In the New media course, one of the students, Dagmar Mäe http://ifi7101.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/standards-for-writing-narratives-for-new-media-final-essay/ wrote a related essay that made me think of some additional aspects that could fit into this paper:
The central point of interest for me in her essay is: “Narrative fragments which in the frame of transmedia storytelling are called EXTENSIONS.
Henry Jenkins (2007) claims: These different fragments may serve a variety of different functions. They may provide insight into the characters and their motivations may flesh out aspects of the fictional world or may bridge between events depicted in a series of sequels. The extensions may add a greater sense of realism to the fiction as a whole.’ The reason why in the frame of transmedia storytelling, the word extensions is being used is simply because different fragments of the storyworld are all EXTENDING THE STORY or in other words developing the story further.
So i question, are the fragments also extensions of self, meaning the person becomes partially external being embodied as one or another story.
New media audiences want to be able to IMMERSE into the storyworld by being able to participate and feel part of the storyworld.
What is the way they immerse themselves to narrative new media ecosystems?
Walker (2004) claims: While postmodern narratives open out into fragments and bricolage in content, plot and style, distributed narratives take this further, opening up the formal and physical aspects of the work and spreading themselves across time, space and the network.
Does immersing happen by spreading THEMSELVES (as fragments of identity, meaning= extensions of self) as fragmented selves across time space and the network?
Next, since these extensions of self are laid here and there into the networks of the narrative ecosystem, does a narrator become thereby part of the flow (immersed into) of the story. In natural ecosystems the flow or currency in ecoystsem is trophic (composing-decomposing-depositingenergy rich products and using them for life activities).
The reader has to become part of the journey as well.
New media narratives have literally become a JOURNEY through the narrative, as the users need to search the network for new sequences. Walker (2004:10) suggests: ’Finding patterns in a mass of data is something humans are good at, and identifying narrative patterns have always been one of our main strategies for understanding the world.’
If the narrative fragments are identity embodied in one or another ecosystem, into its trophic flows, the sense of belonging ( being part of a bigger cultural identity) seems to trigger this need for being immersed into stories.
Looking stories as flows told in the network of the bigger ecosystem of some narrative has a potential. I think in ecosystems the networks have multiple parallel paths, and hubs to switch to different paths to make network sustainable and always permeable for the trophic currency. The transmedia seems to use this – there are switching points left open for potential connections, that invite narrators who have need to be immersed into the ecosystem to be connected into these points by their fragments.
Jenkins (2007) suggests: ‘The encyclopaedic ambitions of transmedia texts often results in what might be seen as gaps or excesses in the unfolding of the story; that is, they introduce potential plots which can not be fully told or extra details which hint at more than can be revealed. Readers, thus have a strong incentive to continue to elaborate on these story elements, working them over through their speculations, until they take on a life of their own.’
yet you write: usually the content generated by users does not add a significant contribution to the narrative story wise.
So, the co-narrators of transmedia ecosystems created by companies make the ecosystems more permeable for the flow (making additional paths in the network, speeding up the flow), but they have no power to change the planned network paths in the story.
Two years ago i held a speech on Spatial narratives in Media Mutations conference in Bolognia. Now they will publish a book in italian, and i have rewritten my conference speech with The Shadow of The Wind example, which will appear in the book in italian. Here is the english version of the paper: