The role of the audience

September 10, 2007

I guess it is more or less a follow up of my previous blog. Seeing the non-linear texture in a comic book narrative is pretty new for me. Personally I am not that big a comic book buff. But yes seeing the role of the viewer in comic book like non-linear narrative is interactive enough for me to get me interested. I feel that such a narration leaves a lot of room for the viewer in terms of construction of narrative. The audience now has a say in not just the discourse but also the course of the story as well. The audience’s imagination is well ignited to fill in the blanks between each frames. However the question of how effective the narration is still rests with the author. The author has to carefully study the kind of narrative that can be generated by the audience’s imagination and random connections. Also he has to keep in mind to control the narrative from looking too absurd or too constricted. In essence the author is reduced to be a designer of a non linear platform for a linear imagination and choice making.   Read the rest of this entry »

Who controls the narration – the narrator or the reader?

September 3, 2007

In the world of Cybertext, who controls the narration, the narrator or the reader?   Since the beginning of the module, I have always been intrigued by the notion of non-linearity of a narrative. Well for me non-linearity is part of the discovering of the tale, and not the tale itself. How much ever choices we can have in cybertexual narration, at the end point when you recount what you have experienced from the journey through the narrative, you can always conjure a linear tale from it. In essence it is very much akin to the collapse of a wave function in a quantum mechanical system (…..blah blah…. hardcore physics I know) – you have all the choices till the point to make your observation (in this case which branch of the story we are to take), however once you make your observation your choice reduces to unity and you have only one particular course of action/narration till the next point of choice. When you recount back your tale you have no idea of the alternative tales but rather have a seemingly linear story. On the other hand, even in a seemingly linear text such as a novel, the power of the reader/observer is very much present. Aarseth clearly shows this when he mentions the example of the Ayatollah Khoemeni’s interpretation of ‘The Statnic Verses’. The controversy surrounding it shaped the way the text/novel was read and interpreted by others so much so that the controversy surrounding it has lasted for 18 years. Here although the superficial plot of the narration may have been linear, the allegorical and symbolic interpretation of underlying text is still subjected to the nature of the reader and the way in which it is perceived becomes independent, in essence making it non linear. Aarseth’s description of the labyrinth in the context of literary text helps to elucidate my view on the nature of narrative. My opinion of a narrative is that narrative should be a unicursal text where the opinions of the readers should not alter the end results and in the context of interactive media should only reveal alternative plot/ideas/paths leading to the same conclusion – the conclusion may not be an event, it can be a revelation of the central idea or a climatic subplot. In case of a narrative the power of the reader should only be limited to this.