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2010 integrated media notes: I Think Patterns and Stories

Where are we up to?

So, there are six weekly sketch tasks. There is a sort of collaborative k-film project due soon, with a written component.

We have started with some stuff about tacit knowledge, about knowing how to do something in the activity of actually doing it. So not explicit knowledge (2 + 2 =4) but knowing that if I want to work out how many hours this project will take I need to add the items together. In this subject we are beginning to develop tacit knowledge about networks.

How? Well your blogs. Blogs are deeply in bed with the network as the first native web specific medium. (According to research by consulting firm Universal McCann nearly 73% of internet uses read blogs, that blogging, taken as a whole, now rivals traditional media, and concludes:

As a collective, the blogosphere rivals any mass media in terms of reach, time spent and wider cultural, social and political impact. There are also major shifs into participation, pioneered by the Asian markets and now happening everywhere, even Germany. Blogging today must be embraced whther you are a marketer, advertising professional, or content producer. (McCann International.)

Blogs are porous, they are made up of small parts, these parts can be interconnected (by links), they know about links in as well as out, they are personal and value authenticity (however we define this), and the relations between blogs, and blog posts, emerge in their use. (Blogs are a prime example of a tacit knowledge, much like a book and writing, come to think of it.)

We also have mog, which is of course a blog. But here you can see how blogs actually help make things happen, or build connections, or work as connectors in themselves. Mog is only possible because of the qualities and properties of a blog, we couldn't do this in paper, or with old fashioned web pages (why not?).

And we have Korsakow. Like a blog k-films are made up of small parts (video sequences, SNU's, nodes) that have possible relations with other sequences. The heart of it is all about these possible relations. It is an engine or system for enabling these possibilities. Whether they are realised or not.

This is probably a good time to mention ergodics (since they were listed for the last time but I didn't seem to get there).

Now, systems for making possibilities be possibilities that might happen. What sort of nonsense is that? Well, let's start backwards (or sideways) by thinking about stories.

A story has events and actions that get from one state, through an irruption or interruption of that state, to a changed version of this orginal state. It's sort of algebraic fiction (and some structuralist narratologists do think of it like this). Most of our conventions (in the west) have naturalised this so that stories appear 'real' which means 'motivated'. We have characters and tend to think stories are about or caused, or driven, by these character's psychological makeup. But that's the wrong way round (up to a point). Characters are there because stories need agents that cause things and that participate in events. Realism conceals this under psychological motivation (just as continuity editing is driven by 'motivated' edits to conceal that a film is made) and we expend enormous resources to make our stories seem like they could have happened. This is, of course, part of their pleasure and importance - if they really were real they could not work as projections of other things, and we could not have imaginary relationships to them.

But in this model a story gives the illusion of lots of choice, when all along all that happens is about getting us to this end. In this way we think of them as teleological. It is a closed cone. Or perhaps more accurately a pipe.

Now, this is a very effiicient device for telling stories because we can use narrative schema to test, interpret and understand stories. We do this actively, and all the time. It is sort of a retrospective thing, we find out something new and then realise that what we thought about something earlier in the story now means something else, or more. All of this is possible because, in the first instance, we are hard wired (deep coded) to look for and find patterns (and stories rely on patterns deeply, as do an awful lot of other things we do). And the second really big thing that makes all this possible is that these stories pretty much end. (Some have big endings - feature films, novels, songs, some have little endings, serial fiction, serial comics, serial television, soap opera is, from a narratological point of view, perhaps the high form of this.)

Endings are teleological and provide closure. But what is closure in a k-film? Where does it happen? How?

References

‘Universal McCann International Social Media Research Wave 3’ http://www.slideshare.net/mickstravellin/universal-mccann-international-social-media-research-wave-3


These pages are written by Adrian Miles ('official' and 'real') as part of the course material for Integrated Media One. This is a second year subject within the Bachelor of Communication (Media) program at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. These pages are notes to support students in this course and are best regarded as an informal aside to the lectures and workshops that constitute the subject. Views expressed here are not necessarily those of RMIT University.