Cities and Signs 5

No one, wise Kublai, knows better than you that the city must never be confused with the words that describe it. And yet between the one and the other there is a connection. If I describe to you Olivia, a city rich in products and in profits, I can indicate its prosperity only by speaking of filigree palaces with fringed cushions on the seats by the mullioned windows. Beyond the screen of a patio, spinning jets water a lawn where a white peacock spreads its tail. But from these words you realize at once how Olivia is shrouded in a cloud of soot and grease that sticks to the houses, that in the brawling streets, the shifting trailers crush pedestrians against the walls. If I must speak to you of the inhabitants’ industry, I speak of the saddlers’ shops smelling of leather, of the woman chattering as they weave raffia rugs, of the hanging canals whose cascades move the paddles of the mills; but the image these words evoke in your enlightened mind is of the mandrel set against the teeth of the lathe, an action repeated by thousands of hands thousands of times at the pace established for each shift. If I must explain to you how Olivia’s spirit tends toward a free life and a refined civilization, I will tell you of ladies who glide at night in illuminated canoes between the banks of green estuary; but it is only to remind you that on the outskirts where men and women land every evening like lines of sleepwalkers, there is always someone who bursts out laughing in the darkness, releasing the flow of jokes and sarcasm.
This perhaps you do not know: that to talk of Olivia, I could not use different words. If there really were an Olivia of mullioned windows and peacocks, of saddlers and rug-weavers and canoes and estuaries, it would be a wretched, black, fly-ridden hole, and to describe it, I would have to fall back on the metaphors of soot, the creaking of wheels, repeated actions, sarcasm. Falsehood is never in words; it is in things. – Invisible Cities


Media’s Roles and Functions

Media mediates — Between one person and another, one community to another, one time and another.
Media play many functions — Community building. Political debate and economic exchange. Entertainment and recreation. Propaganda and surveillance. Protest and resistance. Knowledge management.
Media are tools — We’re often told media has effects on us, making us more violent, more passive, more sexual. In fact, we do things with media. People use media to archive memories (home movies, family photos), preserve social ties (the Internet, the phone), and experience the central stories of their culture (Greek epic, Hollywood cinema).
All media are participatory — Digital media are celebrated as creating a more participatory culture, where we are no longer passive consumers but active, creative producers; people can build their own website, shop on-line, or participate in chatrooms. But media participation has a long history. When radio was first introduced, it was assumed that everyday people would be able to transmit as well as receive information; instead, radio became in most Western cultures primarily a technology for one-way, broadcast communication. Aspects of its participatory tradition remain, however, in “talk radio” or even when we choose a favorite song to express our feelings for family and friends.
MIT Media Communication Group
Via Digital Story Telling


Use of Narrative in Interactive Design (BA)

“By making a conscious effort to integrate narrative into our work, we are better able to support creative learning, problem solving, and task completion by the people who use the things we build. At the very least, the experiences we create will be more engaging, both for the project team creating the experience and for the end users.
Seeing the narrative potential in interactive design is nothing new


Stories

Intuitively we all know what a story is, although we may not be able to articulate all its elements. Generally, a story is an organization of experience which draws together many aspects of our spatial, temporal, and causal perception.
“A story is… “that which has a beginning, a middle, and an end. A beginning is that which does not itself follow anything by causal necessity, but after which something naturally is or comes to be. An end, on the contrary, is that which itself follows some other thing, either by necessity, or as a rule, but has nothing following it. A middle is that which follows something as some other thing follows it. A well-constructed plot, therefore, must neither begin nor end at haphazard, but conform to these principles.”
— Aristotle, Poetics


The Five Elements of Digital Storytelling

In the first decade of its existence the World Wide Web has been used primarily as a new content distribution channel. It has not yet come into its own as a new medium. In order for the Web to achieve full status as a new medium, content developers and users must take full advantage of its attributes, environment, and functionalities. The Web must go through a maturation process; the same process all new media have undergone. A classic example of this process is television news. In the beginning, television news was simply radio reports read on camera. Today, however, the full abilities of the medium are used as multiple camera angles, live and taped video, photos and graphics are all employed in the telling of daily news events.

Read: Five Elements of Digital Storytelling


Poetic Dialogues 1.0

I have never been good at defining something as art. I think I have always been uncomfortable with the word since it’s use is so greatly exaggerated. The following does catch my interest though but I think if the scope was greater it would be far more engaging.

This project is constituted by 18 different flash movies made with a
high-tech wristwatch camera. Each flash movie has a sequence of images
taken frame by frame of people reciting a verse that I previously wrote.
So, even when I employed a sophisticated machine to do this work, the
process was the same that was used at the begining of cinema. When you
enter the project you will see 3 different faces that establish a dialogue between them. The interaction among the characters generates a poem. Also, the number of different poems/combinations that you can get is 216. This metaphorical process of using a watch to create dynamic poems was taken from a previous work called


Interactive Narrative

Yet more on narrative, “Marc Canter, father of the computer program now called Macromedia Director, recently presented his CD-ROM Meet the Media Band at the MIT Media Lab. While presenting one component of the CD-ROM, an interactive music video where, with the help of the viewer, the lead singer explores various dating options, Canter quickly apologized for the piece having “only sixteen endings.”

Read:Interactive Narrative


The Automatist Storytelling System

I am in the process of reading Michael Murtaugh’s Master Thesis “The Automatist Storytelling System” as it has some similarities to parts of the project I am preparing. He describes his thesis as “… an “editor in software” or “narrative engine” — a system that produces dynamic and responsive presentations from an extensible collection of keyword-annotated materials. Sequencing decisions are made on the basis of association, and the overall structure and meaning of an experience emerges from the interactions of individual material presentations. In this highly decentralized model, viewers are consistently integrated participants, who exert varying degrees of influence or control over the construction of the experience. The viewers’ role is considered primarily extradiegetic; viewers’ actions influence the process of the storytelling rather than altering actual events in the story world. By making both the viewing experience and authoring process variable and extensible, the Automatist Storytelling System supports new story forms such as the “Evolving Documentary.”