Narrativity and Lists

This week’s readings by Ryan and Bogost discuss the topics of narrative and how to perceive it from a transmedial point of view rather than the classical form of narrative; and lists, in terms of how they contrast narrative.

According to Ryan, the term ‘narrative’ has become so popular in recent times that its meaning has become “diluted”. When one thinks of narrative, they think of the classical form and structure that presents itself in fables and the like. The issue facing a transmedial study of narrative is finding an alternative to the language-based definitions of narrativity that are present in classical narratology.

She quotes Abbott’s belief that narrative is a combination of story and discourse, where story is the event or sequences of events and narrative discourse is how they are represented. In this view, narrative is the textual actualization of a story, whereas story is narrative in the visual form. Ryan continues on from that saying, story is a mental image and cognitive construct that concerns how entities represented relate to each other. Narrative discourse can be distinguished from other text types in the way that it evokes images to the audience or reader’s mind. The reader can recognize the text’s intent to evoke a story in their minds, and depending on the reader’s intent, its message from the sender is either gained or misinterpreted by the reader.

From this text, we can say that while a K-film is a non-narrative film, the narrativity that an audience creates with their own mind through interacting with the film means that it contains some narrative elements, whether accidental or not. The patterns that are formed between the in-keywords and out-keywords of different clips and how they link in the final product, means that the audience will use these patterns to create their own sense of narrative to the film.

Bogost’s description of lists demonstrates how it is different to the way in which language works. While language uses signs to represent things as having definite relationships with each other, ┬álists divide the things they include, only having the relationship of accumulation between them. While language connects things, lists describe disconnected elements. Because they are so inexpressive (unlike language), lists allow us to represent things in their simplest form without complication.

While this text describes objects/things on a list as not having any relation to one another, the use of Korsakow means that these things/categories are linked to each other to create a pattern. The ability to input your own in-keywords and out-keywords which are then linked by the program to create links between your clips, show that lists, when used in this way, can create relationships between seemingly unconnected things. In order to create as many links as possible between the clips, the challenge is to find the simplest definition of a clip you can, that is common amongst many of your other clips, so that they can be linked by the program. This supports Bogost’s argument that the fact that lists are so inexpressive is a benefit to us.

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