Walker Art Center


February 15, 2003

Spatial narrative

Maybe I repeat a lot of what I have said earlier, but I am trying to find the right way to explain this (and it also helps because I’m writing a presentation of the complete Spaghetti Package).

Do not have that much time, because – as I said - I am writing the presentation for Spaghetti. I have to reread Idoru to find the theories mentioned in comments on my last Spaghetti piece.

But I think the concept of transition/information points is quite simple, really. It is a moment when information is given in a game/scenario/movie, possible before and/or after a choice has been made, a certain point has been reached, or a certain event was made possible. Think of it as a doorway leading to a new world/room/universe (which in most cases it will be).

The big problem with tree-based hyper-fiction is that it is nothing but transition points. It is therefore impossible to create and most of the times, it has no suspense and becomes artificial.

The big problem with hyper-fiction that exists solely of associations (hyper-poetry?) is that it – in most cases - contains none. It is therefore impossible to understand, because the associations are not introduced or explained. The only persons who understand them are the ones who created them.

The big problem with games is that narrative is very limited: fighting, solving puzzles, using reflexes to overcome barriers, finding the right combination of materials to create potions. The most important parts of the narrative happen without you – as a player – taking part in it: they are presented to you as in between movies. (I am not saying Spaghetti can be used directly to make better narrative in games, but I hope it can be used to create narrative that is more comprehensive by making it easier to keep track of the possibilities and consequenses.)

But games right now have but a limited input capacity. We cannot speak to our computers, and it will probably take a long time before we can (HP is developing a special English dialect used to talk to computers: krinters instead of printers, and such). Button smashing, menu selection, direction pointing, command interpreters. Did I miss anything (no one has a data-glove anyway).

Spatial Narrative. Is that the right term? Yes. Spaghetti is about spatial narrative. Visit a house – Tarkovski’s Stalker style, or to be more precise, the style of the factories I lived in – and hear the ghost whisper their distant memories in your ear. Some Narrative Architecture anyone?

Posted by Jeroen Goulooze at February 15, 2003 12:18 PM

the new william gibson, coming out next march will be called: pattern recognition!

best _ os

Posted by: osfa on February 17, 2003 06:03 AM

A narrative architecture is a testimony to the development of our abstract thoughts. What is a circle for me looks like a wheel to my mum and possibly the moon to my 1.ooo year´s old ancestor. What is the literature of a networked society ? It is not centreless one, but a center built by its margins, by the little daily posts of a blog. The autonomous references. They do not seem true right now, but if you look from a distance, is there.

Posted by: Tatiana on February 17, 2003 05:34 PM
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