Computational Media and the Core Concepts of Narrative Theory

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/309577

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Roine , H-R 2019 , ' Computational Media and the Core Concepts of Narrative Theory ' , Narrative , vol. 27 , no. 3 , pp. 313-331 . https://doi.org/10.1353/nar.2019.0018

Title: Computational Media and the Core Concepts of Narrative Theory
Author: Roine, Hanna-Riikka
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies
Date: 2019-10
Language: eng
Number of pages: 19
Belongs to series: Narrative
ISSN: 1063-3685
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/309577
Abstract: During the last two decades, computational media-a technology able to simulate virtually any system-have permeated all aspects of contemporary society and culture. So far, narratologists have mostly neglected this progression, which is also known as the digital turn. While the current developments have called our attention to phenomena such as narrative representation across media, the core of narrative theory is still firmly rooted in concepts constructed from the basis of verbal structures and content that can be deemed fixed or unconditional. This article argues that we need to extend the scope of narratological inquiry toward the machines of computational media. With the help of conceptual tools borrowed from software studies and digital humanities, the article first identifies three main properties which distinguish the computer from the earlier forms of media: database, procedurality, and reciprocity. It is then shown how these properties challenge some of the core concepts of narrative theory-plot, character, and storyworld-in the analysis of storytelling in computational media. Finally, it is suggested that in the future, narrative theory might put more emphasis on, firstly, authorship as design and, secondly, the performative acts that the designs invite and enable. The article thus points toward understanding the transformative effect of computational media on the ways in which we see the world and engage with it through the time-honored gift for storytelling.
Subject: 6160 Other humanities
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