Books, Movies, Movies, Books… and the lines begin to blur with other forms of art

At some point, it all congeals – books, movies, visual arts… and mediums as yet undiscovered.

Some of my best teachers have been excellent storytellers. I’m presently enjoying another class through Coursera, www.coursera.org , Introduction to Art. This is my fourth or fifth class through the on-line format and it just keeps getting better. The course, shared by more than 50,000 students around the globe, is one more notch in a bar that keeps getting raised higher and higher. The content is rich, but the mode of delivery has begun to engage all the senses: visual, sound, touch through the techniques of frottage, but why can’t it involve the other senses? Smell? Taste?
In the Introduction to Guitar course, listening is essential. In the Nutrition course, taste was a pleasure. And I plan to introduce both senses into my current work-in-progress, an exploration of fantastical art.
Traditionally, students are taught through lecture, reading, practice, and mastery is confirmed through testing. But why can’t learning and storytelling include all of the senses?
With the I-Pad, the “reader” becomes a participant in the story, Khoya, http://vimeo.com/27045415 In the Apple store, Khoya is referred to as an app, but it is, at its heart, a story designed for teens and adults – an adventure in which the reader engages in opening doors through touching the screen, inciting action by tipping the I-Pad to release a jar of lightening bugs, filling a shared glossary by taking photos and adding them to a database.
Most of us are familiar with a child’s attraction to computer games. But with an Xbox Kinect, the player becomes a physical participant in the game.  The only limitations at present are the quality of the available games. Presently, the Kinect games treat the player like a participant in an obstacle course. But why couldn’t this technology be used to inspire “players” to exercise by moving through a museum, or exploring a castle? What are the possibilities if this technology were partnered with a class? What if a “reader” were able to move through the setting of the “book” in search of the hero, or in order to explore history through a recreation of primary documents?
Now, Microsoft’s “holodeck” begins to bleed the setting into the participants’ living room.

Part of the enjoyment of a book, of reading text, is world building, recreating the words as images inside our heads. But slowly, we begin to take control of the words, building a richer and richer environment, more connections, more sensorial. And art begins to infiltrate every aspect of life… and the way we learn… And the way we learn… is through story.
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5 thoughts on “Books, Movies, Movies, Books… and the lines begin to blur with other forms of art

  1. This is fascinating stuff. Who knew there could be such “new frontiers” for story-telling. Do you think this move toward sensory or more interactive experience will compel readers away from simply reading?

  2. Fascinating post, Sofie! Technology is getting closer and closer to the user and the user is moving deeper and deeper into the technology. Leah raises an excellent point and I'm going to run it up a different flag pole. I see these advancements as a double-edged sword. As we are lured deeper into the technology, we are both exposed to more of our world, and become less a part of it. The ability to experience places and things we'll never reach through technology is thrilling (just as we do with books). To tour the great museums of the world without the onerous cost of travel & lodging. To explore the most dangerous of environments without risking life and limb. There are benefits to be had, however, I can't help wondering, as virtual experiences become more enriched, are we in danger of believing a virtual experience can replace a real experience? Perhaps I'm being extreme, but it is a question one must ask. Thanks again, Sofie, for opening my mind and showing me more intriguing ways to view the world.

  3. Hmmm. I think there will always be “just” text based reading, but I believe, more and more, we'll see an expansion of “story”. I recall walking out of a Harry Potter Movie feeling exhilerated – feeling as if I had just been a part of something magic. Books started that, but the more my own senses were involved, the more like “magic” it felt.

  4. I recall my parents worrying that I spent too much time reading and not enough time living. 🙂 So it sort of sounds like the same dilemma. How much is too much? Is it a sacrifice to stay inside, stay safe, if it means more people have the opportunity to share the experience? I sometimes lament not being more outdoorsy, but when I decide to go out in the thick of it, I am instantly reminded of some of the less attractive aspects of being there, in the moment. I love reading murder mysteries, but wouldn't necessarily want to be in the thick of it. 🙂

  5. This is a cool debate, I'm not sure which side I fall on. While reading your blog, Sofie, I thought of children who can't play, due to some sort of physical disability, and how wonderful those programs might be. How amazing, actually. Yet, when I take the twins to the Children's Museum, or to a park, all the young mothers around me are staring at their cell phones. While attentive to their children, they seem to see parenting as a job, more than a relationship.
    So, I wonder about all of this, and play with my grandsons.

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