SÉRGIO L TAVARES
L THE INSTITUTE
HIRE ME AND ALL YOUR DREAMS WILL COME TRUE. SLTF@ME.COM +358 40 487 8989 @neocronica neocronica.tumblr.com
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SÉRGIO L TAVARES
MEDIA A LOVE STORY 10 YEARS IN THE MAKING
LOVE, GREED, MURDER AND A WHOLE LOT OF MONEY. First the mankind loved books, then books created the press. There was cinema, but the press created television. Television murdered radio, and the internet killed print and seduced all other media. media is a wicked love story, it is the monster we most love to hate.
This book features strategies, techniques, concepts and plans that worked for me on, mostly, storytelling. I havenâ€™t always picked the prettiest ones, but the ones that sold more, got more positive feedback or were particularely inventive. I also made a selection of what was thought-provoking, somehow awkward or that could provide insight -- especially on the quite fresh theory I have been in contact with lately. Iâ€™ve published works as a media professional, as an artist and as a theoretician. So putting everything in one book was a way of showing that these areas overlap, influence each other and hopefully can generate new ways of seeing, thinking and experiencing media.
Special thanks to Prof. Raine Koskimaa (University of Jyväskylä), whose guidance enabled me to speak at the Media In Transition conference at the MIT, perhaps the most important conference on media culture in the world. To José Luiz Garcia and Tininha Rodrigues, my ﬁrst bosses, from AnimaLamps, one of few Brazilian agency with global reach, developing since always wonderful creative work. To Marceline Almeida, publisher, who allowed me to explore story design in so many ways, and to Pavlos Ylinen and Markku Pelkonen, for my opportunities at Dataﬁsher Finland.
INDEX ONE CONCEPT ON STORY DESIGN 11 IF YOU’RE NOT SURE WHAT NONCHALANCE CAN DO FOR YOU
BRANDING, CONTENT & PLANNING 31 THIS IS HOW I REMEMBER, I COULD BE WRONG, BUT THEY DEFINITELY, ONE WAY OR ANOTHER, WORKED FOR ME
UX/UI 53 DESIGNING STICKY STORIES AND INTERACTION
CONCEPTUAL ART TAKES ITSELF QUITE SERIOUSLY, AND THEN IT IS NOT TAKEN SERIOUSLY IN RETURN
CREATIVE WRITING 115 SOME OTHER WAYS OF TELLING OTHER STORIES
INDEPENDENT FILM 145 EXPERIENCES WITH CINEMATOGRAPHIES
KOMMERCIAL FILM 181 FROM SEXY HIPSTERISM TO UPSCALE CORPORATE, WE GOTTA MAKE A LIVING
HARDCORE THEORY 199 ROOTS OF THE VINTAGE FEVER VIMEO, AND WHY COMPUTER VIDEO IS SO UNIQUE THE MULTIMILLION YOUTUBE KAWAII GIRL HYPERMEDIA AND PRODUCT PLACEMENT MY LIFE IN STAKEHOLDER COMMUNICATION
PUBLICATIONS AND CV 241/243
WE FOUGHT THE FIGHT AND IT WAS WORTH IT
IN THE END IT WORKED LIKE A CHARM
SAVED IT FOR LATER
WE ACTUALLY DID SOMETHING NEW FOR THEM
NIGHT SHIFT REQUIRED
WE WERE PARTICULARELY HAPPY EVER AFTER
APPROVAL BEFORE EXPECTED
HOW I STARTED WITH ONE CONCEPT ON 140
THERE WAS SOMETHING INCREDIBLY GLAMOROUS IN TYPE AND TEXT, ESPECIALLY IN PRINT. TYPE IS ALL ABOUR FORM, CURVES AND STRUCTURE. TEXT IS THE BRAINS. PAPER IS EXPENSIVE -- THE MORE SPACE YOU TAKE FOR BREATHING, THE SEXIER IT GETS.
I KNEW, THEN: IT WAS FASHION AND ARCHITECTURE COULD BE A PLACE TO START. When talking about the exploration of your visual space, be it on print or on digital platforms, the limits are usually deﬁned by what can be done (by you) and what can be approved (by the client). Often the threshold is high, especially if you are working with big clients. The ﬁrst thing to think about, in my view, is to understand who is the contact point you are working with.
BUT EVEN FASHION AND ARCHITECTURE CAN GET VERY BORING IF IT DOES DISPLEASE ANYONE.
SO I’D SEARCH AND EDGE ON COUNTERCULTURES, FEATURE THE MISFITS AND ADD A PINCH OF A FANTASY-LIKE WORLD WHERE YOUR BADASS SELF CAN BE PROJECTED, IMAGINED AND LIVED FOR A WHILE Are they working in the position they were made for? Are they taking the chance to express their creativity at your expense? Are they being commanded by someone else for that approval? How are they managing your time? How big is their visual/media repertoire? Is the project manager on your side, on the client’s or on their own side? If you tackle this bottleneck, I can guarantee that your ideas will get ahead, and even if it doesn’t feel like it in the moment, the credit will be yours.
NOT ONLY WITH MODELS OR MAYHEM, RENEGADES OR UNDERGROUND CULTURE. IT WAS TYPE, COLOUR, TEXT, FORM AND THE PRINT MATERIAL THAT SHOULD SAY AND DO THAT But we are talking about you right now, and further on the client versus creative issues will be addressed. There are recently several so-called specialists on “the science of cool”, and those never, to my experience, delivered a convincing line of what is cool. And it’s not for accepting that the concept varies from audience to audience, but rather because these specialists tend to bring a deﬁnitive answer for the question that could be, in most cases, brought from a motivational frame you could buy from AllPosters. As the topic is quite broad and could ask for its own theoretical chapter, I’ve elected one single concept to tackle here, that may give you a heads up and a mindset that may push creative ideas a step forward: nonchalance. Deﬁned by the MerriamWebster dictionary, a nonchalant person is “relaxed and calm in a way that 20
when designing, just don*t apologize too much. shows that you do not care or are not worried about anything”. There is a whole bibliography about the term, especially in the Baldassare Castiglione “The Book of the Courtier”, where he deﬁned the perfect gentleman in the Italian aristocracy of the 15th Century. Yes, it’s a long time ago, but some elements of tha class society of that time still remain, partly, in our world. Putting that under the light of hipster culture, of the start up culture and other trendsetters orbiting the communication ﬁeld, the concept is alive and kicking. And it may give unprecended insight on the rules of style and approach. If you take a brief analysis of hipster culture, for instance, your will notice that it was the popularization of do-it-yourself culture, homing and DSLR cameras that created a peculiar aesthetics that influenced nearly all forms of media production. That means people with time and means to generate the perfect life picture, without the gimmicks of ad-agencies and highproﬁle commercial equipment. There you see a lot of layers, already: materialism, establishment, time for small things, frugal habits etc. If one tries too hard, the magic is gone; that’s a very simple way of putting it. The degree of nonchalance, of course, varies from target to target. Some of them will always like the smiley face of the car salesman, or accept the screaming summer sales on TV. But when you think of the dominant contemporary culture -- the cool, the influencers -- this an the approach that is likely to resonate and ripple across media culture.
APPROVAL BEFORE EXPECTED
AT TIMES ONE HAS TO BE SOLEMN, AND RESPECT CONTENT WHILE MERGING GRAPHICS, PEOPLE AND TEXT WITH THE PAGE -- FOLLOW THE MOTHER-SPIDER, LOUISE WAS SAYING ON THIS SPECIAL STORY ABOUT HER WORK
Broadening the scope: I’ve been invited to curate young photographers and graphic artists on a few publications. Asking how they work on a daily basis and how they balance bread-and-butter with artistic projects gave me insights on how one thing can inﬂuence another; visibility to your art, and an edge to the everyday work. A deﬁned line should never, ever be traced. If most people tell you it looks weird, misplaced or uncomforatble, good. You deﬁnitely don’t want your work to be the average of what your critics would do.
“The most common trouble with advertising is that it tries too hard to impress people.” JR Adams
When talking about graphic design, either print or web, and especially editorial design (I deﬁne it broadly by layouting information in a persuasive way), it is important to keep in mind that your reader/viewer/user needs to make connections to navigate to your content and absorb your story. That is nonchallance applied on the viewer’s side. Thus the amount of guidance you provide (read there, click there, go forward) is strictly connected to how you either patronize or believe your audience. It’s hard, especially for clients, to rely that viewers will be able to make such connections and that your interface or story is intuitive enough. They often treat them as zombies. Similarly, with edgy graphics and bold ideas, the client may think the audience will be oﬀended, despite the fact that it is exposed to all sorts of content that may use similar rhetorics or concepts. Thus a professional should understand one of the core elements in the nature of the business, which is the duality between information and persuasion.
BUT THERE IS ALWAYS A FINE LINE BETWEEN EFFORT AND EFFORTLESSNESS. THAT WAS, I FOUND OUT, WAS THE NATURE OF WHAT WOULD CHARM A NEW GENERATION BORN WITH CABLE TV AND FIGHTING FOR THEIR IPHONE
RELAXED AND CALM IN A WAY THAT SHOWS THAT YOU DO NOT CARE OR ARE NOT WORRIED ABOUT ANYTHING. mid 18th century: from French, literally 'not being concerned’, from the verb nonchaloir. (Google Dictionary)
The radical diﬀerence between informing and persuading is, perhaps, the ﬁrst thing that needs to be truly understood. We all know it by common sense, but there’s more than meets the eye in everyday practice. And when a client cannot tell the diﬀerence, problems start to arise. Advertising was not created to seduce, or for generating sophisms, or to tell “transparent lies”. That’s what advertising became — the origin of this activity, instead, was to simply inform consumers of the existence of new products. I won’t get to the details of how this shift occurred (some say was the industrial revolution, the post WWII era or Freud’s visit to America), but an advertiser needs to know what is its purpose (that may also be central to an advertiser’s sense of ethics). Now what does this have to do with nonchallance? Pretty much everything. When you meet a client worried about getting his product through, stuﬃng the space with information, and taking the viewer by the hand through what he thinks is the path to purchase or to a good UI, nonchallance is compromised. As a result, your rhetoric goes to the drain. Which, ultimately, reduces the impact of your communication. And why? Because the viewer doesn’t want to be patronized. If the viewer does not make the connections by themselves, engagement is lost. The work must be a bit careless, it must come with an atmosphere of eﬀortlessness: “read this, it might be interesting”; “do that, it may beneﬁt you”. Any impositive move
may breaks the trust and turns them away. Similarly, the way clients insist to apply hard-information or “make the logo bigger”, breaking away puns, implied-meanings, double-meanings or subjective connections between text and image are likely to damage the idea. The more you explain, the less interesting you get. The art is to explain as much as possible, of course, but after taking the viewer through the rabbit hole. That’s when persuasion obviously kicks in. Now, there seems to be an apparent contradiction between eﬀortlessness and the persuasion pull, because many of the ads we see are screaming at our faces. Well, that certainly used to be the truth for television, the magic push-box whose ads survived even the remote control. Bear in mind that the ad business goes through an identity crisis, and that the massive amount of information generated daily on the internet is far more interesting to the viewer than some product oﬀering “transparent lies” about itself. We know that. The myth behind old media disbelief was that “if a product is good, it will be recommended”. On the new economy, the myth goes more on the sense that “if a product is good, it will be recommended by a credible source”. That’s exactly when the original role of advertising may come back: to inform about the product. How to do that persuasively is the current question -- thus we see a prominent shift between two polarities of communication, persuasion and information. And there you have nonchalance applied to a diﬀerent level, where information itself does the trick (or where persuasion is, in the least, disguised). There is literally a whole lot of applications of nonchalance on the daily basis. For instance, who influences your influencers? What does it mean when your target audience admires a hip-hop artist that goes to jail every six months? Nonchalance towards State, law, society? Or what does it mean when you client tells “you are really flexible” -- only to tear your ideas apart and demand new ones on Friday evening? Nonchalance can tell the client that, like the modern role of the salesman, you are not there to make him happy, but to advise him -- and by doing so, you hold some kind of authority and are in a position to respectfully negotiate your terms. I mean, who haven’t seen Glengarry Glenn Ross?
matters? Now, there are numerous parts of this book where I tackle ideas on storytelling. It has become a buzzword that seldom means something objective to, well, story designers. Unless you master an incredible amount of literature about the topic, fast lectures or TED can do very little for it. I remember one lesson from scriptwriting school, in Rio, from Eduardo Coutinho, an old-time documentary ﬁlmmaker, who was recently killed in a horriﬁc crime, and received beautiful in memorian tribute for his lifetime achievements from the Academy Awards in 2014: each scene must be pregnant of the next. Thus, editorial design is about the ﬁrst layer of interactive design: the viewer must be compelled to simply move forward. Other interactions derive from that -- and game elements certainly add a lot to the mix, even if you are not designing a game. You can create other layers on print, for example changing type, background colours, adding boxes or chapterizing things. That’s the surface. It’s good text that really sucks you in, and I tell you, it’s pretty hard to get writers to shorten their artwork, even if all you mean is “hold it, tell it later”. That’s usually the ﬁrst rule of slow experiences: break it down so your viewer can take a break, hop oﬀ the bus, grab a cup of coﬀee or check WhatsApp messages. It’s much less about fairy tales and much more about knitting a thread that can facilitate the way forward. You may think of classical epics, character development, identiﬁcation. You may even think of the plot-solving process of “where is this taking me?”. Those are valuable resources when designing a story, either with words, images or interface functions.
hen you’re 15 years old, you need a powerful soundsystem.
Thus I got a job in the newspaper of my hometown, a 350-thousand-people city in the south of Brazil, composed mostly of immigrants. I had a weekly column and made some pocket money selling ads for local stores. Another newspaper hired me for a Sunday full page column, text and layout, an opportunity that ended up bringing some of the most beautiful pages I’ve ever created. No approvals, no complaints, no logos to be made bigger. That was easy, but rarely there’s a chance to work like that in “adult life”. What I’ve learned on following jobs is how to make those other players work with you in the seamless chess game of communication work. Having both parents as lawyers, I’ve even studied the treaty of argumentation by Chaim Perelman to deal with tough clients. I never knew if it helped -- it’s the same with advertising, right?
BRAND, CONTENT &PLANNING L A N I G I R O T A H W E M O S K F R O O S E W N I O L PIPE S THAT SEEMED T STORIE 33
One of my last works in Brazil was about developing my own brand and its story, around 2010. There was a need for a media production house that could work with fashion brands, who abounded in the region. I created the brand with my brother and within a year we had over ten steady clients, and over 1000 Facebook followers. When I decided to move back to Finland, the brand became an institute for fashion apprentices.
UNFOLDING We put up several workshops with professionals, and soon a number of well known designers would be happy to lecture there, engaged by our proposal. I worked mostly the graphics, and other associates developed the courses.
The collective eBook: 50 advanced answers to 50 basic questions
THE LOGO The logo had the local coordinates of the oďŹƒce, stressing locality. Classic type: Chalet Paris & New York 1960s for name, subtitles in Century Schoolbook with tight spacing.
Ads were placed in industry magazines and newspapers.
spark shaker for
own the media Besides oﬀering design services, we idealized a rough paper publication with useful information for industry decision-makers, stylists and fashionistas. Courses, trends, proﬁles and articles on cultural topics were featured. On our website, we featured journalists, articulators and even a New York comic strip featuring the “Hipster Hitler”.
Cover featured at Magazine Wall project from Montreal.
NIGHT SHIFT REQUIRED
Print materials and photos: all locally produced
HYPERLOCAL magnet THE CLIENT
THE PROBLEM Southern publishers Z2 had a long history of luxury publications. This market got into big crisis with the rise of Brazilian lower classes, after successful federal policies and economic bloom. The boundaries were more cultural than practical: upper and lower class interests would not blend in easily, and the magazine had trouble in connecting to both audiences.
THE PLAN The strategy oﬀered was to engage to local influencers, thus we developed a hyperlocal coverage of movers, shakers and interesting people. Balancing “upstairs and downstairs”, the point was made: it doesn’t matter where you stand in the economical chain, but how creative, charismatic and active you are in your community.
Photoshootings would take place for every magazine edition, telling a bit of each subject in a blend of real story and fantasy, and eventually becoming a hub for networking and business-making.
Willy Meyer (e sua cobra Janis).
É motociclista e pecuarista.
Artista plástico e produtor rural.
Patrícia Rodrigues Vieira da Silva. Diretora administrativa da Rádio Cultura AM, presidente feminina do Núcleo do Nelore de Maringá e agropecuarista.
IT WORKED AND WE ACTUALLY DID SOMETHING NEW
A CASE OF
HUMANT O U C H
THE issue Aldo Compounds is one of the biggest IT resellers in Latin America. They gathered sponsorship from Intel, Siemens, HP and Microsoft to solve a structural problem: sales reps were conducting business mostly online, so it was hard to engage in deeper conversations about how to improve businesses all over the country.
At AnimaLamps, I was the ﬁrst editor of a print newspaper called “Intelligent Businesses”, showing testimonial stories of best practices, ways of ﬁghting back common retail problems and giving an active voice to successful cases, reps and salespeople. IT WORKED
THE LEGACY After ten years, TIni is still living strong, featured in the most popular mobile platforms. The product proved to be eﬃcient in educating market players, bringing fresh information and making retail more attuned with global policies, issues and corporate culture.
Lamps Global website
Retail chain KESKO, in Finland, needed a recruitment campaign that would bring stronger candidates, with a more business-driven mindset.
We have developed in DataďŹ sher a campaign that would unfold in three phases: ďŹ rstly, with print materials and a website showing a regressive counter until the opening of the process. For events (below), a coming-of-age approach was used. The campaign was detailed from the begining, and a social media impact schedule was also delivered, covering three months of campaign.
WE WERE PARTICULARELY HAPPY EVER AFTER
A personality test developed by specialized professionals at Dataﬁsher was made available online, where candidates could ﬁgure out what kind of leader they were. If the answers were coherent, the candidate would receive a PDF ticket, and could attend the next selection venue promoted by KESKO. That was a simple yet eﬀective way of providing something shareable on social media, and reward the candidate with a headstart. 45
CONTENT to APP SALES FORCE
RESEARCH Nokia needed sales people to understand better their app ecosystem, and be up-to-date with news, changes and how their apps work. A global survey asked directly the salesforce of Windows Phone apps: what do you want to know?
PROPOSAL We have created an editorial plan for the project, working as a blog with applicable information at the moment of sales. It would also feature successful salesmen, create app packs for certain proﬁles of consumers and do “app matches” with other operational systems. Content was short, up-to-date, friendly and conversational. 46
The low-.res mockup phase: fully illustrated, with a happy-go-lucky feel for salesforce around the globe.
In the format of a â€œbreadcrumb blogâ€?, information was punctual, written in a less formal form and style, and pushed to emails in a newsletter.
Storyselling Lessons learned from Buzzfeed, Business Insider and other media players, we produced short and tothe-point information, also with the help of a Global Sales Trainer from Nokia/MS, who produced amusing videos to strengthen the bond between salesforce and company.
WE FOUGHT THE FIGHT AND IT WAS WORTH IT
Nokia sales University
Logos tell stories
Nokia needed to create a brand for its Sales University, a training branch from Nokia Academy. They were using brand new guidelines, following strict rules of simplicity, friendliness and customer-centered experiences.
One important point was to keep the logo fresh, to connect with the salesforce and create similar icons to the ones from the new brand guide. From over 15 proposals, those were my favourites.
My favourite one was playful, friendly and with a modern, rounded-edged comfy touch.
