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inkwell.vue.175 : pighed (Mark Meadows), _Pause and Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative_
permalink #26 of 74: Carmen Hermosillo (humdog) Tue 18 Feb 03 13:38
    


>one will not replace the other.

on the other hand, people no longer rely on stained glass
windows for information.  few people deal in painted miniature
portraits.  it does not follow that these forms will co-exist.

interactives at this point are products for people who can
afford the cost-of-entry.  that does not make these products
candidates for universal adoption in the way that the "story
by the fire" idea suggests.
  
inkwell.vue.175 : pighed (Mark Meadows), _Pause and Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative_
permalink #27 of 74: nape fest (zorca) Tue 18 Feb 03 13:51
    
ha.

i can imagine at least two categories here. one, in which there are X number
of pre-defined iterative narratives pretty much hard-coded into the
storyline. and one, exquisite corpse-like, in which the, um, authors have
much more leeway and the quality of the overall experience is much more
dependent on the creativity and simpatico of the other participants.

the first will inevitably develop. the commercial precedents are already in
place. even if the earliest examples (voting buttons on the arms of movie
house seats) were dismal failures.

the second is, like its storylines, a little more open-ended. the truly
artful examples will almost certainly be generated by select groups that
seek each other out. i'm not sure what the financial model is (some kind of
subscription model?), but i look forward to checking these out.

i'll admit that i'm a little clueless when it comes to transplanting the
multi-author scenario to the mass market. the enormous success of reality tv
kinda caught me off guard. i really didn't think people gave a damn about
'joe i'm-not-a-millionaire.' so this perhaps bodes well for interactive
narratives that require the input of the general populace. but it would seem
that entropy would quickly level out any real story development. erm. or am
i missing a critical piece here?
  
inkwell.vue.175 : pighed (Mark Meadows), _Pause and Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative_
permalink #28 of 74: The Fucked-Up Piano Chicks (magdalen) Tue 18 Feb 03 14:53
    

i agree - i don't envision us getting tired of traditional narrative. i
think the written word will maintain itself (possibly as a Farhenheit 451
style cult thing) because it does require creativity on the part of the
reader. much more so than TV or film, at least as those media are usually
used. 
  
inkwell.vue.175 : pighed (Mark Meadows), _Pause and Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative_
permalink #29 of 74: The Fucked-Up Piano Chicks (magdalen) Tue 18 Feb 03 14:54
    

slippage
  
inkwell.vue.175 : pighed (Mark Meadows), _Pause and Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative_
permalink #30 of 74: Call Out Research Hook #1 (kadrey) Tue 18 Feb 03 14:55
    

>it does not follow that these forms will co-exist.
and yet i believe they will. we're in an era that can support mulitple media
types simultaneously. tv didn't replace radio. video hasn't replaced tv.
each morphed into somedthing else, but is still funcational. i suspect we
will have more and more of those situations. of course, i have no proof and
in 100 years, this will all seem as quaint as quill pens, but for now, i'm
sticking with my multi-stream scenario.
  
inkwell.vue.175 : pighed (Mark Meadows), _Pause and Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative_
permalink #31 of 74: The Phantom of the Arts Center (tinymonster) Tue 18 Feb 03 15:00
    
And if you're wrong in 100 years, who's gonna know?  <g>
  
inkwell.vue.175 : pighed (Mark Meadows), _Pause and Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative_
permalink #32 of 74: The Fucked-Up Piano Chicks (magdalen) Tue 18 Feb 03 15:19
    

probably us. we will be perfectly engineered, long-lasting machines by
then. 

right?
  
inkwell.vue.175 : pighed (Mark Meadows), _Pause and Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative_
permalink #33 of 74: Call Out Research Hook #1 (kadrey) Tue 18 Feb 03 16:53
    

will we finally get those jetpacks they promised us?
  
inkwell.vue.175 : pighed (Mark Meadows), _Pause and Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative_
permalink #34 of 74: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Tue 18 Feb 03 17:19
    
