beginning, middle and end.

At the symposium Adrian spoke about our need for a beginning, a middle and an end in any form of story telling as a result of the forms we use to tell them.

He used the example of a book to demonstrate that physically the must be a beginning, for there is a page one, and an end, the very last page. The book and narrative physically end.

A brief discussion followed about the difference between our need for closure and the completion of a work as a reason for the need for endings.

There was also suggestions that our story forms come from a need to make it evident that a story is narrative rather than life or that the completion of one story is merely an invitation to begin another. This perhaps is best evidenced in the ending of Avatar where a believed to be dead character, suddenly and quite dramatically re-opens their eyes and the movie ends. 

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(image from James Cameron’s Avatar)

I struggled with the idea that form of storytelling we are so accustomed to is merely a result of materiality.

It prompted me to think of the way children play. The mini narratives, games and make believe worlds they create and play out. It is true perhaps that they adopt their forms from traditional media forms such as movies, books and tv shows however there doesn’t seem to be a distinct beginning, middle and end.

They simply play, or continue the story for as along as they can, often until they are told to stop. However, as soon as they are able, the story simply resumes, more like a pause than an end. As for a middle… it seems to be and ever changing array of situations that lead from one moment to the next whether logical or not.

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I saw these children playing on the sand in Bali and while I do not speak Indonesian, I was perfectly able to follow their game which consisted mostly of a competition to make the best looking picture of a house using shells. You might think this means the game ends when the house is completed. Well it doesn’t. Shell houses, it seems, can constantly be built upon or changed into a brand new image. They simply continue to make and re-make images until they were called away.