This was the chosen one, using a quite traditional symbol of conďŹ dence, the chess knight.
For the transition to Microsoft, a new logo was needed. I’ve suggested to make the new “Mobile Sales University” follow the patterns of endorsed brands from Microsoft (such as Oﬃce or Skype), with the color code related to Microsoft (each product area has its own area colour). Thus, the masterbrand being Grey, it was applied to MSU, appearing endorsed by the Microsoft logotype. A variation was also proposed (on the right hand side), with perspective eﬀect similar to the Oﬃce logos.
APPROVAL BEFORE EXPECTED
ALL WE ARE NOT,,
Z2 publishers wanted to release a new magazine, targeted to young audiences. ZAZ had been, historically, quite conservative and/or traditional content, directed to 35-65 audiences. Thus the solution was to be exactly â€œeverything we are notâ€?.
The new product should be young, but not transgressive; rebellious, but not anti-sistemic; fresh, but not covering ephemeral trends.
YOUNIVERSE We went all hyperlocal and 2.0. That was 2010, when these words really started to be seen as do-or-die. We proposed to feature, urban characters, athletes, stories from young jornalists and young adults living abroad. Established professionals provided career counseling, and a section in the studio would feature “best catches”, featuring single men and women looking for a signiﬁcant other. A wide coverage of music scene was also aligned to the project.
WE FOUGHT THE FIGHT AND IT WAS WORTH IT
A big cushion-manufacturer wanted to release a series of cushions with print motifs. However, the company did not know what pictures to print, and a curatorship work was needed.
SOFA STORIES 52
THE case SOFT
Research has shown what were their current buyers interested at, as well as the consumption habits of other photographic products for home -- posters, memorabilia, nostalgic pictures and so on. Pinterest and Tumblr were also quite useful. We then decided to curate similar content -- but displaying it in cushions, bringing historical and cultural stories to peopleâ€™s living rooms.
#1 SALES PRODUCT
Diving into pop culture and pop art, our curation became the #1 sales product of the year. The traditional flowers and tigers were surpassed by far by Audrey Hepburn, Warhol reproductions, Williamsburg pictures and other new icons.
UX/ UX/ 54
DESIGNING INTERFACES THAT ARE INTUITIVE, SIMPLE AND WITH AN EDGE
TELLING DIGITAL STORIES I’VE NOTICED HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO MASTER THE SLOW EXPERIENCES.
DESIGN AND STORY HAVE TO GO SEAMESSLY, UNTIL THE USER SINKS INTO IT, SLOWLY, DEEPLY.
TAKE IT SLOW DESIGNING SLOW DIGITAL EXPERIENCES We all know the attention spam of the internet user is quite short, and that the task is to expand it to the maximum. Ellen McCracken, researcher at UCLA, has developed a great concept of centrifugal or centripetal texts. Basically, digital text has two reading modes: information that drives the reader away from the initial text, and information that takes the reader further into it. I have expanded the concept to other areas in a work presented at the Transmedia Literacies workshop at the University of Cataluña, in Barcelona, Spain, 2013. The concept was applied to this mockup proposal for the Paulig group, where instead of taking the user to diﬀerent spots , sights, links or related content, users should go further inside the story, both chronologically and spatially, with increasing story density as well.
The chosen topic was the classical French Press coďŹ€ee, a method that can be prepared both in cafes and at home. The one-pager structure allows the feeling of â€œsinkingâ€? in the story, and exploring the features (videos, animations, maps) keeps the centripetal reading inside the story universe -- wherever the user goes, it is still inside the content realm.
CANDY STICKY FINGER LICKING If you are looking for good storytelling techniques, forget about business conferences that claim they can teach you something about that. Seriously, Iâ€™ve attended plenty of them and I have rarely heard something much diďŹ€erent than common sense. H.C. Anderson, Aesop, the Brothers Grimm, and you end up with very little useful information for your everyday, bread-and-butter work: a campaign, a
website, a blog post or even the easy fruit, a presentation for a client. Now if you really are into storytelling, you may have searched for some books about the subject, and I can tell you, you may end up pretty quickly with a tonne of pre-chewed, formulaic information that may resonate strongly among American audiences. These are American authors, from the country that practically invented entertainment as we know it -- that can be some credential, but the hard fact is that these techniques are most applicable to American audiences. If you are particularly skeptical, I can tell a few reasons: ďŹ rst oďŹ€, because Americans love to tell stories to each other. In parties, in business meetings, when out on a trip ďŹ shing or while you take an elevator ride with a stranger. They are not merely talkative, they are willing to share stories. And that is precisely because they have invented entertainment: Americans take the opportunity to build within you, the audience, their own character. Very quickly they will resemble seomeone you know -- an actor, a performer, or even a typically,
There is a whole lot of storytelling in everyday advertising and communication work. I’m directing this article to those who, in daily bread and butter, feel the need to apply concepts of narrative and story
proudly American stereotype. They will then perform accordingly, taking the chance to exist as a character even if for a brief period of time, while you both wait for an elevater at a hotel foyer. That is certainly not veriﬁed everywhere else. So considering such a strong culture of storytelling, it is likely that the common literature about the topic revolve around that speciﬁc culture, and leaves several other business cultures outside. Of course, if one wants to create an entirely ﬁctional narrative for a brand or service, it is a must to understand and follow the latest trends in the aforementioned genre. But there is a whole lot of storytelling in everyday advertising and communication work that simply cannot be planned as The Hunger Games plot or as a typical fairy tale. I’m directing this article to those who, in daily bread and butter, feel the need to apply concepts of narrative and story. Narrowing down a little bit more (one can only hope to be good in one thing, Cronemberg once said), I’m dwelling with the way we tell stories produced for computers. Be it a YouTube video, a website article or a complex transmedia campaign, a few principles may be useful -- those came for me out of market practice with corporations combined with years of research studies both in scriptwriting,
narratology (yes, that’s the name of it), semiotics, digital hermeneutics and transmedia storytelling.
1. Bond with the instant Digital media is not usually touching existential dimensions like cinema (think Persona, from Ingmar Bergman) nor a reflexion of the everyday life existance, like contemporary television ﬁction (think HBO). Although an opportunity for existential glimpses, it has a diﬀerent absortion timing. It is about individuality and self-construction (when others “see” the user, that is, when they read one’s newsfeed production, for instance), self-exploration and discovery -- Eva and Franco Mattes, two of the greatest internet artists of all time, have made an experiment making their computers’ folder structures public and available online. “The computer, after a while, tends to become like your own mind”, they showed. That is an element that can be better explored if you know what to tackle considering the moment your viewer is immersed in: tapping neural networks as they are, already, activated, if you may.
2. Time and Circumstance The computer is a deeply instant-based media -- therefore, adapting your story to the timespan that your reader is likely to have for you is crucial. It’s not a given research data, but the perception of the tension between their time and the interest you are capable of generating. And interest is, in the ﬁrst place, deeply connected with the resonation between your plot and your viewer’s time and circumstance when viewing your content. It’s the very same principle that content designers are now using for contact information -- contact info should be available at the very moment the user thinks “I may contact these guys”. This is no new deal, but it has certainly changed with the multitasking viewer. Cinema
and television have mastered product placement resonating with audience time and circumstance, and comfortably playing the “plausible deniability card” (a feast for conspiracy theorists): in some shows or ﬁlms, a cigarette is lit every twenty-minutes or so, in cathartic scenes after stressful ones. In Funny Games (1997/2008) Michael Haneke made a brilliant critique to violent movies -- two maniacs gratuituously torture a family, and once you realize they are the audience and not the protagonists of the tragedy, you can understand the director’s point: “I’m going to make some popcorn”, one of the villains say while the family is tied up. At the end of the ﬁlm (warning, spoilers!), they very naturally say: “should we eat something? I’m hungry” -- just like you, when watch the movie, is also about to grab a snack.
3. Tension and plot It’s quite easy to say that your website should present story with “a character overcoming a diﬃcult situation and completing the Hero’s journey”. A lot of books tell you to do that, especially in business presentations and sales pitches, but go tell that to the writer producing an article about kerogen shale extraction and other sedimentary rocks -- with a deadline and budget! So to start with the easy way, if you have the chance to introduce a traditional story in your content, well, you deﬁnitely have to know the basics of scriptwriting, properly adapted to the lenght and context of your narrative. The most basic, preliminar, and suprisingly eﬀective way of telling a very short story is Aristotle’s three-structure acts: beginning, development, conclusion, introduced in his work Poetics. His book is available online, for free, and if you’ve never read it it’s deﬁnitely time to do it. You cannot go wrong with that, you do it seamlessly already. If you have more opportunities, try Syd Field’s The Foundations of Scriptwriting. If you really want to put an eﬀort in it, go on with John Marland’s The Language of Film, Tzvetan Todorov’s various essays, Barthe’s essential
-- BASIC OF BASICS -A given order of the world Opening or introduction Presentation of scenario Introduction of characters
Bigger challenges Nearly everything is lost and one has to believe in oneself
THE CONFLICT breaks the order; something is opposed to the order.
Climax, all or nothing confrontation
A trip to the unknown starts, hesitancy: that’s what makes the story/ character human DECISION, challenge, the story goes forward
Resolution, a new order of the world
ACT III Progress, hope, enjoyment Obstacles
The elementary spoon-fed structure of any given narrative
THIRD MARGIN OF THE RIVER The point where the opposite margin is closer than the place you begun to swim
Mythologies, Vladimir Propp’s fairy-tale backbone structure, Carol Pearson’s The Hero Within, Homer’s Odyssey, Shakeaspeare’s Hamlet and the list goes on. Now back to reality and paid-per-hour world, say that you are a guy like me, who from time to time have to deal with topics like the corporate story of a hydropower energy company (a thrill for the stakeholders, but not exactly the cup of tea for sensitive writers). Turning that into story is basically a must.
In these cases, where content is arid and full of mandatory information, you may come up with a few simple story strategies, such as the creation of tension with the factual elements you already have, by reversing them into puzzling questions, surprising facts or interesting story archetypes. Perhaps one of the main diďŹ€erences between boring copy and intriguing copy is to reverse statements into pin-pointed facts on a comprehensible, evolving timeline. Your story grows from that, and it will rule your previous paragraph, your subtitles, title and the whole concept of what you are developing.
4. Negotiate interest If your client is the type that will always get you to make the logo bigger, or will drown you in information you absolutely should leave out, create story tension negotiating when to present in the story the interesting and the boring parts. Offer a cool beginning, get them hooked, donâ€™t give out too much and never dumb the beginning down -- let them go into the rabbit hole and feed denser content, alternating with eye-candy and interesting bits here and there, to proceed with the most dense chunks until your client is satisďŹ ed and the story ends. In a nut--------------------------------------------------------------------
Avoid no difficult questions, because they are always transparent. The character of the story ends up as the viewer him/herself, the scenario of your plot is the real world, and how you conduct the line of tension is what will create catharsis.
shell, instead of publishing that “KL&G extracts 10,000 tons of kerogen shale a day”, you may start to question when was the last time the target audience have thought of shale him/herself -- a question that opens up to several ways of telling the story, either with infographics, artiﬁcial intelligence or interactive gimmicks. Tie it with current issues, such as environmental awareness, and you will get your client providing, instead of information of no interest, something truly thoughtprovoking.
5. Vocalize it If we are to keep on the example of the kerogen shale, the role of your story is to create something one is able to read out loud as if they were the authors of it. I’ve conduced some research to Facebook proﬁles followed by multi-million users (one of them was published in the Silent Signal Trend Report, by Vapa Media, Helsinki, in 2013), and one conclusion was that when the user’s voice/ speech becomes one with the story’s character, narrative stories are more likely to be shared. Users may show their support by liking or favouriting your story; they may show their divergences or express their opinions with comments (their voices in consonance or dissonance with you, the narrator), but when your both voices are able to say the same thing (towards their audience, self-constructing their image for their audience!), then you have vocalization.
6. To be continued Stories are not told as they used to be, so you’d better use all ﬁrepower to grasp one’s attention on the narrative level. Kurt Vonnegut said that every character should want something, even if it’s just a glass of water. Sometimes, depending on your narrative genres, it’s the story that wants something from the viewer. Find out what. Many companies out there are telling stories that don’t ambition
DELIVERING MORE INFORMATION HAS TO MEAN MUCH MORE QUALITY TIME. THERE IS NO WORKAROUND. GET GAME TELLING WORLDWIDE RETAIL HOW ONLINE SALES WORK NEEDS TACTICS This project targeted managers at Nokia/ MS who needed to understand the process of eCommerce from end to end, in order to facilitate the content to online salesforce. To make it dynamic, we’ve added a themed layer to it: it was all about “the game”, and the pace of information grew denser after the user has been “sucked into the rabbit hole”.
IN THE END IT WORKED LIKE A CHARM
The mockup: interaction design for internal video discussion and information exchange.
WE ACTUALLY DID SOMETHING NEW FOR THEM
I STILL DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW COMPANIES HAVEN’T ENTIRELY EMBRACED SOCIAL IDEAS. IN SOCIAL MEDIA EVERYONE WORKS. FOR FREE. KEEPING, CONSUMING AND WRITING STORIES TOGETHER THIS VIDEO-BASED INTRANET PROJECT CAPITALIZES ON SHARING CULTURE AND SOCIAL ENERGY IN PROFESSIONAL TIES This project has been proposed for Dataﬁsher Oy to increase the impact of internal content for big companies. Before, users were asked to watch videos and perform activities to check their knowledge (basic training). The new platform would allow users to interact with each other, create circles of friends and become knowledge ambassadors, achieving badges and status within the network. Based on overtly successful practices in online forums, information could be easily exchanged attached to the currency of personal visibility in the company environment. The videos are chapterized and can be saved for later or downloaded as PDF transcriptions. Groups are suggested based on content saved by each users -- automatically grouping them by common interests. Badges work as rewards, based on Tom Chatﬁeld’s (How to Thrive in the Digital Age) chart of rewards and challenges in games, a powerful advancement on the topic.
APPROVAL BEFORE EXPECTED
SOCIAL ACTIVITY IS RESTRAINED, BUT ENCOURAGED WHEN TAKEN INSIDE. A SPACE FOR ADS IS ALSO NEGOTIABLE: TARGETED ADS ARE VALUABLE FOR BIG VENDORS OR LOCAL STORES.
SCORING FROM STRATEGIC PLANNING TO THE COFFEE BREAK A group of Brazilian entrepreneurs invited me to design the interaction in an intranet platform that facilitates strategic planning. After the UI, my main contributions were social aspects that the platform could oﬀer: companies interest in the service were complaining of excessive Facebook usage, so the platform had a section called “Coﬀee Break”, where users could send social actions to each other, greeting, congratulating or inviting for social gatherings. I’ve also suggested a space called “Neighborhood”, where diﬀerent companies using the platform could announce events to one another. A space for advertising was also created, valuable for big vendors or local stores.
WHEN YOU WORK FOR DESIGN-ORIENTED CUSTOMERS, YOU SHOULD HOPE THAT THEY SIT BACK AND ENJOY IT SEAMLESSLY. AND THAT’S ALL. SERIOUS TALKS
A FACE FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweetTOPICS mornCOVERING SERIOUS ings of spring I enjoy FISKAR’S CODEwhich OF CONDUCT with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of The Code of Conduct of a company existence in this spot, which should reflect their core and values, was created for the bliss as well as deep commitment to the of souls like mine. I am so sensitive topics being discussed. A happy, my dear friend, so simple, clear interface was creating absorbed in the exquisite using basic shapes that can be seen sense of mere tranquil existon Fiskar’s websites. The experience has been designed to provide comfortable reading of the dense content, and with chapters easily accessed from any point of the project. The project has been delivered worldwide, and translated to multiple languages.
DATAFISHER CONTENT PACKAGES & SOCIAL PLATFORM ATTRIBUTING A PURPOSE FOR NEWLY CREATED SPACE The Creative department of Dataﬁsher wanted to promote their expertise in content creation, while combining their production to the Digital Asset Management (DAM) platform the company has been developing on the IT side. The proposed solution was a highly convergent way of oﬀering internal campaigns, and a few new functionalities that could make engagement clear, social and measurable. One tab within the client’s intranet (or Digital Asset Management platform) would be dedicated to multiple video channels content, covering speciﬁc topics. The CEO Channel, the Top Management Channel and so on. New channels (tabs) would bring awareness campaigns, trainings and other contents that everyone must/should see. Video channels would combine DIY production (retrieved from Dreambroker, for example) and professionally planned and produced content (by Dataﬁsher), to raise the quality bar of the overall channel and escape the “talking heads”. Furthermore, a simple dashboard could tell the total percentage of videos watched, the most liked comments or who are the most active users, enabling admins to promote good behavior on the platform: comments with a high rate of likes become part of the campaign content, for instance. The interaction design took in consideration engagement goals, measurement needs, social and game elements, and the need for administration simplicity.
WE FOUGHT THE FIGHT AND IT WAS WORTH IT
DESIGNING INTERACTION FOR INTERNAL PLATFORMS: A FRESH APPROACH TO PROMOTE MEASURABLE ENGAGEMENT, SOCIAL BEHAVIOR, REWARDS AND DIY/CREATIVE CONTENT.
Campaign plan & schedule
Tracking & Reward tokens Measurements
Data allows us to identify the messenger, message and channel that will most likely lead to a desired outcome, such &as job satisfaction, Awareness OLNHOLKRRGRIVWD\LQJZLWKWKHÀUPIRUDQRWKHU Engagement campaigns year, Awareness or being proud to tell friends and family campaigns on various topics are usually conducted as he oruninteresting she works at employees the company. obligations should simply “go through”. Awareness campaigns for safety, health, social issues and other topics can get deeper engagement when developed in a creative and compelling manner. From great visual sites to interactive video stories, we make sure your people will, more than watch it, will also enjoy it.
CAMPAIGN PLAN EXAMPLE
“DEAL MAKER, DEAL BREAKER” Campaign Specifications and theme The campaign consists of 01 teaser trailer (30’’), 06 videos (1’30’’) and text content (3 A4 sheets approx.) on layouts and PDF, and an aftermath rewarding engagement. The campaign is to be distributed along six months within the campaign platform. In order to keep interest, videos grow in impact and text content gets denser covering topics.
Chapter 1 “We are heroes”
Chapter 2 “In case of emergency”
Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 C 6 “What can “A Hero “Safety c I do?” Story” in the h production line”
A chart estimating impact efforts follows, according to the conventions of narrative form / storytelling, to build anticipation and prolong interest: Teaser trailer — 30’’ — A dynamic call of action, vibrant images, motivating music, uplifting the role of employees and connecting them to the hero theme. Text — Three sentences introducing what is coming, with an “ad copy” text to drive attention and build anticipation. 01/2015 6/10 — Getting started Video 01 - “We are all heroes” Dynamic images, motivating music, first step into content (to step in the topics but without driving off the viewer). First interview: John Mills, blue-collar at Highlake Mill. Starting with a blue-collar lowers the threshold for general audiences, and does not feel like “top down” command — interest is raised by the campaign, not by authority at this point. Text — Three paragraphs cover the topic. 02/2015 8/10 — Surprise Video 02 - “In case of emergency” New footage of a more dynamic edge of the topic, bringing more motion images, graphic animations, dynamic data visualisation. No interviews here. Surprise element: most liked comments of users
Goldsmith, production manager at Southlake Mill. Surprise element: Data visualisation — An animated infographic displays information related to the topic. Text — Five paragraphs cover the topic. Recap: a link and thumbnail for Video 01 and 02 is placed. Most liked comments of users keep being featured as thumbnails. 04/2015 6/10 — Deeper into the rabbit hole Video 04 - “How to become a hero” Dynamism is introduced by placing various footage illustrating the interview. The interview is on the main focus, although it does not feel like that. Interviewee is top management of Global Mills. The speech here is the key role, and coming from higher authority at this point of engagement level will be less likely to disrupt attention and interest. Text — Four paragraphs of text. Recap: a link and thumbnail for all previous videos is placed. Most liked comments of users keep being featured as thumbnails.