With our luck we'll be uploaded extropian-style into TI99-4As and battered 
by bad Galaxians for an eternity, Meanwhile, I hate to be pigheaded (only 
room for one pighed, no?), but I still do wonder about the (ahem) 
emergence of narrative from multiple authors interacting, what rules 
apply, etc. (When the USPS finds and delivers a copy of the book, perhaps 
I'll find a better way to construct the question...)
  
inkwell.vue.175 : pighed (Mark Meadows), _Pause and Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative_
permalink #35 of 74: pighed (pighed) Wed 19 Feb 03 07:23
    

well, jonl, how do you think a conference works?

i dont think that this is necessarily a narrative (we can come to that
thornbush later) but is it so .. weird .. that there are multiple authors
here?  doesnt being one of the authors just increase your interest in what's
going on?
  
inkwell.vue.175 : pighed (Mark Meadows), _Pause and Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative_
permalink #36 of 74: nape fest (zorca) Wed 19 Feb 03 11:28
    
i'm starting to be frightened. what if future novels are basically the
equivalent of leaving an open PA system in a shopping mall???!!!
  
inkwell.vue.175 : pighed (Mark Meadows), _Pause and Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative_
permalink #37 of 74: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Wed 19 Feb 03 12:52
    
How does it usually work in game narratives... how many authors do you 
have, and do different authors handle different branches? And to what 
extent is the player a co-creator of the narrative?

(As for 'emergent narrative,' I guess the closest thing here is the one or 
more hyphenation topics in inkwell... not currently active, but the thing 
is that each post is part of a narrative, and the author of the post stops 
in the middle of a hyphenated word - next author picks up. Those can be 
clever, but I'm never quite sure they're going somewhere, partly because 
the writing's more in the moment. But with the exception of some 
experimental fiction, you generally expect a novel or story to have a 
structure that works, with more or less plot, consistency of character, 
etc. I'm wondering to what extent that can emerge from collaborative work, 
or to what extent one authorial voice has to dominate, or an editor step 
in. But I can shut up about it... it may not be relevant to Pause and 
Effect...)
  
inkwell.vue.175 : pighed (Mark Meadows), _Pause and Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative_
permalink #38 of 74: Gail Williams (gail) Wed 19 Feb 03 13:06
    
Moo/mud/muse play can be quite the interactive narrative.

One night some years ago about six of us weatn riding giraffes in WELLmuse,
and kept the adventure storyline going flawlessly, as well as some trained
improv folks I knew in my theater days ever did.  It was utterly magical,
and not self-consciously surreal or sarcastic in the least.  How to you 
convey that to people when they ask what you did last night?

That goes on in WELL topics now and then, including the hyphenated story,
another old improv game translated to this medium.  But the main limitation
here is that there is a great deal of pressure to be sincere (or
consistent at least) and not to adopt assorted playful personae in most
parts of The WELL.  That means that the narrative fascination around here
becomes almost soap opera-esque "reality" rather than fictional tales.

Many people have told me that they can't bear to leave because there is
always something going on between people on The WELL -- will puffball get
a job, are bratcat and super-giddy really moving in together and will that
make hydrant INSANE with jealousy when they meet at the picnic?

Those story lines are developed via dialog from the participants, and also
by gossip.  That's still narrative, seems to me.  It still has the
narrative hook!
  
inkwell.vue.175 : pighed (Mark Meadows), _Pause and Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative_
permalink #39 of 74: Carmen Hermosillo (humdog) Wed 19 Feb 03 16:02
    


i think it is magdalen who rightly brings up farenheit 451:

montag's wife has her moment in the television show, she is
very excited, she thinks of that moment as a personal moment. she is
one of N people named Linda, so her personal moment is a moment not
of personality but rather of being a member of a group of Lindas. 

