’s article gives five ARG examples: all are tie-ins, showing that the influence of Hollywood played a significant role in the medium’s development. Why might this be?

4. One interesting ARGNet was the No Man’s Sky ARG, which expands on the game’s narrative and lore. As we saw in class, No Man’s Sky is light on traditional story, and it seems this ARG makes up for the narrative that the game lacks (recently, Halo 5 did the same thing with its viral “Hunt the Truth” campaign). How can ARGs maybe be used to  supplement narratives in other media? What might the advantages to doing this? Disadvantages?

Thu, November 22 2018 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: Andre

Thoughts and Questions for ‘The Institute.’

Hello Everyone,

I found last night’s film really interesting, not only in an entertaining sense, but also due to the larger questions it raises that intersect between everyday existence, meaning, and community.

1. I found myself questioning why someone might engage for years with the Jejune Institute, and a couple commentaries came to mind.  Immanuel Kant once stated that to be happy, we require three things: Something to do, someone to love, and something to look forward to (or hope for).  In our contemporary society, did the Jejune Institute perhaps fulfill two of these three premises?  Additionally, I was reminded of a comment that John Keates once made that the work of Isaac Newton essentially destroyed the wonder of the rainbow by reducing it to merely prismatic colours.  In a time when grand narratives of mystery and discover seem more relegated to historical texts than to contemporary existence, did the Jejune Institute in all of its absurdity renew that sense of wonder and discovery to a number of lives that may have seemed static and contrived in certain ways?  The ethologist Richard Dawkins countered such encounters in the preface to his book, Unweaving the Rainbow, when he stated “…those in search of beauty or poetry in their cosmology need not turn to the paranormal or even necessarily restrict themselves to the mysterious: science itself, the business of unraveling mysteries, is beautiful and poetic.”  This may be quite true for academics in the realm of the hard sciences or those who have found a definite passion, but in an unusual manner, it almost seemed that some of the participants gained some sort of wonder, meaning, or purpose from this project.

2. As with my comments regarding Darren Brown’s work earlier, I am curious how ethical and legal ramifications enter into such a project.  At times, I felt that certain aspects of the Jejune Institute had the potential to become a litigation nightmare, while at other times, I was wondering if such a project had dangerous potentials for those who became ‘too involved.’  Obviously, this concern is difficult to objectively situate, especially when placed alongside the thoughts in my previous question.  With all of this said, however, do such concerns stunt the inherent possibilities to create a truly memorable ARG experience?  Can we create a memorable experience without pushing boundaries of some sort?

3. The Medium article mentioned the film Frank as a similar premise for their next upcoming project.  I definitely recommend watching the film, or at the very least, looking up the theatrical poster or trailer, but with this said, are there any particular aspects that you feel are necessary when undertaking a similar project in the future?

4. Oddly, the overarching theme with Eva in The Institute somewhat reminded me of Atom Egoyan’s The Captive, a mystery/thriller film where a couple’s daughter suddenly goes missing during a routine stop at isolated rural truck stop.  After seven years of no leads, random belongings of the couple’s daughter begin to show up in the most random of places which would be impossible to occur by coincidence.  This bizarre plot leads to the theory of someone playing a (much more sinister) game with the grieving couple as participants, but renews hope to find out what actually happened to their daughter.

If there is an overarching narrative with the persona of Eva, did we attain a concrete sense of meaning from The Institute, or did this documentary simply stir up more questions than answers?

Thu, November 22 2018 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: Casey

Sarah’s Questions from the ARG Readings:

