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New Media

Ruminations

Today, something from our sponsors (well, me):

“In 1996, David Jay Bolter and Robert Grusin identified the remediation of content as a defining characteristic of new media. Despite their avowing not to make predictions as to the future of new media, their identifiable marker for the future of the medium was that “any future media will also define their cultural meaning with reference to established technologies”. This chapter sets out to challenge that assertion in light of the increasing tendency of the medium to blur the lines between on and off-line environments, and make use of new media’s potential to subvert readers’ impressions of what is perceived as ‘real’. Of particular interest are the media-specific dialogues between text, author and reader. By rethinking the nature of interactive narrative, breaking away from the ‘Garden of Forking Paths’ paradigm favoured by the industry, authors can equip themselves to surrender control of the story experience to the interactive reader while maintaining responsibility for the production of the text itself.”

That’s the outline for chapter 4 of the book, and is (pretty much, bar an updating of the Garden of Forking Paths bit) as it was in the original PhD outline. Which is possibly indicative of how little things have really changed in the last three years, and certainly outlines my frustrations with the field. Although, after an interesting meeting yesterday regarding the next Narrative/Non-Narrative conference in Bristol this November, there are glimmers of something interesting coming out of the conflation of physical space and interactive games. Whether we can break free of the rigid reading of Bolter & Grusin’s concept (it’s not really their fault – rather the interpretation and implementation of an idea that’s actually much richer than it first appears) remains to be seen.

And (since I wrote this first part) more interesting conversations with Jon Williams about ARGs and commercial/art space. One of the difficulties Jon has found with the commercial marketplace (carefully not giving anything away about his latest project, although the “going for lunch” gambit is elegant and entirely within character) is the degree to which commercial interest imposes an agenda on an emergent narrative form. Money makes projects, but inherently compromises what can be (or might have been) done. The solution isn’t obvious, and while I’m hopefully going to come up against a version of this later in the year, it does worry me. An industry interested isn’t necessarily an industry engaged at the right level.

Discussion

2 comments for “Ruminations”

  1. Request: (not that you have time right now). How about a glossary page on this site? For the lay reader? I’d love a concise definition of ‘new media’ as you are using it. And ARGs.

    Posted by Simon | May 1, 2008, 4:48 pm
  2. I would also like a definition of AAARGHS. (Such as when you trap your hand in a wolf)

    Posted by mongo | May 1, 2008, 8:54 pm

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