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Towards a Taxonomy of Polymorphic Works


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A presentation I gave at the University of Melbourne in 2005. I'm putting some of my old presentations online for prosperity!

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Towards a Taxonomy of Polymorphic Works

  1. 1. Texts, Worlds, Realms and Channels: Towards a Taxonomy of Polymorphic Works Christy Dena 17 th August 2005 University of Melbourne
  2. 2. Ingredients Theatre Installation Networked Art Locative Arts Hybrid Arts Polymorphic Narrative Ergodic Literature Hypertext Fiction Games Treasure-hunt books Conglomerate media ownership Internet Hucksterism
  3. 3. Hierarchies <ul><li>Linnaeus introduced a hierarchy of living things: genera, order, classes and kingdoms . </li></ul><ul><li>Cross-document Structure Theory (CST) differentiates between four levels of textual organisation: document, paragraph/sentence, phrase, word . </li></ul><ul><li>Halliday’s systemic-functional grammar differentiates between the following ranks: clause, group (verbal), group (nominal), group (adverbial) and word (Halliday, M.A.K., 1973). </li></ul><ul><li>O’Toole developed Halliday’s grammar for Art and proposed the following units: work, episode, figure and member (O'Toole, L.M., 1990). </li></ul>
  4. 4. Types of Cross-media Works <ul><li>Enhanced TV, iTV; </li></ul><ul><li>ARGs (alternate reality games), Extended Reality Game; </li></ul><ul><li>Locative Arts, Mobile Gaming, Mobile Art; </li></ul><ul><li>Telematic Arts, Networked Narrative Environments; </li></ul>
  5. 5. What are Polymorphic Works? <ul><li>The Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary defines 'polymorphism' as 'the occurrence of something in several different forms' (Moore, B., 1997: 1040). </li></ul><ul><li>Polymorphic works are works in many forms, multiple texts. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Medially Framed Units <ul><li>Character: member, numeral, pixel, </li></ul><ul><li>Paragraph: components of lexia. Examples: Panel </li></ul><ul><li>Lexia: framed as a component of a text. Examples: Webpage, chapter, sequence, scene , lexia, chorus?… </li></ul><ul><li>Text: framed as a stand-alone text . Examples: book, episode, post to a website, canvas. </li></ul><ul><li>Work: collection of texts. Example: triptych, website, book set, entire series. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Fiction Framing <ul><li>EventRealm: Example: 2-part film = 1 eventrealm. </li></ul><ul><li>SeriesRealm: collection of texts clustered according to the eventrealm. </li></ul><ul><li>Realm of Coherence/Progeny: entire collection of all texts. Akin to Seymour Chatman’s notion of ‘kernal’ (Barthes’ ‘noyau’) where a fictional event is of primary importance in the narrative, advancing plot. They ‘cannot be deleted without destroying the narrative’ (Chatman, 1978: 53). A ‘satellite’ then is a ‘minor plot element…is not crucial in this sense’ (ibid.: 54). </li></ul><ul><li>ThemeWorld: Example: Matrix, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, James Bond or branding … </li></ul>
  8. 8. Framing <ul><li>Portal: access to themeworld </li></ul><ul><li>Simulation: emulate themeworld </li></ul><ul><li>Meta: about themeworld, its creation and affect. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Taxonomy Values <ul><li>Text: individual unit of the product. Can be an episode, movie, book, painting. </li></ul><ul><li>Themeworld: the fictional world or brand as is known through works and imagination. </li></ul><ul><li>Channel: Mode of accessing the text. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Taxonomy Values > Channels View Channel Product Form Computer files (pdf, jpg, wmv, mpeg…) DVD, CD-Rom, catridge Print Computer, television, console, portable DVD player, hand-held game… Broadcast Owned Theatre: 16mm, 35mm, 70mm, IMAX Television Internet Radio Computer, console, portable DVD player, mobile phone, PDA, iPod… Print (book, newspaper, magazine…)
