From There to Then

Multi-Channel Video
Processing, Physical Computing, 2014/15

'From There to Then' (2014/15) is a collaborative research project by Diane Derr and Law Alsobrook examining the construction of narrative through the non-visual and auditory forms of environmental and biometric sensors. This project explores Aristotle’s delineation of narrative as the logical connections and interactions that exist between events. Through environmental and biometric data collected from sites of pilgrammage in India including Dharamasala, Bodh Gaya, and Varanasi 'From There to Then' considers the trans-media narrative framework through perception and experience. 


Background information
Our cognitive perception of time and experience as it relates to narrative has been the subject of theoretical and philosophical debate since Aristotle’s characterization of mythos and mimesis outlined in Poetics. In this seminal text Aristotle theorized this concept as being demonstrative of poetry (particularly epic poetry) in that it creates a representation of events, objects, and experience to consider the real. According to Aristotle, mythos, the Greek word for plot, is not simply the sequential ordering of events but rather the logical connections and interactions that exist between events. The stronger the connections, the better the plot, resulting in a greater opportunity for reflection of the real. As traditional communication models morph and shift with continued developments in technology, our understanding and interaction with the representation as a means to consider the real is shifting in tandem.

In his text Communication, Power and Counterpower in the Network Society, Manuel Castells describes the blurring of boundaries between the traditional communication models of one-to-one, one-to-many, and mass communication as “the development of horizontal networks of interactive communication that connect local and global in chosen time”. Each communication model offers its own lens through which we may interpret an event, as a representation. It is through this blurring of boundaries in how we interpret the representation of events that we may examine the construction of narrative through non-visual and auditory means.

The principle aim of this research project has been to explore an alternate framework for narrative construction. As a mechanism for inter- and trans-disciplinary practice, interactive media technology offers unique opportunities in bridging traditionally silo-ed communication models. This project will produce a proposal for an alternate process for the construction of narrative through the use of non-traditional technologies.