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Thu, Mar. 25th, 2004, 12:57 pm
Yes and No

From a New York Times article on the Dogme school of filmmaking:

"The computer is a great tool," [Lars] von Trier continued, "but the fantasies we are using it for are still quite limited. We are only doing with computers what we wished we were doing before we had them, like making gigantic armies and so on. So we are really just doing what we had no money to do before. But I am sure that this will change, so that we will use it for something more original."

At some level this is exactly what I'm trying to do. I completely agree with him that it's silly to use the computer as if it were nothing more than a new kind of screen. I see this problem a lot with the ways that people try to develop interactive narratives: they're simply taking old forms of storytelling and trying to slap it into the computer, and that just doesn't work. At the same time, I have to wonder (both at his words and at my own ideas) whether doing something "more original" with the computer, something that really stretches its capacities, is going to get away from what is meaningful to us as human beings. If we start structuring our experiences with the computer according to the computer's rules, limits and capacities, it's going to be very alien to us, because we as human beings aren't computers.

I'm not sure I'm articulating this well, but I think there's something important here about the ways in which we need to make our storytelling tools serve us, not vice versa, yet accept the limitations and implications of the technology at the same time. I should get out Manguel's A History of Reading and see how book technology changed narrative, back in the day . . . .