New Media Perspectives

Wednesday, September 1st, 2004

NMC is finally up and running and things seem to be moving “into time.”

To consider: we’ve talked through and shown examples of some element of new media and raced through the fundamentals of narrative structure, story, and media space, such as the issue of diagesis.

But I’m reminded of a scale issue, especially due to recent discoveries. The larger (more abstract) the space, the more time becomes necessary to mark scale.

In story, characters in the frame move through the envelope of time/space, as the reader or watcher does. But do they both inhabit the same space? (Of course not!)

In class we talked about the 4th wall, that border between one and another world, a border against which we can begin to talk about interactivity, immersion, and space and what these mean.

Sometimes at the dinner table I will jump and claim: “What am I doing here? I was just on the bridge of the Enterprise!” This is a frequent phenomenon on Star Trek, where a character will leap in and out of space time and be believed with minimal need to convince others that this is “real.” In my case, the family yawns, making the connection, then moving on to the gravy.


5 responses to “New Media Perspectives”

  1. gibb says:

    I liken the 4th wall to bubbles that chance to meet, and merge. Sometimes they bond, with a passable wall between them, sometimes they snap into a new, larger bubble, and sometimes, sometimes they both burst with the contact.

  2. gibb says:

    Excellent class–much to think about, and question.

    In class you spoke of the breaking of the 4th wall–exemplified by audience participation, or in effect, by interaction with website media. For example, poetry online or any of the many sites that allow you to hyperlink. The “boundries” however, are set by the “author” or originator, clearly shown by the turning of the cursor into a little hand or whatever that states, in effect, “Yes, you can go there” or “Nope, don’t fiddle with this, it won’t take you anywhere.”

    Another question, relative to Jack and Diane: While Diane is not a participant in the bordered sequence that Jack is forced to relate in order to answer her question, does she not enter by coloring his version of the story–thereby changing the memory and fact–by his desire to present an acceptable picture to her? Is she then not a silent co-author of his story?

  3. steve says:

    In this context consider “degrees” of interaction. In a play, I sit in the audience and let the story happen without inteferring in its course (of course), yet I am a player in the space where the story unfolds (as audience) and I come to accept that the story that’s happening has it’s own logic. Consider Harold. In that story we accept that Harold draws a boat that is “real” with a “crayon.” We accept that this is “possible” in his story world and the logic in which it operates. Likewise in Star Wars and the Iliad (and Octavio Paz, remember?). Everything in Harold suggests that the logic of the narrative “is real.” Thus the distance between the reader and the story is maintained. Harold never turns to the reader and speaks to us, saying, “You know, you really can’t do this.” Neither do characters on Star Wars ever turn to us and say: you know what, this is a fiction–because that would “break” the fourth wall!

    As far as J and D–D cannot Physically participate in J’s story (she can’t change the outcome), but she can experience it in “shortened” time. In new media “choice” is often a frequently attended to term to decribe “interactive” performance. I can choose this path vs that path. Interesting and problematic. In Star Wars, I can’t choose the path. J will assemble the meaning. She may believe or disbelieve. She may miss a crucial point. In this sense of authoring as making a “meaning,” intended or not, you’re right on the mark. But remember, she’s not “the narrator.”

  4. gibb says:

    Focusing on Jack and Diane, my contention was that her presence, as an audience, changed the way the story would be told, narrated, by Jack. However, as you point out, she is just one of many aspects that will influence his telling: His desire to “play to the audience (regard for her feelings)” playing a part along with memory recall, changing attitude over time, and original perception on his part–all of which practically guarantee that the narrative he delivers is not a true version of reality–if the past is even reality at all.

    Diane, if she chooses to go “center stage” in retelling the story as she is now free to do, becomes the narrator in that case, and possibly the author, depending upon how she presents it. i.e., “His wife fooled around” versus “Jack said his wife fooled around.”

  5. Spinning says:

    LITERATURE: New Media

    Listen, I wanna tell ya, Previous post be damned; time as well! Maybe Statistics will put a crimp in my creative narratival life, but the New Media Course I’ve just started definitely will not. It has, perhaps, just gotten my