IN-3: The objection of elitism

Many would say that appealing to the avant-garde as a critique of IN is elitist and out of touch. The IN movement wants to create popular narrative forms. Millions of people go to see Titanic and still watch Casablanca or It’s a Wonderful Life on television. Only a tiny group knows or cares about the films of Man Ray or Hollis Frampton.  But we can still argue that these avant-garde authors could inject new ideas and new life into the IN project – just as they did repeatedly in the twentieth century to film and even television. Avant-garde notions of montage and editing have been taken into the grammar of popular film. So we can ask: why can’t the IN movement benefit in the same way from the work of past innovators? Why not try to develop new forms of fragmented and incomplete narrative based on the model of the experiments of the past? Why couldn’t research be conducted into how to proceduralize the narratives style of Buñuel or Warhol?

In fact, the fragmentary and incomplete narrative forms are sometimes popular today. They are not necessarily elite. Music videos are a good example. There is a wide range of styles of visual narrative styles in music videos. Often the scenes present disconnected, fragmented, even contradictory moments in a story that may work with or against the music. The genres and media forms that are popular with younger people often seem to be prefer these angular and incomplete narrative forms. Facebook is an exercise in building little narratives that make sense only to a few friend, if even to them. So is Twitter. And among its many genres, YouTube includes talking head videos that seldom give us a sense of narrative closure. I’m tempted to suggest that rounded closed narratives are popular with the Baby Boomers and progressively less so with younger generations. What are the age demographics for shows like Mad Men or reruns of the West Wing?

IN may be committing itself to a narrative model that has the same future as the Cadillac.

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About jdbolter

Student of media history and new media practice

Posted on November 29, 2009, in Interactive Narrative, Popular modernism and narrative. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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