Thursday, November 28, 2013

Questionable Art

Tumblr. It's where all the cool kids are at, or at least that's what Yahoo thinks. I thought I would give it a go, and so have been dabbling with a little Tumblr about art that interests me (my background is in the arts).

Questionable Art

So I've called it Questionable Art because I wanted to explore my concept of 'questioning' being an art form - not as in sitting around philosophising, but rather in the way we use surveys, questionnaires, polls and quizzes. We accept that survey's can be skewed by type of language used, question structure and order, (not to mention presentation), but what about the creative potential of such a subjective form. In a sense I see question art as a form of interactive art, perhaps interactive art at it's most basic.

Anyhoo, I also wanted to include in it art that is 'questionable' in that it sits on the periphery of 'high art'. We know that Pop Art dragged low culture into the art world (and I L-O-V-E pop art!), but there are still plenty of creative forms that have still yet to make that leap - video games, gifs, fantasy art, game art, toys, game play, memes, science experiments. None have yet to be fully embraced as forms of high art (perhaps because many pose a challenge of how to actually sell them).

So anyway, that's what you'll find there - odds and ends I have collected together along those themes, and a link to my first attempt at a piece of survey art.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Letting filmmakers tell stories, spoilers free

Over on Eric D. Snider makes some great points, asking how many scoops on plot and characters in upcoming films we really need, and if they are spoiling the experience of the film (they are), in his post 'Why Can’t We Let Filmmakers Tell Stories on their Own Terms?'. I think the point that is glossed over a little here is how much of this the studios are responsible for, as much if nor more so than media journalists. Which all goes to show what Hollywood is ripe for transmedia storytelling - people want info, or rather, they want to start experiencing the story of a film long before it comes out. If studios provided genuine pieces of narrative to their audience before the film came out, then they are going to be much less likely to go seeking information that will ultimately spoil it for themselves. Everyone wins.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Art of Immersion

On my recent holiday back to Australia, I had the opportunity to read Frank Rose's 'The Art of Immersion', and as was to be expected with anything that delves into transmedia, it had me completely absorbed. Rose doesn't offer any sort of blue-print or road map about how transmedia ought to work, but rather gives up a survey of many fascinating examples of transmedia from recent years.

Similar structurally to Henry Jenkin's 'Convergence Culture' which I read a couple of years back (it even goes over some of the same examples), it captures transmedia activities from the last few years. The pleasure from the book comes from the anecdotes and discussions with the producers of transmedia - I loved the insight into Howard Roffman's role in the creation of the Star Wars bible at Lucasfilm, the world that Cameron built for Avatar, or even the happiness factory for Coca-Cola. Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the book for me was the discussion of brain function in relation to games and dopamine release - it provided a simple and useful understanding.

It would be nice to have a comprehensive survey listing all the transmedia narratives that have been attempted to date, perhaps with some sort of categorization for narrative that were intended to be transmedia, and those that have evolved to be such over time. There seem to be a lot of standard examples these books keep coming back too (Star Wars, Harry Potter, The Matrix, etc), and I'd find it useful to have a detailed map of the history of transmedia.

Ultimately though, what I'd love is a theory for how transmedia narratives should be created. Where does one start - with the characters or the universe? How do you break down the elements of the story, how do you determine which elements fit best in which media? What bits of the story do you give away for free (adverts) and what bits do you think the audience should pay for? There are so many questions that could be addressed by a good Theory of Transmedia Creation... I hope someone comes up with one soon!

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