Recap: a link and thumbnail for all previo videos is placed Most liked comments of users keep being featured as thumbnails.
06/2015 10/10 — The wrap up Video 06 — “We can be heroes” The final video brings bits of all previous interviews, reinstating the key takeaways, underlined by text on screen. Dynamic ima a more emotional (instead of informational is applied. Text — Five paragraphs describe and wra content. Surprise element: another infographic placed, this time with broad overviews on and a strong call for action. Recap/surprise: The entire content is available as a PDF. A final call for action is placed, as well wit reward attached to its completion: “How h been a hero since you joined Hart&Sande most voted stories will be shared to all H& Aftermath: The featured heroes
INCURSIONS THROUGH A WORLD THAT TAKES ITSELF TOO SERIOUSLY
ARTVERTISING? That was, literally, the ﬁrst lesson I’ve learned at the advertising school of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, in the early 2000s. Rio’s advertising and media scene is vibrant, like few places in the world. Brazil runs on television: locally produced TV series may proﬁt US$ 1 billion per year in advertising revenue. However, we all know that TV people, as well as advertisers, are not exactly artists, although they work in borderlands. Why? It’s a big question, and the’re one simple way of putting it: art is media leading to open questions, advertising is media delivering closed answers. To my view, both are heavily influenced by each other; the ad world may be the evil twin of the art world. The relevance for an ad professional of knowing, enjoying or creating art is unquestionable. Art is, in some ways or occasions, what advertising wants to be -- thus being influenced by it is essential to keep it up in your ﬁeld, especially in times when ludic, plural, open-ended experiences are popular in both ﬁelds. But nowadays, where is the vanguard? Since pop art we are not entirely sure. I brought to this book some works I have developed in the past years. To the surprise of some people, some of them are quite simple, although most of the time producing somewhat interesting responses in the audience. By this time, you probably know that contemporary art is not exactly in the making, but in the concept -- something the advertisers know like few other professionals.
I’VE KIDNAPPED ARTWORKS AND ADD BRAND SIGNATURES TO THEM, JUST TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS.
POCKET DISAMBIGUATOR FOR THE MODERN TIMES Tactile/Interactive touch, generating random Yes or No answers.
Featured on Visual-Poetry (anatol.cc) Over 1,000 shares & likes on Tumblr
SPONSOR ARTISTS BEFORE THEY BECOME GRAPHIC DESIGNERS. AT A WALL IN FRONT OF AD SCHOOL, IN RIO, CIRCA 2009
Fueatured on new artists ďŹ ndings of ArtChipel, Paris, France
Selected for design project A3Format, Belgrade, Serbia Featured at several inďŹ‚uent art blogs
NOVEL In 2005 I wrote a novel on the diﬃculty of knowing the truth behind the computer: one character seeks another who suddenly disappears from their everyday computer-mediated routine. Searching through an ocean of information, his challenge is to ﬁnd her. I decided to release it on one page only, making it more diﬃcult for the reader to follow the investigation (as it was diﬃcult for the character to dig through all the information). As the character, one must have time and resistance, or then leave the mystery unsolved and go for the next attraction/distraction. The project was greatly accepted by online curators, art blogs and design enthusiasts, being republished by MoMA San Francisco oﬃcial blog and other renowned curators in Paris.
Featured on San Francisco MoMA ofďŹ cial blog
TV5MIN This video/web art installation displays 5 minutes of TV zapping. It was recorded in 2008, Brazil, in any given afternoon. From the holy mass to Umberto Eco describing â€˜the ugliness of the enemyâ€™, it goes through Sex and the City, MTV and digital camera salesmen, providing an awkward, amusing, funny and disturbing sample portrait of mediated reality.
THE EVANGELION ACCORDING TO ELVIS If Hollywood was heaven, Elvis certainly would be Jesus. Thus, why not have his own Bible, since the world lives, at times or at some level, within the dreamland of Mulholland Drive? “Jesus Christ” has been substituted by “Elvis Presley” in the Bible.DOC ﬁle I found online.
ART CODE MALFUNCTION DISFUNCTION GLITCH The conceptual idea behind “glitch”, malfunction and lo-ﬁ, styles widely explored by visual artists, is fundamentally the disruption of the system -- the whole system, as the machine is based on it and vice-versa. One could argue that lo-ﬁ is not exactly destroying the system, but rather rejecting it to a point: rejecting the evolution of it, leaving it at a certain point -- sticking to the time of cassete players, denying the advent of iTunes, for instance. Thus, it’s a ground of outcasts, and this has been going on since the turn of the millenium. However, over 15 years later, glitch still produces interesting results, because as new technologies rise, a new wave of love for the novelty comes, followed by another wave of destruction and rebellion. Even in the technical level, each technology produces new malfunctions, new aesthetic expressions of them, and thus, new interesting visuals to explore. I started exploring the code in graphic/visual terms, to then disrupt it.
FIRST EXPERIMENTS: THE CODE OF MARILYN.JPG
Marilyn mixed with other parts of diďŹ€erent pictures from her produced this explosion of colours.
DEATH OF A SIM I’ve decided to kill my Sim. I tried to ﬁnd ways of turning him insane and see what he would produce. He broke the painting canvas, rejecting expressing himself through art. Left with a mirror and a divan, I intended to entice him to self-reflection and meditation. Nothing worked, and a series of disturbing events unfolded. How much humanity can we aprehend from an online, ﬁctional character -- and how far are we comfortable going against that?
GOOGLE’S EYES The work has a simple structure: on a single page, keywords are shown, and by clicking them the viewer is taken to the Google Images search, showing the results retrieved from the search. Chosen keywords were abstract ideas, poetical concepts and immaterial thoughts. The aim of such selection was to ﬁnd terms diﬃcult to be visually deﬁned. The amusing eﬀect was also to compare how “we” perceive those concepts in images over time -- at some point, “Soul” would display images of a new cellphone.
Featured in LiveHerringâ€™08 @ Central Finland Museum of Contemporary Art
TEXTUAL CONTENT EXPANDED ESSAY
What Google may provide, however, is not exactly the “machine deﬁnition” of the terms. In a way, it is the “electronic” deﬁnition, since it is the search result Google provides when “inquired”. However before categorizing those results as “electronic”, it is important to ask if Google’s results are brought by a computer or by a computer-based method, which input is originally provided by humans. That would make Google image search — as well as all Google research — what Katherine Hayles deﬁnes as an human-computer interaction, and therefore a posthuman system of intelligence . It does not, however, works on its own, but rather by an algorithm ﬁlled by human (collective) activity. In the worldwide famous video The Machine is Using Us/The Machine is Us, Michael Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University, reconstructs the History of text, from analogical text to hypertext and basic logic of webpage programming, demonstrating how the entries on Google make Google what it is, and how we are all collectively authors of those results . A transcription of the video text may summarize the idea: Think of the 100 billion times per day humans click on a Web page teaching the Machine (WELSCH, 2007) On the project The main feature of Neocronica’s Google’s Eyes work is to use this “cooperation” process, taking the viewer back to the human principle that fueled the comput-
er-based principle: the image of Art, for example, is perceived by a cartoon, a female tennis player (subtitled as ‘body art Esportivo’) or a painting — and other 345.000.000 images . Those entries, however, were not uploaded as an answer to the deﬁnition of Art (or any other of the concepts featured in the work). What images show is partially the practical use of the word Art, contextualized in webpages, not quite a deﬁnition. Side eﬀects do occur: some of the images are shown merely because in their website page there is somewhere nearby the word “Art”, and Google Image Search recognizes the image as being related to Art somehow — that’s when the viewer has to deal with the “glitch” or “error” of the machine, something that may not precisely be perceived as an error, but as a characteristic of the computer code: the images featured that are not directly related to Art, for example, would never come up if a human was doing the selection aiming a precise deﬁnition of the concept. Those side eﬀects, however, produce an interesting plurality of results and may be used by the viewer: artiﬁcial intelligence, even when featuring errors, may provide useful material that the searcher is not looking for. Conclusion Neocronica Google’s Eyes work piece intents to show to the viewer how collectively Internet users (websites, institutions and regular users) provide the input at Google for the concepts listed in Google’s Eyes. This does not man society is theoretically deﬁning those concepts through images, but that in practical terms (images in the same page as the written-form of the listed concepts), meaning, following Google Image Search code, that is how those concepts are being used online.
The ever-changing results demonstrate, also in very practical basis, the zeitgeist of such scenario, and the content being generated (and only organized, not created, by the computer) points out to some kind of decline of the machine, as we shall see in other chapters of this thesis. Is humanism being lifted up where it belongs? It is not so simple to tell, but recognizing that “the machine is us” is certainly a sign of humans not perceiving anymore the computer as a miracle or a mysterious enigma, but rather as a tool, whose magic should be attributed to the user. Instead of reflecting the medium, Google’s Eyes signals to an important shift where the medium, being self-reflexive, reflects the user. This transparency takes the amazement of the device to the side, and opens up the possibility of reflecting upon ourselves, instead of reflecting mostly on technology and progress, the questions that works of art with computers usually rise. The results of Google’s Eyes images, using Google Image Search, shows us precisely the ideas that we make of the words we type in; the image-based environments those words live within; the whole economy and constellation of images making meaning to words that we, ourselves, only know unconsciously. References “CNN.com - Google’s unknown artist has huge following - Jul 19, 2006.” CNN.com. 19 Apr. 2009 <http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/internet/07/19/google.logo/index.html>. “Exposição de Google Art no Rhizome.org | Narrowcast.” Narrowcast - coleção de referências sobre o Design de Mídias Sociais. 19 Apr. 2009 <http://www.narrowcast.com.br/2007/10/09/google-art-or-how-to-hack-google/>.
“Rhizome | Google Art, or How to Hack Google.” Rhizome. 19 Apr. 2009 <http:// www.rhizome.org/art/exhibition/googleshow/>. “Search Engine Market Share July 2009 | Rise to the Top Blog.” Internet Marketing Blog | SEM Articles: Rise To The Top. 4 Aug. 2009. Web. 10 Dec. 2009. <http://risetothetop.techwyse.com/internet-marketing/search-engine-marketshare-july-2009/>. “YouTube - Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us.” YouTube. 19 Apr. 2009 <http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gmP4nk0EOE>. Hayles, Katherine. How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics. 1st ed. Chicago: University of Chicago P, 1995. Ramirez, D. “Taking another look at Gopher.” Resource Sharing & Information Networks 12.1 (1996): 17-34. Print. Sherman, Chris. “Search Engine Birthdays - Search Engine Watch (SEW).” Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Paid Search Advertising (PPC) - Search Engine Watch (SEW). 9 Sept. 2003. Web. 9 Dec. 2009. <http:// searchenginewatch.com/3071951>. Tavares, Sérgio L. “NEOCRONICA Google’s Eyes.” NEOCRONICA.ORG. 19 Apr. 2009 <http://www.neocronica.org>. Welsch, Michael. “Digital Ethnography Blog Archive: The Machine is Us/ing Us Final Version.” Digital Ethnography @ Kansas State University. 9 Mar. 2007. Web. 9 Dec. 2009. <http://mediatedcultures.net/ksudigg/?p=84>.
THE ARTIST AS FRAME Contemporary artist Bruno Moreschi has asked me to write an article on his award-winning project, “Art Book”. He has invented “50 contemporary artists”, mimmicking the cliches typical of the art world. Considering the humorous, sardonic approach of the work, my text was half ﬁctional, making reality and invention diﬃcult to discern. The point, however, is read: how neutral can an artist’s persona be? How they dress, what they do for a living, who they hang out with -- these elements pertains to the artist, to artistic production or to economy of the artworks? And isn’t it the same in media circles? Invited as special theorist. Award-winning art project.
COMPOSITIONS An experiment on visual culture would invite viewers to see ﬁlm posters as paintings, photography or simply graphic design compositions. How eﬀectively are they telling the story? In order to facilitate the experience, I’ve removed the titles of some posters, leaving it to the viewer’s interpretation of what they mean, how the elements of style are used, and how they relate to the previously known (or unknown) story. 115
CREA CREA WRIT WRIT 116
TIVE TIVE ING ING 117
WRITING WITH METADATA THE TAGNOVELS The TagNovels: works of ﬁction where each paragraph or story plot twist has a tag. Readers can read multiple stories by activating diﬀerent tags. Project highly praised by DAC 2009 (Digital Arts and Culture, University of California)
TEXTUAL CONTENT EXPANDED ESSAY
On a very straight-forward deﬁnition, digital literature is literature that makes use of possibilities enabled by new media. When it comes to digital literature, the contemporary studies have already researched quite a great deal of information since the beginning of electronic text and text digitalization. On the early days, Hypercard and Storyspace were a groundbreaking change in text, and digital literature kept evolving to more complex models of text, in example, cybertext and multimedia text, multi-user dungeons, morphing text and many other variations. From this plurality of possibilities, which may vary from conventional narratives with minimal digital/interactive features, to the opposite, that is, in example, games with the narrative features only as a side feature from the main core of the reader/player experience, In this work a speciﬁc concept of digital narrative will be analyzed, therefore it is useful to highlight an important dichotomy pointed out by Markku Eskelinen: the gamer interprets in order to conﬁgure, and in narrative activity, the reader conﬁgures in order to interpret. (ESKELINEN, 2004) As Katherine Hayles describes on her article Electronic Literature — What is it?, “electronic literature is normally created and performed within a context of networked and programmable media, it is also informed by the powerhouses of contemporary culture, particularly computer games, ﬁlms, animations, digital arts, graphic design, and electronic visual culture. In this sense electronic literature is a “hopeful monster” (as geneticists call adaptive mutations) composed of parts taken from diverse traditions that may not always ﬁt neatly together” (HAYLES, 2007). The metaphor of the “hopeful monster” seems suitable here: as Mary Shelley’s 120
Frankenstein was most of the time uncomprehended and searching for a space on existence, not knowing exactly who was he or what was he, digital literature is also made of pieces and modes of other known and established medium, and the struggle for its existence also comes as a consequence of such collective origin: if reproduction or distribution are issues only for the traditional media, when it comes to the niche that digital literature can ﬁnd on the ﬁeld of arts, the problem of gaining this space rises: “reading literature is an activity fundamentally diﬀerent from this kind of text-zapping and functional reading” (KOSKIMAA, 2003). That leads us to the problems on legitimization, market, sustainability of such genre of writing and others. A word on folskonomy However, it is fair enough to evocate the “ecological equilibrium” of user-generated content when it comes to attributing meaning to something. Wikipedia is a proof that imprecision may occur, but generally it is a fairly reliable source since the vast majority of the terms described in Wikipedia stables in a certain balance, rather analogous to the equilibrium in nature and populations. It would be a bit over the top to discuss an ESS (Evolutionary Stable Strategy) here, but in fact the similarities are many: populations under an ESS will not easily disappear from the face of the earth, and they happen after pendulum-like movements along its course (for example, more aggressive animals predominating, and later on less aggressive animals predominating) until it “ﬁnds” a stable way of surviving (an equilibrium between more and less aggressive animals). With meanings in Wikipedia, we may think that wrong entries will be in Wikipedia for a while and later on be substituted by the correct meanings; extreme opposites and controversies may ﬁght each other (and even appear both on the entry). The point is that meaning is shaped along the flux of users generating content. This idea of the shape of meaning according to the user/reader will be mentioned in the end
of this article, as the tagnovels might gain more and less popular interpretations accordingly to the readers’ folksonomy. Soon, with the popularization of the Web 2.0, other internet giants started using the tags as a way of enhancing searches, as Gmail, YouTube, Technorati and Last.fm. Pandora.com released an ambitious project of the “music genome” It consisted in deconstructing music and classifying it under each element that constitute some speciﬁc band or music genre, on a rather sophisticated project of classifying music. From Pandora’s website: “Each song in the Music Genome Project is analyzed using up to 400 distinct musical characteristics by a trained music analyst. These attributes capture not only the musical identity of a song, but also the many signiﬁcant qualities that are relevant to understanding the musical preferences of listeners.”. That means “Frank Sinatra” for Pandora.com consists in “American singer”, “Big band”, “Jazz”, “Male singer”, “50s”, “60s”, “drums”, “trumpet” and so on. When the Pandora user types the name of an artist, Pandora plays a song from this artist and the next track played is from an artist with similar characteristics. Last.fm adopted the algorithm later, and this is still the most popular kind of internet radio, since users are able to discover artists and bands they didn’t know before. Perhaps that is the main diﬀerence tags and crossing-information of an Artiﬁcial Intelligence system may provide: the ability of letting the user to discover something, instead of ﬁnding something. The concept of tagnovels comes in the sense of rearranging the narrative through the usage of computer capability of search and selection. The selection is, however, more of a human-computer interaction, since the tags have been placed by the author, not by the computer. The work of the computer consists
IF ONE CHOSES WHERE THE STORY GOES, IT’S NO LONGER A STORY, BUT A GAME. IT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN READING A STORY AND CREATING A HISTORY. WOULD THAT EXPLAIN PARTIALLY THE FACT THAT CINEMA HAS NEVER GONE INTERACTIVE? DWELLING WITH SUCH QUESTIONS IN RESEARCH AND ARTISTIC WORKS HAVE CERTAINLY HELPED ME TO UNDERSTAND THE NATURE OF INTERACTIVE PROJECTS, AND CUTTING THROUGH THE CRAP AROUND BUZZWORDS AS STORYTELLING, GAMIFICATION AND TRANSMEDIA.
solely in storing data on the database of input texts under the named tags. As a result, the reader is able to explore the content of the story following the patterns. On a narrative set in diﬀerent geographical landscapes, in example, the tags may classify each scenario. “Jakarta” will show all the entries/text/scenes set in this city. “Indonesia” will show the text set in Jakarta and other cities inside the country, and “Asia” will show all entries which has this continent as a scenario. In this sense, Jakarta < Indonesia < Asia. More subjective categorizations are possible, originating an interesting interplay among the tags, what also serves a hint or an element for the storytelling. “Love” may appear on a text describing a marriage or a conversation between two enemies, for instance. All in all, the blog elements and the medium of blog itself may contribute to form a whole perspective upon the story, as well as the interactivity with the options promoted by the tags: that would be the only way to comprehend the story. “In their processes of navigation readers don’t became writers but a species of co-narrator at best in their capacity to choose (prefabricated) paths. Still, one should not mistake one’s changing interpretations for changing texts (ESKELINEN, 2000). The chronology may or may not exist on a tagnovel. However, either existing or not, it most likely will be on a second degree of importance to the story. The tagnovel, so far, is more likely to describe diﬀerent perspectives of a scenario than rather to narrate a sequel of facts, although this may be perfectly possible, too. Blogger interface suggests that blogs should show the last post in the homepage. Therefore, inverting the order of the publications is not an option at the Blogspot blogs. Hints may subvert this order, for example, if the blog owner alter the dates. In this way, a post with the date “12-02-2008” will be shown under the “12-02-2009”, even if the latter post was actually written before. Those are common strategies used by bloggers to show their posts in a desired order. When it
comes to tagnovels, however, the loose form of a rearranging novel might favor the dismissal of chronology and work on the basis of a shifting perspective over a complex, but rather ﬁxed situation. Many formats and possibilities are possible, though — no rules or formats are mandatory, and the creative use of the tools is going to shape the story and allow other forms of storytelling. Both works show rather short entries and a limited amount of total text, and the text can also be considered to be fast-paced, in tune with the idea of short entries. That helps the reader to keep the attention on the text, since he’s not at the comfortable reading chair in the front porch of his/her house. In front of the screen, time is disputed by giants and possibly by close people nagging the reader on the MSN or Skype — habit comes in the way, and these habits seem to lack stability, conventionality. The notions mentioned above for sure lack the materiality and familiarity of the physical medium, and that influences not only the experience of text consumption, but the whole empowerment of the reader in front of a text. Websites nowadays are making the possibility of emitting an opinion, evaluating a video nearly a very immediate thing (less logins, more one-click-act). This relates to the capability of the reader to read and use all the possibilities of the digital media, “where ‘dealing’ is not merely using, but rather controlling or, at least, understanding the apparatus of the ubiquitous digital technology” (KOSKIMAA, 2009).