  11. 11. Taxonomy of Polymorphic Works Multi Single Single 2 Single Single Single 1 Multi Multi Single 4 Single Multi Single 3 Single Multi Multi 7 Multi Multi Multi 8 Multi Single Multi 6 Single Single Multi 5 Channel Themeworld Text Type
  12. 12. Type 2: Component Works Type 2: Single-text, Single ThemeWorld, Multi-Channel Disney and Pixar (2004) Amazing Adventures: Movie Theatre Storybook and Move Projector, Funtastic, South Oakleigh
  13. 13. Hybrid vs Multi-Channel <ul><li>Hybrid Art is the integration of modes and styles into a single form. A singular mode of interaction is used to access the work. </li></ul><ul><li>Multi-channel works require ‘assembly’ to bring all the components into a whole. The assembly can be literal (aligning a picture in a book beside one on a computer) or conceptual (juxtaposing the experience on the website with the story on the TV show). </li></ul>
  14. 14. Type 3: Crossovers <ul><li>Lara Croft, for instance, fights criminals with Sara Pezzini of the Witchblade themeworld in the Titan Books series from 1999-2002. More recently, The Simpsons themeworld jumble with Futurama in the C rossover Crisis comics by Matt Groening, 2002, 2005. </li></ul>Type 3: Single-text, Multi-ThemeWorld, Single-Channel
  15. 15. Type 3: Crossovers Simpsons Futurama The Simpsons Futurama Crossover Crisis II Time: Delivery Channel Type 3: Single-text, Multi-ThemeWorld, Single-Channel
  16. 16. Type 7: Series Crossovers Baby it’s You Law & Order Homicide LotS Baby it’s You, Part 2 Time: Delivery Channel Type 7: Multi-text, Multi-ThemeWorld, Single-Channel
  17. 17. Film DVD, CD, Tape Print Television Website Radio 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 ThemeWorld: The Matrix 31/03 15/05 The Matrix Comics Graphic Novel Vol.2 The Matrix Comics Vol.1 The Matrix Comics Vol. 1 The Matrix The Matrix Reloaded Matrix Revolutions The Matrix Comics Preview Comic The Animatrix The Animatrix: 4 Episodes The Matrix Comics Vol.1 Preview The Second Renaissance Part 1 (Animatrix) The Second Renaissance Part 1 (Animatrix) Program (Animatrix Program (Animatrix March Feb 14 th May 3 rd June Enter the Matrix 2005 15 th Nov The Path of Neo
  18. 18. Issues
  19. 19. Time <ul><li>Reading time (discourse-time) </li></ul><ul><li>Plot-time (story-time) </li></ul><ul><li>Delivery time </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>Story Time: </li></ul><ul><li>Delivery Time: </li></ul><ul><li>Film: ‘The Matrix’ 1999 </li></ul><ul><li>Online Comic: ‘Bits & Pieces’, 1999 </li></ul><ul><li>Print comic: ‘Bits & Pieces’, 2003 </li></ul><ul><li>Animation: ‘The Second Renaissance’, 2003. </li></ul><ul><li>Discourse Time: </li></ul><ul><li>Film segment: 5mins </li></ul><ul><li>Online Comic Story: 15mins </li></ul><ul><li>Print Comic story: 10mins </li></ul><ul><li>Animation story: 9.13mins </li></ul>The Second Renaissance 2090-2139
  21. 21. Genette’s time-relations <ul><li>Ordre (order) </li></ul><ul><li>Dur é e (duration) </li></ul><ul><li>Fr é quence (frequency) </li></ul>
  22. 22. Rhythm: Delivery Timing <ul><li>Duration: relation of time to read/view/watch the narrative (discourse time) to the time the story-events themselves last (story-time). </li></ul><ul><li>Summary: discourse time shorter than story-time; </li></ul><ul><li>Ellipsis: discourse time is zero; </li></ul><ul><li>Scene: discourse-time and story-time equal; </li></ul><ul><li>Stretch: discourse-time longer than story-time; </li></ul><ul><li>Pause: story-time is zero. </li></ul>Chatman, S.B. (1978): 68
