Three Hours

Last night I chaired a conversation with the inestimable Seb Chan, currently chief experience officer at ACMI.

He really has done some amazing, marvellous work. This post though is about a question from the floor:

A question last night about “who has three hours to spend looking at an interactive documentary?”. I didn’t answer it quite right when I said “most people”.

We do have time, for example to watch long form television series, read novels, even watch long Lord of the Ring films, and play time intensive games. So the question should be turned around to “why don’t I want to spend the time with this work that it seems to want, or need?” Once you turn it that way it is easier to answer:

  1. it might be made in a way that does not readily support or let me dip and and out, read and return. A novel, for instance, can take a lot of time and attention, but also has outstanding affordances for being interrupted – this is one of the reasons why they can be long.

  2. The invitation the work is making is not understood. This might be a problem of interaction design, over detail, not being very good or interesting, or that you are not very interested in it.

  3. The experience provided by the work is insufficiently compelling. This might be a lack of interest, interaction design, or simply the design of the work. Traditionally documentary solves this by relying on a compelling story, but stories, even nonfiction ones, tend toward teleology which (by force of habit) likes to lie down with linearity. So if an interactive documentary is multilinear and it also wants to tell a compelling story you end up with not much of either the possible pleasures of multilinearity (which in this area are very poorly understood), or the known pleasures of a good story well told.

The crux of the matter is that the works are poorly versed in knowing what they want or need of us, and we are poorly versed in knowing what to ask of them. We don’t have this problem with documentary.

Bibliography for The Threshold Concept in learning and teaching

Over the past decade this concept has been embraced by many disciplines outside economics; indeed the above quote is from Glynis Cousin’s excellent short introduction to the concept written for earth scientists. The threshold concept has been seen as a valuable tool, not only in facilitating students’ understanding of their subject, but in aiding the rational development of curricula in rapidly expanding arenas where there is a strong tendency to overload the curriculum (Cousin, [5, 8]). This web page will describe, briefly, the characteristics of a threshold concept and list selected references to the work of those examining its value in a broad range of disciplines.

from Delicious:

Transmedia Earth Conference

Transmedia Earth Conference. Best I can tell this is trying to see what is local (not sure what work local needs to do here though) about transmedia. More narrative hegemony. More thinking that it is all about us telling stories for them. Long live our expert knowing.

In an age where the distribution and sharing of content across multiple platforms is increasingly accessible – and the attention span of audiences even more divided as a result – transmediality has become a key strategy for engaging audiences across media. Much has been written about the role of transmediality in a Hollywood context, with scholars defining forms of transmedia intertextuality (Kinder 1991), transmedia storytelling (Jenkins 2006; Evans 2011) and transmedia storyworlds (Scolari 2009; Wolf 2012), with others exploring the related roles of transmedia fans (Hills 2015; Booth 2016) and models of transmedia brand advertising (Tenderich 2015; Freeman 2016). And yet different countries, cultures and peoples around the globe are now beginning to define increasing uses for transmediality, adapting this phenomenon in unique ways to different cultures, communities, businesses and industries – be it in sectors of film, television, publishing, journalism, leisure, radio and beyond, emerging in cultural arenas as diverse as creative writing, museums, apps, virtual reality, activism and education.