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.   

Pimping the Red Ridding Hood

August 28, 2007

Today’s exercise to ‘pimp’ the Red Ridding Hood Story to make it more interactive was indeed exciting. Not only did it finally gave us a first hand experience of what interactivity means or can mean, it also gave a lot of insight into the very nature of it. Also it was interesting to observe the way each group interpreted the story itself. While one group struck to the moral of the story as the kernel of the narrative, there were groups like mine which took the liberty to tamper the story inside out to fit the kind of discourse and media we were employing to enhance interactivity. It was also interesting to note the kind to response each group gave when given the exercise. I cannot comment much on the rest – though I could infer – but as for my group, the engineers in us responded totally different from the group filled with arts and communications student. Concurrently the role of the psychology and the  background of the audience in filling in ‘the blanks’ within the core narrative is interesting to think about. Chatman’s notion of narrative inference comes into play here. Concurrently if Hemingway’s super short story was presented to a set of people of different backgrounds, will there be a stark difference in the blanks they fill in in-order to form different narratives, or is the core ‘kernel’ story strong enough to prevent the narrative going overtly different thereby maintaining some form of control in the form of suggested commonality? My thoughts are getting pretty bizarre right now… gotta catch a nap soon….enough for a day

A cool site I found…. Kinda like my definition of interactivity

August 25, 2007

Interactivity??? Ummmm…. What???

August 19, 2007

Dear All, I welcome myself to the world of blogging!! In short its my first time. Well I am here to give my comment on one of the readings of the first the first lecture. Since I was not ‘privileged’ enough to be a spectator to the movie ‘Momento’, I guess I will have to stick to writing my thoughts on the seemingly restrictive and yet at the same time interesting definition of interactivity as laid down by Chris Crawford. Crawford’s writing style is very conversational and indeed a delight to read, however even though how convincing his argument may sound, I was still left thinking about the veracity of his views. First of all I beg to differ when he choose to ‘define’ interactivity. A definition means a concrete  undebatable truth and for a topic as debatable as ‘interactivity’ enough room should be left for further arguments and counter-arguments. Crawford has indeed covered a lot of ground with regards to his conclusion. However the part where I would like to interject him is when he differentiates higher and lower level interactivity. My view on this is that such classification is not necessary as even a child interacts and learns even though how low the level of interaction may be. Also he fails to take into account the interactivity of print media. Print media may be classified as ‘old’ media but it can indeed be made interactive. The multiple plot novels are a case in example. Also while defining interactivity he neglects the time scale of the response of a system to a particular stimulus. My question is that can u  call a program interactive if it has a complicated response algorithm or the input volume is so massive such that its slows the response of the thinking system even though how interactive the UI is or how well it conform to Crawford’s criteria for interactivity? Well its still left for open debate.  (ps: Boring!!!)  Read the rest of this entry »