“(In)visibility and (Un)awareness in Complex Cinema”
Contemporary techno-cultural conditions bring a qualitative shift in cinematic communication, which arguably becomes increasingly complex in its structure. This chapter suggests a complex systems framework to approach this shift. Using the films Antichrist and Melancholia as a twofold case study, I argue that, in them and other complex or “mind-game” films, film form becomes a machine of multiple observation, expressed through many instances of systemic self-reference that create mise-en-abyme structures, where viewers repeatedly locate and lose themselves. Complex cinema engages film and viewer in a mutual systemic constitution and communication, of which uncertainty is the basic principle.
“Cutting and Folding the Borgesian Map”
This article engages with the mediation of memory processes. As Niklas Luhman asserts, in our high tech society, memory and temporal relations have become increasingly complex processes that call for new ways of understanding temporal dynamics. Cinema is considered as a techno-temporal object that plays a decisive role in our (collective) memory. More particularly films such as Intervista and The Final Cut provide us with images and stories that tell us something about these complex enfoldments of time mediated by ubiquitous computing.
“Participatory Strategies in Interactive Installations”
Ubiquitous computing has to couple with uncertainty and complexity in making sense of low level interaction while aiming at coherent overall experiences. Performance studies and theatrical frameworks can be useful in design putting emphasis on higher level aspects such as phases and dramaturgy, reconciling physical and symbolic spaces, and considering different roles of expressive acts. The Interaction as Performance conceptual framework is presented with examples discussing the design of a fictional space through selection of creative constraints which facilitate interaction in installations. In this space, dramaturgy is considered as the emergence of narrative through computer generated or mediated interventions.
“The Collective Novice: A Designer’s Reflections on Emergent Complexity in Collaborative Media”
My interest in ubiquitous infrastructures is related to the ways in which they enable communication between people, and as a designer I sometimes engage with creating what is called collaborative media platforms. Based on a design case on the future of news and sports, I identify the inherent challenges and tensions of collaborative media — for instance, the observation that freedom of choice is strongly linked to mindless flock behavior. My conclusion is that the field of interaction design is poorly equipped to take on the design challenges of collaborative media, and that new foundational concepts are needed for design processes as well as designer roles.
“Information-Events, Big Data, and the Flash Crash”
This chapter focuses on the Flash Crash on the NY Stock Exchange as an “information event,” which is explored in relation to viral videos and Internet memes, surveillance revelations, Craig Venter’s “shotgun” method for genome sequencing and use of Big Data, and Mandelbrot and Taleb’s distinction between “mild” versus “wild” randomness. While the Flash Crash has been correctly perceived by physicists as an extreme event in the financial markets (understood to constitute a complex system), the controllability of its flows has not been questioned. The chapter suggests that the flows of information be considered analogously to how Deleuze and Guattari model the uncontrollable flows of money in financial capitalism. Uncontrollable and unpredictable, the information event can then be seen as a marked duration of higher visibility and thus a differentiator of information within the general flow.