[spectre] Remixing reality with narrative media (workshops & lectures, in sevilla)

fran ilich ilich at delete.tv
Tue Feb 24 15:54:32 CET 2004

Remixing reality with narrative media

It is no coincidence that in spite of the fact that the special effects 
and computer-generated images in The Matrix might appear wholly unreal 
to us, there are details (and not just a few) that talk of our times 
and reality. Not unusually, millions of people identify with the film’s 

Although The Matrix comes to us from Hollywood, it stimulates us to 
re-question everything that our senses tell us (we would not be wrong 
in describing the film as Plato’s Myth of the Cave, with a remix by DJ 
Spooky or Alec Empire), and simultaneously to read the meanings of our 
perceptions more calmly, to reason, to use our reason, we could say, to 
read the code within the “cyber lingo”. This evidently leads us to talk 
of media literacy/digital literacy. In other words, to talk of our 
capacity to read and write in the different “media”. As we are aware, 
reading and writing the code is not easy and it is certainly not one 
single activity.

  When we talk of today’s cinematographic language, we know that there 
are millions of readers, but in comparison there are very few who can 
write (in other words produce an audiovisual work). We should also 
mention that such a language has changed remarkably since it was born. 
Sixty years ago Alexander Astruc reflected upon the "camera-stylo" and 
the arrival of a new period in the development of cinema when this 
medium could be as flexible as a simple fountain pen. According to 
Astruc not only would we soon see fiction films of the types and genres 
that have now become essential for the movie industry (especially for 
Hollywood), but that we would also make/see cine-essays, cine 
documentaries etc.

  Astruc also expected to see future film libraries (similar to today’s 
book libraries) where all film-makers and all those who wished, could 
borrow different types of works and where they could find quotations to 
include in their own cine-essays. It goes without saying that these 
quotations would not be included between quotation marks, as in a 
traditional essay, nor would there be footnotes. On the contrary, these 
quotations would be like a sort of primitive hypertext where reality or 
creation would be revisited by several authors. This is evidently 
rather complicated to put into practice, due to the copyright laws that 
govern such activity in the West.

It would be interesting here to question the exact extent to which 
desktop computers, laptops and palmtops foment and facilitate this 
creativity as well as giving Astruc’s dream another chance to become 
reality, something that the new wave, cinéma vérité and cine-essayist 
film-makers achieved to a certain degree but which today however have 
remained as unfulfilled or little-distributed genres.

As in Ancient Greece, today’s predominant narratives help society to a 
certain extent in formulating and constructing its moral codes and 
identity. Today however the Internet holds out new promises that are 
not completely fulfilled due to issues involving both “digital 
literacy” and the “digital divide” or in other words, access to new 
technology. Perhaps to speak of economic models that encourage 
narrative in the media is still at present rather Utopian. This however 
does not mean that it is a question that should be avoided (we must 
remind ourselves that although many of the world’s countries the 
literary industry is rather small, the television fiction and cinema 
industries are able to generate thousands of millions and capture huge 

  Because of this it would seem essential to reflect and develop themes 
with regard to realism in the narrative media, both in theory and in 
practise. Certain details of the method of literary realism developed 
by Flaubert in the 19th century can be compared in with Lars Von 
Trier’s dogma 95. However, to talk of reality in this period when 
reality is interpreted by the communications industry, which in turn is 
controlled by national governments and transnational corporations, 
leads us to observe a probable fictionalisation of reality. This in 
turn makes us return to the myth of Plato’s Cave, The Matrix and of 
course the question of how to use the media in the widest sense of the 
meaning in order to develop stories: from staging and performances in 
spaces under CCTV surveillance to interactive narratives using Wi-Fi 
devices in urban spaces.

  Alain Robbe-Grillet questioned the form of realism saying that it was 
not very realistic to create an omniscient narrator, a psychological 
reading of the characters and a description of their thoughts. 
Jean-Paul Sartre on the other hand questioned language as giving a 
narrative piece its value, reminding us that a story can be narrated 
via several media. Narrating is narrating: orally, textually, 
digitally, audiovisually, sonically, graphically.

This project, directed by Fran Ilich and coordinated by Pedro Jiménez, 
is inserted in zemos98_6’s “narrative-media” programme 
[www.zemos98.org], an audiovisual festival that will take place in 
Seville and El Viso del Alcor, the week before the workshop, from March 
1st to 6th 2004.


The project will take place from March 8th to 12th and is in two parts:

  Morning sessions of a practical nature for registered participants and 
will be given by the invited guests: Nora Barry, Andrea Zapp, Julián 
Boal, Olia Liliana/ Dragan Espenschied and Robin Rimbaud a.k.a. Scanner.

 From March 8th to 12th 2004
  10:00 h
  Workshops are open to registered participants only

  The afternoon sessions will establish the workshop’s theoretical 
  These sessions will be open to the public and simultaneous 
interpreting facilities
  will be available.

  Monday_ 8th March 2004
  19:00 h
  Julián Boal. Teatro del Oprimido [Theatre of the Oppressed]

Tuesday_ 9th March 2004
  19:00 h
  Andrea Zapp. Narrative and netword

Wednesday_ 10th March 2004
  19:00 h
  Nora Barry. Cinema Online

Thursday_ 11th March 2004
  19:00 h
  Olia Liliana/Dragan Espenschied. Storytelling on net.art

Friday_ 12th March 2004
  21:00 h
  Concert by Scanner
  Monasterio de la Cartuja Refectory. Free entry
  In collaboration with the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo


  The attached application form must be arrive at the UNIA, before 
14:00h on Wednesday March 3rd together with a photocopy of your ID 
card, your curriculum and a brief explanatory letter outlining your 
reasons for wanting to participate in the workshop. The maximum number 
of places is 25 and the successful applicants will be selected by the 
director and coordinator, with applicants being informed personally.

  The workshop is aimed at approaching and becoming familiar with the 
conceptual tools of this new narrative, viewing audiovisual and sound 
materials and undertaking small practical exercises in narrative 
construction. The target audience are audiovisual, literary and 
theatrical creators as well as those interested in digital education 
and literacy.


Workshop and conferences: Universidad Internacional de Andalucía’s Aula 
del Rectorado room, Santa María de las Cuevas Monastery (Isla de la 

Scanner Concert: Monasterio de la Cartuja Refectory, CAAC. Santa María 
de las Cuevas Monastery (Isla de la Cartuja): Friday March 12th at 
21:00 h.

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