that people moved from oral/aural story-telling to story-telling
on paper/print to electronica, or even that multiple authors
engage together in multiple story lines does not, to me, alter
the basic transaction of transferring knowledge/insight from
the person who has the knowledge/insight to the person who wants
the knowledge/insight. that there is now capacity to tell the
story/content in a more graphical manner does not change the
transaction, either.  all of that is interesting but it is not
new.  i do not think that MOOs MUDs change any models
because i think of all these things as flavors of theatre.
open-ended theatre, perhaps, but still theatre.

no what i think is interesting is the changes in the roles
of what we call, for want of a better term, the reader. the
reader is an interesting role because literary theory sometimes
will suggests that the reader is a kind of mush and that authors
have control over what Dear Reader is fabricating in the corners
of Dear Reader's imagination. i think if zorca's loudspeaker
shopping mall novel happens the reader will construct a narrative
from it pretty much in the same manner that readers construct
a narrative from a paper novel now.  so i don't think that
even that is too strange.  what i think is interesting
is that with more exposure to more possibilities (barring
kadrey's excellent concern about navel-gazing, which i think
is pretty close to true)the reader has more stuff to construct
with, in the same way that children, through television, have
more opportunities to construct fascinating and mysterious IDs by
building themselves from pieces of rugrats, transformers,
sports figures and the roomba.  interactive narratives (and
i think this form desperately needs a new name) make this
process more visible.

(by the way i think that digital and manual photography
are equivalent to each other, like view and 35mm cameras
are equivalent.  photographies are different from paintings.
the road that painting has travelled since the introduction
of photographies speaks to that difference i think).
  
inkwell.vue.175 : pighed (Mark Meadows), _Pause and Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative_
permalink #40 of 74: nape fest (zorca) Wed 19 Feb 03 16:22
    
hm. so pighed's paintings are truly gorgeous confections. i will argue that
they work because they are the fruit of one obsessive's vision. a
collaborative painting done by equally obsessive fans would turn out
something curious, but i doubt it would have as much impact. but perhaps i
shouldn't be comparing narrative with visual representation?
  
inkwell.vue.175 : pighed (Mark Meadows), _Pause and Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative_
permalink #41 of 74: The Fucked-Up Piano Chicks (magdalen) Wed 19 Feb 03 16:49
    

well, in pig's book i think we're presented with the idea that narrative
already exists in visual art. i think it can/does. hell i still don't know
what "narrative" IS, but i think it's everywhere that motion and change
exist. visual art is sometimes more mysterious about that narrative, or
assumes you bring a bunch of context to the piece. like if you look at some
big war painting in a museum, there's a frozen piece there that implies the
larger narrative: the people on the right are fighting the people on the
left... the storm is coming... god is breaking through the clouds... the
white horse rears...
  
inkwell.vue.175 : pighed (Mark Meadows), _Pause and Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative_
permalink #42 of 74: Brian Dear (brian) Wed 19 Feb 03 17:46
    <scribbled by brian Wed 20 Mar 13 18:15>
  
inkwell.vue.175 : pighed (Mark Meadows), _Pause and Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative_
permalink #43 of 74: nape fest (zorca) Wed 19 Feb 03 20:27
    
i believe that pig is once again on the road. in the meantime, i'll say that
his definitions are in keeping with the academic discussions going on around
the topic. and not far off from discussions i've had with a good number of
game and television producers over the past several years. 'interactive
narrative' seems generally to cover a wide variety of sins these days. and
may well cover an even broader spectrum once the tools and expertise being
hatched in these environments start to hit the streets.

i guess i found the visual density of the book to be comforting. it
reinforced for me the points mark is making throughout. there are so many
historical markers and i loved following his own visual narratives running
across the pages. i think it's inevitable that a book on this topic is not a
simple read. it's a complex and emerging arena.

that said, i hope pig will talk a little about how he personally reconciles
his work in interactive media with his more traditional artforms --
painting, sculpture, photography, even his comics.
  