  1. Authors of Storytelling in New Media: the Case of Alternate Reality Games state that “gamer self-reports reveal that they get more exercise” and “score more extroverted” on personality measures. What were the age groups that participated in the report? How were these studies conducted to minimize bias? While I do appreciate their effort in trying to dismantle stereotypes, this article would have gained more credibility had they further explained the findings. (Side note: Not all studies reflect this tendency, but one nationwide survey conducted in Norway saw a correlation between the use of video games and lower scores on life satisfaction.)
  2. Even though the authors argue that the goal of ARG’s “is not to create an alternate reality, but to create a storyline that infiltrates real life,” to me, it seem like a “real-life” version of Second Life, in which you build and invest in another fabricated world (The Jejune Institute makes an excellent case). Perhaps, ARG’s have more layered components of “an interactive drama” and are more goal-oriented, but aren’t they similiar in the nature of creating a world within a world? What are the benefits and problems that come with such ‘dualistic’ or ‘blurred’ meta or meta-meta realities? Is this “fourth place” necessary?
  3. ARG is defined in the article as a “participatory and interactive” mode of storytelling in which “players have a key role in creating the fiction.” I do agree with with this to a certain degree, but think that the authors should emphasize the collective nature of these games. While individual players have a role to play, it is the group, the players as a whole, that propel the story forward. With such an army-like mindset that guides the story, there is a lack of autonomy, but a heavy reliance on the identity of the group. Is there a way to diffuse more of each player’s individuality and “independent thought” into ARG’s or is this not really feasible?
  4. To quote Jeff Hull, creator of the Jejune Institute, “You can describe anything as a game…Life itself is a game.” With that in mind, if he thinks of the Jejune Institute as an “experience” (and not a game), then that means it’s a ‘game experience’? How does a game experience differ from other experiences in life which also happens to be part of a game?

Wed, November 21 2018 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: Choi

ARG Questions

1. The ARG #NOFILTER is a great example of how ARGs can function satirically — not an alternate reality so much as an amplified one, weaving in a supernatural narrative but mostly concerned with pointing out the absurdity of contemporary online habits. How else might ARGs and “gamification” in general be used as a tool to encourage self-awareness and thoughtful appraisal of one’s life in ways that other media cannot?

2. The Motherboard article on the Jejune Institute asks whether this ARG is more like a cult than a game. This question makes me think of our discussion about Why So Serious, and the fearful reaction seeing hordes of (mostly) men taking to the streets after being riled up on the internet. Going off of some of the discussions we’ve been having all semester around the ethics of future cinema practices, what are some of the ethical considerations that should be taken into account when designing ARGs? What are the potentials for damaging or dangerous outcomes? How can players discern if they are participating in the creation of a malicious alternative reality, when it is so often hard to see the entirety of its network when you’re in the midst of it?

3. There seems to be a growth from the earlier ARGs discussed in the Kim et al article, to those discussed on ARG Net. The ARGs that Kim et al deal with are all tied to larger properties, used to create multi-layered narratives but also as immersive advertising campaigns (as they say in their conclusion: “Currently, ARGs are dominated by their marketing purpose and tightly linked to product release. The pace and flow are tied to the product release, and data capture is only intended to guide the team of storymasters as hype reaches a critical stage. Researchers need to work with designers or create their own games to capture full sets of usable data.”) In contrast, it seems that some of the more contemporary ARGs we see on ARG net are less likely to be tied to existing narratives–like BeeMe or Tessera–and more likely to be tied to immersive theatre practices or educational takeaways. Does this indicate that ARGs have taken the opposite trajectory of many “alternative” media practices– from the mainstream to the margins, so to speak? Or does this blog just use a much looser definition of ARG than Kim et al?

4. What do we think of Jeff Hull’s assertion that “You can describe anything as a game. A court of law is a game. An election cycle is a game. Life itself is a game” and that Jejune institute is instead an “experience”? He goes on to say: “So if we can create a new story, through real-world narrative experiences, then we are creating reality…” in reference to the new Jejune ARG. Do we think that this is true, or even possible? Could an ARG, like an AI, become so good that it is indistinguishable from reality?

Wed, November 21 2018 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: Derval

A collection from the previous weeks:

