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Hamlet on the Holodeck

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Ben Silber

on 19 December 2012

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Transcript of Hamlet on the Holodeck

Hamlet on the Holodeck A #BackRowCrew production Often non-linear / non-trivial stories Chapter 2 Multiform Story written narrative that presents a single solution or plotline in multiple versions The Active Audience When the author expands the story to include multiple possibilities, the audience must assume a more active role Examples Back to the Future It's a Wonderful Life 3D Movies 3D movies allow the audience greater immersion into the film Ride the Movies Amusement park rides that allow the audience to physically "interact" with the movie Examples Spider-Man (Universal) Peter-Pan (Disney) Harbingers of the Holodeck Chapter 1 Overview Chapter 3 Lord Burleigh's Kiss From Additive to Expressive Form Chapter 4 Immersion Chapter 5 Agency Chapter 6 Transformation Chapter 7 The Cyberbard and the Multiform Plot Chapter 8 Eliza's Daughters Development of Technology v. Development of Art Form Chapter 9 Digital TV and the Emerging Formats of Cyberdrama Chapter 10 Hamlet on the Holodeck? Critical Reception Reviews “‘additive formulations’ or the contemporary catchall ‘multimedia’ are a sign that the medium is in an early stage of development and is still depending on formats derived from earlier technologies instead of exploiting its own expressive power” (67) Joseph Wizenbaum [1966] & ELIZA Four Essential Properties of Digital Environments procedural participatory spatial encyclopedic “the primary representational property of the computer is the codified rendering of responsive behaviors” (74) Examples participatory - Zork procedural - ELIZA [therapist like response] “the computer can be a compelling medium for storytelling if we can write rules for it that are recognizable as an interpretation of the world” (73) algorithms & heuristics formulaic & flexible movement through space [cyberspace] "computers are the most capacious medium ever invented, promising infinite resources" (83) spatial - Movement Through Zork encyclopedic - multiplayer games What is Agency? knowledge that we have the power to make changes & the ability to see these changes; an aesthetic pleasure 3 Levels of Agency in Electronic Literature response to the "call" of the machine [predictable choices]
complicated sequences [manually calling the steps]
simulation [manipulate parameters you choose] derives from post structuralist literary theory Post Modern Hypertext Narrative emphasis on NAVIGATION, not a conclusion [journeys] Structuring Participation as a Visit The Fears of New Technology The fear is that if technology can form new worlds that are “more real than reality” then mankind loses its power of reason and thought, which is what makes humans superior. “For Huxley (Brave New World) and Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451), the more persuasive the medium, the more dangerous it is” “If digital art reaches transparency (lose consciousness of the medium) we will no longer concern ourselves with how we are receiving the info, but rather what truth it has told us about life” Regulating Arousal The objects of the imaginary world should not be too enticing, scary, or real lest the immersive trance be broken. Deviant: The Possession of Christian Shaw vs. The Exorcist The visit metaphor: establishing a border between the virtual world and ordinary life because a visit involves explicit limits on both time and space The fun house/ haunted house Examples Gibson created an “illusory world that is so powerfully enticing that it has subsumed physical reality itself” (simstim) Examples "We recognize the fruit of all of these developments in our conceptualization of the digital domain as 'cyberspace', an environment with its own geography in which we experience a change of documents on our screen as a visit to a distant site on a worldwide web" (80) The slamming of a dungeon door behind you is a moment of experiential drama that is only possible in a digital environment" (82) Response without interpretation
fear of a machine that is "too" life like TrekMuse & Virtual Star Fleet Academy Games as Stories Video Games are the newest medium for storytelling Offer the most interaction due to making the player the protagonist / hero Completely non-linear approach to a story Story Webs Hypertext fiction Typically found on the web Examples This book is a preview of the future types of literary works that will come from this new digital medium “If digital art reaches transparency (humans lose consciousness of the medium) we will no longer concern ourselves with how we are receiving the information, but rather what truth it has told us about life” Tek War television series depicts virtual reality technologies as the equivalent of drugs (causing addiction, destitution, overdose deaths, and violence) Literary experience is very valuable in that it allows us to safely explore issues, topics, and ideas that are disturbing and fear inducing, which would normally paralyze us. It brings self-knowledge and exploration and makes you a stronger person because you know yourself better Proposes the fusion of the internet, the telephone, and the computer, which will create one type of far-reaching marketplace for different consumers and businesses. Expanding TV Shows and Movies Anticipates virtual worlds that will allow viewers to interact with large digital archives to go beyond the basic plotlines of television shows and movies.
Expects multiple perspectives of works from different characters, thereby creating infinite space for exploration Correctly predicted the idea of creating social networks to collaboratively go through works Challenges current thinking that certain mediums, such as movies, television, and computer are inferior to written literature. These forms of expression are vital pieces for the advancement of man’s understanding of his purpose and meaning of life Hamlet on the Holodeck refers to the author’s belief that “cyberdrama can capture something as true to the human condition and as beautifully expressed as the life that Shakespeare captured” Thought and the inner workings of the brain are non-linear, therefore cyberspace will be a better medium for individuals to express human mental capabilities Cyber works can allow us to shift to different perspectives of characters of the same story It will simply be a matter of time until non-linear works and free authorship become the norm. Mankind just needs to acclimate to the aesthetics of electronic literature Digital works will help us experience the thrill of inaccesible environments The computer and internet represent “truly revolutionary inventions that humankind is just on the verge of putting to use as spellbinding storytelling”
The computer gives us the capability to create new and improved works that display and compile better information than humans can physically process.
The computer is not the beginning of the end of books; it simply is a new medium “to reshape the spectrum of narrative expression”, by placing the previously known mediums of film and written work in a new context and framework. Role Playing in an Authored World Needs clear conventions to separate the area from interactors who are free to invent over ones where they cannot
Encourages ways to increase participant’s freedom rather than limiting it. Emerging Cyberdrama Legend of the Paris Café Development of Cinema - the exploration and exploitation of "unique physical properties of film" allowed "filmmakers to change a mere recording technology into an expressive medium" (66) Using electronic literature, we hope to be looking through the medium instead of at it
Be involved directly with the process, rather than the plot The coming digital form will have different formats and styles Flaws of Text http://www.usanetwork.com/series/whitecollar/ http://www.usanetwork.com/series/psych/ Networks can only hope to anticipate what viewers really want. This leads to homogenization of programming because networks copy successful television shows and movies. Many projects fail to generate interest and are ultimately cancelled. Viewers will not want to experience a plotline in much depth unless it is worthy of such intense interaction.