CATEGORIES The story presents three characters, allegedly two men (XY and XY2) and a woman (XX). In the homepage, the reader ﬁnds a single punch line: “XY2: You don’t have to do that if you don’t want to”. The main theme is about the relationship of a couple and the importance the woman gives to her career. The reader is presented to a progression on their relationship (from acquaintances, to love,
sex, family) and the conflict is mostly on the tag work. However nothing is exactly centralized. Following the tag cloud, the reader may start with the state “acquaintances”, which is the beginning of any closer relationship. As most of the tags describe relationship situations (love, passion, sex, argue), the reader may start with “acquaintances” if the desire is to ﬁnd “where is the beginning” of the story. If so, the reader will ﬁnd under the acquaintances tag dialogs between XY and XX, and between XY2 and XX, and a professional compliment made from XY2 to XX. However some of the same texts are shown also under the tag flirting. That is, while becoming acquaintances, XY and XX were also flirting — as well as XY2 when complimenting XX for her work as a restaurant hostess. The lack of names or images contributes to create the atmosphere of a puzzle that may be solved throughout the text. The interplay between the tags are the key to understand the conflict, which is not really solved by the narrative: the
goal might be to understand the question and wonder about the answer, based on the known elements put together. The tag work shows XY2 making an oﬀer to XX: “You don’t have to do that if you don’t want to”, but XX2 has another sentence (“Call me”) tagged under sex. Both of them relate to the initial tag where he compliments her and says she should work with his brother. According to Eco’s Interpretation and Overinterpretation, an interpretation is valid if within the text the reader might ﬁnd a second part that conﬁrms his interpretation . On [CATEGORIES] it is possible to put pieces together in the sense of creating open possibilities. When XY and XX meet, he asks her profession and she says she’s a prostitute, as a practical joke. However, the dilemma of work and sexual connotations permeates the whole narrative, and that initial joke might raise doubts in the reader if she would or would not be capable of cheating her partner in order to achieve a better job. That is when the story’s title comes along: when knowing each other and even in other moments, the characters talk about “categories” of people, as if doing or not doing one or another thing would cast them under a label – under a speciﬁc tag. XX mentions in several times that “she’s not that kind of person”, as for example when she says that “it wasn’t flirting”, probably relation to the conversation with XY2 that is tagged as flirting. This relates to the idea of the interplay on what is inside and what’s outside the text, which is foregrounded on the ergodic text. “The invisible, hidden, and inaccessible parts of the text will deny the reader the comfort of knowing for certain what exactly is there in the text” (ESKELINEN, 2004). In this case, the interplay between narrative and the medium’s structure (the tags, which provide more information to the reader about the narrative), deﬁes the reader, as this structure should be recognized as text, also.
On Chrysalis, each tag takes the reader to a diďŹ€erent realm: dream, reality, the present or the mind. The story is presented in much more of a chronological way, and in this sense the structure is more simple and linear than in [CATEGORIES]. The initial post is about a professor who collects butterflies. The tags are another time present on the narrative, since the collector tags/labels his butterflies on a collection at a greenhouse. The story portrays this character, transient
THREE DREAMSCAPES TELL ONE STORY THROUGH THE PERSPECTIVE OF CHOICE: DREAM, MIND, NOW, REALITY. between the worlds (and tags) of reality, mind and dream. Once again, a story about a relationship: the main character is divided between the stable relation with Manoela and the grace of a younger girl, Julie, and the implications that sets on everyone involved: the girlfriend, the lover, the protagonist. On the tag Now, three posts describe the scenario: The main character walking and almost being hit by a car; Manuela, his girlfriend; Julie, the character to whom he feels attracted. Under the tag Reality, the chronology follows with objective events: walking in front of the University, the car scene; Manoelaâ€™s house; the routine continuing after the inner dilemma is solved. The post that describes Julie is not part of reality, but it appears on the tag now, as if she was part of his thoughts but not of his actions, or even part of a particular reality, since she is not part of the reality shared with his family or his girlfriend. The main character is then cast into these onirical landscapes, ever since he was
(allegedly) hit by his girlfriend’s car: being run over a car could be another dreamscape, a way he found to punish himself for feeling attracted to Julie, and the doctor and the hospital site seemingly contribute to this state of mind that needs to solve something. When it comes to the tag dream, the dilemma is idealized, and sensorial scenes with the girls are set on far landscapes; it is the moment where the protagonist is able to live the Utopia for a moment: Manoela and Julie are in a luxurious bedroom, together, on a ﬁeld far from any place related to their everyday routines. The tag mind is a spot where the character may use rationality to think over the dilemma: a place with no present time, where he can manage to take advices from his own subconscious mind, personiﬁed by the butterfly collector. The butterfly collector is an interesting ﬁgure, since the butterfly is by common sense a very feminine symbol, and as a collector he shows no particular interest in one or another, and yet as a collection, it never ends and never ﬁnds a complete fulﬁllment. As the story ends, with the image of Julie being impaled as a butterfly — was she obliterated by the girlfriend? Did they have a night together, since being impaled serves as a symbol of the penetration? — the image of the collector dies, that is, the desire of collecting females. The doctor and the hospital scenario also disappear, as the conflict is solved. The gaps represent an important element, since they dismiss further connections and explanations — was he ever on a hospital? — and the interplay between the tags are on another level, the level of the realms: the reader might be puzzled when the picture of the mindscape butterfly appears in
Manoela’s wall; was the protagonist that, capturing something from his own mind, searched for a similar picture and gave her as a gift? Folksonomy trends What is possible to abstract from the concept of tagnovels and the two examples analyzed, as well as from the History of digital literature, is that poetics quite often come from a subversion of conventional media. The usage of the media is only established after some period of use, and “lateral uses” rise along time bringing diﬀerent kinds of messages and new proposals for the usability of such media. Some of the features that seem to contribute to the readability of such novels is the familiarity with the interface (blogger), a kind of website that is, obviously, even more familiar to those who write/read other blogs. Design and short, fast-paced texts seem also to work in the sense of enhancing the reading. This analysis is far from an “index” of all the possibilities on the so-called tagnovels. Overlapping space, time or speech were some of the modes encountered on the two novels, but the possibilities are many. The challenge consists in making sense, in preserving some sense of “readability” or the reader, and making it interesting so the reader will actually keep reading the story. The insertion of folksonomy (“add-a-tag” collaborative tagging, that is, each reader being able to add a tag to each paragraph) most probably would materialize several ideas on interpretation. As the tag cloud can show, graphically, some meanings would arise as being the “oﬃcial” meaning of a story; some unexpected interpretations may appear; possibly after some time of participatory tagging, the interpretations of the novel would stabilize in a genuine ESS. New tagnovels can be written in a series of experiments on interpretation, as “who was the murderer?” or “what was the character thinking in that given moment?” or
“who does she really love?”. The tagnovels, thus, serve also to provide a graphically clear mechanism of interpretation. Participatory tagging may be used in several other ways. An universally known novel as Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea, for example, could have its paragraphs tagged, not in order to rearrange the reading, but rather in order to decipher its undertones and meanings collectively. Every time a reader considers that the old man is metaphorically thinking about his youth and death instead of merely being struggling with the big ﬁsh, the reader could signal this and a tag cloud could efﬁciently show the most accepted meanings for each part (and for the whole scope) of the novel. Rearranging poems is another possibility. Mixing Shakespeare with Dante, preserving the sonnet’s structure, is something that could be done with the use of tags. Of course, this might ﬁnd strong resistance from literature experts, but as an experiment it should not be considering as “butchering” poetry, but rather to ﬁnd new possibilities of meaning or even comparative analyses. The simplicity of the ideas and the possibilities of this genre of writing/reading show that when it comes to computer uses (and especially user-generated content), what also matters is the familiarity and the uses of such tools. Hyperlinks were available for long time before users and writers really started using them as they do today. When the multimedia possibilities is mentioned, another range of possibilities rises: the possibilities of video interaction, superposition, juxtaposition, overlapping tunes, songs and images on the screen, all activated by tags. As it is possible to see, the possibilities are many. We might ask if, now that users and websites are doing wide use of tagging and
participatory tagging, a friendly interface website presenting the possibilities of tags in cyber text could provide interesting interactions and results. I believe it would, along with the proper release the web, making gradually the structure and the idea familiar to the reader. Once again, we perceive the possibilities of interaction going much deeper than the ﬁrst amazement with the computer medium: it is not a matter of choosing what the character will do at each point, but rather a matter of approximating the reader: to the author, to the text, and to meaning itself. References Eskelinen, Markku. “(INTRODUCTION TO) CYBERTEXT NARRATOLOGY.” CyberText Yearbook. 2000. University of Jyväskylä. 20 May 2009 <http://cybertext.hum.jyu.ﬁ/ articles/123.pdf>. Eskelinen, Markku. “The challenge of cybertext theory and ludology to literary theory.” Brown University. 2004. 20 May 2009 <http://www.brown.edu/Research/ dichtung-digital/2004/3/Eskelinen/index.htm>. Guy, Marieke, and Emma Tonkin. “Folksonomies: Tidying up Tags?” D-Lib Magazine. Jan. 2006. Web. 9 Dec. 2009. <http://www.dlib.org/dlib/january06/guy/01guy.html>. Hayles, Katherine. “Electronic Literature: What is it?” Electronic Literature Organization. Jan. 2007. 20 May 2009 <http://eliterature.org/pad/elp.html#preface>. Koskimaa, Raine. “Digital Literature - From Text to Hypertext and Beyond.” Etusivu & mdash; Jyväskylän yliopisto. May 2000. 20 May 2009 <http://users.jyu. ﬁ/~koskimaa/thesis/thesis.shtml>. Koskimaa, Raine. “Is There a Place for Digital Literature inthe Information Society?” Brown University. 2003. 20 May 2009 <http://www.brown.edu/Research/dichtungdigital/2003/4-koskimaa.htm>.
Koskimaa, Raine. “The challenge of cybertext: teaching literature in the digital world.” UOC. Feb. 2007. Universidad Oberta de Cataluna. 20 May 2009 <http:// www.uoc.edu/uocpapers/4/dt/eng/koskimaa.html>. Koskimaa, Raine. The Unique in Reading Digital Literature. Proc. of MIT6 Media in Transition, USA, Boston. Maynard Smith, John and George R. Price, “The logic of animal conflict”. Nature 246: 15-18. 1973.
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ARTIFICIAL DESTINY In the late 2000s, when Flash was still something remotely useful (or hot), Iâ€™ve developed a few graphic stories that could be read digitally. It circulated among the most interesting writer circles, back then, when YahooGroups would still make sense.
NIGHT SHIFT REQUIRED
Basically, information would flash in and out the screen from page to page. The user should be intrigued by the perception of a diďŹ€erent layer in the story.
SHIFTING TEXT ADDS LAYERS TO THE STORY, MUCH LIKE THE LAYERED, MULTIPLE MEANINGS IN EVERY TYPE OF COMMUNICATION.
CAPRICORNIA, A NOVEL In 2012, I’ve decided it was time to write a novel. A full novel, linear, no graphics, no tricks. I had an idea in mind, about the idea we make of ourselves and the distance between that and what others think. My hometown is full of these people -- a new upper class, extremely conservative, and about whom nobody dared to speak of. Being in Helsinki for so long, there was enough distance to reflect and talk about it. I’ve created the story of an architect who runs over someone with a car, and afterwards is convinced that she is actually someone else. With a strong visual sense, the book is told in ﬁrst person by the narrator, in a narrative loop that took me over a year to properly tie together. Published in São Paulo in late 2014 (Pautá Editors).
WE WERE PARTICULARELY HAPPY EVER AFTER
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ceed. But then they would jeopardize all my carefully tailored silly dreams and methodic orders that year by year I sew in their pillows -and that’s another way that they will be incomplete and bitter, and there Ichor am again, as an anof limitation. When these two conﬂ icts clashes, the ﬁ rst big wave will undress them, and they will realize they are us, and they will take a photograph like this ours and hang it on this same wall and that is it. They should never fully understand that, but who am I to prevent it? Icould wish, honestly, that I keep them from realizing they are me and you. They should be sent in baskets to kings castles, cast away from this furniture, these habits, these idols. Every generation should be abruptly detached from the previous’ vices.They could think their parents were warriors, revolucionary thinkers, poets of ten generations. Their fathers would be just the anonymous portrait of a time. If not that, I would wish them a life that would end painlessly and abruptly before the pages would turn blank -I’d wish them aso sudden apocalypse nobody had to suffer loss and grief. Tears would only mourn the unfulﬁ lled possibility: as possibilities, everything is fulﬁ lled, nothing is in time, but everything is in place. A green fruit in the yard is a reason to be happy: it needs a bit of patience. What a terrible work is to cultivate patience! A suddent end excuses even that. That’s the only way to be happy. As we will both be too old, we will only hope for athese painless shatter of illusions. Let’s have the children, tire, plant trees. re141
th They could even succeed. But -then they would jeopardize all my carefully tailored silly dreams and methodic orders that year by a year I sew in their pillows -and that’s another way that they will ta be incomplete and bitter, and there I am again, as an anchor of limitation. When these two conw ﬂ icts clashes, the ﬁ rst big wave will undress them, and they will u realize they are us, take a photograph like this ours and hang it on this same wall and h that is it. They should never fully understand that, but who am n Ithat to prevent it? I wish, honestly, I could keep them from realizing they are me and you. They it should be sent in baskets to kings castles, cast away from this furnia ture, these habits, these idols. Every generation should be abruptly detached from the previous’ b vices.They could think their parents were warriors, revolucionth ary thinkers, poets of ten generations. Their fathers would be just the b anonymous portrait of a time. If not that, I would wish them a co life that would end painlessly and abruptly before the pages would turn blank -I’d wish them a suda den apocalypse so nobody had to suffer loss and grief. Tears would T only mourn the unfulﬁ lled possibility: as possibilities, everything is fulﬁ lled, nothing is in time, but a everything is in place. A green fruit in the yard is a reae son to be happy: it needs a bit of patience. What a terrible work is to cultivate patience! A suddent tu end excuses even that. That’s the only way to be happy. As we will n both be too old, we will only hope for a painless shatter of these illusions. Let’s have the children, rem tire, plant trees. Let’s have them -or else we’re ry dead already. Let’s live forever, why not? Who wonder if our grandson will be the one to free is mankind. He might be as well the one to enslave it: as soon as he A learns how to speak he will learn all about war; as soon as she can talk, she will learn how to be a n mother, and shop like a mother, and feed like a mother. So much cu effort to feed the wheel, at the expense of our dreams, our selves, of our sentience -breathing, sinkT ing into the poisonous broth of culture as if this toxic gas would to be air. so much burden on us, so much burden for theinvanity of spread-th ing ourselves the future. tr 142
orders that year by year I sew in their pillows ts-lhodic and that’s another way that they will be incomplete yand bitter, and there I am again, as an anchor of limi d l When these two conﬂicts clashes, the ﬁrst big dwave fe-ation.will undress them, and they will realize they are lus, and they will take a photograph like this ours and s d hang it on this same wall and that is it. They should m fully understand that, but who am I to prevent y,ynever -st? I wish, honestly, that I could keep them from re -alizing they are me and you. They should be sent in -baskets to kings castles, cast away from this furniture --’hese habits, these idols. Every generation should eabe abruptly detached from the previous’ vices.They . think their parents were warriors, revolucion dcould ary thinkers, poets of ten generations. o dgTheir would be just the anonymous portrait of -attime.fathers If not that, I would wish them a life that would end and abruptly before the pages would fst-urnpainlessly blank -- I’d wish them a sudden apocalypse so eenobody lhad to suffer loss and grief. Tears would only mourn the unfulﬁlled possibility: as possibilities, eve er,ything is fulﬁlled, nothing is in time, but everything eeAs ingreen place. fruit in the yard is a reason to be happy: it naneeds a bit of patience. What a terrible work is to , hcultivate A suddent end excuses even that -That’s ,f- thepatience! only way to be happy. As we will both be d old, we will only hope for a painless shatter of h-oo hese illusions. Let’s have the children, retire, plant rees. 143
NINE PAGES ON CORPORATE REALMS This work was a collection of nine short stories about big corporations. One of them, entitled “Holy” (“Sagrado”), was selected by Nelson de Oliveira, a prominent writer in Latin America. The short was included in a book featuring promising young authors. The story involved an advertising agency hired by a preacher to create a holy product, to be released in a big religious event on a stadium. The consequences, of course, go a bit out of hand. In most of my writings, the work experience has been influential, be it in the making and production of the works (form, type, layout) or in content itself. When dealing with digital media artists, that was a relevant question: is concept enough, and to whom belongs the role and responsibility of execution?
Selected by Brazilian author Nelson de Oliveira and published in 2009 with works from other young promising authors.
Featured in Berlin videoKILLS 2008 New York International Independent Film Festival LA International Independent Film Festival Part of Rhizome Artbase NY
THE MEDIA IS THE NARRATOR GROTESK MORD Glitch, 2.0 collaboration: a video art piece “best viewed” on a computer This shows, again, that the change on interaction and proximity does not rely on new media devices ― but rather on more subjective changes that new media has brought to the scenario. The audience, immerse on an ongoing integrating media culture, may demand experiences that resemble the new devices of digital media, That poses, thus, two questions: how was the audiovisual diﬀerent in new media? And, again, are the changes solely on devices ― or as well in the audience? Including this work at this point would be an interesting way of linking old and new media, since it breaks traditional storytelling with a change on the narrator ― the storyteller ― and making use of traditional narrative (linear video). However, the change in the narrator (which is at one time the computer and excerpts of collective media) means changing storytelling: what Grotesk Mord presents is a computer being the medium, the narrator, the protagonist and the viewer.