A collection from the previous weeks:
Class 2+ 3: Jaron Lanier’s book: Dawn of Everything:
Q1: After attending Fivars Festival and reading Jaron’s book, I’m comparing the technology that he shared in the book and the current technology and noticing the difference in the technical level. What are the criteria for commercializing a certain product?
Q2: “those few who can imagine ahead can, therefore, seize the world” Moore’s Law. Is imagination the new power in our world? And how does that changes the way humans look at the purity of imagination?
Q3: P 289, Jaron writes “we believe in ourselves and each other only on faith, It’s a more pragmatic faith than traditional faith in God.” As our faith in machines is getting deeper and deeper as AI and machine learning evolve, does that indicates the decline in our faith in humans and God?
Q4: “VR is the technology that instead highlights the existence of your subjective experience. It proves you are real” P56. But isn’t our subjective experiences projected to be influenced collective narratives?
Q5: In fivars, through a group discussion director Andrew MacDonald mentioned the future possibilities of volumetric capture through non-mech programs and depth photography, with what Jaron is envisioning with sensors. Are we to witness a VR becoming an alternative reality?
Class 4: Scott Rettberg: Combinatory Cinema
Q1: While identifying creative cannibalism: Why call it that? Does he aim to highlight that deconstructing is a part of human creativity?
Q2: In the ethics of research in filmmaking, where do we draw the line between priorities of the product and the process?
Q3: How does the use of Big Data in filmmaking change our understanding of personalization in storytelling? And of collective experiences?
Q4: As researchers, how do we go about analyzing combinatory cinema and documenting the audience/makers reaction individually to these personalized videos?
Class 5: Helen Papagiannis, Augmented Human:
Q1: I found the author very positive and hopeful when talking about new technologies. However, if VR could be described as empathy machine what would we call AR?
Q2: How will AR change our definition of exclusion, oppression and separation of humanities?
Q3: There is a potential for AR to be used in our daily lives, how does that change the freeness of free time?
Q4: In a conversation about augmented human, what will happen to the term humanity and human rights concerning acquiring augmented technology?
Class 6: Scott Lucas
Q1: At the beginning of the book the writer defines immersivity as the intentionality of never leaving. What does that say about our new concept of reality and experiences?
Q2: The Players lose track of the borders of the virtual environment they are in, how does that reflect on the concept of their future preserved reality?
Q3: authenticity is a road to achieve full immersivity, how does that conclude more ridged power relationships between the performers on the sets, the guests and the creators?
Q4: In AR and VR the human element is reduced to the consumers and creators, in Immersive parks other factors like (selling people – actors and performers) are the pillar for it to work. Does that make the experience more authentic or does it require from the consumers to have more realistic expectation about their experience?
Class 7: Frankenstein AI (No reading)
Class 8: Ibister Questions: How games move us – emotion
Q1- Games create empathy: why does it take time to get to a stage of full immersiveness for us to experience the complete empathy aspect of a game?
Q2- In her book, Ibister describes that act of giving. How do we define gifts in technology without it linking to materialism?
Q3- what does imposing responsibility in gaming mean to the definition of a gamer, creator and game?
Q4- Ibister writes “We still talk about games as if they are all the same.” what does she aim to convey to game creators by drawing attention to games with a moral code?
Class 9: Anna Anthropy Rise of the Videogame Zinesters
Q1. In Possibilia, The interactivity level is limited to the arrows on the viewer’s keyboard. However the view’s role changes, they become a director in a short movie where they are controlling the scenes and shots. What level of immersivity does this interactivity introduce?
Q2: What method did the creators of Possibilia use to film the movie? And why did they go with the personal directing approach with a love/breakup story? Were they aiming to provoke curiosity in the viewer about the story of the couple to get them to become a director and interact?
Q3- Anthropy in her book refers to big companies quest to resell games to the same demographical base they always sell for. “It’s the same small group of people who are creating the same games for themselves,” she said. What does the implication of this cycle on game researchers and game scholars? How do they approach the hegemony in this group?
Q4: In her final chapter, Anthropy writes “Every new game is a voice in the darkness.” In game design, How does changing the role of games from targeting gamers to creating for the sake of art help the makers and gamers challenge the consumerism of the gaming system? And what happens to nowadays games when more diverse games become mainstream?
Class 10: Jagoda, Patrick. Network Aesthetics
Q1: ARG’s are used to Guerilla market a media product. Thus this product becomes transmedia tool and moves to a different platform. In the “Why so serious” ARG we saw how it changed batman fan base. At what point does the marketing campaign become the product itself?
Class 11: Alternate reality gaming
Q1: In the institute movie trailer, one person mentioned that for people to think of it as a game offended them. What is the line that a game usually crosses for it to become more than that? For it to take the shape of reality.
Q2: In the article “Game or Cult” the author writes “you might call it an alternate reality game, but its creator insists the term is insufficient.” when does the creator lose the right to determine the path that their own creation will take? Including how to define it and where it goes?
Q3: The article asks whether the institute is a game or cult. Can’t it be both of those things at the same time? “If we can create a new story, through real-world narrative experiences, then we are creating reality.” Why is creating a reality a goal to many creators?
Q4: “the creators had finally revealed themselves, killing the Jejune dream in the process.” How does the creator play a role in ending their creation? And can they do that? When do the creators become part of the game?

