Future Cinema

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

Immersed in Broken Reality

The Art of Immersion is describing various types of media scenarios as was McGonigal in Reality is Broken but Rose is using a different approach. He is interested in media and how it is morphing due to computers, the internet, and the advent of the “personal device”. It is through these that media is becoming more “immersive” and he describes the many ways the new forms are providing opportunities for new business models. He is not concerned with how we can try to fix the world probably because he doesn’t seem to think it is broken. His interests often seem to be with product placement and monetization. In this sense his exploration of new formats seems a bit constrained. It is interesting to learn about the machinations of broadcast TV but this is where creativity is often limited by whether advertisers hop on board which is apparently a sign of greatness. He is approaching the subject from an industry perspective and the book provides a window into that.

He does, however, like McGonigal, mention some interesting studies by neuroscientists, particularly interesting is one where the neurochemical dopamine is linked both to addiction and learning. Dopamine, a monoamine neurotransmitter, is released in the brain during the experience of novel sensory stimulation and also seems to be implicated in how we learn from repeated sensory experiences. But this is different from cognitive learning and it is not concerned with reason or linear thinking. This is a reward based learning the type that can lead to addiction which is thought to be the result of dopamine manipulation that occurs as a result of taking drugs.

Despite the mainstream approach the book offers interesting insights and scenarios. I felt that stories, as he described them, were all in the service of generating capital. In this sense I found it narrow. With Jane McGonigal’s Reality is Broken there seemed much more room for stories that don’t have as a goal the achievement of huge ratings. She seemed to be encouraging experimentation and invention – more the realm of art than capitalism. Not that the two are forever separate, alas. But if we always follow the path to wide acceptance we will not produce much benefit to humanity. Often if you follow your heart you can achieve success but this rarely happens if success is the goal – unless you have some mega-corporation behind you. This is where marketing comes into it if you throw enough money at telling people they are less than perfect if they don’t watch your show etc. the sheep will follow. …..

1. So many great shows are cancelled before they even have a chance to establish their existence…Rubicon, Men of a Certain Age…is it possible to shift industry thinking so TV production isn’t driven by ratings?

2. Is the instant success expectation that seems to have become the norm causing culture to become dumber?

3. Are we becoming addicted to media that stimulates the dopamine activity in the brain in the same way we do to drugs like heroin that excite the same type of activity?

Below is a link to the Wikipedia page of Sigmund Freud’s American nephew the inventor of “spin” he was to shape the modern advertising approach, the one that would eventually have us all become sheep addicted to the glowing lights of the devices we hold in our hands that tether us to our “social networks” allowing advertisers to track our every move.


Mon, January 28 2013 » futurecinema2_2012