Digital Narrative

This new digital world is constantly growing and changing making it difficult to keep up with this high speed technology, which in turn, makes one forget to slow down sometimes. Many people in today’s culture do not want to read, but instead, look for a quick and easy solution. There’s a joke that says, “if what you’re looking for isn’t on the first page of Google, then it doesn’t exist.” The idea behind the website I’ve arranged can help address the issue that the Internet may be harming humans ability to think properly anymore. It allows the user to have a creative outlet and be able to build a narrative of their own which forces them to read and actually comprehend the content included while having some fun.

With popular domains such as Facebook and Twitter, the user is encouraged to post a “status” or a “tweet” that are concise. If the post is more than a few lines, people tend to skip over them because it is too long. Sites like Google have also changed the way one thinks and responds today. Many adapt the way they think, and sometimes even the way they talk, in order to get the information one may need from digital resources available today. When a person visits sites like Google, for example, they are provided with what it thinks the person wants to know or view. The creators of Google, Sergey Brin ad Larry Page, hope to eventually have Google become an Artificial Intelligence that could be connected directly to people’s brains. It could potentially do all of your thinking for you. According to Nicholas Carr,

“It is clear that users are not reading online in the traditional sense; indeed there are signs that new forms of “reading” are emerging as users “power browse” horizontally through titles, contents pages and abstracts going for quick wins. It almost seems that they go online to avoid reading in the traditional sense.”(Is Google Making Us Stupid, Carr).

Power browsing and skimming through information does not allow one’s brain to fully function and think, as the brain should. This newfound sense of immediacy, with everything readily available at one’s fingertips, has made today’s generation lazy. Carr also talks about the start of the mechanical era and how the invention of the clock had made people relate their brain to working like a clock. However, now in the digital world people refer to their brains as a working computer or piece of software.

This website has been created to help people slow down and give their brain a creative instrument that they can use as many times as they want. This website is comprised of many quotes from a large variety of different movies. The user can choose from a list of quotes on the first page to start their personal adventure. When a quote is chosen, it then directs the user to the next series of quotes, continually building on itself. On each new page the user can see everything he or she has chosen previously so that the entire story the user has created is displayed.

In 1996, Olia Lialina produced a website called My Boyfriend Came Back From the War. Her idea was to create an interactive narrative much like the idea behind the one I have made. Lialina wanted her work to have a lyrical narrative component. One can see this visually in her piece by having a comparison of pictures versus text and dividing the space with each new addition to the narrative arrangement. Allan Kaprow shared a similar thought process of including the audience more in the artwork with his series of work he called Happenings. It was mentioned in class that Kaprow believed that his work generated chaos as people kept trying to complete their tasks, creating the experiences, which was the artwork. He believed that the art was not on a canvas but yet in life itself. Kaprow studied with John Cage and during a class lecture it was mentioned that Cage would say, “the art is the life you’re living.” There are many variations of art that use the experience of the audience as the art itself. The audience essentially becomes the artist in these cases. The same idea applies in letting the user create and choose how to write his or her narrative. The audience, as a result, becomes the author in this situation. The options this website provides may be limited, being that it has a predetermined list of quotes to chose from, but ultimately allows the user to decide what to do with what they are given, making the results and the experience unpredictable and different for each user that visits the site.

The initial list of movie quotes starts out with five options to choose from. Each quote has a different overall feeling to appeal to a variety of users. There is a quote that would allow you the possibility of following a fairly normal and organized storyline. There is a possible story to be made by the more adventurous user. One of the quotes can lead to a more romantic story for the loving and idealistic user.  There is even a quote that starts off a story for those who like conflict. Each quote starts off with the potential of completing at least one fluid and thoughtful storyline. Of course, if the user chooses to make a completely random story that possibility exists as well.  One of the ways this work is representing the present is by having quotes from modern movies as well as older ones. The provided quotes range from as early as 1939 from Gone With the Wind to present day such as Harry Potter. The modern and striking bright layout, in comparison to Olia Lialina’s work that was done in all black and white for example, helps the piece look more like it belongs in today’s culture.

The main tools I used to accomplish this piece were Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Muse. Photoshop allowed me to design the layout without the restrictions of worrying about knowing how to write the html code. Photoshop also allowed me to create the rollover buttons that were then placed into Muse’s formatted layout. In Photoshop I created two layers on top of each other for each button that are almost identical but may only differ in color slightly so that when the mouse hovers over that area on the screen it changes color to let the user know it is an active button or link. Adobe Muse in conjunction with Photoshop is very beneficial for someone who is not fluid in writing web-designing code. All the user would need to do is design the layout and overall flow of the website and make it a functional and navigable piece of work. It does, however, allow you to place code in to the design to show videos or place other objects into your layout without designing or embedding it if one wished to do so that way.  Muse allows you to create numerous pages within the one site layout to make it easier to navigate throughout it without having to create multiple different individual websites with different web addresses. Muse understands the site you are making and allows you to link easily from page to page within the site. I formatted the narration sequences similar to a descending tree chart. One page connects to five more pages that connect to five more pages and so on. Each of the circles placed next to the given quotes are linked to the next page where the next set of quotes are listed. There are a total of five options on each page and it goes up to five quotes together added up when you are finished with the story. If I had more time I would add more levels of quotes to make the narrative last longer so the user can create a longer story if they wish.

This freedom to pick and choose at your own desire allows your creativity to roam, as it should be able to. In today’s new world, you are practically told what to think before he or she even finishes their thought. The idea of using movie quotes to create the stories adds to the enjoyment and gives a level of familiarity to the experience one may have. It’s especially interesting when the user knows what movie the quote is from, which allows the user to see how they work with other quotes from completely diverse movies in a different context. There are so many possible stories to create, preventing boredom, which in turn is helping broaden the minds of the audience but in a fun, and more relaxed method.

Images can be seen here:

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