A collection from the previous weeks:

Class 2+ 3: Jaron Lanier’s book: Dawn of Everything:

Q1: After attending Fivars Festival and reading Jaron’s book, I’m comparing the technology that he shared in the book and the current technology and noticing the difference in the technical level. What are the criteria for commercializing a certain product?

Q2: “those few who can imagine ahead can, therefore, seize the world” Moore’s Law. Is imagination the new power in our world? And how does that changes the way humans look at the purity of imagination?

Q3: P 289, Jaron writes “we believe in ourselves and each other only on faith, It’s a more pragmatic faith than traditional faith in God.” As our faith in machines is getting deeper and deeper as AI and machine learning evolve, does that indicates the decline in our faith in humans and God?

Q4: “VR is the technology that instead highlights the existence of your subjective experience. It proves you are real” P56. But isn’t our subjective experiences projected to be influenced collective narratives?

Q5: In fivars, through a group discussion director Andrew MacDonald mentioned the future possibilities of volumetric capture through non-mech programs and depth photography, with what Jaron is envisioning with sensors. Are we to witness a VR becoming an alternative reality?

Class 4: Scott Rettberg: Combinatory Cinema

Q1: While identifying creative cannibalism: Why call it that? Does he aim to highlight that deconstructing is a part of human creativity?

Q2: In the ethics of research in filmmaking, where do we draw the line between priorities of the product and the process?

Q3: How does the use of Big Data in filmmaking change our understanding of personalization in storytelling? And of collective experiences?

Q4: As researchers, how do we go about analyzing combinatory cinema and documenting the audience/makers reaction individually to these personalized videos?

Class 5: Helen Papagiannis, Augmented Human:

Q1: I found the author very positive and hopeful when talking about new technologies. However, if VR could be described as empathy machine what would we call AR?

Q2: How will AR change our definition of exclusion, oppression and separation of humanities?

Q3: There is a potential for AR to be used in our daily lives, how does that change the freeness of free time?

Q4: In a conversation about augmented human, what will happen to the term humanity and human rights concerning acquiring augmented technology?

Class 6: Scott Lucas

Q1: At the beginning of the book the writer defines immersivity as the intentionality of never leaving. What does that say about our new concept of reality and experiences?

Q2: The Players lose track of the borders of the virtual environment they are in, how does that reflect on the concept of their future preserved reality?

Q3: authenticity is a road to achieve full immersivity, how does that conclude more ridged power relationships between the performers on the sets, the guests and the creators?

Q4: In AR and VR the human element is reduced to the consumers and creators, in Immersive parks other factors like (selling people – actors and performers) are the pillar for it to work. Does that make the experience more authentic or does it require from the consumers to have more realistic expectation about their experience?

Class 7: Frankenstein AI (No reading)

Class 8: Ibister Questions: How games move us – emotion

Q1- Games create empathy: why does it take time to get to a stage of full immersiveness for us to experience the complete empathy aspect of a game?

Q2- In her book, Ibister describes that act of giving. How do we define gifts in technology without it linking to materialism?

Q3- what does imposing responsibility in gaming mean to the definition of a gamer, creator and game?

Q4- Ibister writes “We still talk about games as if they are all the same.” what does she aim to convey to game creators by drawing attention to games with a moral code?

Class 9: Anna Anthropy Rise of the Videogame Zinesters

Q1. In Possibilia, The interactivity level is limited to the arrows on the viewer’s keyboard. However the view’s role changes, they become a director in a short movie where they are controlling the scenes and shots. What level of immersivity does this interactivity introduce?

Q2: What method did the creators of Possibilia use to film the movie? And why did they go with the personal directing approach with a love/breakup story? Were they aiming to provoke curiosity in the viewer about the story of the couple to get them to become a director and interact?

