In this session, I explored the use of interactive media and the software, tools and hardware that is used to implement interactive experiences. Despite the ongoing argument of ludonarrative dissonance, and whether interactive experience can be intertwined with storytelling, such as Jull suggested, ‘Narrativity and interactivity can not take place at the same time. Narration presupposes a jumping and compressed time, interactivity requires real time’, the use of interactive technology allows for some fun experiences regardless, allowing the user to experiment with different pathways and journeys.
I particularly enjoyed the Isadora software, and the extensive possibilities that come along with it. The ability to have multiple streams of media – whether it be video, images, audio – and control it using different effects gave me lots of ideas that I could implement in a final project for this module. One of the most prominent things I learned from briefly exploring Isadora was the Sound Watcher and Video Watcher actors. By allowing complete control over media, graphics, dots and shapes, just by the user making a sound, or moving the position of their body, is a interesting concept which I would love to explore more in the future outside of the practice material that was provided in this session.
I particularly enjoy experiences that are traditionally received as passive, but have been transformed into an active experience, where the user has some sort of control over the experience. I discovered ‘An Deiner Seite’ (Maximilian Niemann, 2016), an interactive experience that allows audiences to construct their own interpretation of a story told through the medium of a music video, allowing the user to construct their own unique narrative, almost as if they are both the director and the viewer. Another example is the recently released ‘Infinite Bad Guy’. This has been described as the ‘world’s first infinite music video’, which uses artificial intelligence to synchronise all the covers of Bad Guy, allowing the viewer to switch between them manually, or put it on a automatic mode, where the platform will automatically switch between different covers of the song, all aligned to each other within a quarter-beat of the original. It’s infinite because YouTube claims that to get through every single combination it would take 1.46 x 10^100 years, which is longer than the lifespan of the universe. This would be something to try and replicate elements of in Isadora, with a series of videos looping randomly, with so many possibilities for what order the video and music can be played in.
One of the things that particularly interests me is the notion of an interactive documentary. Giving the user control over what interests them and what information they wish to seek, can lead to a much more enjoyable experience compared to traditional linear storytelling, as it gives the viewer a chance to ‘discover, select, reflect, participate and even create […] while choosing the path that seems most appropriate to them’ (Gifreu, 2011), whereas traditionally the viewer has to experience everything to eventually get to the point they find interesting. I envisage an experience where the audience can have a ‘two way’ interactive journey, where they can both receive and input data. As argued by Gaudenzi, when involving a user in an interactive experience, their ‘agency goes far beyond the act of interpretation or empathy, typical in linear films, and stretches as far as new modes of interaction can go’ (cited in Gifreu, 2011, p12). This also reflects the earlier example of ‘An Deiner Seite’, whereby our agency goes beyond being a passive viewer of music videos, as we now have a direct involvement in the contraction of it. This is something I would like to take experimenting with further – allowing the audience to tell their own story using material that I provide. After exploring Isadora as part of the taught session, I have discovered many ways that the software can be used to achieve this. Allowing the user to choose what video they wish to play back through keyboard watchers, and allowing image manipulation and visual effects on videos, will both allow the user to have a much more immersive experience.
Interactivity is something that I will definitely be touching on for the final project of the Creative Media Practice module, and I will continue to investigate the possibilities of Isadora as a platform to create interactive and immersive experiences.
Gifreu, A (2011). The Interactive Multimedia Documentary: A Proposed Analysis Model: CHAPTER 5: THE INTERACTIVE MULTIMEDIA DOCUMENTARY [online], 9. Available at: http://www.agifreu.com/web_dmi/articles/Interactive_multimedia_documentary_PrePHD_Ch5_Arnau_Gifreu.pdf [Accessed 28/02/2020]
Gaudenzi, S, (2013). The living documentary: from representing reality to co-creating reality in digital interactive documentary. University of London: London, UK.
Niemann, M. (2016) An Deiner Seite [online] Available at: http://andeinerseite.video/ [Accessed 26/01/2020]