Future Cinema

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

“The Viewer Knows More than Molly”

Transmigratory Viewership via the Spaces Between

Klein’s article neatly outlines a structure for database storytelling. Although his list of tools seem to contain some overlap, the structure is a useful guide for an outsider to the genre. A group of which I am still a card-carrying member, so perhaps I should tread lightly. I should say, and will likely reiterate in the sentences that follow, that this reading was very useful and informative for me. The title of this post seems to be the crux of the entire reading. Klein’s comment that “The viewer knows more than Molly” was a very interesting point for me to remember as I continued to work on my portion of our group AR project. Providing a vantage point that is outside of the characters’ experience allows the viewer to engage with the narrative in a very personal way. One might say that in order to know someone you must be: that person, everyone that person knows, and many people that person has never met.

Rather than a story that reads like a “shopping list” of events, the database narrative “leaves holes.” These holes/gaps can allow for viewer immersion in the narrative. Not to “figure out” what the ending may be before it arrives, but to subconsciously, or consciously, piece the story together through the viewers’ own life experience. Like sifting through a drawer full of receipts to understand a person, the database story can provide the viewer with enough information to form a story of the individual in question, while simultaneously generating enough absences to derail the inquiry or steer it in countless drastically different potential directions. Any of which are open to exploration by the viewer, subsequently “creating” a variety of potential narratives within the existing story. However tightly knit the story be may appear on the surface.

The “correspondence” that Klein characterizes as “quite a different matter” from illustration, seems to be the key to “The Spaces Between.” At least as they apply to my current AR project.  Those spaces are precisely where I hope to invite the viewer to explore the narrative in a “fractal” sense. The careful mismatching of seemingly corresponding data provides the “wormholes” for transcendental and transmigratory viewership. The viewer can in one moment be “reading” the story through the eyes of one character, and in another be looking through the eyes of another. A multi-polar empathetic reception of narrative. This transmigratory viewership can make for a rich and potentially infinite narrative experience. Allowing for viewing that is “beyond the range of normal sight,” the database novel allows for the positioning of the viewer in the role of prophet. To see the signs and messages to which those with singularity of sight are not privy. The story can become a metaphor, a parable if you will, of and for the singularity of existence.


Thu, February 7 2013 » futurecinema2_2012

One Response

  1. Sara February 10 2013 @ 8:13 pm

    You have a great point. Reading Klien, I was thinking about our AR project too. Beginning our AR project I think we all had a sense of what if the story doesn’t come in one piece. Considering the fragmented nature of the project (every object evokes a short narrative), it is difficult to predict what a reader/ audience might take away from the work. But Klien’s point about gaps and how gaps can actually work in advantage to a new media project is a relief. True, we are used to read and watch stories in one piece but new media has pushed forward with its new type of storytelling, a film like inception show how cinema is starting to be influence by the digital medium. It could be in fact that digital media can help us to look at not just fiction stories but the story of our lives. Meaning, social interaction, the way we create and solve problems in the real world are going toward a new era, I would say an interactive and a collaborative one. We might take the written literature and films as standard forms of narrative but they are only conventions that were put forward with the invention of print and cinema. Clearly, digital media is opening a new door for a different type of story telling, although it might take a while for us as audience to get used to (learn) the idea of gaps, interactivity and participatory narratives.