Q3- Anthropy in her book refers to big companies quest to resell games to the same demographical base they always sell for. “It’s the same small group of people who are creating the same games for themselves,” she said. What does the implication of this cycle on game researchers and game scholars? How do they approach the hegemony in this group?

Q4: In her final chapter, Anthropy writes “Every new game is a voice in the darkness.” In game design, How does changing the role of games from targeting gamers to creating for the sake of art help the makers and gamers challenge the consumerism of the gaming system? And what happens to nowadays games when more diverse games become mainstream?

Class 10: Jagoda, Patrick. Network Aesthetics

Q1: ARG’s are used to Guerilla market a media product. Thus this product becomes transmedia tool and moves to a different platform. In the “Why so serious” ARG we saw how it changed batman fan base. At what point does the marketing campaign become the product itself?

Class 11: Alternate reality gaming

Q1: In the institute movie trailer, one person mentioned that for people to think of it as a game offended them. What is the line that a game usually crosses for it to become more than that? For it to take the shape of reality.

Q2: In the article “Game or Cult” the author writes “you might call it an alternate reality game, but its creator insists the term is insufficient.” when does the creator lose the right to determine the path that their own creation will take? Including how to define it and where it goes?

Q3: The article asks whether the institute is a game or cult. Can’t it be both of those things at the same time? “If we can create a new story, through real-world narrative experiences, then we are creating reality.” Why is creating a reality a goal to many creators?

Q4: “the creators had finally revealed themselves, killing the Jejune dream in the process.” How does the creator play a role in ending their creation? And can they do that? When do the creators become part of the game?

Wed, November 21 2018 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: May

4 Questions – Jagoda continued, ARGs

Hi all,

What a wild and crazy world ARGs turned out to be! Looking forward to talking about the Jejune Institute and linking some of these ideas to cinema.

Questions!

1. As I’ve fought with the word “immersion” through this whole semester, very much trying to resist the siren call of the Myth of Total Immersion, ARGs have given something new to think about: more so than the mediated AR and VR experiences from earlier in the semester, an ARG’s sense of immersion is not about “teleporting” or “escaping,” to a different (virtual) place, but rather about completely blurring the “game space” and “real space” of its players. What are some of the positives and negatives about this boundless and limitless and edgeless sense of immersion? What happens to a game, or cinematic experience, when it has no end and/or acts of containment? How does it play with a typical game’s notion of “attention” and “focus”?

2. How does an ARG’s sense of embodiment in these immersive game-worlds differ than that of an AR or VR experience? The cinema experience? I’m thinking here of the “interface” of these experience – the site where the player or viewer interacts with the game. In cinema, AR and VR, the screen is typically the main interface, with further inputs like controllers, gloves etc. However, in ARGs, there is no interface, or perhaps a series of interlocking interfaces. Is the body of an ARG participant in constant interface?

3. A number of the ARGs that are given as examples are built upon “fan experiences” of previously created content or as promotional experiments for commercial products. While we are going to be looking at smaller scale ARGs that doesn’t rely on the centralized, capitalistic systems that Antropy so fears in AAA video game development, why do you think so many of the successful ARGs seem to have some content to some previously established world/continuity? I’m thinking here about Jadoga’s insistence, built on Wark’s, that “art produces or reconfigures desire” that depends on “uncertainty” and a “surrender of control” (215). I might tie this to messages boards, in particular for an earlier pre-Twttier show like Lost.

4. What role do you think conspiracy plays in ARGs? It seems like a number rely on the conspiratorial tropes in their content, but in what ways might the notions of hidden networks of secret power be essential to the gameplay (the form) of the game? With their focus on collective play and collective action, what role does being social play in conspiracies and in what positive and negative ways does an ARG leverage that? I think there is something more, unformed in my thoughts right now, about being the select group “in the know” and the power that comes with that…

Tue, November 20 2018 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: Aaron

Jagoda Questions and Links to Coverage on Derren Brown

1. In chapter one, Jagoda cites Jean-François Lyotard (my Frankenstein dinner guest) in a passage citing his view that dominant notions of modern art seek to “present the fact that the unpresentable exists,” and also mentions Joseph Tabbi’s claim of a shift from a theological/artistic order to one dominated by increasingly unknowable technological and corporate networks that appear.  For Jagoda, a network sublime emerges directly from such postmodern antecedents and is most evident in those ubiquitous network visualizations that represent big-data outputs (using an Instagram visualization network as an example).