TEXTUAL CONTENT EXPANDED ESSAY
The ﬁlm is a disturbing journey through the subconscious of a mass-constructed mind. This is the premise for an experimental narrative with design, text, moving images and sound, which ultimately tells the story through the interplay of these elements and the computer. A TV commercial opens the screen and a soundscore of computer noises overlaps the sound, going through the whole narrative. A Barbie doll is portrayed naked, and text on the screen resembles a diary of a girl that has recently ended a relationship, on a ﬁrst person narration of a break up. On the following, text on the screen shows pondering about cosmetic surgery, and a list of procedures from a website. After that, text goes on in ﬁrst person saying consciousness is fading on the surgery table, as anesthesia has its eﬀect: all the images become blurry and showing computer errors (“glitches”) and blended with the TV commercial and an iron tool performing amputations on the doll. The ﬁlm goes on with text in ﬁrst person on the screen asking “the Doktor” to stop, as if in a nightmare. The ﬁlm ends with the doll reconstituted, as awakened from the anesthesia state. Making wide use of multimedia references such as TV and the Internet ― text is partially based on real weblogs of girls ending a relationship, websites featuring plastic surgery, a TV commercial which reappears throughout the ﬁlm’s narrative. Footage from public archives was used in order to construct the desired eﬀect. Text on the screen was built partially with excerpts from the web; in that sense, text and character is part of the content of the web; thus, the character is “written by” user-generated content selection, and therefore is also, partially, collectively, the user. The story subtly features the computer as a medium but also as symbiotic entity blended and merged with the main character, and by the nature of the text input, also blended with the viewer in a collective way. The glitch (misinterpretation of information) in Barbie vsk Mord points toward the potential for the device to become the input, making it impossible to distinguish the story of the girl and the 150
misinterpretation of information. The computer’s error becomes the mode of narration, but the computer, as the girl, shows symptoms of the same suﬀering, which is confused “speech” and misinterpretation: who is, then, the computer on the ﬁlm? The blackouts of the character’s mind are represented as computer “glitches” on the screen, that is, a way of the computer, also, having its “mind” on a state of blackout; the thoughts are represented as the extract of weblogs ― this is not only a feature of the computer, but a feature of the Internet, collectively made. The character “is” the web, and the web “is” the viewer; it is the zeitgeist, memories are portrayed as an old TV commercial from the 1960s of the “Beautiful Crissy” doll, by Ideal Dolls, in example . The content being composed by weblog excerpts, sites, “Wiki” deﬁnitions, and popular culture is a very important feature of the narrative undertones. The computer is the medium conveying those images, but is also the actor which represents, by weblogs found on the web, the character. At moments in the ﬁlm, the computer functions as mediator for the narrative, occasionally stepping into the role of interpreter. By “glitching” and “twitching” when the character is put under a dream state, the computer acts as an actor does, and as the computer is also the medium, the experience gains a diﬀerent kind of mediation: what we might be seeing is, ultimately, some sort of interpretation, since the medium is the performer, taking on the role of the protagonist. The collective data used on the screen (TV commercial, weblogs, Wiki deﬁnitions) work as a way of connecting the audience to the character: the audience, as web-users, “wrote” the entries on Wikipedia, the audience “sustain” the blogs, the audience watches similar TV commercials, and the computer in its multiple roles is here empowered as an agent between ﬁctional characters and viewers.
GLITCH, AN AESTHETICAL AND IDEOLOGICAL CONCEPT ON “POST-DIGITAL” Kim Cascone, in his article “The Aesthetics of Failure: ‘Post-digital’ tendencies in Contemporary Computer Music”, advocates that errors may be one of the most interesting sources of creation on electronic music works. This is also valid for visual and video artists that work with computers: the very conception of the glitch in Barbie Grotesk Mord has its roots on a mistake the computer has made when rendering a low-quality video sample on Windows Movie Maker. According to Cascone, experimentations with sound and errors are not new. To name a few, the author cites László Moholy-Nagy, John Cage and Christian Marclay . However, he also states that a signiﬁcant influence was the Italian Futurism of the early 20th century, a movement that largely rejected tradition explored sound experimentation. An influential text in the ﬁeld was written by Luigi Russolo, The Art of Noises (1913), a letter to Balilla Pratella that influenced the whole 20th century music. In this letter, he states forseeing what was to come in the electronic music scenareo: This musical evolution is paralleled by the multipication of machines, which collaborate with man on every front. Not only in the roaring atmosphere of major cities, but in the country too, which until yesterday was totally silent, the machine today has created such a variety and rivalry of noises that pure sound, in its exiguity and monotony, no longer arouses any feeling. In his archeology of electronic music, Cascone points out that in the 90s, electronic music was rather plain and became a formulaic genre of music. At that point, artists started to “focus on the background”. This perspective has lead artists in several ﬁelds (sound, visual, graphic, for example) to throw lights on enigmatic characters and features that were, before, merged on the background of their works. In this time, Cascone highlights the works of a Finnish duo of musicians, Pan Sonic
(or Panasonic), which were pioneers in experimentations on electronic music: Mika Vainio used “handmade sine-wave oscillators and a collection of inexpensive eﬀect pedals and synthesizers to create a highly synthetic, minimal, hard-edged sound” . Cascone advocates that a complete mastery of cutting-edge tools may inhibit the discovery of new possibilities and eﬀects. This opinion is also shared by other theoreticians: in 2009, Iman Morad, an England-based designer, released the book Glitch: Designing Imperfection, featuring works of designers and graphic artists that base their works in computer errors. Morad states: A “glitch” usually ﬁxes itself in the amount of time it takes for it to be noticed in the ﬁrst place, whether as a scrambled cable television delay, a page-loading error on an internet browser or a jumble of pixels on an ATM interface. (…) The images and text in Glitch capture the fact that no one can deliberately make a mistake, although mistakes are often the greatest sources of inspiration. In Barbie Grotesk Mord, when rendering the video in low-quality, the output was an image full of noise and displaced pixels. Considering that the story’s character had its consciousness fading away under the process of anesthesia, the “glitched” sample was used to create an eﬀect that the whole medium was collapsing along with the character’s consciousness : everything was blended and merged into one same entity, since the “voice” of the character was mostly composed by the epitome of human-computer interaction (media fragments, Wiki and blog entries; in one word, the 2.0 web). SOUNDTRACK The soundtrack was composed by Serbian artists Vladimir Manovski and Igor Stangliczky, under the pseudonym of Jaroslaw Kirstenowski . The album is a live act, recorded at the rehersal of it. No computers were involved, only toys and old synthesizers. Classiﬁed as noise, the song displays a set of computer noises that are often noises of computer failure. Film and sound score were produced separately,
and merged afterwards. The importance of noise and glitch for electronic music is prominent for the whole aesthetics of digital images, and the partnership of video and sound, in Barbie Grotesk Mord, interestingly points out a convergence of thoughts between the arts and research on the ﬁeld. MURDER BY THE COMPUTER The possibilities of glitch and merging character and medium in one single entity, an entity that by extension encompasses the viewer, relates to one of the great achievements that the digital world and Internet brought to us as human kind: the possibility that we are all the same creating force, and that the plurality of opinions is not solely a destructive duel of vectors, but rather a possible world of construction with Wiki, blogs and online user-generated content. It also signals for the part of the medium in the message, a concept that is being redeﬁned in the end of the ﬁrst decade. Kim Cascone argues that “the medium is no longer the message; speciﬁc tools themselves become the message” . The computer taking part in the narration and merging with the character signals to this matter, as well as to the post-human question: what is the machine, if not us? As it was said by Cascone in his article, the glitch aesthetics points to the fact that “computers are only as perfect and precise as the humans that designed them”. The human obsession for perfection greatly relies on the pursuit of perfection of the body, and virtual and digital worlds come in the sense of creating a perfect body, since it is a world without bodies. In this sense, the pursuit of perfection and the advent of imperfection haunts both worlds: the digital world, dealing with computer failure, and the “living world”, that deals with aging, aesthetically ideal images in media and advertising and, ultimately, mortality. This parallel is a rather contemporary one, and exploring it might help us to realize what is, really, what we want to pursue. Acknowledging this might be the birth of the Post-digital, and exploring that in the
arts may celebrate the rise of an era that is no longer so amazed by computers: they are amazing machines, but the amazement created by human interaction is what most counts. Glitch aesthetics seems to be the very celebration of this “clash” ― a clash that is not actually destroying anything, but rather branding the computers with an acceptance mark, as a primitive ritual of initiation: playfully enjoying the errors and failures of the machine, we are showing (ourselves) that, like us, computers may improvise. REFERENCES Althusser, Louis. “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses” in Lenin and Philosophy and other Essays. 1971, Monthly Review Press, New York and London. Cascone, Kim. “The Aesthetics of Failure: “Post-digital” Tendencies in Contemporary Computer Music.” Ed. Daniel Warner. Audio Culture Readings in Modern Music. Ed. Cox Christian. New York: Continuum International Group, 2004. Freud, Sigmund. “The Origin and Development of Psychoanalysis”, American Journal of Psychology 21(2). University of Illinois Press, 1910. “Internet Archive: Ideal Doll Commercial #4.” Web. 18 Oct. 2009. <http://www. archive.org/details/ideal_dolls_4>. Manovski, Vladimir. Vladimir Manovski. Web. 01 Mar. 2010. <http://manovski.blogspot.com/>. Morad, Iman. Glitch: Designing Imperfection. London: Mark Batty Publisher, 2009. Russolo, Luigi. “The Art of Noises.” Letter to Balilla Pratella. March & april 1913. The Remin Vox. Feb. & march 2004. Web. 1 Mar. 2010. <http://www.thereminvox.com/ article/articleview/117>. The Century of the Self. Dir. Adam Curtis. 2002. FreeDocumentaries.Org. Web. 18 Oct. 2009. <http://www.freedocumentaries.org/ﬁlm.php?id=140>.
‘OH MY LOVE’ 1’20 A love fusion between a woman and Helsinki.
Experimenting with genre, my intent was to reach the melodramatic kitsch tapping hipster visual culture. I got some Instagram clips and put it together with Riz Ortolani’s soundtrack. 157
TAKING THE CITY BACK A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine. I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in the exquisite sense of mere tranquil existence, that I neglect my talents. I should be incapable of drawing a single stroke at the present moment; and yet I feel that I never was a greater artist than now. When, while the lovely valley teems with vapour around me, and the meridian sun strikes the upper surface of the impenetrable foliage of my trees, A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the
CRASHING UPPER CLASS ART VENUES, CAMERA ON, WAS PART OF THE GUERRILLA.
The idea was to use a ﬁlter - some sort of algorithm - to compose the work. most searched terms in most popular newspapers orbiting “gentriﬁcation” was then the deﬁned criteria. 165
THE WORK WAS THEN SUBMITTED TO SEVERAL LO-FI RENDERINGS, AGAIN AND AGAIN, IN MY OLD PC.
WHEN THE PIXELS STARTED TO CRACK, I WAS SATISFIED — IT STARTED SHOWING THE CRACKS PRESENT IN THE WHOLE PHENOMENA I WAS CAPTURING Everyday during that week, I would head back to the apartment in Manteuﬀelstraße and oﬄoad the new footage. Browsing the biggest newspapers and collecting number of occurrences of related terms was also part of the routine.
Video was captured during a week in Berlin, visiting the main art sites in Kreuzberg and adjacent neighborhoods. The most recurring words in Die Spiegel for articles listed by the keyword “gentriﬁcation” were inserted on the screen. Typeface used was DIN -- Deutsches Institut fuer Normung.
THREE PROFESSIONALS, THREE DAYS, ONE CHARACTER THE SINGULARITY SHE LIVES IN The short ﬁlm is a cinematic monologue portraying a day in a woman’s life at the brink of a cathartic breakdown.
WE WERE ALL EXCITED WITH THE WORK OF THEATRE ACTRESS SIRU KOVALA. EXPLORING HER STRONG FACIAL FEATURES BECAME CRUCIAL TO THE STORY.
20â€™ / Digital DSLR / 2013 In Finnish with English subtitles. 177
Set in the secluded summer of central Finland, the performance is given by stage actress Siru Kovala and shot by cinematographer Juha Meht채l채inen.
WE WERE PARTICULARELY HAPPY EVER AFTER
PORTRAYING YOUTH THREE PARADOXES OF TECHNOLOGY In 2013 I was invited to lecture a course on Media Practices for Interaction students at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. A multicultural class, with students from Germany, Ukraine, Morocco, Czech Republic, Brazil and Finland. While we analysed three paradoxes of technology -such as, how come new machines saves us time, but we feel we have less time than ever? -- I documented the gatherings and instructed them to capture interviews themselves around the campus. The incredible result was a bloom in team cooperation, creative thinking and a very steep learning curve on media practices and production. The result was over ﬁfty video statements on current issues, from usage of Facebook to right-wing extremists running for city administration. Students could use to produce their own edited version for further documental media. 181
KOMM ERCIAL FILM 182
Iâ€™ve worked in a number of video projects for web. Webvideo is simpler than TV or cinema, yet the possibilities of hiend quality are great, as well as the timing of the genre and the valuable opportunities for interactivity available. For commercial and side projects, Iâ€™ve worked either as scriptwriter, director, cinematographer or editor.
‘GUINESS CAKE’ About the Soufﬂé 2’30’’ Production and concepting, art direction, cinematography, editing. Footage requested & used by BuzzFeed.com
‘MASCARPONE TARTLETS’ About the Soufﬂé 3’20 Production & concepting, art direction, cinematography, editing.
THE ANATOMY OF THE HIPSTER VIDEO
COMES FROM SIMPLE LUXURIES, DREAMY SCAPES AND AN IDDYLIC SENSE OF HOMING. CONTEMPORARY HISPTERSHAVEIPHONES,JOBS,AND
TIME TO SPEND DOING WHAT THEY
LOVE.STYLEISONTHESURFACE, AND, WICKEDLY, SO IS THE ESSENCE:
DEPTH IN SHALLOWNESS AS
A CERTAIN PERVERSION. ROOTED IN CLASS HIERARCHY AND ADAPTATION,
CREATURES, MEDIA AUDIENCE AND PRODUCT CONSUMERS.
APPROVAL BEFORE EXPECTED
‘ONLINE’ Nokia Online Sales Program 1’, After Effects Script, design, animation.
“TELL ME, FOR THE FIRST TIME, YOUR STORY” WHEN WORKING WITH MULTICULTURAL PROJECTS, THAT WAS THE SHORTEST WAY TO MAKE THE SUBJECT ON CAMERA RELAX, BREATH IN AND BRING US THE DESIRED EMOTIONAL IMPACT.
I’ve worked producing videos for Stora Enso mostly on their corporate responsibility programs: online programs, internal comms, conference openings and so on. We have traveled to Germany, Sweden and around Finland, capturing amazing footage of forestry, factory, mills and interviews all kinds of workers -- from blue collars, to managers of every nationality and up to their CEO. STORA ENSO Numerous projects in Finland, Sweden and Germany. Scriptwriting, direction.
The making of Stora Ensoâ€™s Sustainable Packaging: dynamic footage, personal approach. 193
‘FRENCH COFFEE’ ‘CONSUMER EXPECTATIONS’ Paulig Group 1 x 3’ 1 x 10’ Concept Direction 2nd camera
The taste expert instructs how to prepare the perfect French Press coﬀee while talking about the role of the expert in the company. Color composition stood out to bring the mood.
From corporate video to short documentary: Paulig Group’s “Consumer Expectations” used a variety of dynamic footage, montage, vintage archive and interviews.
An induction video was produced, collection testimonials from employees. At times, the diﬃculty was to make them comfortable, avoinding being intimidaded by the crew. It’s when making a temporary bond with them that trust makes it possible to do the work.
‘WELCOME’ L&T 1 x 3’ Cinematography
Young people in front of the camera can be a challenge, and with Sefe projects it was possible to direct the assigned actor by using the energy to bring ideas, body language and movement to the project. Anything else would have been stiﬀ and artiﬁcial, but the outcome was a fluid connection with the audience through a series of web videos.
‘CV’ SEFE 2 x 3’ Actor direction
IN THE END IT WORKED LIKE A CHARM
‘THANK YOU’ IT WORKED!
Nouvelle Vague Cafe, Restaurant Day pop-up 1x 1h30’ Direction, cinematography, script, editing.
Another hipster video for a pop-up on Restaurant Day. Republished by Timo Santala, founder of the event, all the elements were cast in place, and in line with the delicate atmosphere of the day.
Y C R R O E TH RESEA FF D U N T A I S T L A U F E US MUNIC M O C TION C U D 200
, G N I S I T R O E R H V P C D A I A D R E O M F F AND ION
INDEX/THEORY Vimeo Why this New York based video platform acted as a game changer for media culture and production Vintage Why does our culture celebrate the vintage style so much? These are a few thoughts that can help to hint what is behind, and thus give insight to more ideas that would appeal to this audience The Gaze of Magibon The boundaries of intimacy of the computer screen. Presented at the University of Salford, UK Hipster Are we tired of hispterism? Learn your enemy to anticipate what they are most likely to become Hypermedia: Foregrounding to Merge Down Understand when you should delete and when you should highlight your media, UI or storytelling My Life in Stakeholder Communication When gigantic corporations and the shop-around-thecorner meet
I’ve placed in the last chapter a few articles I’ve written. Some are strictly Academic articles, based on materials I’ve presented in conferences in several countries. Some are free, shorter essays, based on previous studies and current trends on media culture and practices. The short ones, especially, if read closely, may be of help to communication professionals working the ﬁeld.
T A H W D E G N CHAH WITEO VIM
RE C ULT U D A R YI OVE HI-F I D
During the past years I have been researching Vimeo and YouTube, and more recently content and authorship in social media. I have been directly or indirectly challenged with a few tough little questions, both in the market and in my research. What is “trendy” in terms of videomaking? How long do these trends last? Is it more important to be hot or timeless? That said, I’ve came up with some kind of deﬁnition, format or “genre”. It’s hard to talk about genres when tags and metadata have been substituting what we know as genre -- just take the tagging system of IMDB for movies or the creatively exciting shelves of Netflix, oﬀering, for instance, “Underrated ﬁlms with a strong lead female character” -- tight deﬁnitions are giving space to fluid, diﬀuse grey areas in between, which is great. After spending a good deal of time ﬁnding patterns and making notes for a few projects and friends who were interested in the topic, I came up with a particular deﬁnition of the “Vimeo standard”. Texture, feeling, ambience, soundtrack and length are very particular in this internet-oriented, DSLR-based production. It aligns with cinema, explores it, even influences it, and rejects the pre-2010s concept of television (that time before the boom of high-quality TV series). But it also rejects a great deal of practices from cinema. It’s as if the Danish Dogma 95, a movement that became an invisible compass which is not supposed to be actually followed, but interpreted, had mutated into a new breed of cinematic art.
It stretches further than an aesthetic diﬀerence. It is about how videos are conceived and experienced on the computer. This thought is central to nearly everything I wrote in this book. Diﬀerently from television and cinema, the computer experience is rarely shared, for as contradictory as it may sound. TV is experience shared at the living room (remember those times when we would sit together with mom and dad on the sitting room? Me neither. Remember when we used to eat dinner with the family while watching TV? I do). Cinema, on the other hand, has the peculiarity of being an experienced shared with strangers. Historically, cinema has been experienced as diﬀerent kinds of experience: from the amazement of technology to the, at the time, controversial opportunity of being in a romantic date in the dark, and today as, still, especially for teenagers, a place of exploration of the world, socialization and communion. The computer, however, is entirely diﬀerent. It is enough to think of how bothered you are when someone is staring behind you while you browse the internet. It is a strictly private space. And this privacy triggers other undertones, such as the underlying despair of being isolated on your desktop, a despair that, perhaps, is one of the driving forces that keeps users connected to the internet and, ultimately, to each other. The computer used to be a private space, a cold desktop with a text editor or a spredsheet archive. Since the internet became, in this context, ubiquitous, the connectivity screams “Hello, world!”, yet in some sort of vacuum, impossible to be transposed by the computer medium -- but possible to be transcended by sharing experiences. This is nothing new for us humans: that the ultimate isolated environment is our minds, and communication is the eternal task of overcoming isolation through language and mutual understanding (do I see the colour blue the same way as you do?). The emotional connection thus happen at your own desktop, arriving through long-distance, computer-mediated messages, as emails and social media newsfeed. We know the drill: Sherry Turkle talked about that a decade ago, and danah boyd is discovering what teenagers are experiencing today (those names are useful if you’re into the topic). But when it comes to the moving images, however, the computer brings something new.
