Monday, May 05, 2003

Media in Transition 3: Television in Transition IV

Lanfranco Aceti: Interactive Integrated Media in the "Agon" of Convergence

Lanfranco Aceti is a researcher at Central Saint Martin's College of Art and Design in London. He collaborates with the Imperial College, and his research focuses on the avant garde in digital media, interactivity, and intelligent systems. Here is a rough transcript of the paper Aceti presented at MiT3:

The interactive integrated media are a new form of media structure that has a multiplicity of forms and codes interacting within a superseding structured content. These formats for old and new cross-platform media will be structured in a single content producer which assumes the amorphous characteristic of a meta-medium. The production of content is multileveled, multilayered, and omnipresent. I don't want to call it a TV show that we will be living, but it's similar to that. We will be carrying it with us.

The concept of A+B=C is changed. In the theory of Pasolini, Deluze, Eco, and Baudrillard, A+B=Z. We will have several aesthetics that are new. The new narratives are composing a meta-language, which is based on the use of old media-specific narratives. We have seen a reduction to a minimum common denominator. In England, we call it "dumbing it down." This creates a process of standardization and homogenization, which is fought in the anti-globalization world.

The issue of interpretation and emergence related to the "presence of the media object" is related to the homogeny or homology of the media itself. The distinction between the two concepts becomes the element that may permit a distinction between phenomena of emergence in the aesthetic and digital structure of media interaction.

In England, Big Brother was the first interesting example of pervasive media. People would go online during working hours. They could get messages on their cell phones. Then they'd go home and read the newspaper. And it wasn't just to get updates on the show. Apple is sponsoring a reality TV show. The industry will create its own media. If you look at that picture, you can tell that they're Indian. But if you didn't know that the picture was taken in India, the picture could have been taken anywhere. The quality of the pictures is all the same. There is a Taiwanese movie called "Tears of the Black Tiger." It looked like it was made in Bollywood during the 1950s.

The war on terrorism has inspired a reality TV series that will track the U.S. military in action. The images that were coming from the war looked like a fashion magazine. They were those kinds of shoots. It was the same glossiness you would see in a magazine. That cleanness is not reality. The next one is a reality TV show to determine the new ruler of Iraq. We can see ourselves moving from that within the political system around the world.

In 1973, there was a reality TV show called An American Family. It followed a middle-class family in Santa Barbara, California, with five daughters. There is one majority element that is being forced onto society. The rest is being pushed down underground.

The BBC has been working on a show for two years with a working title of "X-Box." It's basically a video game in which people can create their own avatar regardless of whether it is real. They will be fighting each other online, and the winners will end up on the TV show. It is a video game that will translate to TV.

Will the immaculate war be the next interactive reality show? And if my army wins, do I get a million dollars?

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