Future Cinema

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

The Inclusivity of the Fractal Experience

Posted on | January 31, 2013 | No Comments

I like the notion of the “fractal” experience. It is not only rich, but inclusive. Rather than a form of storytelling that aims to exclude those unwilling to be more than passive viewers, the “fractal” experience provides a satisfying experience for the passive viewer, and a deeper, richer experience for the more engaged, examining viewer. The latter type of viewer is likely to become a participant in the unraveling of the narrative, not to be confused with the creation of the narrative. The narrative, interactive or not, is fully conceived as a predefined package. Albeit one that can be viewed, experienced, and explored in a linear or non-linear fashion. The “new” narrative form that Rose examines in “The Art of Immersion” seems to fall somewhere between traditional narrative and traditional gaming. Two forms of entertainment that have become polarized in recent years. Clearly as a result of increased bandwidth allowing for films and entire episodic television seasons to be viewed online, but also due to a backlash by a generation that has little or no concept of “dial-up” internet. “Backlash” may be the wrong term, because it is not a revolt. That would be something. In the age of apathy it would be more accurately characterized as a “whatever” approach to ignoring network television because everything, or nearly everything, available through the traditional content distribution pipe can be accessed, “whenever”, online. No more “TV Guide” listings to structure your primetime. Oh no! Just get it when you want it. But I digress.

The age immersion is truly a time of inclusion, even a bridge to traverse generational gaps. Okay, maybe not. But it would not be a stretch to think that parents and their teenage offspring could, wait for it, sit down and watch the same television program together. There, I said it. With the promise of a subsequent “easter egg hunt”, a simple television program could be a connector for the disconnected. Crazy? I think not. Although much of this content is created in order to drive consumers to either purchase products, or sign up for interactive experience with a duality of purposes, one of which is creating an identity scan to

be used for generating sales leads (Audi) or to archive their consumer profile in order that it can be sold to anyone willing to pay for it. But there is hope. The work that James Cameron is doing seems to motivating by “almost” the pure spirit of an artist, or pilgrim at least.

This book seemed to come at the perfect time, and in logical sequence following “Reality is Broken.” The latter unearthing a world of “blue sky” possibilities, and the former creating a reality-check balance by presenting the monetizing of such an experience. Although polarities are exciting, the successful tightrope walk between them is far more difficult, and dare I say it, satisfying.


  1. What does it mean to be social, today? With new “societies” are being created online, the definition of the word is changing. How do these new societies differ from our traditional notion of a society, and perhaps more importantly, what, if any, are the similarities?
  2. Where is the “sweet spot” that exists between the worlds presented by Jane McGonigal and Frank Rose? What would these types of games, experiences, narratives look like? How would they function. Why will they matter?


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