Thursday, April 29, 2010
Today we are going to have a workshop on making machinima (machine+cinema). We'll do a variation on the activity I do in my Language of Film course, which is to go into class, improvise a scene/short film in silent film style (so there is no pesky sound to record/edit/match in editing) with the props at hand, film it during class, and edit it later using our laptops. We'll go into Second Life, and instead of emptying our backpacks and pockets for props, look in our inventories. Instead of using the classroom and hallway for the set, we'll pick a sim in SL. Like in the actual world class film shoot, we'll be the actors, and can take turns (on my computer rather than through my camera) shooting.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Here are Ten Questions (ok there are more, because some questions are kind of nested) to ask about a new technology tool that help us think about it in its wider cultural context. I am working off of, as usual, Cultural Studies founder Stuart Hall's idea of the circuit of culture, in which production, consumption, regulation, representation, and identity are all mutually informing. When we combine this with the historical trajectory perspective I am always harping on--which puts any given cultural text (game, device, app, film, dvd menu, etc) in a lineage of antecedents, looks for its peak if it has had it yet, and then speculates wildly on what might come next--we will always have a lot to talk about when we talk about any new aspect of technology, beyond the thumbs up/thumbs down reaction from which we might start and then come back to at the end, perhaps more thoughtfully.
Ten questions to ask about a new technology:
1) What is its purpose?
2) What was its analog, if there was one? How does a mediated, digital, or networked version of the tool or technique change it?
3) Who uses it? How? When? Where? Why? Does the use change over time? Do different users use it differently?
4) How does a user learn how to use it?
5) Who makes it? Who profits? How?
6) How is it regulated?
7) How does it spread?
8) Does it create or fill a need?
9) What is the interface? Is it also an object? Or a practice? Both? (think cell phone)
10) How does the user change the technology as he or she uses it? (mods and hacks and appropriations) How does the technology change the user? How does it become part of a person's sense of self?
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
In today's reading, "Interaction & Narrative," Michael Mateas and Andrew Stern distinguish between STORY: "experiences that have a tightly organized plot arc, progression towards a climax, beginning, middle, and end, etc" and NARRATIVE: " the abstract properties or qualities of stories, and more loosely structured, 'experimental,' story-like experiences" (643 in The Game Design Reader). Are these helpful definitions and distinctions, and if so, why? Where do interaction and narrative intersect? See my previous blog post for how some of the television industry's smartest most innovative minds reacted when someone suggested that interaction would be more compelling some day than story.