This is an interesting theoretical evolution, one that I am curious about others’ thoughts on.  It’s been about twenty years since Lyotard’s death, and there has been considerable evolution in numerous pathways since then.  As with his reference to Ranciere’s Dissensus, I was also hoping that Jagoda would return to further engage with Lyotard later in the book, but both figures are only mentioned in the introductory commentaries.

Without a detailed exploration here, do we agree that the network sublime which Jagoda articulates is a ‘direct antecedent,’ or has it taken a type of detour or conceptual leap here?  Despite the criticisms leveled at The Postmodern Condition (some even by Lyotard himself), I feel that certain aspects are relevant in our age of networks, but to what extent is a challenging proposition to articulate.

2. Jagoda states:

“The art critic Nicolas Bourriaud theorizes art beginning in the 1990s as taking on “relational aesthetics” that include interactive and networked components. Several decades before this moment, however, artists were already beginning to explore similar concepts. Members of the post– World War II avant- garde, including John Cage, Nam June Paik, and Wolf Vostell, as well as members of the Situationist International, were experimenting with “intermedia” production and network thought in the 1950s.”

This is an interesting point as some might place the divide here as essentially between the “high-tech” and the “low-tech.”  While figures such as Cage have exterted a wide net of influence, not all theorists would situate his work in this manner.  Does this distinction matter?  How much of a role does the technical aspect play when tracing such historical trajectories of networks?

3. Jagoda cites the film, The Game, and other forms of ARGs which reminded me of NetFlix’s recently streamed specials with Derren Brown (an illusionist and mentalist), who through an elaborate setup of actors, plotlines, and means of production, sets up unknowing participants to engage in a complex game without their knowledge (they are purposely misled to the actual premise of their involvement).  Notably, he uses actors working through elaborate plotlines to coherence the participants to push an actor off a roof (who secretly lands on a crash pad), or in another episode, Brown’s team convinces an anti-immigration Trump supporter to take a bullet for an undocumented man being harassed by a racist gang of bikers in the desert.

Obviously, many have questioned the ethics behind such deceptive forms of entertainment, but where do we draw the line in today’s age?  Is it possible to do so objectively?  In interactive roleplaying media and games, there will often be elements of surprise or twists in narrative, but many would contend that Brown has taken this beyond any normalized boundaries.

4. Jagoda’s emphasis on ambivalence is interesting, and is also an area that I think could have returned to some of Lyotard’s thought, notably his theory of the differend. While I understand his premise for articulating a move towards ambivalence, I also question if we have shifted to greater polarization, even since the recent publication of this book. Is ambivalence relevant in practice, or is such a conception more theoretical in natiue?

Also, for those interested, here are a couple articles which explore the controversial nature of Derren Brown’s work:

https://www.indiewire.com/2018/02/the-push-netflix-review-ending-derren-brown-twist-1201933412/

https://www.bustle.com/p/how-real-is-sacrifice-the-new-derren-brown-netflix-special-doesnt-play-it-safe-12256108



In the introduction. Jagoda draws on Raciere’s work as a pathway of illuminating network aesthetics.  Of particular interest to me was his invoking of the notion of dissensus, when he states:

This dissensus, which is an irreconcilable tension that defines aesthetics, emerges from “the rupture of a certain agreement between thought and the sensible” that we experience through a work of art that keeps readers or viewers at a distance while simultaneously drawing them in. Dissensus, moreover, captures the fundamental way in which the aesthetic is political— that is, dissensus generates “the suspension of power, the neither . . . nor . . . specific to the aesthetic state” that enables “a revolution that is no mere displacement of powers, but a neutralization of the very forms by which power is exercised.”  This state of suspension is closely related to the nonsovereignty that I am proposing as the starting point for an analysis of networks. It is this inherent contradiction of art and literature that makes it so well suited for grappling with the internal complexities, unforeseeable emergences, and relational intensities that make up a network imaginary. Networks need not merely be control structures, management systems, or scientific graphs but can also serve as figures for encountering contemporary forms of what Adorno calls “contradiction.” Networks, after all, suggest a culture that grows shallower even as it becomes increasingly interconnected. They instantiate new forms of centralization but also introduce decentralization or distribution. They simplify the world and yet, as Michel Serres observes of systems, seem simultaneously to imbue it with new dimensions of complexity. It is such tensions that constitute the analytical field of network aesthetics (26).