inkwell.vue.175 : pighed (Mark Meadows), _Pause and Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative_
permalink #44 of 74: nape fest (zorca) Thu 20 Feb 03 22:50
    
so while we wait for mark to clear customs, it would be lovely to hear from
a few more folks about how they see interactive media unfolding. among the
examples already deployed - game consoles, tv shows with synchronous online
components, phone-in polls and contests and the like - which do you see
having the most potential? what would you hope for in the near and long
term?
  
inkwell.vue.175 : pighed (Mark Meadows), _Pause and Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative_
permalink #45 of 74: nape fest (zorca) Fri 21 Feb 03 10:10
    
pighed should be back in paris shortly. but he sent me a post that i'll copy
into the next response...
  
inkwell.vue.175 : pighed (Mark Meadows), _Pause and Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative_
permalink #46 of 74: nape fest (zorca) Fri 21 Feb 03 10:11
    
all is well here, i'm headed back to paris tonight, so i'll check in with
you guys if i have time in about 8 hours.  its great to be back in here.
just wish i could do this while moving around.
sick of wire tethers.

#1.about the book;

Brian;
>Maybe it's just me, but I find this kind of densely-packed, visually-
intense and
>information-rich book to be a chore to get through, probably precisely
because
>of the density of information.  Density not just of photos and text blurbs,
but the
>way the book can be studied at multiple levels -- there are multiple things
going
>on on each page.

>The nagging question is: is that necessarily a good thing?   Is this kind
of
>presentation, and I focus on presentation  because the book just screams
>"presentation", the  best way to convey all of the information contained
inside?

there were three  things i was trying to do.  first, i wanted to challenge
readers.  second i wanted to challenge myself.  third i wanted to try to
build a book that practiced what it preached.

i tried to take examples that might seem strange or new and compare them
to something that might have existed a long time ago - somethig the
reader might not even KNOW about.  so doubling up information throughput
like that "it made sense to make a dense and presentation-oriented book."
a bit like saying "nanotech is another form of hunting and gathering." but
if the readers don't know much about either nanotech or hunting and
gathering then i wanted to also throw on pictures and "presentation" to
support that learning.

the book isn't for readers that aren't willing to work. anyway i've never
read a book worth reading that didn't ask something of me in return.   the
book isn't full of recipes, but ingredients. i wrote the book to inspire as
well as educate.  so this means that there are at least two times when
readers have to interact with what they're reading, once to understand
(or at least personalise) and once to apply what they get out of it.  it's
only appropriate, anyway, for a book that addresses interactivity to ask
for reader interaction with the ideas.

as for the second, i write, largely, to learn.  one of my goals for the
book was to blow my own brain.  so i put down a slew of ideas and (with
the guiding hand of the good mr. kadrey), i was able to winnow out the
important parts that i continue to publicly blab about.

lastly, i spent about 6 months wetting the monitor with tears of
frustration trying to get the book to look as it does. about 1/2 of my
time in making this book was spent dealing with image permissions alone --
total nightmare.  but in the end, because the book argues that images are
so important to reactives, i would have felt like a jackass if i'd done
anything else.  and even the reactive of the book -- the flipbook animation
that double-loops down into the 250+ page comic that runs along the bottom
-- even that was an effort to practice my preachin.

so these are some of the principles that guided the books presentation and
density.  there are things i would change, definitely (like calling
"Interactive Narratives" "Reactives" among many others) but i'm generally
still pleased with it. fortunately i'm now working on another book on ai
characters and reactives, so things that i left out of pause & effect
might get a second chance there.


