Future Cinema

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

Moving in Place: The Question of Distributed Social Cinema

This article focuses on an “exchange.. between the director Adriene Jenik, and critical observer/participant Sarah Lewison” after the event SPECFLIC 2.0.

Described throughout the conversation, SPECFLIC is an interactive narrative experienced through transmedia storytelling. Part live-action play, mobile entertainment, and installation, SPECFLIC promises an immersive story experience of a more “high art” “avante garde” than say Screamers.

Taking place at the Martin Luther King Jr. Library in San Jose, California, Jenik took full advantage of the space around the library’s exterior to create a future where physical paper books have become relics/collector items of a bygone era.

To quickly summarize the narrative structure of the experience:

In the year 2030 books have become relics. Digital information technology has made paper useless and libraries have become museum like housing these relics (books) of the past. InfoSpherians (digital projections of a female “reference librarian”) continue to collect information and store it (digitally) while maintaining the “collection” within the library. Books can still be obtained by the public but must be done so through registration etc., in order to receive the archived material. Retrieving the books from within the stacks are two workers (the Searcher and the Stacker, respective male female counterparts). Some police the efforts of this new “bookless” regime (the Chief Attention Authorities, a somewhat policing force of the regulations) while others outright oppose the regime through illegal action (the selling of contraband books) or protestation.

As participants/audience members, we experience the installation through by exploring the space which contains live actors, live mixed music, digital projections of previously recorded material, and mobile device interactivity.

For me, the most engaging aspect of the project involves the interactive element which encourages interaction between participants/audience. Practical application of a project like SPECFLIC could be used for complex mediations. Used as a tool to encourage empathy for the “other” through a designed system of cathartic interactivity, something like SPECFLIC could potentially help create understanding between oppositional parties by placing the “other” in a contemplative position by promoting knowledge of and empathy for an opposite party via an interactive narrative vehicle. As a crude example, think of Edward Norton’s character in American History X being the participant of a live-action American History X.

Thu, January 17 2013 » futurecinema2_2012