Performance In Post-Convergence World

Apr 29, 2010


The term "transmedia" has been a buzzword in the entertainment industry for several years now.  What started as a term for cross-platform promotion of movies through toys, books, miniseries, etc. has taken increasing significance in the last few years because of the explosion of entertainment options.  Screens are everywhere now, from the movie theater to our pockets, i.e. YouTube, iPhones, and TV (remember that?). 

As creators (and presenters) of live performance, the diversification of the form and content ecology is especially problematic/interesting because of our deeply rooted connection to place, the liveness, and communal experience.  How can we diversify our forms while maintaining the core of the work? Or is there even a "core" anymore?  To paraphrase Gertrude Stein, "Is there a there there?"

Regardless of how/if you are facing this challenge in your own work, these issues raise significant opportunities to artists and audiences.  To help think about these issues, it's interesting consider the ideas of media and interface designer, Brenda Laurel.  She gave a lecture a decade ago in New York titled "Creating Core Content in a Post-Convergence World" that seems like it could have been written today. In it she says:
"… we are not experiencing convergence in the sense of media.  We are experiencing a diaspora of displays and devices that will address even finer distinctions in situated context.  In this sense, things are not imploding; they are exploding.  Pagers, radios, phones, movies, TV, email, games, websites become formal containers that receive and transmit content from professional authors, fan communities, and regular folks."
Click here for her full article.

Tags: Brenda Laurel, convergence, transmedia

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