The Forking Paths: An Interactive Cinema Experience

The Forking Paths: An Interactive Cinema Experience

Bruno Mendes da Silva (Research Centre for Arts and Communication, University of Algarve, Faro, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/ijcicg.2014010104
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Abstract

The project The Forking Paths aims to create a set of interactive cinematographic narratives, within an applied research that seeks to transfer the spectator from an extradiegetic level to an intradiegetic level, creating a metalepsis. The intention is, above all, to analyze the possibilities of the spectator's identification as the main character, by the manipulation of the idea of time in Cinema. We aim to reach this proposal through the use of specific narrative resources, as well as through the possibility of choice between alternative image flows. The project The forking paths is intended to be available in different media and supports such as the Internet, touch sensitive screen devices and conventional cinemas.
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Introduction

The forking paths is intended to continue the investigation started in PhD thesis Eterno Presente, o tempo na contemporaneidade (Eternal Present, time in contemporaneity), resulting in the publication of the book A máquina Encravada: a questão do tempo nas relações entre cinema, banda desenhada e contemporaneidade (The jammed machine, the issue of time in relations between cinema, comics and contemporary), (Silva, 2010). This primary research is the starting point for the present project that aims to cross applied investigation and experimental development. In this new phase, we are trying a new approach, more practical, more iterative and more reflexive on the issue of time in cinema and in cyberspace. Through the exhaustive repetition of the images along the narrative, the intention is to reach different levels of filmic interpretation, where the spectator’s identification with the main character could be complete.

Through the immersion in the interactive narrative, we look forward to creating a mirror effect, where the spectator and the protagonist share the same identity, becoming the spectator-protagonist. The narrative is pre-defined, because its structure can’t be changed, however the way it is experienced depends directly on the spectator-protagonist choices. The exhaustive repetition of the images tries to interfere with the temporal perception of the spectator-protagonist, which may result in three kinds of understanding or reactions:

  • 1.

    The emptying of the image meaning, by losing the seduction of the first look;

  • 2.

    The image valorization, through the discovery of details that have not been perceived in the early screenings;

  • 3.

    The addition of details that didn’t exist in the first views, by image manipulation.

This last hypothesis plays with the spectator’s memory that will be tested by the impossibility to check the previous existence of the added details in the image repetition. The repetition of the images will run until the third generation, meaning that only the last three images will be able to be repeated. Thus, as the new images appear, those which were already repeated three times will no longer be shown, as we will demonstrate below.

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