Interactive Narrative

The advent of Internet search engines such as Google have demonstrated the informative power of computer aided navigation of massive text and still image databases. Anyone who has used these search engines experiences the remarkable outcomes of keyword searches that assemble clusters of information and open countless paths of exploration in cyberspace. A fictional rehearsal of this process is rendered in Steven Spielberg’s film Minority Report where a number of scenes present the simulation of a semi-immersive information space that enable such search procedures within moving image material.

T_Visionarium makes this vision a reality, creating a wholly immersive information space where the viewer can interactively explore and link a vast database of video clips that are derived from multiple broadcast television sources. It expresses the artistic potential of such a system, by embodying a tagging architecture that extends beyond the mere keyword hierarchies of similar topics that are to be found in conventional digital video archive systems. In particular, T_Visionarium II and T_Visionarium III enable the viewer to navigate within a cluster of similarities and so assemble a unique sequence of video events that share certain identities, while at the same time triggering the rearrangement of that cluster as soon as the viewer moves to a different clip. By shifting their attention to other clips at a greater distance the viewer generates completely new arrangements of the material. The result is a fundamentally dynamic system of narrative interaction that is being continuously fine tuned as the viewer navigates the data space. In this process there is a continuous narrative reformulation. On the one hand the narrative is determined by the ordering of the tagging architecture. On the other hand, the narrative is completely open to reassembly in totally unexpected emergent sequences according to the individual pathways undertaken by the viewer.

Example of statistical distribution

In effect T_Visionarium is an ultimate auto-creative authoring system offering the viewer a real time editing tool that operates in tandem with algorithmic processes to generate an infinitely varied self-organising stream of narrative events. While the current embodiment of T_Visionarium uses a database of televisual materials, the concept and implementation is applicable to any kind of cinematic content. It prefigures a future where powerful home computing resources and large screen displays will permit the recycling and repurposing of broadcast television, as well as any other source of recorded audio-visual material. In this way, T_Visionarium demonstrates a whole new genre and culture of media ecology.