Participation Week 9

Publish a review to a link of article or academic writing

This week’s link is to the article “A History of the GUI” by Jeremy Reimer of Ars Technica. Given the contextual relevance of GUI (Graphic User Interface) with the week’s reading, I had chosen this link to provide a sense of understanding towards the history of its design. The article shows the very first semblances of graphics and text on screen with the first Macintosh followed by the development of other related GUI codes that led to developments we know now as application windows, mouse pointers roll down options.

What holds the most fascinating with this recollection is the intricacy and detail of effort that went into the process of designing these interfaces. Now even small elements such as the mouse pointer which we use almost autonomically was developed only over years and years of precision and trial and error.

Ultimately, to seed opinion of a bigger philosophy (which gels in tandem with databases) is to the concept of big things starting from small beginnings. What I can take from this to my work is the notion that just as such, the complexity of working with non-linear narrative interfaces may prove jarring but with time and focus, I too may find my own discovery within this relatively un-plotted new frontier of filmmaking.

Reflect on Reading for the week and pose thoughts on symposium question

This week’s reading is an informational guide on plotting database narratives, accurately called, ‘Plotting the Database’. Unlike traditional plotted narratives, the Database Narrative, as suggested by authors Matt Soar & Monika Gagnon, is one that allows viewers to access to any data virtually temporally disconnected gene forgoing elements such as foreshadowing and other traditional narrative plot devices.

As such, the question is raised, how does a database narrative succeed in its narrative nature without the employment of such traditional devices. Soar and Gagnon propose the solution through the concept of interface design, the terminal and initial contact with the viewer that helps decide and shape the database narrative

The Plot and Interface

Soar & Gagnon explain how in the view of a database the interface acts as the experiential facilitator of the viewer’s exposure to certain story elements. As such, a database narrative attempts to control this experience by facilitating the points, or essentially plotting, at which viewers are limited and exposed to macro and microcosm of the abstraction in the piece at intentional limitations to access and temporal delays.

An implication of this would be now how the author of the work can effectively plot a database so as to reveal these levels of abstraction to the audience without hindering or revealing the underlying intention behind his/her delivery of his/her audience through his/her piece.

Personal Assessment Matrix

WEEK Analysis Execution Reflection Learning Total
9 5 4 2 4 15

Provide link to a single form of Multimedia

In view of the week’s reading about database narratives and the utilization of interfaces, this week’s link is to a flash-based interactive animation called ‘Scale of the Universe’. The animation functions much like a database narrative in it’s controlled exposure to the animation’s elements based on the user’s interaction with the interface. Soar & Gabnon may come to praise its creation as its interface is designed so as to allow the limited exposure of information to the extent to which its audiences are willing to explore it. Ultimately, the piece attempts to show the the relative scale of the size of objects in the universe through the use of ¬†inserted text and the animated diminishing of object size in relation to the appearance of new objects through the use of a proportional, user-controlled browser bar. The simplicity of its interface speaks little for the complexity of its design but the overall beauty of the piece can be argued to show such a cohesion between elements that audiences are taken aback by the awe and flow of the piece without thinking twice as to how it may function.

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