When one goes swimming it is inevitable that one gets wet. I have been continuing my mission for this semester: Dive into Web 2.0. The water is starting to get in my ears!
Moving along from video I am currently interested in how a line of narrative or topic can be maintained and moved around different platforms and still keep a coherent and consistent ‘feel’ with what has gone before whilst adding to it by virtue of the new media at each stage of the reader’s experience.
Alternate Reality Gaming is a good place to start in cross media networks. The textual possibilities of a augmented total information environment are strong in ARGs but at the moment the interplay between the light side and the life side of the screen seems to place the human subject in the latter. ARGs rely heavily on participation and tagging but I would describe them as examples of the box beginning to collapse and what it contains coming out and enveloping the participating subjects. This of course will change as convergence continues and technologies become more immersive. I am not convinced that ARGs are Web 2.0, although they are related (first cousins maybe?).
Following this line of inquiry it was at this point I found a reference from Matthew Kirschbaum for a newly published thesis by Marc Ruppel which includes Learning to Speak Braille: Convergence, Divergence and Cross-Sited Narratives. This is where I want to go!
Ruppel states in his blog description of his recently completed thesis:
“Over the course of my presentation, I argue that not only do cross-sited narratives validate the notion that convergence is a product of narrative as much as technological intersections, but also that, in some cases, the structures of these stories are often inseparable from the corporate structures that produce them– either expansive (horizontal) or redundant (vertical). They are, in essence, complex systems of both narrative meaning and textual distribution, where simplex sites work within a larger (virtualized) complex of meaning.”
What struck me about “complex systems of both narrative meaning and textual distribution, where simplex sites work within a larger (virtualized) complex of meaning” is the mergence of content and form through meaning. Whilst not open to interpretation and change in the same way as many contemporary western texts are the ancient stories of the Australian Aboriginal peoples, from my understanding, operate in a similar fashion. Known in English as Songlines and Dreamtime stories they function to weave multitudes of strands together; people, communities, clan groups, histories, topologies, events and cycles of practice. But what has this got to do with web 2.0?
Ruppel goes on to discuss and demonstrate examples of networked texts and textual networks in the link above to Learning to Speak Braille. I would like to give one further example of what I believe to be an interesting text network that gives us a glimpse of where the internet is heading in Web 2.0. The Pool is a
a collaborative online environment for creating art, code, and texts. In place of the single-artist, single-artwork paradigm favored by the overwhelming majority of documentation systems, The Pool stimulates collaboration in a variety of forms, including multi-author, asynchronous, and cross-medium projects.
The Pool’s structure emphasizes distributed learning and authorship. Contributors can propose a concept for others to implement, or respond to invitations to explore, debug, or remix existing works. Thanks to an innovative graphical interface, when Pool surfers review artworks, programs, and texts, the ratings they give these works ensure that the best of them will be most visible to future surfers.
Developments such as cross-sited narrative, convergence and augmented reality story telling force a lot of revision about narrative theory up to this point. How does one divide a text that creates itself, requires participation and becomes a way of living? Fan communities and Cosplay are some results in the so called ‘real world’ of such realities. The pool is getting bigger all the time.