WE ARE DESPERATLY TRYING TO ESCAPE THE ISOLATION OF THE COMPUTER, SEEKING EACH OTHER THROUGH THIS INDIVIDUAL EXPERIENCE. THAT’S WHEN NEW ARTISTS AND THEIR DSLRS CAMERAS AND HUMAN STORIES BRING HOPE TO THIS TECHNICALLY HOPELESS CONDITION
The computer screen enables a proximity that other media do not: it’s been said that cinema is the art of the wide shot, with overwhelming dimensions in a controlled environment. Conversely, TV is historically the art of the detail, or the close- up, as it has been usually placed from a certain distance to the viewer. Small television sets were cheaper, at the back of living room, at the kitchen, or at a bar where people had to stare at the box from an even bigger distance. Notice that as TVs got bigger, TV content got closer to the cinema experience, in multiple levelse -- commercial breaks are about to be abolished, too. Taking that in account, what is possible to think about the computer, placed less than helf of a meter distance from our eyes? As said above, the computer is experienced individually, and its screen is placed closer to the viewer than any other medium. So there are three very strong elements shaping the medium and, if in McLuhan we trust, shaping the message as well: the physical distance, the individuality of the experience and the instant possibility of sharing these experiences. 207
Michelle White, in her book The Body and the Screen, have claimed that computers have “porous” screens. Like our skin, absorbing and exuding substances, we absorb and produce content in an entirely diﬀerent manner than when experiencing other media. All that being said, we get to the typical video production published in Vimeo. Finally! In Vimeo there are, of course, all sorts of content. But as the age of “the push” is reduced to television -- advertisers pushing loud 30 seconds of “buy me” videos --, there has been a need for truly compelling, shareable experiences. The New Yorker company still keeps together their ﬁrst goal of publishing original material made by authors, avoiding promotional advertisement. Now that’s when the equation closes in beautifully: the popularization of DSLR cameras generated the profusion of an entirely new aesthetics: people, intimacy, craftmanship. The 50mm lens, very popular among DSLR users, reaching very shallow depth of ﬁeld, is known to create a stronger experiences of “closeness” in the viewer. Browsing Vimeo’s Staﬀ Picks (https://vimeo.com/channels/staﬀpicks), the live action ﬁlms published show strong prominance to personal stories, “following the subject” short documentaries, inspiring landscape footage, people in the city and so on. Even the framing style remains strongly on close-ups and midshots. To put it simply, it is a cinematography that holds a more personal, human, compelling vibe. Produced and directed by passionate and aspiring videomakers, it has a mood and an approach of its own. That would be nothing but a niche trend for speciﬁc audiences, but connections to other phenomena put this to the front line. Not only have independent producers ﬁnd something tangible to aspire to, a new type of journalism has risen, and the commercial material that abounds on the network has been, as well, strongly influenced by the indie pioneers. Finally, getting to business: why and how companies are following the trend? For a start, this may be related to the unpopularity of the image corporations have historically created for themselves: the skyscraper, the global reach, the mighty ﬁnancial numbers and so on. The high-end, sugar-coated advertising model has been through extenuation, especially in an always-connected world where media is accessible at any time -- and mostly
viewerd once or twice and discharged for the next big thing. After the #Occupy movements, jargons seemed less tolerable, obliterated by a vibrant scene of media production on YouTube, Vimeo and other sources. Invariably, mass culture follows vanguard. The proliferation of stories of “human interest” are a reflection of a much bigger picture. This brief analysis taps on the sphere of friendship, categorised already in the 90s by Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello in The New Spirit of Capitalism. It’s a hard-knock read of a few hundred pages that explains, prophetically, how our society is divided in spheres (the friendship world, the fame world, the professional world). Curiously, the economists reinforce theories that we would become a society where every value is recognized if -- and only if -- it generates a certain production. When this is taken to social media and our daily newsfeed production, some conceptual mergings and twists happen -- the sphere of friendship encompasses all others; we are all friends of Facebook, trying to escape our isolation through music, image, text, on slim type over exotic landscapes captured on a Canon 5D Mark II.
S T O RO THE OF TAGE VIN T CUL IG NVE ST I G N I GO A N ON
When it comes to the vintage, there are a few matters-that-might-matter to explain why people are so fond of this aesthetics, to the point of annoyance. The concept of “hispter typography”, or the celebrated/criticised “hipster logos”, have suddenly merged into one big celebration of vintage signs, symbols and lettering. Hipstamatic App, for instance, is dedicated to simulate old, analogical photography. Once elected by Apple as “app of the year”, for brilliantly assembling a smooth chain of services (from add-ons purchases to photo printing), the app was quickly obliterated by the popularity of Instagram, which featured, as its prominant characteristic, the social aspect of photography. Hipstamatic would create “real” old photos, but the “fake” or “artiﬁcial old” of Instagram was better. Better, because it could be adjusted, tweaked and customized, even if it did not replicate any truly vintage style. To pick a paradoxal metaphor to complete the photo duelling, it’s relevant to remember the sad fact that a Starbucks shop decorated as an old jazz cafe is far
more eﬃcient and comfortable, and even more complete in its style, than the real old jazz cafe. Whoever works with image creation knows that to create a “casual image” requires much more than a “casual situation”. Authenticity has very little meaning to the current visual culture. And there comes the traditionally American cult for perfect replicas over originality or authenticity (Umberto Eco’s Faith in Fakes is a wonderful ride on that topic). In mainstream culture, what is mostly celebrated is the art of reproducing styles, and not the creation of authentic experiences -the artwork aura is not scalable; in the big screen the French belle époque speaks English. When it comes to the love of the vintage, perhaps the most simple reason for its resonance in culture, is the universal fact that the past is a safe place. Whenever one depicts someone or someplace from the past, it is a memory; a safe, warm place brought to the present time. On the other side of the equation, we have the chaotic sense of a technology invading our lives unprecedently, thus the search for a safe haven, a connection with something that resembles the idea of “roots”. The fact that “the past is a safe place” is nearly common sense. But I say warm due to the also known fact that memory is nothing but an obsessive behavior: when activated, from the immense stream of past memories, a special one has been chosen to travel to the present time. More than safe, the old image is strong: as it has survived time itself, and we are impacted by its resilience, even if just on the symbolic, superﬁcial level of mimicking old photography, fashion or interior design brought from brand new assembly lines in Indonesia: perfect replicas are more relevant than authenticity; perfect replicas are the industrial substitute for rare authentic moments/places/experiences, and often they are all we have on global scale, like a Taschen print of Van Ghogh. Another reason for the love of vintage style may relate to the power relations of the world we live in. Thinking on a macro scale, it’s beneﬁtial to take distance of the cultural soup we are in. Who is, anyway, ruling the zeitgeist? To step through
IT’S A CELEBRATION OF TIMELESSNESS, OF YOUTH, OF DECAY, OF CONFORMATION. AND IT OFTEN REMINDS US THAT FORM, FOR US, TENDS TO BE CONSIDERED MORE IMPORTANT THAN ORIGIN
this thin ice hypothesis (it may be fruitful to consider all possibilities, anyway), I place myself in the mid 2010s. Why is it that the 60s and 70s are, mostly, what we understand and cultivate as “vintage”, now? A possible answer should be that the rulers of this time were, themselves, growing up in those times. The oﬃcers, the top executives, renowned designers and influencing fashionistas are the ones who commonly deﬁne what is ‘style’. Even unadvertedly, these people decisionmakers may relate emotionally to things from their own times and, thus, create an agenda that celebrate, ultimately, themselves. Further on, and that sounds more probably, the young adults (or late youth) in their 20s and 30s, may experience a coming of age that, to an extent, conforms to the overall establishment. They are the ones who are working, consuming and thus ruling the rate of demand and supply of what is seen as “mainstream”, differing from other signiﬁcant groups of high consummerism, such as teenagers or kids. In this movement, young adults celebrate the becoming of the past; that is, the becoming of those who raised them: the established individuals surrender to the fact that their parents, established back then, “were right”. One is becoming one’s parents, and the materialization of that is visualized through style. It is the actualization of an inheritance, being it popular culture (Bob Dylan), establishment (polo shirts) or counterculture (motorbikers? The new hippies?). In that case, the individual embraces what the forefathers have not become or could have been. What is new, by deﬁnition, is just a diﬀerent state in time of what, surviving time, will be old. As youngsters become their forefathers, they also experience a degree of decay, and the frailty and despair of losing youth. Vintage style, in this sense, is a celebration of what seems to be ageless, timeless — it is merely old, but loving it makes it feel that aging is good, elegant or, in the least, acceptable. Take it as a statement or a defence mechanism. But what does the fact that not being, but looking like the real thing doesn’t really matter that much?
ON B I G A M F O E Z
R EEN TH R C S S ROU HE PO C ELEBRI T Y T F O Y UT UBE TIMIAC THE IN Y OF A N YO RA THE X-
In February 2008, Magibon joined the selected team of YouTube ofﬁcial partners. In April, she followed an invitation by the Japanese Internet TV company GyaO. In August, the group Fatblueman published the Magibon Song which became immediately a smash hit on Youtube with more than 170,000 views and increased the popularity of both Fatblueman and Magibon. In October Magibon was invited to the Tokyo International Film Festival. In November Magibon was invited to Youtube Tokyo Live . “I don’t go to parties and that sort of thing, because everyone else is loud and outgoing and I am not. […] And, my quietness makes people think I don’t like them. Even though I don’t socialize at parties, I can make friends on a deeper level, because I am good at listening to problems and giving advice.
Magibon = Bad at shallow talk. Magibon = Good at deep conversations.” ~Magi~
THREE REACTIONS When it comes to Magibon, the most common question across the web is about why is she so famous? The three most basic comments you’ll ﬁnd on Magibon’s multi-million viewed videos are “I dislike it”, “I love it” and “that’s weird”. Motivated by those three kinds of reactions, I decided to conduct a study on Magibon and try to throw some lights on the topic. First of all, Magibon became a character. There was a lot of confusion regarding her nationality, age and language, and especially on what the videos were all about: if she wasn’t hiding the information, she wasn’t as well making it clear to the public, and her age and nationality were some of the questions that most popped on the comments below her videos. We’ve all seen on Sherry Turkle’s Life on the Screen the possibilities of self-construction on the web, and what’s on stake here is how video and self broadcast can “play a role as close to or as far away from one’s ‘real self’ as one chooses”. The example of the student who’s a cowboy, a rabbit and a sexy woman online is well known . Along 75 videos showing nearly the same thing, Magibon created a persona, a character that as a user once deﬁned on a comment, “Magibon doesn’t have to do anything. She’s just Magibon”. The irony lies when she attests that she’s not
good with shallow talk, and presents the videos on this manner: would she really be saying something deep? Her videos, 30-seconds fragments, twitter-like videos, show her practicing sentences in Japanese. Usually from her bedroom, and using intimate clothes as pajamas, the videos constructed some kind of agenda of her routine — here she’s eating, here she’s playing, here she’s learning this word – followed by a trademarked ‘good-bye’, in a locus where all that exists is her bedroom – no parents, jobs, city, anything but Magibon and her private space. The videos seemed to have synthesized the idea of “Hello, world”, and constructed this parareality , a concept risen by the reality-shows, where even though everything ﬁlmed is real, the ﬁnal content is just somewhat real: reality is constructed, it is smaller than reality itself. Simon Firth describes the webcams sharing “a ﬁdelity of the moment” even if there’s not that much to see” . That is curious, because according to most of Magibon’s biographies spread over the web, the idea of the “Silence” series of videos (where she just stares at the camera), has started after uploading a video testing her webcam and receiving good comments about it. It is plausible that she has been uploading the videos and enhancing her persona based on the comments : what works, is still on. Her delicate trait, the casual pajamas, the fragile ﬁgure, alone in her bedroom, or the big round eyes that fascinate the Japanese audience, country where she’s by far most popular in. EMPOWERMENT When it comes to video, and especially women’s cameras online, some things might add up to that. In order to analyze that, I have researched on the works of Michelle White and women’s webcam. There is a subtle and almost symbiotic relation between dominance and submission when it comes to women and webcam:
the audience is always demanding, and the webcam operator always holding it back . The game of showing and conceal starts, contradicting what we know about media: the channel will not be “showing what the audience wants”, the channel will be showing what the channel is, and loosely based on changes of the viewer’s feedback. That is, no matter how many times the admirers may ask Magibon to strip her clothes, she would only show the fragments of her reality (or even, of her “parareality”) in her very own way. On Michelle White’s studies, the idea of the gaze was very much present, and it changed everything when it comes to image construction. The gaze is a synonym of empowerment; it is a relation of power, the one that has power to see. Salecl and Zizek (authors of Gaze and Voice as Love Objects) are speciﬁcally highlighted by Michelle White: “a means of control and captivation with power that lures the other into submission (…) compliance and power can be the products as well as the instigators of the gaze” (WHITE, 2006). Or Dvorak: “academic and popular descriptions suggest that webcams extend the spectator’s body and sight into the operator’s domain” (WHITE, 2006). White assesses, based also on Richard Metz’s ideas, that with Internet and the computer, “the spectator is too close to see the desired view of the webcam operator. Or rather, Internet and computer spectators may see in ways that are more partial than cinema spectators and more enmeshed with the screen. The spectator, who is both subject and image, is situated in a position of intimate connection with the screen” (WHITE, 2006). Magibon materializes in a rather objective way the ideas on webcam studies: gaze is empowerment, and she takes that to the limit starint at the camera and governing her YouTube channel as she prefers.
INTIMACY THROUGH THE COMPUTER SCREEN The idea of the gaze is peculiarly related to the idea of video experience on the computer. From the beginning, this was the most diﬃcult concept to grasp, even though it was the concept that was right in front of Magibon’s videos: when someone’s watching a ﬁlm on the movie theater, there is a distance between the screen and the audience that diﬀers a lot from the distance between the computer user that watches a video online. To begin with this topic, it is important to remember how personal is a computer desktop — even in a lanhouse, at the moment one logs in one’s e-mail or workspace, it becomes a private activity. In work, at home, the computer is usually not only a private, but an individual space. In LifeSharing, a web art project by Eva and Franco Mattes, the couple allowed everyone to access the traﬃc and content of their personal computer. They’re argument is that the computer, after a while, tends to become alike its owner’s mind . That’s when Michelle White claim that the computer screen, when watching a webcam, becomes a porous surface: the computer user and the webcam operator become present in a same space, and even if not the case of a live webcam, this feels real also for Magibon’s videos, which carry the same basis of content and form. The feeling of having a space invaded is intensiﬁed when Magibon, not only being there, is also staring at the viewer, making them even closer. Félix Guattari, on the beginning of his essay about the subjective city, claims that the contemporary man is fundamentally deterritorialized: “the body, the domestic space, the cult, are not on stable ground, but they integrate on a world of representations” . He shows concerns about youngsters using gadgets to listen mainly to musicians of distant countries; we might think in the same manner on the intimate space they’re sharing with an American Japanese-like girl.
DELETION OF SPACE Magibon herself attests that she’s not a very outgoing person and that she ﬁnds it diﬃcult going out because she’s a bit of a silent person, and that makes it difﬁcult to create relationships. On that sense, we come to another classic reading on internet studies, with Zygmunt Bauman saying how predictable and easier to manage is Computer-Mediated-Communication (BAUMAN, 2004) , a feature that by consequence will change the concept of social space and especially social processes on the internet. On the aspect of space, Paul Virilio wrote about the urbanization of time and not only space: a city where everything is at the same place, accessible at one time . The analogy to the internet is quite obvious already. A very fast train, a very fast elevator, or a web camera are attempts of deleting spaces, and the deletion of public space by technology (an attempt on major cities to keep people from urban violence, in example) changed social processes in the same manner internet did. Virilio claims that TV monitors of surveillance cameras are new kinds of windows: windows were a conquest of paciﬁed cities and the new windows are there on a retrograde reformulation of a city that cannot have windows, but simulations of windows. The security of Internet communication, however, is relative — exactly because on the real world, the social processes are “analogic” and there is not much opportunity for the shortcuts found on internet (VIRILIO, 1999). While in your own private (computer) space, with one click you’re taken to the private space most likely each one in one’s bedroom: Magibon has 75 videos where this can be attained, and the whole is more than the sum of the parts. This vertiginous image shows a Magibon’s house, with 75 rooms where she’s in and several millions of external doors.
CONCLUSION We’re living intimacy and privacy on the computer’s time and spacial scale, and the eﬀorts to balance that with our analogical, psychological time and spaces work backwards: from instant intimacy (say sharing private places as Magibon’s videos or even nudity or cybersex) to a step back to actually construct intimacy. Even in chatrooms or the IRC, where users know each other for years, the processes of intimacy tend to develop in a diﬀerent manner: more initial freedom of speech leads to a character construction from the “inside out”; as Dirk Paesman’s (from Jodi.org) claims, “the computer is a mechanism to get to people’s minds”, and the uses and processes usually conﬁrm that computer activity easily starts from the intimate to the public, something that is not easily accomplished on the sphere of the real space. On a society that demands stimuli, for instant relations, pornography and have all those demands supplied, videos like Magibon (which carry a considerable degree of intimacy on its content) are oﬀering something that goes beyond stimuli, since it presents the webcam operator as a subject, not as an object. The audience is under the gaze of Magibon; she will only do what she wants, and if you’re lucky you can see her on her new pajamas this week. The idea is that, even provoking, not to say actively creating an intimate atmosphere, Magibon provides its audience a relationship, where showing and concealing are part of it, where a narrative from anonymous user to YouTube partner is released and embedded on the medium, and which carries familiarity and a stability of two years so far. The desire of intimacy, even on the internet, surpasses the idea of nudity, cybersex or pornography, gaining its own contours in an awkward public-intimate sphere of one bedroom broadcasted to millions of viewers. This contradictions
and paradoxes, as well as the capabilities and possibilities of video broadcast on the computer screen is, along with the needs of contemporary society and countless other factors, what made those videos a multi million hits channel.
REFERENCES Baudrillard, Jean, and Paul Virilio. Videoculturas de Fin de Siglo. Madrid: Ediciones Catedra S.A., 1999. Bauman, Zygmunt, and Benedetto Vecchi. Identity Conversations with Benedetto Vecchi (Themes for the 21st Century). New York: Polity P, 2004. Guattari, Félix. “Pratiques Écosophiques et Restauration de la Cité Subjective.” Chiméres (1992): 95-115. Schilling, Mark. “Introducing Magibon, Japan’s YouTube darling | The Japan Times Online.” 28 May 2009 <http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fl20081218r1.html>. Tribe, Mark, and Reena Jana. New Media Art (Taschen Basic Art Series). Los Angeles: Taschen, 2006. White, Michele. The Body and the Screen Theories of Internet Spectatorship. New York: The MIT P, 2006. “YouTube - MRirian’s Channel.” YouTube. 28 May 2009 <http://www.youtube.com/ user/MRirian>.
