Aesthetics of Type I Error
As part of my role working on Type I Error I have largely engaged with how to to actually implement the story in Twine. While most of this revolves around how the project functions (see my earlier post on ludology) another large part is the aesthetics. Gambarato (2012) remarks “As interpreters of transmedia projects, audience does not see see isolated parts or systems. They see them in a relationship between themselves and in relation to the context of their knowledge”. Every choice made reflects on the narrative, aesthetic choice then is not arbitrary but integral to a successful transmedia project.
Type I Error exists in a dystopian future Melbourne and mostly revolves around digital information. Obvious inspirations include:
- The Matrix
- Orwell’s 1984
- Citizen 4
- Serial (The Podcast)
But these are mixed with the actual style of the prose which is much closer to that found in ‘Film Noir’. Think dramatic lighting, desaturated colours and extremely stylized situations. Our protagonist is a non-digital native who has strayed into the world of the digital. Has taken the Red Pill and gone down the rabbit hole. I have tried to marry these two themes together in the project’s theme.
Here is an example of a government ‘header’ to denote official documents.
Likewise the map the user is given to make sense of the situation is also worn. I digitally burned, aged, dirtied and desaturated it before adding a coffee stain to make it more stylish. While not realistic, it plays on the trope of the overworked journalist pouring over the map into the wee hours of the night, perhaps using coffee to stay awake. It uses the flawed style of film Noir to keep in the style. A pristine google map would have worked in terms of conveying the data, but not the story.
All of these artifacts are linked to by a bold grey lettering on a black background. No fancy dissolves or graphics. Just bleak text, almost as though you are leaning over Samantha’s shoulder and reading off a typewriter.
Each of these elements will hopefully work together to convey a certain mood. An oppressiveness that is only alluded to in the beginning of the project. Another facet for the audience to draw on as they attempt to make meaning from the project.
Gambarato, R (2012). Signs, Systems and Complexity of Transmedia Storytelling. Estudos em Comunicao, 12, pp. 69-83.