The Art of Immersion is a cutting edge exploration of the way today´s Media is modifying some of the conventions on storytelling inherited from literature, film, theater and arts in general. By showing some of the attempts and strategies used by bright storytellers who want to experiment on this matter usually hired by big companies, Rose shows the success and failures of finding different ways of creating an immersive experience for people who wants to follow a story. Frank Rose talks about the anthropologic need for stories, which is important for human beings collectively and individually in different aspects; and then Rose brings to the table the way new media and technologies are affecting and re-defining the way stories are told by mainstream Media, and also the way they are not only being received by the readers/viewers but also how these stories are being fully experienced by them, getting the opportunity to re-narrate and re-formulate those stories.
I find that these transmedia and “Deep media” experiences that want to immerse the viewer/user into the universe of a story showed by Rose are all focused in commercial goals, all of them linked to the consumption of a product from the entertainment business; a movie, a videogame, a music recording, etc. In that sense the potential of using these storytelling strategies in more artistic and socially relevant approaches is still to be developed, and I believe that that is somehow one of the main concerns of the Augmented Reality programs, like the one we are taking in this Future Cinema course.
Other point that I found interesting and that it has actually been on my mind from before is the hyperlink aspect that Rose mentions. How hyperlink is changing the way we approach to written text, and even to visual text, talking about images and text. Hyperlink representing a power conferred to the reader to decide to what part of the text he wants to go, as exposed or hidden doors to different parts of information within the story or the message that it is been told at that moment. I believe that this aspect has been so far unexplored, as rich as it is in its simplicity. It is the quantum leap inside the story arc for the reader; just a thought.
One final aspect that I want to point out is that I am lacking the discussion on how the immersion is becoming alienation. That is to say, Frank Rose’s exploration is concerned only in showing the effectiveness of the strategies followed by the different storytellers he studied, using hard numbers and public reactions as point of reference for failure or success, but he is not interested in considering the adverse points of the immersive experiences. Maybe a discussion on to what degree immersive is a synonym of escapism can be brought to the table, what are the considerations in this matter that storytellers need to think when designing one of these experiences. Or maybe storytellers are not supposed to make these questions to themselves; even when in these experiences the process of storytelling is completed by the best marketing team available.
Some of the questions that come to mind are:
How crucial is the economic aspect to the creation of an immersive experience in a way similar to the cases related by Frank Rose? Can one experience like this be created with minimal means?
How does the re-narration of the stories by the readers affect the flow of stories and storytelling?
Is new media crippling our perception of stories, making us to rely on technology to really enjoy stories?