NARRATIVE/ HYPERMEDIA/ PRODUCT PLACEMENT/ THE CREATION OF MAGIC OBJECTS: FOREGROUND IT TO MERGE IT DOWN
If one thinks of the of cybertext, it is reasonable to connect that to storytelling subversions, deconstructions, the break of the 4th wall, inversions, and so on (one might also think of hypermedia, and connect the concept to the multimedia narrations, which may include photography, text, ﬁlm and audio all at once). There is also an important feature going on, which is the idea of immersion. Immersion is a crucial discussion to the subject of contemporary narratives/ games. It may be presented in diﬀerent ways: for Bolter and Grusin, one example of an immersive experience is the one that keeps the user aware that he is inside a mediated experience, and hypermediation, as well as the transparency of media are manifestations of the same desire: to achieve something real . Game writer and essayist Dave Szulborski, immersion implies in having unawareness of the game/story existence, the “this is not a game” kind of game, a subgenre of Alternate Reality Games. After this stage, when the user realizes he is playing a game (or, better, being played by a game), there is the experience of “being sucked onto the rabbit’s hole” : the user is already inside the game and realizing that, he has to make his way out of it . The activity of reading or playing a video or RPG game can also be considered as immersive, since the reader/ player gets immerse in the realm of the story or game. In this article, I will consider the concept of immediacy to be texts (games, ﬁlm,
books) that take a step into real-life, using the “real life” ambient as the ground of the text/game activity in some way. Text use known tools to create an interface that is closer or blended with real-life. Even if there is awareness of the activity of reading/playing, the interface can be made invisible with the proper use of existing tools ― alternatives that may shed lights on what can be done nowadays, while our simulation machines of virtual environment are not yet perfected. Deleting windows, scrollbars or pages might not be eﬀective, since the attempts will usually work as “noise” (interruption, distraction) at some point, when commands need to be auctioned and thus reminding the viewer that he is inside the framework of the text. On Bolter and Grusin (34, 2000) “digital hypermedia seek the real by multiplying mediation so as to create a feeling of fullness”, which seems to work on an attempt to foreground the media, however in a “lost in the middle of the process” way: the attempt is to create (a new) reality — that is, the universe of the text/game controls — not to create a realistic experience. Furthermore, as we will see on the following examples, immediacy seems to be a counterpart of hypermediacy. As the medium is foregrounded, media disappears as a medium; medium can be perceived, as in the following examples, as a real part of the real world, not only as a medium. This shift in perception is crucial to the idea of immediacy, as it is for the idea of hypermediacy and for immersion: if we are immerse in the medium, will it still be a medium? If the medium is a concrete part of real life, can it still be considered to mediate an experience or is it presenting the real experience? “CAN’T YOU SEE I’M BUSY?” Getting back to immediacy and hypermediacy, these concepts can unravel possible means to create such “blended” interface: if immediacy is the state of absence of medium, a practical solution might be to work on the opposite route: foregrounding the medium, embedding the medium in the message, and
thus creating an illusion of immediacy. The computer game Can’t You See I’m Busy makes a simple yet amusing attempt in that direction: the game scenarios are spreadsheets of Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word documents, using the trivial tools of text editors to create games that are similar to Atari games (mazes, spaceships etc). The game is immediated, it is not recreating a ﬁctional world, since the world it takes place is within the user’s software interface. Foregrounding the medium instead of trying to hide it may work more eﬃciently than virtual worlds attempts, so far: when the medium itself is foregrounded and becomes (part of) the content, it disappears as a medium and the experience gains a degree of immediation. Similar to the puzzle game Tetris , Can’t You See I’m Busy is played by allocating similar patterns of shapes (in the case, colors) together, in order to make them disappear and thus scoring points. The diﬀerence here is the use of graphs as bricks: there is no need for mimicking a brick or spaceships (as in other elementary games); the objects of the game are virtual by nature. We are looking at an embedment of the medium in the content (as McLuhan said metaphorically, the change is now objective). We are also looking at an attempt to create the feeling of immediation using tools that are available for creating texts, while we dispose of no other technological tools to do so. Can’t You See I’m Working points to the question if our media-saturated environments shouldn’t include the media spaces as some of our places. The traditional presence of television and now of the computer are there long enough (already) to be more than just a medium of telepresence. Especially the computer, which in its common household/oﬃce use does its best to mimic an oﬃce desk with ﬁles and sheet or word processors, the idea of space seems relevant. Considering the time and use of such interfaces, the idea of space seems now more suitable than other deﬁnitions. The game allow us to perceive that more than a medium, sheets and graphs might be part of our daily places – that is when
hypermediacy and immediacy not quite overlap, but rather ﬁnd themselves coming full circle, as complimentary opposites: if one gazes at the media elements long enough, media functions (that would enable hypermediacy) changes its purposes, and thus it may become a space itself; a place itself, suitable for other activity (as the game), and then there is no longer a mediating function, hence immediacy. More than a theoretical or semantic discussion, this ideas might take us to the “dream” of immediacy in a much more simple and eﬀective way, and open doors for new forms of entertainment, interaction and experiences.
REALITY NOVEL In the same way of this imaginary computer game, other perspectives are going on: S+G’s novel Looking for Headless , presented as a printed copy in art exhibitions, embeds real-time and real-life facts about the investigation on Headless LTD, a ﬁnancial company based in the Bahamas. As the investigation goes on, the novel has its feed. However, it is diﬃcult to diﬀerentiate what is ﬁction and what is reality. Not only is reality mediated, it is remediated, and that also changes the whole diegesis of the narrative interface: the mediation is still there, reality is mediated by text (in paper), but it is no longer mediated by the news medium, not even as a documentation, but rather as ﬁction. The diﬀerence in the perception of the facts is in the perception of the work itself. News is read as news; as “reality”. Novels are read as ﬁction. In Looking for Headless there is a ﬁctionalization of the facts, but they are scrambled, merged with what is reality what is ﬁction, everything embodied in the story. In this genre, reader becomes potentially part of the core of facts embedded by the novel, since they belong to the same diegetic universe, the real world
(and, within the story, the lawsuits and characteristics of the tax havens they are criticizing). That is exactly the opposite of gaming in virtual worlds, where a (real) reader takes part and action on a ﬁctional interface. According to Goldin+Senneby : “In the case of the ongoing Headless project, our artistic proposal is not the texts, sceneries, objects, images, videos, or live events produced, but the outsourced structuring of this production. G+S’s practice thereby attempts to locate itself at the same level of abstraction and displacement as the corporate strategies we are investigating” Both gaming in virtual worlds and Looking for Headless, however, coincide in a degree of the real world taking part on ﬁction: respectively, the authors feeding the story with real world events, and the viewer, from the real world, feeding the game’s “narrative”. Authorship can also be discussed: if many attempts to deﬁne if the game player authors the game (or, more likely, his history of actions), we might also think if the real world wouldn’t be also taking part on the authorship of Looking for Headless. This might be one of the many emerging cases where the author of the story seems to be doing a selection of texts/facts while also writing the ﬁctional parts himself.
REAL TAPE, FAKE MONSTER Some other examples work on the sense of causing a slim down on the “wall” of the medium/interface: that’s when the text itself is presented as a diegetic object. In one case, we have the ﬁlm presented as a tape found among the wreckage caused by a monster. That’s Cloverﬁeld , a monster-invasion genre ﬁlm, shot in ﬁrst-person handy-cam, which was considered one of the best movies of the
year by the magazine Cahiers du cinema . The content, itself, is mediated (by the footage), but the footage becomes some kind of magic object “imported” from the diegetic world, hence the attempt to create, again, some degree of immediation, or even an illusion of that, relying on the viewer’s suspension of disbelief (what is not entirely true in The Blair Witch Project, a movie that presented itself as “real” footage). The magic happens because the diegetic object of the medium (a video recorded by a couple witnessing the monster invading New York) coincides with the object the viewer handles (also a video, which in form coincides with the video recorded by the couple, but that in fact is a Hollywood ﬁlm). The remediation process encounters a peculiar instance here: it is not remediated, since it is the ﬁlm itself; however, it is remediated by the genre (genre: action ﬁlm), a classiﬁcation that attributes a whole new meaning to the work since the viewer knows, then, that it is a ﬁlm and not raw footage. Another related example can be found in contemporary literature, as in Russian novelist Victor Pelevin’s Helmet of Horror : the myth of Theseus is retold, and the new scenario is an electronic chat room. What the reader can see is virtually a log ﬁle, therefore, also a diegetic object that breaks the wall of the diegetic universe and, by doing that, blends the two worlds, ﬁctional and real, even without an attempt to convince the audience that those were real facts or a real chat room. In those cases, the medium is again foregrounded: it does not attempt to mask the appearance of the ﬁlm or book medium; but the book and the ﬁlm assume the form of another medium, that is, the log ﬁle or the amateur footage remediated by the book or ﬁlm. Foregrounding the medium seems to be a useful dispositive on the attempt to enhance realism, and its usage might be expanded to a variety of media and genres in ﬁction, gaming and even other presentations of content.
MERCHANDISING & IMMEDIACY Immediacy of alien elements to the narrative may also happen in other ways, even more traditional ones, which we as viewers are most used to. When watching a ﬁlm or TV series, or reading a book, the experience of reading one of these texts relates to the diegesis of the text; we are entering, as readers, the world created by the author and our perception is prepared to receive a speciﬁc sort of input: that is, the character’s development, the plot twists, a proper ending. Even thought we are looking forward to be surprised, the surprise is limited to the medium the text has been “written” in, and even the genre may limit the possibilities of surprise. The reading of a text is, therefore, a constrained universe where surprise elements derive from the known space of the medium (or the genre). There’s little to expect rather than an original plot twist or a strikingly inventive ending; even the subversions of the director are mostly acknowledged until the end of the narrative and, in some cases, soon after that. However, when it comes to merchandising (a technique used in nearly every kind of audience-based content, as ﬁlm, television shows and sports), the viewer also can perceive it as an artiﬁce created in order to cover the production’s costs. The insertion of labels or brands (product placement) in the narrative universe may even, for instance, increase (or decrease) verisimilitude . The space dedicated to sponsors, instead of being placed within the “break” (as it often happens in TV series), or in the initial credits, is now set inside the narrative universe, but still the viewer knows that that is part of a sponsored appearance — it is, then, a mediated experience; mediated by the space dedicated to sponsors inside the narrative. Even if there is an interplay between character and brand, the product placement purpose is often very clear: it is a sponsored appearance of the brand, that helps to build the characters identity (if we are assuming here that
brands work in the sense of building an identity). Merchandising is not done indiscriminately. The brand values perceived by consumers must be, at least, aligned with the values of the characters shown using the product, and aligned with the movie range of values. In account to that, we have countless appearances of characters that “think diﬀerent” using Mac computers or heroes ﬁghting against all odds, stating that “impossible is nothing” while using Adidas snickers . This is, still, a one-way route where the story being told can embody merchandising without losing its original meaning, and when it is embodied, the consumer is able to perceive it as so. A recent phenomenon is, perhaps, taking this to a further step and one of the problems lies on not making it clear to the viewer that this is merchandising. It is not only a matter of sending a “hidden message” — the main problem is to pervert storytelling into “productelling”. That is not only the matter of making the viewer unable to discern what is advertisement from what is a relevant part of the story; it is a matter of making advertisement the story itself. Many theoreticians were excited about new attempts to make advertising more interesting, as the Pirelli movies once were — exhibited before movie sessions, they were “blockbuster ads” that would blow away the audience with special effects and graphic exuberance. Major studios, however, were doing the other way around: making ﬁlms out of ads; making commercials that are content themselves. In strict sense, this is not a new phenomenon. It is well known the case of Mattel in the 80s, a time where there was an aggressive shift on media advertising for children . In the 80s, Mattel’s toys were depicted in TV commercials (cartoons) engaging in narrative adventures. The ads became so popular that more than 80
episodes were created, and world-wide sold as TV show — that’s how He-Man was born, and other 73 episodes were created to the character’s sister, She-Ra. Mattel and the media of the 80s were ﬁercely criticized, as stated on BBC4 documentary. According to the series, the 80s entertainment for children had deep changes. “Everyone had to become more commercial (…) because the world had changed, commerce had changed (…); everybody changed, including the BBC”, states Theresa Plummer-Andrews, international executive for ITV from 19801986 (BBC4, 1990). What’s new about this matter is to ﬁnd mainstream movies working upon this same dispositive. If children in the 80s were naïve enough not to understand that the content they were watching was generated in order to sell toys, this same phenomenon is happening nowadays to XXI Century adults, in million-dollar budget and primetime ﬁlms, books and TV shows. Merchandising is taking a step further, from casual appearances to determinant elements in narrative plots of mass culture. Transforming the narrative itself into advertisement is to invert the essence of the text: the sponsors, which once orbited narratives, is now a body with full gravity making the narrative to orbit around sponsor’s products. That means an embodiment of corporate ideology in its pure state, an increase on the products importance and appearances on everyday life and, basically, a construction of an imaginary world based on corporate interests and where the characters are reduced to ideal consumers, in a “sermon” equipped with all gadgets of the actual industry to construct an idea of how life is supposed to be — even a detailed picture of how consumers should behave. Sex and the City — The Movie, The Devil Wears Prada and Confessions of a Shopaholic are symptomatic examples of how such subversion occurred in recent cinematographic production. Characters seem to spend the whole narrative
in function of merchandised products; plots seem to evolve according to the role of the products on screen. These productions mentioned above, mainly directed to female audiences, are just the most evident case of such kind of merchandising. Action-hero ﬁlms featuring gadgets, cars and other luxurious accessories among the hero’s belongings may also constitute similar examples, and the one that epitomizes this sort of narrative for sure is Cast Away, from Robert Zemeckis, where the diﬃculties of a FedEX employee to deliver a pack turns the character into some kind of martyr, whose only companion is a Wilson volleyball. Even with so much to explore on advertising and content ﬁeld, the recent cinematography on female-audience-oriented ﬁlms constitute a clear and contemporary example of such happenings, which is enough to illustrate the case in this essay. Advertising becoming content is a major break on perceiving advertisement, since narrative experiences of movies, books or TV series are associated with identity, culture, personality and pleasure, and basing those narratives on products is an attempt to merge corporate interests with the narrative experience, and reducing important instruments of construction of the subjectivity of an individual to the level of a consumer — not even telling the consumer of this practice. The deletion of the former space created for sponsors in the merchandising (a space recognized as such by the viewer) makes the advertisement experience remediated: what once was mediated by the screen and presented as a TV commercial, now may be embodied in a ﬁlm, mediated by the screen, but mediated also by the ﬁlm itself, by the ﬁlm’s content. If considering content in its pure form as medium (here rises the necessity of new concepts on mediation), it is possible to claim that product placement has always been a remediation of advertising, since it is not on the original locus of advertising, but inside the diegetic world of a narrative, thus, mediated to the
viewer through this narrative world. However, the disappearance of the “space” of merchandising (furthermore, the recognizable space of product placement), makes the new placement entirely remediated – it may even transform a ﬁlm in a commercial. The shift on how it is perceived is important. In a nutshell, traditional product placement, it is remediated (mediated on the basic level of the screen; remediated by the narrative world where the merchandising is allocated), but embodied merchandising is not perceived as advertising, either because the viewer is not aware of that, or because the products advertised is what makes the story go forward. This both features make the merchandising experience immediated in the sense that there was no mediation through the “place” of product placement; the viewer did not perceive the ad through the locus he/she was used to understand as advertising activity. Again, as seen in the other examples as Golden+Sonnebi’s novel or Cloverﬁeld, mediation gains undertones and may be perceived as a complex and subjective process.
CONCLUSION Ultimately, we can see that in order to reach the ultimate meaning of a text, the viewer crosses the interface screen, the diegetic universe and its elements, the perspective of the author, the maneuvers of the genre and possibly still other factors that will convey and shape the text. The image of meaning being conveyed (and also shaped) strongly emphasizes how every agent and element along the path of content to user is merely a mediator of it, a mediator that imprints his marks on the story, but ultimately bringing it from somewhere and taking it elsewhere. Text may be perceived as a river, flowing through diﬀerent paths and grounds, and back again to the sea where is its origin.
From contemporary discussions on immediacy, hypermediacy and a walk along the arguable uses of merchandising, I intended to create the basis of the main discussion, the elements of mediation. Another consideration makes this relation even more fluid: it is important to remember that text is constantly changing when under the influence of the network of new texts that is constantly emerging: new associations are created, new references are established, new discoveries are made, hence intertextuality. The reader is changing as well: from the moment the receiver starts reading a text, he/she also starts to change with the new input of information. If reading a text is to enter a river (never possible to enter the same river twice), text should be seen as the one who’s entering the river, and the reader is the river himself. The allegory that seems more suitable; the image of two rivers that meet at some point — the moment of the reading experience — and that generates an authentic tidal bore in both entities, reader and text: the reaction of the reader will start a progressive modiﬁcation over his/her environment and it is another chain of reactions changing the perception of the text. The text’s meaning is still mysterious even with all theory upon the topic. Authors write texts to imaginary readers, readers read from imaginary authors, and text remains silent as an arc full of secrets and hidden meanings, a maze with multiple exits or an encryption whose decryption is never completed. The abstract concept of text, when put under the spotlight of objective analysis, gains more materiality and new perspectives become possible: in this article, the attempt is to make text to be seen as an entity that cannot be grasped, but only mediated. The idea is to perceive those features as actors that “channelize” and shape the text to the viewer — that is, ultimately, the deﬁnition of medium. Movement, flux and flow are keywords.
As these studies were developed, interesting connections, juxtapositions and interaction with other ﬁelds of theory emerged, as the Critical Discourse Analysis. When facing such a complete theory, I asked myself if what I was doing was not merely changing names for the same concepts. But in here, same elements were analyzed from diﬀerent perspectives. My intent was not to bring up tools to decipher content, but to preliminary analyze what builds content. This work intended to point out some of the factors that shape texts, to show how everything seems to flow through a tunnel of bricks we may call mediation, and to, perhaps, ﬁll some “gaps” that seem to exist when speaking of mediation. Another concern is to keep perceiving the medium as the message (and vice-versa), and willing to explain the constitution of medium and mediation as it is – a complex combination of features that delivers the only thing that can possibly be meaningful: meaning itself. References Barthes, Roland. “From Author to Text.” Image-Music-Text. New York: Hill and Wang, 1978. Bolter, Jay David, and Richard Grusin. Remediation Understanding New Media. New York: The MIT Press, 2000. Can’t you see I’m Busy! - Home - Play at work without damaging your career! Web. 09 Dec. 2009. <http://cantyouseeimbusy.com/>. Cloverﬁeld. Dir. Matt Reeves. Paramount Pictures, 2008. Film. Confessions of a Shopaholic. Dir. P.J. Hogan. 2009. DeHart, Nancy. Forward Through the Rearview Mirror Reflections on and by Marshall McLuhan. Ed. Paul Benedetti. New York: The MIT, 1997. Print.
