by stronged

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A screenshot of my latest K-Film, using the cloud keywords: verticals, rounds, and horizontals. In this image, the SNU clip (the larger image to the left) represents the vertical. The black and white preview images along the right side are representations of rounds (no distinct vertical or horizontal axis within image, rounds are used purely connecting points from the vertical and horizontal SNU’s). When the interactant selects one of the preview images the browser refreshes, presenting a new set of previews whilst playing the selected image in the SNU clip window.

For example, this next image shows a Round SNU in the SNU clip window with horizontal preview images along the right side.

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I am interested in the correlation between narrativity and constructing memories/relations (placemaking). Assemblage theory seems to be the key to unlocking how this process occurs, bridging the divide between a diverse range of theories associated with specific disciplines. Each theory seems to share the underlying foundation of a temporal and spatial axis intersecting to produce an experience. These axis form a quadrant where an assemblage of individual experiences can be mapped out to represent a whole (I.e. A complete narrative arc or overall impression of a place).

Ryan speaks of how narratives can “possess narrativity” or “be a narrative” (italics added, Ryan 2004, 9). The latter represents the conventional way we interpret narratives, where we identify the semiotics of a “hero” character or structural elements of a traditional narrative to define the experience of a narrative. The former is what I am interested in investigating in my research proposal this year. That is, that all things can function as narratives despite not literally being a “narrative.” Each object within a system can potentially function in a sequence of assemblage that forms a narrative whole (not necessarily a conventional narrative arc with a finite resolution, when I use the term “whole” this also includes open, nonlinear narratives that operate with a system of poetic markers/signifiers).

This reminds me of Latour’s Actor Network Theory that states that all objects “act” certain roles within a system of operation. Every material object has an innate sense of agency that can be seen when in action. In everyday life we often do not consciously realise this innate agency until we reflect upon the system in it’s entirety. We may speculate what type of role a particular object performs in the system we find we are now apart of. The tree absorbs the carbon dioxide we expel and transforms it into oxygen which we require to survive. Most times an objects agency is only apparent at a microscopic level, which makes it difficult to appreciate the fine interconnected tapestry we belong to.

Similarly, we assemble unconventional narratives every day without consciously realising how we are actually imposing meaning to such objects and experiences. Our spatial awareness contextualises our environment and informs us where to look, where to cast our gaze. Once we locate and comprehend an object we begin to assemble it to the other objects that surround us, orientating ourselves within our environment. Bit by bit we etch out our impression of our surroundings, utilising our sensory receptors to signal the quality and quantity of things that in turn triggers recollections from past experiences of the featured objects.

Placemaking, like narrative-making, is enacted when the temporal plain collides with the spatial, producing an experience of an object. Like Tuan states, “space plus history equals place.” As time progresses we encounter a range of stimulus that we order within our vocabulary of meaning. Our personal experience indicates the meaning of each object or event we encounter. For example, my impression of tequila is forever tainted due to a terrible experience I have had in the past. I therefore have formed negative associations with this spirit, to the extent of it triggering a physical reaction whenever I smell or taste it. Tequila for me is a negative item. In the event of encountering tequila again, I have instinctively labelled it as a destructive substance so as to stay clear of it. The signifier (tequila) prompts an aggressive, personal response (signified).

In this example tequila is acting the villain in the ongoing narrative of my ingestion. In the scenario of a night out drinking, I may have a couple of beers, a whiskey sour and a shot of tequila. If I wake up the next morning feeling quite ill I will reflect on the night’s activities armed with the prior knowledge of how my body has reacted to each beverage before. Obviously, the shot of tequila will stick out in my memory as a problematic character as I have experienced negative effects in the past with it. The first glass of beer may play the role of the inciting incident (or the friend who cajoles me into having a drink in the first place), but the dramatic climax in the narrative of my night’s consumption would be when the main antagonist enters the picture and carries out the crushing blow.

This example illustrates how a learned experience can provide value and substance to a situation. Tuan rightly states, “[t]o experience is to learn” (9), and it is through this learning that we begin to understand the edges of a specific terrain – whether virtual (narrative) or actual (placemaking).

The information presented to us (from either Propp’s Fabula, Manovich’s Paradigm or Cresswell’s Chrology) drops into a temporal sequence of events (Sjuzhet, Syntagm or Chronology) that we assemble into a territory of knowledge. The assemblage of this knowledge forms an overall meaning that results in a personal interpretation of the information.

Here are some axis that I believe function in a similar manner:





Narrative is Spatio-Temporal construct



Manovich (originally Saussure)



Deleuze & Guattari 

Assemblage = Enunciation of Signifiers/Territorialization or Deterritorialization on the Body of Organs