#2; about the paintings, photos, writing, illos, &c
>that said, i hope pig will talk a little about how he  personally
reconciles his
>work in interactive media  with his more traditional artforms -- painting,
>sculpture,  photography, even his comics.

part of the reason i did the book was to learn better how to paint.  one
day i was looking at work i'd done  i was sorting through a pile of old
canvasses  and i realized that for years i have been trying to make
visual narratives of people in my paintings.  i keep trying to make people
that would talk and tell a story, sort of floating in this space with
really expressive eyes, but often, no mouths.  they're (partly
unintentionally) mute cadavers;
:::::
http://boar.com/paints/2002/robespierre.html or
http://boar.com/paints/2002/bad_brain_belinda.html or
http://boar.com/paints/2001/portrait_m02.html

now it seems to me the soul shapes the body. and painting is one of the
few artforms capable of showing that.  i'm trying to tell a story with
these paintings; not one that i'm necessarily dictating, and not one that
necessarily has a beginning or an end  or even a plot - but one that
describes a context and a series of events that create an outcome in the
character's appearance.  that's the goal.  it's hard for me to do  a lot
harder than a reactive, and, unfortunately, i still have decades of work
before i figure out how to do this right.

so since the images have a tendency to frustrate me i also write, partly
to construct stories for the paintings, to frame my photography, and,
mostly, for the sake of writing, itself.  writing is a little bit less of
its own end for me than painting, but i use it to support images and vice
versa.

meanwhile as far as my long-term goals artistically i'm consciously
heading myself off at the pass,,, 3dsmax-2-FLA conversions, PHP, AI,
working out reactive narrative forms,,, all the computer hoohaw...  i find
it a bit boring, and sterile, really, but i feel the same way about pencil
lead too.  anyway the book never says that a reactive has to be digital.
so the book, for me, was one way of learning how to weld together my three
different working methods of image + text + computers.  i used the book to
teach myself about this, in a way, since there aren't other people i know
working like this.

ANYWAY what i'm doing here in amsterdam is finalizing working agreements
with the WAAG on a major art / research project.  we'll be building a
conversational character as an art installation. for the last four years
i've been working  with paco xander nathan, marvin mann, and others  on
a scripted AI that has a fully cinematic story that's used to
contextualize the interaction. the AI has emotional responses so he
changes his story and how he's telling it to you as youre talking with
him. but what i'm now working on  what i've been trying so hard to make
over these years - is a kind of cinematic portrait.

in the end, zorc, paintbrush, pen and computer are just three tools that
i'm trying to get into a 369.  maybe something magical will come out of
the munch.  for now it's the best combination i can come up with.

but the process is the lesson so there's still a long ways to go.
  
inkwell.vue.175 : pighed (Mark Meadows), _Pause and Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative_
permalink #47 of 74: nape fest (zorca) Sat 22 Feb 03 01:22
    
wow. congrats on the installation. i'm sure many readers would like to hear
a little more detail about the project. about how you see the 'cinematic
portrait' evolving. can you give us a little more background?
  
inkwell.vue.175 : pighed (Mark Meadows), _Pause and Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative_
permalink #48 of 74: pighed (pighed) Sat 22 Feb 03 06:35
    

yeh;

http://bore.com/w/st_elmo/

this shows models, script, software architecture, personality design and,
most importantly, music by less.

its a lot of work, but i dont think reactives can exist otherwise.  i'm also
working on a comic based on this same character which.. no coincidence here
.. is that same character that's in the flipbook / comic in pause & effect.

so these things are all intended to work together, also.
  
inkwell.vue.175 : pighed (Mark Meadows), _Pause and Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative_
permalink #49 of 74: The Phantom of the Arts Center (tinymonster) Sat 22 Feb 03 09:28
    
That is fascinating, Mark.  Best of luck!
  
inkwell.vue.175 : pighed (Mark Meadows), _Pause and Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative_
permalink #50 of 74: nape fest (zorca) Sat 22 Feb 03 09:52
    
so cool! i encourage all to go check out mark's project at
http://bore.com/w/st_elmo/. come back and tell us what you think.

i also second his enthusiasm for the band Less. some of you may know our pal
stinkfoot. go check em out at http://www.less.com.

so one thing that often comes up when discussing new and emerging
technologies is the fact that, well, sex has often served to jumpstart
things. there's plenty of documentation to back up the fact that naughty
content drove the early videotape and cd-rom industries. interactive
narrative is a little different animal, but do mark or any of our readers
think this might be true in this case, as well?
  

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