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УДК 791.4 + 008
ББК 85.374 + 71.0 + 71.04
DANIIL D. SMOLEV
The State Institute for Art Studies,
SERIES IN SEARCH OF INTERACTIVITY
Abstract. The article analyzes such a phenomenon of screen culture as interactivity; it considers the historical prerequisites for the emergence of interactive works of art, their evolvement in literature, contemporary art (performance, action, happening), cinema, TV series and computer games. The author pays special attention to the formation of a serial narrative conditioned by the continuous interaction between the showrunners and the audience, thanks to which the viewer, sometimes without knowing it, turns into a coauthor. Among the difficulties of developing the logics of a serial narrative is parallel work of scriptwriters with the small and the large narrative (double formal structure). Indeed, as the viewers unravel the plot of yet another episode (the investigation of a specific crime in a detective series or the treatment of a certain patient in a medical one), they never stop complementing the cumulative narrative (which happens to the characters over several seasons). In this regard, interactive narrative forms suggest not only to significantly enhance cooperation and co-creation between product creators and recipients, but also to change the relationship between the large and small narratives within a serial. Interactive screen forms cancel (or at least veil) the dictates of the author, who offers the public one single version of the scenario. As the recipients select actions, plot twists or supporting content, they get a cinematic experience that cannot match another’s cinematic experience. Basically, everyone is watching their own movie, which cannot be copied. The author considers the formation of an interactive culture on the basis of both the latest experiments based on Internet services and streaming platforms (Imagine, Mosaic, Black Mirror), and earlier experiments with interactive cinema (Kinoautomat: One man and his house, Videodrome, D–dag). However, in addition to the aesthetic and artistic features that interactivity carries, it is associated with an important ethical problem: the viewers are able to take responsibility for making decisions only within the interactive field, but not outside of it. Their involvement in the creation is a priori limited by the form of the game, in which any action is annullable, and possible negative consequences (financial, legal, etc.) are borne exclusively by the content creators. This fundamental rule of the interactivity format eliminates the possibility of genuine co-authorship, making this dialogue an imitation.
Keywords: interactivity, performance, narrative, plot, series, cinema, Soderbergh, Trier, Činčera, Cronenberg, author