Droitcour, Brian. “Interview with Goldin Senneby.” Rhizome. 4 Feb. 2009. Web. 10 Dec. 2009. <http://www.rhizome.org/editorial/2314>. “Famous Commercial Slogans.” Buzzle Web Portal: Intelligent Life on the Web. Web. 10 Dec. 2009. <http://www.buzzle.com/articles/famous-commercial-slogans.html>. Goldin+Senneby. Web. 10 Dec. 2009. <http://www.goldinsenneby.com/>. Kunz, Grace I. Merchandising theory, principles, and practice. New York: Fairchild Books, 2005. “Media on Trial: The 80s.” Media on Trial. BBC4. London, 1990. Television. Pelevin, Victor. The Helmet of Horror The Myth of Theseus and the Minotaur (Myths, The). New York: Canongate U.S., 2007. Print. PIRELLIFILM.com. Pirelli Inc. Web. 10 Dec. 2009. <http://www.pirelliﬁlm.com/>. Sex and the City. Dir. Michael P. King. Film. 2008. Stöckl, Hartmut. “In between Modes: Language and Image in Printed Media.” Perspectives On Multimodality (Document Design Companion). Grand Rapids: John Benjamins Co, 2004. 9-30. Print. Szulborski, Dave. This Is Not A Game A Guide to Alternate Reality Gaming (2nd Digital Edition). Lulu.com, 2005. Print. Rosenfeld, Anatol. A Personagem de Ficcao [The Fictional Character]. Sao Paulo, SP: Perspectiva, 2005, p. 31 The Devil Wears Prada. Dir. David Frankel. Film. 2006. The Insider. Dir. Michael Mann. Film. 1999.
MY LIFE IN STAKEHOLDER COMMUNICATION REPORTS FROM THE BESIEGED FRONT
It’s easy to diﬀerentiate good and bad advertising, and easy to know when to chose which one is best for you. The ﬁrst book I read in college was Claude Hopkins’ Scientiﬁc Advertising, a curious work that explicitly tells students that bad ads are good if they sell – in other words, advertising is not art. There are several ways to argue that advertising is not art, my favorite, mentioned before in this book, the the one that describes art as an open-ended work, and advertising a work that closes ends, leading the viewer to a single path – the one persuading the viewer to buy the product. However, bad ads pop up everywhere – from television to the borders of our computer screens. The news is good: companies are becoming producers and curators of culture in this new era of content. However, some things are hard to change and you will ﬁnd speciﬁc niches where everything has always been done that way, even if you’re just starting. I will stick to a classical example of bad American advertising: the car salesman. It’s a typical one, and everytime I go to the USA I spend time analyzing their new trends in advertising – usually variations of food, cars and cleaning products. Well, the car salesman is diﬀerent. The business owner stars the ad himself. That strategy has oozed to other ﬁelds, but this is the original one. It typically features a friendly-crazy, energetic, familyman, business-savvy man (even with a suit and a cowboy hat), oﬀering deals no one should be able to resist. The audience is invited to bring “your wife and kids” and have a good time there while picking new wheels. It’s all about the tradition in the business, and those businesses – used cars – are deﬁnitely based on trust, since used cars can easily be bad business of the buyer -- buying from the owner there will always be someone to 237
complain to (funnily enough, in every town the TV-ad car shops have their unique shady counterparts, with street smart customers that should know what they are doing for the bargain they are getting). The point is that these men are their brands. Especially when nearly every new shop picked up the strategy and put the owner’s face on TV. These are local ads, inviting people to come to his shop, and have the honor of meeting the man himself, “the man that appeared on TV”. And that’s how it’s done until today. Likewise, no matter where you go, the average chain stores that sells fridges and television sets will present you with a clean-cut, well-mannered salesman, that you trust more for who they appear to be than by their knowledge on how the SmartTV works with Netflix. The common point to these two examples is the interpersonal communication over brand communication. I have worked with dozens of very big clients creating communication projects for stakeholders. Coming from an advertising background, I have always been aiming for the most trendy of flashy way of telling a story that could persuade the audience. When dealing with top corporate management or CEOs communicating with their stakeholders -- at times, thousands of people worldwide -- I’ve noticed a very rooted will of reproducing the exact model of the car reseller shop. The managers, executives, directors and even CEOs usually insisted – or were quickly persuaded by our salesforce – to appear on the screen. No matter how creative or potentially engaging a proposal would be, it would easily defeated by some of the big guys -- refusing rehearsals, make-up or speech training. It is not hard to guess that my initial projects looked and sounded awful. I would sit in front of the editing table appalled with this guy that makes multiple million-dollars agreements daily reading from a teleprompter and stuttering in topics like his own ethical choices or the company’s goals. The more I tried to dissuade them of appearing on the screen, the more refusals I’d get – once invited, suggested or appointed to be on the screen, no one wants to give it up when the cameras arrive. Furthermore: telling a big shot that “it’s not good yet” would terminate the session sooned than I’ve expected; they’d rather have a bad performance than to try again in front of others. True story, bro. 238
The solution I found was, well, to slowly but surely cope with the enemy. And on top of that, I still wanted to understand why they wanted so badly to be on the screen, because it didn’t seem to make sense that it was all a matter of personal vanity or of grasping the opportunity to accomplish unfulﬁlled aspirations of being actors or anchors of bad television. My ﬁrst suggestion was to take interviews instead of read statements. That was a very simple solution, it required only to shif the camera angle a little bit, and I culd have him looking at me during the process. That already put me in a good zone of comfort, because aiming for a more journalistic, phatic, mediatic approach, would take a lot of the suﬀering from them (and from me, since I wouldn’t have to wonder where my career was going, despite the big names I was working with). Advertisers know that the client’s worst enemy is the client himself – it’s a common enemy for both professionals, but let’s just say that the client has more trouble defeating it. Thus when I proposed an interview shooting for a certain client, the red light buzzed, immediately. We were supposed to ﬁlm the CEO of a huge company. “He doesn’t have time to rehearse the answers, forget it, he will have to read from the paper”, said an assistant on the phone, while we were still at the airport. My good friend and cinematographer looked at me acknowledging the usual disaster that was about to take place on the afternoon. We placed the set, and he arrived. As he started addressing to the camera, and the prould self-indulgence that appeared once in a while through the slippery grin made it click in my head -- the role model was the Orwellian Big Brother, and the subject seemed to be taking a chance on creating an impositive appearance over his worldwide staﬀ. They were authoritarian leaders, trying to make the same use of the video as when in person. Simple enough. The only problem was that, with telepresence, the speaker cannot know if you are really paying attention. He had to count that the message was so strong, and that the consequences of disobedience would be so awful, that everyone would comply to whatever he was saying (that is explained in Nietzsche’s Birth of Tragedy, but anyone who have ever met a CEO would understand that it was impossible to make my humble and well-documented
point). Impositive language on video does create a certain impact, one has to admit. On the top of that, with a reduced budget (not comparable to external media campaigns), the quality of the material was, at times, irrelevant -- if you’re about to hear that you may be ﬁred next summer, chances are you won’t care if it was ﬁlmed with an iPhone or a RED camera. Likewise, if the annual report says everyone is getting a 45% raise, who in a sane mind would care about the stuttering, right? Perhaps some brand manager, but not even they are that uptight with internal comms. That was a mindset very hard to beat, because it would require more care, planning and budget from the customer. Sir, can we do more with more time, longer deadlines and more budget, even if you or your audience don’t seem to care? At that time, back to the stage, even the Orwellian Big Brother may crack. That’s exactly the nature of the impositive posture most of them were trying: strong, powerful, unbreatable -- the ﬁrst mistake, and the shield cracks into a cascade eﬀect of vulnerabilities. We tried a few times, the assistant was more nervous than us. From a position where I could have very little say on what was going on, I broke protocol and said that maybe I could reverse his text from the prompter into questions that he could answer to me, personally, looking at me instead of the camera. The three takes we had just painfully gone through were actually quite useful, because he could remember bits and pieces of the answers. Very soon we had a comfortable CEO speaking with his own words of the big goals, strategies and views of the company. SO, WHY INTERVIEWS? The idea of interview is not as simple as it sounds. When the subject is speaking to someone who is standing behind the camera, and the audience doesn’t know who the speaker is talking to, a bigger idea of who that interviewer is comes to life inside the viewer’s mind. The interviewer is an entity. The interviewer is an institution -he/she is media itself, behind the camera. The interviewer and his/her crew can be virtually anyone; the footage could be part of some TV show that happened to provide the footage for that internal project of the company; it could be part of a bigger program that the company is developing; the viewer could think
he/she is watching just part of the big picture. As the format is the same of journalism, reality and the usual way we perceive “truthful” messages, the credibility is instantly increased. Add to that the natural speaking of the subject, the more relaxed body language and so on. CORPORATIONS TELLING THE TRUTH? Along time, some of the clients surprised me quite positively. In another occasion, another big player wanted to start an internal campaign with a bold move on corporate responsibility. That was the perfect opportunity to go from basic interviews, where questions were tacky and answers were easy, to tougher questions that the top managers would really have to come out with truthful, honest responses. Working with this level of businesses, and with these purposes, is not always as fun, but from the inside there were moments that new things were sstarting to pop up, such as the demand for answers from top management, with questions that would have never been posed by anyone except the press, in heated up debates and “diﬃcult interviews”. With the trust of a certain pool of clients, it was possible to diﬀerentiate types of stakeholder communication. Announcements, policies and change were usually described by executives envolved in the making of those. Cultural change, core and values campaigns and more abstract information, where personal engagement was the goal, slowly migrated to a more cinematic and dynamic ﬁnishing. Which is only fair, since we are talking about the staﬀ, and they certainly deserve quality time when receiving messages that are, afterall, on the company’s best interest. Perhaps this point -- the value of engagement -- is what ﬁnally acted as a game-changer for the way we produced stakeholder media. My further developments and eﬀorts were in creating systems that could measure engagement (we get much better budgets when we deliver numbers, for some reason!). When the Orwellian role has been defeated, forever, thankfully, what remained was the car shop reseller -- and then I could understand that, despite not being as proﬁcient as commercial models, those executives were trying to get a bit closer to their people -- and even a flawled, human character, either slightly intimidaded by the camera or comfortably sitting on a couch telling a bit of oneself, can render an intimacy that is the ﬁrst step to commitment from the audience. 241
PUBLICATIONS, LECTURES & PRESENTATIONS Transmedia, author, paratexts: the surroudings Transmedia Literacy Seminar 2013 IN3 â€” Universitat Oberta de Catalunya Barcelona, 2013 Why do We Write as We Write? Editor Inter-disciplinary Publishing Group, Oxforshire, UK, 2013. Authorship in Twitter Media In Transition 8 Massachusetts Institute of Technonolgy Cambridge, MA, 2013 The Curious Case of Gina Indelicada Article on a presentation Silent Signal Trend Report Vapa Media Helsinki, 2013
Media Practices Course for Master of Arts students Master Degree course. Lecturer University of Jyäskylä 2013 Authorship, Ethos and Social Media Presentation 2nd Inter-Disciplinary Global Conference in Writing Salzburg, Austria, 2012 Social Media, Authorship and Power Summer course for international Master of Arts students Nordic Digital Culture Network (University of Jyväskylä / University of Bergen / Blekinge Institute / IT University of Copenhagen) 2013 Social Media Poetics/Politics Course for Master of Arts students Master Degree course. Lecturer University of Jyäskylä 2012
Marketing and new media Postgraduate course Instituto Paranaense de Ensino, Brazil 2011 Brand, Culture and Consumption Course for MBA students Instituto Paranaense de Ensino Paraná, Brazil, 2010. Fashion communication and its vectors Course for MBA students Instituto Paranaense de Ensino Paraná, Brazil, 2010. Towards a theory of mediation Article on publication FAM Symposium / Festival of Art and Media. Brasilia, 2010 An evaluation of multi-million YouTube channel Presentation 2nd Digital Culture Conference of Salford University Salford, UK, 2009
NOTHING LEFT TO SAY After gathering nearly ten years of what I consider somewhat meaningful on both my professional and personal media production, I hope this book can help out young designers to keep tuned on some story srategies on in the vibrant, ﬁerce, merciless and nonetheless fascinating, ever-changing ﬁeld of communication. I’ve divided my career into research and practice. Although at times I had to give up a few experiences, I’ve gained others, and in the end I can fortunately see they were complimentary to each other. To those aspiring for research, may the practice be your base and not only the rich bibliographies that are out there. Wherever you are, you have an angle. To those working the ﬁeld, make sure to revere research when necessary, and never get lazy -- a text has always the length of your beneﬁt. And ﬁnd ways to keep track of your thoughts and instincts, because they certainly make the best theory.
Sérgio Tavares Creative Planner & Strategist / Transmedia storyteller / Media theorist 24/7
Special classes Media and Globalization, with Master’s degree students of the area at the PACC (Program of Advanced Cultural Studies) with Prof. Ilana Strozemberg, phD. Thesis presented on the end of the semester. Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Assistant of Laboratory of Cultural Projects Development, in 2004. Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Assistant researcher of Laboratory of Creative Flash Technologies, in 2007. Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Bachelor’s Degree Social in Communication (eightsemester program), habilitation in publicity and advertising. Emphasis in contemporary theoretical media studies (Communication on Globalized Technological Society I, II, III and IV. International Systems of Information). Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
New media art.
pdate or di U
Content strategy & planning, ux/ui, transmedia storytelling, creative direction, editorial design and other big buzzwords.
2005-2012 Neocronica.tumblr.com, works featured in NY, Baltimore, LA, Berlin, Brasilia, Belgrade, São Paulo, Helsinki & more! Main releases: Nine Pages on Corporate Realms, e-book, 2007 • Priceless, documentary ﬁlm, 2008, analyzing the activity of Brazilian corporate loan companies • GoogleArt, featuring image search for subjective concepts, curated by the Council of Arts of Central Finland, 2008 • Barbie Grotesk Mord, curated by Rhizome.org (New York), selected to NY Independent International Film Festival (New York, Los Angeles) and videoKILLS (Berlin), 2009 • Tagnovels, ergodic literature on the web, activated by tags, curated by Rhizome.org, 2009 and presented at e-Lit Meetings readings at University of Jyväskylä, 2009 • É só um ﬁlme, non-ﬁction e-book analyzing the content of contemporary cinema, 2010 • 2006 Winner of video contest for TV show featuring writer Fernanda Young • 2009 Poster design selected for A3 Project, Belgrade.
Cover featured at the Ballistique project, Montreal!
Over 1,000 designed pages for print magazines & digital pages: young people, fashion, lifestyle, tech, food and more.
SOCIAL CONTENT RESEARCH. Research selected & presented at the MIT (Media In Transition 8) and in Academic conferences in Austria, UK, Brazil and Scandinavia. Book chapters selected by IGI Global (Montreal) & ID-net (Oxfordshire, UK).
A summary of professional experience boldly presented with the book designer’s choice, Din type.
Final thesis The Internet Relay Chat forming communities of knowledge on the Internet. Master Degree Program in Digital Culture, University of Jyväskylä, Finland. 2008. Final thesis: Actors, Computers, Interactors – Writings on new media interactivity. University of Jyväskylä, 2010. PhD Candidate, Faculty of Arts and Culture, University of Jyväskylä, 2011. Thesis: New & Social Media Paratexts: authorship and power. Published Articles IRC communities of knowledge, with Prof. Cristina Haguenauer and Prof. Francisco Cordeiro Filho. In: 14th International Congress of Distance Learning (ABED, Brazilian Association of Distance Learning), Santos, SP, Brazil, 2008. Conferences 2nd Digital Culture Conference of Salford University. International conference, presenting the research The gaze of Magibon: an evaluation of multi-million YouTube channel. Salford University, Salford, UK, 2009. Writing in Social Media. Salzburg, Austria. 2012. Media in Transition 8, MIT, Cambridge, MA. 2013.
To end the first grid column, talks, lectures & workshops Nordic Digital Culture Network Master Degree course. Lecturer, Reading Circle on Media Practices. Jyväskylä, Finland, 2013. Master Degree course. Lecturer, Reading Circle on New Media Poetics/Politics. Jyväskylä, Finland, 2011. Nordic Digital Culture Network Lecturer, Social Media, Authorship and Power. Pori, Finland, scheduled for August, 2012. Centro de Ensino Superior de Maringá Post-graduate course. Lecturer on the subject Marketing and new media. 16 hours course. Maringá, Paraná, Brazil, 2010. Instituto Paranaense de Ensino Post-graduate course. Lecturer on the subject Brand, Culture and Consumption. 28 hours course.Maringá, Paraná, Brazil, 2010. MBA course. Communication and its vectors. 28 hours course.Maringá, Paraná, Brazil, 2010.
PERSONAL HEROES Albert Camus, David Carson, Massimo Vignelli, Jan V. White, David Lynch, Clint Eastwood, Umberto Eco, Roland Barthes, Woody Allen.
1 2012-- Datafisher. Helsinki based (1) communication company, working as a creative director marketing projects, corporate responsibility campaigns, websites, print media and video direction. Nokia, StoraEnso, Ahlstrom, Paulig, Fiskars and other global companies.
TECH ADVANCED. ADOBE INDESIGN, LIGHTROOM, ILLUSTRATOR, PHOTOSHOP, PREMIÉRE. IOS, FINAL CUT, CANON 5D MARK II. Languages Portuguese (mother language) English Proﬁciency on writing, reading, speaking. First Certiﬁcate of English, Cambridge University, UK. Spanish Intermediate reading, listening comprehension, basic speaking. Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, 2007 Italian Intermediate reading, listening comprehension, speaking. University of Jyväskylä, 2009 Finnish Seuraava kysymys, kiitos!
2 2008-2012 Z/2 Publishing (2) Creative director. Marketing planning, transmedia professional and designer for Z/2 Publishing. Editorial planning, editorial content and design, brand repositioning, transmedia planning from work to print (and vice-versa). Over 1000 pages of magazine design produced. z2editora.com.br
Helvetica with tight kerning displays UI & video works Nokia Sales Academy Nokia App Market Ahstrom Incorporated Fiskars Code of Conduct StoraEnso “Do What’s Right” StoraEnso Supply Chain videos Paulig Corporate Responsibility
INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING Typography Grid studies Book design authorship Paratexts film & VIDEO
That’s the latest version of my CV. I got my last job with it. 245
2003 Synapse Group/Porta-Curtas Petrobrás Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. International trade of television and cultural content. Pioneer exhibitor of shortmovies in streaming over the web. Assistance to international sales and acquisitions. Research, development and release of new products. Development of hotsites, promotion strategies and new formats of media and media trade. Research and release of Sebastião Salgados’ Carvoeiros. synapse-brazil.com
2002 Instructional Design Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Company specialized in development on instructional content, for learning and business. Studies on architecture of 2005 AnimaLamps information, in-company projects, Brazilian ad agency with associe-learning. Experience in research ate offices in Chicago & London. and development of content to webWriter, editorial designer and market sites and institutional video. Market planner for multiple award-winner research for new books released international advertising agency. on the field of instructional design. Cooperated strategic planning with instructionaldesign.com.br Microsoft, Intel, Samsung and HP. animalamps.com
Sérgio Tavares • Contact Information • Viipurinkatu 4A 12 • Helsinki +358 (0)40 487 8989 • neocronica.tumblr.com • @neocronica • facebook.com/sergio.ﬁlho slt.ﬁlho@gmail.com • selutava@jyu.ﬁ • firstname.lastname@example.org
For me, discomfort is a signal of an exceptional concept. When I’m totally comfortable with a concept, I’ve probably used it before or seen it somewhere else. Discomfort is almost a prerequisite for a great idea. — CRAIG FRAZIER
Academic Experience, with serifs and very small type.
SĂ‰RGIO L TAVARES
Media, the monster we so love to hate. Working for the past ten years in advertising, publishing houses and research with small, medium and big brands, Brazilian designer SĂŠrgio L Tavares brings case studies, trend analyses and theorietical works that can help communication professionals on the fine art of telling stories in all media platforms.
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A LOVE STORY
SĂŠrgio L Tavares is a Brazilian designer focused in storytelling. His artistic and research works have been presented in the UK, Austria, Finland, Germany, Brazil, Spain and at the last Media in Transition, perhaps the most important media culture conference in the world, held at the Massachussets Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA, USA).
Published on Jun 14, 2014