Having recently read some of Ranciere’s works recently, I thought that this is an interesting analysis.  I was hoping that Jagoda would engage more with Ranciere aa the book progressed.

In chapter one, Jagoda cites Jean-François Lyotard (my Frankenstein dinner guest), in a passage citing his view that dominant notions of modern art seek to “present the fact that the unpresentable exists,” and also mentions Joseph Tabbi’s claim of a shift from a theological/artistic order to one dominated by increasingly unknowable technological and corporate networks that appear.  For Jagoda, a network sublime emerges directly from such postmodern antecedents and is most evident in those ubiquitous network visualizations that represent big-data outputs, using an Instagram visualization network as an example.  This is an interesting theoretical evolution, one that I am curious about others’ thoughts on.  It’s been about twenty years since Lyotard’s death, and there has been considerable evolution since then.  As with his reference to Ranciere’s dissensus, I was also hoping that Jagoda would return to Lyotard later in the book, but both figures are only mentioned in the introductory chapters.

Without a detailed exploration here, do we agree that the network sublime which Jagoda articulates is a ‘direct antecedent,’ or has it taken a type of detour or conceptual leap here?  Despite the criticisms leveled at The Postmodern Condition (some even by Lyotard himself), I feel that certain aspects are relevant in our age of networks, but to what extent is a challenging proposition to articulate.

Jagoda states”

The art critic Nicolas Bourriaud theorizes art beginning in the 1990s as taking on “relational aesthetics” that include interactive and networked components. Several decades before this moment, however, artists were already beginning to explore similar concepts. Members of the post– World War II avant- garde, including John Cage, Nam June Paik, and Wolf Vostell, as well as members of the Situationist International, were experimenting with “intermedia” production and network thought in the 1950s.

This is an interesting point as some might place the divide here as essentially between the “high-tech” and the “low-tech.”  While figures such as Cage have exterted a wide net of influence, not all theorists would situate his work in this manner.  Does this distinction matter?  How much of a role does the technical aspect play when tracing such historical trajectories of networks?

Jagoda cites The Game and other forms of media.  Recently Netflix has streamef specials with Darren Brown, who through an elaborate setup of actors, plotlines, and production sets up unknowing participants to engage in a game without their knowledge.  Notably he uses actors to coherence the participants to push an actor off a roof, or in another episode, convinces a Trump supporter to take a bullet for an undocumented man being harassed by a racist motorcyle gang.

Obviously, many have questioned the ethics behind such deceptive forms of entertainment, but where do we draw the line in today’s age?  Is it possible to do so objectively?

Sat, November 17 2018 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: Casey

Jagoda Q’s

1. Jagoda analyzes numerous linear narratives that frame networks. Here, he claims that most 20th century literature, especially in sci-fi, created “dystopian” visions of networks. Are there any examples of narratives in this period that frame networks in a positive light? Are there any futuristic texts that look forward to the future, rather than dread its arrival?

2. Jagoda says, “networks may make individuals obsolete or irrelevant.” Is this something we should potentially embrace? Is this something we might need?

3. Jagoda posits that, “total authorial management may inform certain digital games, but are not characteristic of the art form,” because there is not a clear link between storytelling and games. Do games, or films or comics or paintings, need to have a “story” to be considered “authored? If games are art but do not need “total authorial management”, what does this say about games as art?

4. For Jadoga, there is a distinction between single-player and multi-player games. He agrees with McKenzie Wark when Wark says, “perhaps the single-player game will become an anachronism, superseded by multi-player worlds.” But what is the distinction between “single” and “multi”-player worlds? If we remember Isbister’s book, players can have similar emotional reactions to AI controlled, non-playable characters (NPCs) as they might have to real people. This begs the question: are we really even playing “alone” when we play single-player games? If we relate and avatars and NPCs in tangible ways, how does this complicate said distinction?

Thu, November 15 2018 » Future Cinema » No Comments » Author: Andre