How would these virtual worlds get financial backing? Murray predicts lots of extra services for the consumers with a limited potential revenue stream.

Murray suggests that we cannot bring shape shifting medium on the same level of linear works

Emphasizes that electronic literature does not take away from the sense of completeness and emotional release Chatterbots Eliza Parry Goal-based Critters Transformation Digital format becomes more prone to change
new narrative conventions Kaleidoscopic Narration Interwoven stories enhance “kaleidoscopic” capacities of our minds Julia Neurotic Woman The Power of Literary Experience The Digital Puppet Neuromancer is referenced as one of the prominent works that delves into the world of cyberspace and jacking in Even "digital actors" have limitations Voice actors Emergence as Animation Two types of actors Flat Round Hamlet On The Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace The computer, says Janet Murray, is "chameleonic" -- not only in its presentational possibilities as an encyclopedic theatre or sports arena -- two of the possibilities she suggests in her closing pages -- but also as what she calls a "representational medium, a means for modeling the world that adds its own potent properties to the traditional media it has assimilated so quickly." Communications are mosaic rather than linear Twelve Blue Author and interactor relationship allows for a set of conventions consistent for many interactive fictions Little Red Riding Hood Morphing Story Environment Interactors are encouraged to construct their own stories from different elements Active free form play Electronic literature teaches learning language and decision making Examples Galatea Whom the Telling Changed Refused Closure Stories do not come to a clear and precise end point Similar to adventure games, which demand hours of play Electronic closure is when the work’s structure is understood versus print literature where the plot must be understood Computer
use an extension of books, not utilizing its intrinsic properties Summary Chapter Analysis Critical Reviews / Reception When new technology is introduced, people are always skeptical about its benefits to society When using these new technologies, one must take advantage of the new options it offers Key Points Key Points Limited Number of Plots Ronald B. Tobias, 20 “master plots” Patterns of desire, fulfillment, and loss in human life The Computer as a Storyteller Storyline in gaming software can be described in terms of morphemes Howard Solomon's Review of: Janet H. Murray,
Hamlet on the Holodeck, The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace Storytelling is like interactive fiction Michael Lebowitz Freedom vs. limited agency The key to a successful narrative is its ability to create for the interactor a state of immersion. "When we enter a fictional world," Murray claims, "we do not mere 'suspend' a critical faculty; we also exercise a creative faculty. We do not suspend disbelief as much as we create belief. Because of our desire to experience immersion, we focus our attention on the enveloping world and we use our intelligence to reinforce rather than to question the reality of the experience." (p. 110) Murray sides with the "reader response" theory of literary criticism that holds that the act of reading is active rather than passive, that we "cast people we know into the roles of the characters, perform the voices in our heads," and "assemble the story into the cognitive schemata that make up our own system of knowledge and beliefs." Games into Stories Stories have gone from requiring passive action to active action Stories are now game like The Contest Story characters: protagonist/opponents
specific goal Constructivism Live Action Role Playing Games [LARP] interactions in the virtual settings mimic real life The Interactor vs. Author Authors establish the limitations of the story/game; authorship is procedural
Interactors make choices within the game, but only as the author allows [agency] Finding the Border All creative technology needs a border between "created reality" and actual reality All new technology starts off as "hyper-real" but that feeling fades over time Michelle Erica Green's Review Murray is interested in the boundary between the audience and the narrative. "If the digital environment (multimedia, networked, desktop, VR, arcade, etc.) is the 'camera,' then what will be the equivalent of the 'movie'?"
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