Future Cinema

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

The difficult birth of transmedia storytelling

Posted on | February 10, 2013 | 2 Comments

The thing that is very interesting and in my opinion noteworthy about the topic referenced in the article Spaces Between: Traveling Through Bleeds, Apertures and Wormholes Inside the Database Novel by Norman M. Klein is the search for a new poetic and narrative that new Media promises. In this article Klein walks us through what the creative principles that he design for the new narrative form called Database novel. For this form, Klein proposes the as database, interface and digital archive, obviously making reference to the way the reader access information inside his own mind and with the computer or device used to read this kind of novel.
The elements used by Klein expect to use the advantages of the electronic device, primarily the possibility to access information and to take the reader/viewer quickly from one content to another. As well, the multimedia platform is something that is compelling for the author as a creative means. Then, Klein finds that the way to engage the reader/viewer to the “story” is by creating gaps. These gaps are the device that will bring the immersive experience to the reader/v by making him complete the world proposed by Klein; it is not casual that Klein relies more in metonymy.
In my opinion this is a good start point since I see that Klein is considering some features that new digital technologies are offering, and in this occasion trying to find a new way of expression, contrary to the attempts that most of the authors are doing from the marketing point of view. It is exciting to observe the experiments to extract this expressive capital that lies inside new Media, where I believe Klein’s findings will be useful for the shaping of the rising new narrative and expressive forms, in the same way the findings of Griffith, Eisenstein or Melies helped to set what we know today as the film form. Of course, as Klein himself mentions this is something that is still to be found, and he took chances while choosing some rules and creative principles to develop his database novels, like relying only on metonymy and closing the door to other poetic forms like metaphor, allegories, etc. As well, there is an enthusiastic posture in this article that is kind of contagious about the narrative potential of new Media and its almost infinite access to information. This makes the author focus on making the reader/v to get as much information as possible, to take as much advantage of this feature as possible, and I am not sure if that is the way to go with this nascent form of storytelling. But this form is still in the air, still without shape and it is a big window of opportunity to creators, and personally I am glad to be aware that this area of exploration exists.

However Klein’s material leaves the door open for many questions about the way to approach to new media
Is database novel a form itself? Is novel even something that is going to be found in the storytelling possibilities of new Media?
Different forms of art and Media demand different sets of skills, will there be a technical and artistic profile for the author of this new form that involves a great deal of knowledge about new technologies? Is it the place for lone creators as in the visual arts and literature or is a place for creative teams in the way that film and theater demands?


2 Responses to “The difficult birth of transmedia storytelling”

  1. Sara
    February 10th, 2013 @ 7:44 pm

    Good questions, I do see the amalgamation of database and digital technology in art a step toward collaborative approach in creating art. Although there are artists that have trained themselves in the digital media but it seems unlikely to expect a single person to master a wide array of technical skills that are required in creating this type of art. Beside, the size of digital media projects are quite ambitious, and usually involves a team of researchers (who put together the content or the story), computer developers who write the codes, graphic designers who design its interface, and of course the artist(s) who oversight the overall project. With new software and hardware coming out everyday, it has become increasingly difficult for a single artist to do everything by himself/herself. More like developing video games, new media art requires a team to realize its projects. It is very interesting that digital technology is pushing us toward this collaborative era, perhaps projects like fold-it (Solve Puzzles for Science) and Wikipedia are indicative of how we are going to solve problem and create art in the future.

  2. damncontrol
    February 11th, 2013 @ 11:55 pm

    I think these new forms are more versatile and it is now possible to have fewer people involved. Even possible for a solo creator the way animation can be. I also think it is possible to have cohesive narrative elements and these can then be pieced together. Seems like it is important to find a balance between narrative and fragment enough to make it interesting. As the technology is enhanced I can see it becoming much more intricate and then it may actually resemble a novel more.

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