Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Time and Touch, Here and Now

Reading back over my stuff is a nightmare.

I spent ages today moving and rewriting a few paragraphs, only to find that they fit better where they already are, with a few minor alterations.

What this bouncing around has done though is give me slightly better appreciation for what I'm trying to do on the whole.

It's not good enough to say theatre = new media, the end! What I'm really looking at is what specific parts the two share and why this makes them more aligned than every other link identified thus far.

So, let's take a quick look.

The big things I'm approaching are participation, interactivity, haptics and co-presence. By big things, I mean these are the ones that have been distilled from the extra pile of immediacy, hypermediacy, representation, presentation, virtual and actual.

The latter group are means, the former, ends.



By playing with the latter, the former can be altered. If I give you an immediate virtual representation, this limits you to a very base level of participation, what I might call passive participation depending on the medium. For example, if I were to buy you a movie ticket, you could watch the film, but you couldn't touch it, edit it, comment on it (while it was happening) or even really do anything other than sit there and watch it - or leave. As soon as you leave, the extremely passive participation (spectator-ship) is over, and there are no links to the film at all. Fake world (virtual), adherent to filmic convention (generally immediate in terms of transparency) and screened after the fact (representation).

If I give you a hypermediate actual presentation, the whole equation changes. "Here's a ticket to paintball" I say. "Enjoy".

Firstly, you're in a group (participant - you actually have to do something other than sit. Actually, even if you just sit that constitutes a conscious act). Secondly, you're in a team (interactive/co-present - teamwork and opposition, which means what you do has an effect on others, and the converse applies). Next up, you have a gun (hypermediate/presentation: sure it's fake - and you know it - but it fires in real-time and the green paint - also fake - hurts when it hits) and to round it out, you have a gun (haptic - you can touch everything).

Pretty extreme examples (I mean, I could have got you conscription to go to war, but paintball seems a little more fun), but what becomes the real deal from this is that time and touch show above the rest.

Time presents across all real-time (what a surprise?) media. New Media stuff can be done as it happens, as can theatre. Film can't. Television is fifty-fifty.

Touch is the other big unit. You can't touch a film (and make changes). You can't touch a TV (and make changes). You can touch New Media and make changes. If you touch anything in theatre, it changes.

All of these (participation, interactivity, haptics and co-presence) are greatly enhanced by touch and time. All of these (immediacy, representation, virtual) have no requirement of either. All of these ( hypermediacy, presentation and actual) are somewhere in the middle, and if played with can have a greater effect on these (participation, interactivity, haptics and co-presence) than these (immediacy, representation, virtual) will.

That's not 100% true, but it's a pretty good general rule, and think if I align my chapters a little more like that I'll be sitting prettier than I am now.

The problem is that today, I lost touch - and time is off the essence. I'm going to write it off as 'calm before the storm', but it's about time I got back in touch with what I'm doing - writing about the here and now.

Did I say this was a nightmare?

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