[Humanist] 23.539 London Seminar 14 January

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Wed Jan 6 09:51:16 CET 2010

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 23, No. 539.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Tue, 05 Jan 2010 09:02:37 +0000
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: London Seminar in Digital Text and Scholarship, 14/1/2010

London Seminar in Digital Text and Scholarship
14 January 2010 (Thursday)
Room 275 (Stewart House), Bloomsbury, London
17:30 - 19:30

Helena Barbas, 'Interactive Fiction – narratives without memory'

In mobile narratives – as in any kind of interactive fiction – 
creativity lies in the (physical or virtual) route taken by the user and 
is a consequence of the several nodes/links she chooses to navigate. 
 From this user’s agency emerges a new relationship between the literary 
concepts of story and discourse that interferes with the normal 
structure of plot and the technical traditional artifices to create 
suspense (the bifurcation). Immersed in the story – as a 
character/avatar, narrator/drama-manager – the user inhabits the 
diegesis. Real time and space turn into a stage where the fiction takes 
place. Reality becomes hybrid or enhanced; the users’ perception of time 
and space is altered. However, in fictional terms, this interferes with 
the literary ruses to deal with time (flashback/flash-forward). As all 
the events are transposed to the present, the «now» of the user 
experience, this kind of story has no memory.

The absence of narrative memory is one of the theoretical issues 
resulting from the practical experience with the InStory project (2006), 
specifically the creation of an interactive fiction for web mobile 
devices (pda). This project will be used as a case study for the 
questioning of other narratological issues, namely the concepts of 
author, character and plot. Also, it allows proposing some 
clarifications concerning the digital concepts of interaction, 
creativity, the role of the word in mixed realities, and the 
relationship between IF and games. As future work will be presented 
PlatoMundi-A voyage with Er, an adventure/quest browser immersive, 
multiplayer, 3D MMORPG serious video game, with basis on Plato’s «Myth 
of Er» as narrated in Book X of the Republic (612a-621d).

Helena Barbas (1951) is Professor-Lecturer of the Department of 
Portuguese Studies – Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas, 
Universidade Nova de Lisboa (F.C.S.H. – U.N.L.). She holds a MA (1990) 
and a PhD (1998) in Comparative Literature – Literature and the Arts. In 
2003, she attended the Master of Applied Artificial Intelligence at the 
Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia (F.C.T. - U.N.L.), and became a 
researcher for CENTRIA in 2005. She gained her “Habilitation” (2008) in 
Literature and Cyberarts. Helena authored books and several essays, 
translated theoretical texts, novels, drama and poetry. She has 
collaborated with diverse newspapers, magazines and with national TV 
cultural programs. She writes literary reviews for the national weekly 
broadsheet «Expresso».

Professor Barbas’ present research interests are multimedia 
storytelling, IF, avatars, the usage of AI decision models and agents 
behaviour and serious games. She was a member of the InStory Project 
team. Presently she is preparing a project on serious games, PlatoMundi, 
aiming to introduce e-learning and ethical issues in game playing. See 
http://www2.fcsh.unl.pt/docentes/hbarbas/ for more.

Willard McCarty, Professor of Humanities Computing,
King's College London, staff.cch.kcl.ac.uk/~wmccarty/;
Editor, Humanist, www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist;
Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, www.isr-journal.org.

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