The Story Lab – Week 9

This week we were given a reading by Renira Gambarato, which explores the relationship between signs, system and complexity in relation to transmedia storytelling. I found this a particularly hard reading, mainly due to the fact it involved algebra, which I haven’t dealt with since 2011.

However, after a few readings, I finally got what Gambarato was talking about and pulled a few key ideas which I found interesting, as well as ideas which relate to our final project.

  • Garambato defines a system as the composition (or the set of components), the environment and the structure of that environment. This can be applied to any environment, be it a school, a workplace, or a narrative world.
  • Garambarto argues that a transmedia environment needs to involve “at least five main areas (systems)” to be considered an engaging project
  • Garambarto argues that a fundamental of transmedia storytelling is the relationship between the story and the people interested in it. This relationship can be divided into two different ways – interactivity which allows the audience to relate to it without changing the story and participation which allows the audience to engage with it and express creativity in relation to the story.
  • Garambarto explores the dichotomy of sytsems, either being open or closed. An ‘open system’ is one which invites and allows the audience to fully immerse themselves in the story, and allows them to express creative control over where the story can go. In opposition, a ‘closed system’ is one which does not allow the audience to interfere with the narrative..

The most interesting thing I picked up from Garambarto’s reading is the idea very few projects are created as open projects, that “all the story development was already planned and controlled”. I was thinking about this particularly in relation to the projects we have undertaken this semester, which are predominantly closed systems. The idea of creating a story but not having control of where it goes or how it will finish is really terrifying.

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