  23. 23. Order <ul><li>first narrative: Genette </li></ul><ul><li>second narrative : anachronies (disjunction between story chronology and discourse chronology): analepsis (flashback, retrospection) and prolepsis (flashforward, foreshadowing, anticipation). </li></ul><ul><li>Homodiegetic analepsis : information that relates to the current character, event or storyline. (G.) </li></ul><ul><li>Heterodiegetic analepsis : information about another character, event or story-line. (G.) </li></ul><ul><li>External anachrony : events that begin and end before the starting point of first narrative or now? (G.) </li></ul><ul><li>Internal anachrony : events that begin and end after the starting point or now?. (G.) </li></ul><ul><li>Mixed anachrony : events that begins before the starting point or now? and ends after. (G.) </li></ul><ul><li>Distance : span of time from present or starting point to the inception of the anachrony </li></ul><ul><li>Amplitude : duration of the anachronous event. </li></ul><ul><li>Completive anachrony : </li></ul><ul><li>Repetitive anachronies : repeat what has been stated before, with a different slant. (eg: ‘Jack-Jack Attacks!’ short animation on Incredibles DVD.) </li></ul>
  24. 24. Relationships btw Texts <ul><li>Adaptation </li></ul><ul><li>Remediation </li></ul><ul><li>Continuation </li></ul><ul><li>Elaboration </li></ul><ul><li>Contrast </li></ul>
  25. 25. The Incredibles (dir: Brad Bird, Pixar, 2004) <ul><li>Scene with mother listening to messages from babysitter in The Incredibles (theatre, DVD, video, online) </li></ul><ul><li>Scenes with babysitter calling mother in Jack-Jack Attacks! (short on DVD extra) </li></ul>
  26. 26. One Life to Live (ABC, 2005) Sourced from: Sourced from: From Hyperion Books website: Marcie Walsh works as a receptionist at a police station, where she sees firsthand that truth is actually more bizarre than fiction. The Killing Club is her first novel. She lives in Llanview, Pennsylvania. For more information about Marcie Walsh, please visit . Marcie Walsh
  27. 27. The Killing Club (Hyperion, 2005) Cartoon by: Clementine Hope, Hyperion website <ul><li>‘ Killing Club’ was a club in the TV series character Marcie Walsh’s past. </li></ul><ul><li>Marcie Walsh writes book called The Killing Club, based on her past. </li></ul><ul><li>The Killing Club is published in TV series and in real-life through Hyperion Books (but co-written with Michael Malone: the actual author). </li></ul><ul><li>The book is a mystery about how a group of friends wrote down in a Death Book how they would murder people didn’t like. Then the murders start happening and an investigation ensues. </li></ul><ul><li>Murders described in fiction book start to actually happen in TV series. </li></ul><ul><li>No murders in real-life as yet!! </li></ul>
  28. 28. (, 2005) In gallery (x3) Described on as: ‘ a painting about painting and the act of painting […] In this case it takes the form of a triptych in 4 parts’ Online gallery digitisation
  29. 29. (, 2005) Image sourced from: Sydney Morning Herald , April 26, 2005 <ul><li>3 paintings in gallery </li></ul><ul><li>Numerous digitisations online </li></ul><ul><li>Description and images of the making of the paintings </li></ul><ul><li>Images that were not selected (equivalent to deleted scenes) </li></ul><ul><li>Title of work a hyperlink </li></ul><ul><li>Author name a hyperlink </li></ul>
  30. 30. Types of Delivery/Experience of Plot over Texts <ul><li>Sequential </li></ul><ul><li>Simultaneous </li></ul><ul><li>Alternating </li></ul>
  31. 31. Producers <ul><li>Primary (original) </li></ul><ul><li>Commissioned </li></ul><ul><li>Licensed </li></ul><ul><li>Sanctioned </li></ul><ul><li>Unsanctioned </li></ul>
  32. 32. <ul><li>Project Site: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Research Blog: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>