[ISEA2009] Paper: Mark Chavez, Ina Conradi & Linyi Liu – Cinematics and narratives: creating an archetypal character based experience


This paper addresses our current stage of research and our strategy for addressing the challenges of developing a design driven narrative and methodologies.

Cinematics and Narratives (CaN) is a research project in its first of three years, whose goal is to significantly explore approaches to contemporary animation. CaN is comprised of three integrated objectives: the first is focused on developing and exploiting real-time animation and content within the context of a visual and narrative design based repository of primitives; the second explores the dynamic of context, exposition and expression, e.g. mixing our design primitives into a new form via cinematic narratives, and the third interfaces this system with an audience in such a way as to enable the system to learn from viewer interaction, where the system through a layer of predetermined rules automatically refines the design. CaN is focused on integrating computational intelligent agents designed as character
archetypes within a dynamically changeable world created to adapt along a possibility of multiple narratives.

In the context of design, this research investigates the viewer experience as played out by their reaction to the work. Using the notion of archetypes and viewer experience, our work delves into the notion of presence within subjective space and the viewer’s immersion therein. As part of our experience our goal is to develop a method to elicit contrasting reactions from the viewer. By designing imagery that emphasizes contrasts, we mingle the ‘attractive’ and the ‘repulsive’ in a single immersive experience.

Developing a method to capture the viewer emotion through a gesture based system is our primary goal. This is a system that uses proximity and action to assume the viewer’s state of emotional being. We incorporate this assumption back into our character system to further agitate a reaction from our viewer.

The research attempts to create a bridge of immersion connecting the physical space with the synthetic. To create a space that immerses the viewer in such a way that they are forced to reconsider their impact on the world around them. As  referred to by French Renaissance writer Rabelais when writing about medieval carnival, ‘not a spectacle seen by the people; they live in it, and everyone participates because it’s very idea embraces’.

This research approach plans to leverage upon the mechanics and genre of magic realism. As Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer a Spanish post-romanticist writer of poetry and short stories writes about grotesque mechanisms in literature, The first of these is the fact that the mechanisms of imagination depend in good measure on distortion and violence. Secondly, this subjective distortion is linked to a larger chaos in the universe, whose tragic force can be glimpsed by poetic fantasy. Third, the manifestations of that universal chaos are found in the grotesque aspects of Nature and art, and particularly architecture. They are also found in a ‘second’ reality, a nether-world of demonic forms. And finally, both realities often fade away in the presence of the commonplace and disillusioning environment that we all live in, which can also be grotesque.’

  • Mark Chavez, Ina Conradi & Linyi Liu Nanyang Technological University, School of Art, Design and Media, Singapore

Full Text (PDF) p.  1028-1037