No Speaka Engrish

On October 17, 2005 by Christy

I’ve just come from a rush of work as an industry mentor in cross-media storytelling (and I’ll post about it more soon). I found the experience immensely valuable for the development of my ideas, but have also been caught in the middle of an assumption vacuum. I research cross-media storytelling from a number of perspectives: through reading academic papers, papers from different disciplines; through the experience of creating works; through the perspective of teaching; throught he persepctive of a reviewer; through the perspective of working in industry as a mentor. I find all of these help me understand my area more, but they do not provide complete new insights. When I read, create, write or speak I usually find things that confirm, develop & contradict what I’m thinking. The invention side is already taken care on inside me, the outside input reacts to it.

I work hard to honour who I am (the mix of all of them) whilst at the same time skewing my delivery & explanations according to the audience. Regardless, the very inclusion of views that are outside of the audience (eg: referring to industry in a lecture or referring to theories in an industry talk) the presentation is suddenly dirtied. It no-longer has the voracity of a presentation that speaks solely the same language. I guess it is the equivalent of lasping into another language. But the audience members do understand what is being said, they just don’t want to hear it. They don’t value the views from another area. Industry thinks academia is “all theory” and academia thinks industry is a “consensus economy” and artists think industry is “not art”. When did theory become something that cannot be applied? When did mass appeal become empty? When did making money become the antithesis of art?

By ignoring each other they loose valuable information: academia has been pursuing and experimenting with AI and interactive storytelling for years, industry can grab that knowledge; industry has developed ways to identify & respond to audiences immediately and communicate to many, a cycle and skill that academia can utilise in methodologies. And…I could talk (type) for days…

I don’t get it.

To focus on one issue, the whole idea that theory doesn’t have an application is interesting. There is even a divide between academics: some view theories as not needing to have an application. There is currently an interesting discussion on the Narrative Listserv about, among other things, the difference between Humanties and Science pedagogy. One difference being that models and systems that are taught in Sciences are always the same, whereas those in Humanities are variable. The model is relative to the person reading/experiencing it. The ultimate function of Humanities theories then, is to assist in the understanding of the self, whereas Sciences can assist in understanding things & the self. Obviously I’m still struggling with finding my polyvocal voice, but I’m developing models that can be utilised for things outside as well as inside of the self.

There will always be unique views of things. I just don’t understand where this heirarchy of information from different sources came from, and why people think it is a functional approach! I learn from scientific papers, advertorials, a poem, a graph, a bird song, a smile…