Interpretive Strategies for Screen-Based Creative Technologies

Interpretive Strategies for Screen-Based Creative Technologies

Sheila Petty (Department of Film, University of Regina, Regina, Canada) and Luigi Benedicenti (Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Regina, Regina, Canada)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/IJISMD.2016010103
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This paper brings together the disciplines of media and creative technologies studies and software systems engineering; it focuses on the challenge of finding methodologies to measure, test and decode meaning in digital cultural objects. Just as rough set theory is a mathematical tool to deal with vagueness and uncertainty in artificial intelligence, and approximation accuracy and knowledge granularity are approaches to uncertainty research, the authors argue that découpage analytique is a possible method for decoding screen-based information. They draw on a variety of examples: interactive online digital art projects; an interactive, immersive screen-based art installation; re-mediated digital art installation; expanded cinema; a videogame; and a medical interface example, in order to determine if it is possible to map interpretive strategies that include a blending of old and new criteria, but ultimately promoting an equal partnership between artist and audience, and thus, a community of co-creators. Additionally, the authors present experimental evidence on the difference introduced by the screen size to further qualify the effectiveness of découpage analytique in relation to the amount of screen real estate afforded.
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Background And Literature Review

Art critics and educators have been casting about for decades to determine methods for revealing the “expressive significance of works of art” (Lankford 1984, 151). In the early 1980s, Louis Lankford (1984) proposed a phenomenological methodology for art criticism that involved five consecutive and integrated phases that he described as, “receptiveness, orienting, bracketing, interpretive analysis, and synthesis.” (151). He concluded that a work of art is subject to an infinite number of interpretations based on the viewer’s experience and aptitudes and value is constructed based on the viewer’s dialectical relationship with the world.

In the move from the material object to the information object, debates have abounded around the nature of exact replication and reproduction and whether or not it is possible to represent the “real” in its constitutive form. For example, Stuart Hall argues that a “‘raw’ historical event” is impossible to portray in visual media in its pure state because such media (cinema, television and web-based products) must encode the events within the aesthetic and discursive parameters particular to the media involved (2000 52). As a result, the very act of documenting the “real” alters it in a perceptible manner, creating a new version of the real event that may be similar to but is not wholly representative of that event. The French semiologist Jean Baudrillard, for example, advanced the concept of the “hyperreal,” in which the simulacra no longer reference origin or reality because the real is now produced “from miniaturized units, from matrices, memory banks and command models” (2001 169). Given that it can be reproduced indefinitely, signs are substituted for the real, thus undermining concepts of truth and veracity, and “leaving room only for the orbital recurrence of models and the simulated generation of difference” (169).

Movement into the digital age has further complicated the debate. Digital texts present unique challenges for current methodological processes, primarily because they are inherently interdisciplinary and convergent. By combining wide-ranging media strategies from photography to video streaming, to print text and beyond, these digital artworks demand new approaches for analysis. Genre theory is considered to be a solid method of analysis for understanding the function of story, plot and character in literature, cinema, digital literature and computer games, etc. Simanowski argues that concepts germane to classical rhetoric such as allegory and rhyme could also be deployed and “adapted to describe the stylistic devices of digital literature and art” (2010). He proposes the animation of words to foreground “relationships between the elements of a kinetic text” (2010). Simanowski also explains that although these discussions are occurring within the auspices of digital humanities forums, “scholars also must concentrate on the aesthetic aspects of digital media” (2010).

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