Re: [-empyre-] cool project [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]


In concluding my guest-ship here on -empyre- I would like first to express
gratitude for having been a guest. Thanks!

Next, to make a ?closing statement? in a discussion on Liquid Narrative
[the tap is turned off?] I thought I would comment on the idea that the
term ?Narrative? and its associated methods and paradigms frame in
cultural terms how people relate to and accept stories. The focus upon
narrative/narrated/narrator positions much of that which may actually
exist from outside in subordinate relations to its system of values. The
need for a classification such as ?liquid narrative?, I believe, is a
response to the growing presence in western mass culture of story forms
which move further and further away from those describable in terms of
Aristotelian plot. Perhaps narrative can adapt to causality not being
present within the text but rather developing in the ?real world? between
the text and what is presently called ?the reader? or ?user?. Even if this
is true and considering the excellent work done in narratology, there is a
need to look at these developing story environments in ways far removed
from the terms and classifications of narrative.

In 1955 ?The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms Vol.1 Language? was published in
which Ernst Cassirer wrote that

?Aristotle strove to raise the grammatical distinction which we express by
the opposition between ?active? and ?passive? to the level of a universal
logic and a metaphysical category.? (1980: 254)

To continue to apply systemic models operating under the title ?Narrative?
to how story emerges from distributed networks that display chaotic
behavioural patterns [cautious use of the term chaos, chaos theory etc.]
does not do full justice to the textual worlds humans are weaving in the
21st century. There are many ways to look at these relationships but one
which I think is potentially fruitful is as cultural or social systems of
meaning. In this their can be strong parallels drawn between stories told
using distributed networks, spatial and nodal configurations and involving
the person experiencing them, and the ancient stories that seem to have
functioned as webs for cultural practice and the interaction between group
and personal identity. I have studied some of the ?story webs? of a couple
of language groups of Aboriginal Australians. In regards to this Sergio
wrote that he

?see[s] the comeback of ancient or pre-modern cultural forms -
polyphonies, oral cultures and tribalisms (McLuhan), the perception of
reality as a fluxus, sounds images and words rituals ?

My understanding of Aboriginal multimedial story systems is that they
were/are very conservative. The polyphony was gained through each member
of a group having a designated place in the group for as long as they
adhered to the laws, as expressed in the story systems. I am aware that in
the Gulf country before a ceremonial dance is staged the body paint of
each of the dancers must be inspected by a senior dancer to assure that
every mark is in its correct place and form. The painting up itself must
be done in a suitable place, depending on such factors as if it is male or
female dancers. There is ?reality as a fluxus?, in that the world around
the person is recognised as being of enormous age, changing and complex.
But the rituals, sounds, songs and images are passed down along the
generations and individual interpretation, particularly of sacred/secret
images and songs, is not often tolerated. The work of Rover Thomas Joolama
(1926-98) in the open ceremony of the Gurirr Gurirr (Kril Kril) is an
accessible example of how a story cycle extends out from the body, through
images, diagrams, sculptural forms through the clan group and its history
and into the country. A simple summary of Rover Thomas? work can be
downloaded here:

My point is that the concept of narrative cannot accommodate something
like the huge expanse of the cartographic Gurirr Gurirr. New media
technologies have not yet achieved this level of complexity with story
telling but it is not completely unreasonable to believe that they could.
How would the western cannon accommodate such a text?  If we are to
believe Pierre Bourdieu the western concept of narrative cannot do so.
Bourdieu in ?Censorship and the Imposition of Form? wrote that:

??it is the structure of the field itself which governs expression by
governing both access to expression and the form of expression, and not
some legal proceeding which has been specially adapted to designate and
repress the transgression of a kind of linguistic code?.

If we keep looking for beginning-middle-end narratives we are going to
miss so much of the view out so many fractal windows.

Thanks Again...


> the idea of having more perspectives when editing a documentary is
> really fascinating... there are a couple of projects that go in that
> direction, such as Talhofer's documentaries developed with the
> Korsakow system (, but this called my
> attention specially because of its connections with social network
> related solutions.
> btw, we are appraoching the end of the month... it would be nice if
> all the guests could post their closing statements. Despite the now
> and then quiet month, there were some nice exchanges.
> On 6/29/06, Benson, Tracey <> wrote:
>> This does look very cool!
>> Tracey Meziane
>> PhD Candidate
>> Centre for New Media Arts
>> The Australian National Universtiy
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> --
> ---------------------------------------------------
> Marcus Bastos
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum

Doctoral Student, Umeå University
Department of Modern Languages/HUMlab
+46 (0)90 786 6584
HUMlab.Umeå University.SE-901 87.Umeå.Sweden

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