8 Part Lecture Series for Exeter College, Oxford University
The Plasticity of Narrative Thinking
Life as Literature: thinking in narrative forms
Today the convergence of technology with virtually every form of human activity, be it in work, education or recreation has made a dramatic impact in shaping not only how we use our tools but how our tools shape our sense of what we produce, what we learn and how we play.
Human beings are the masters of tool making and tool shaping. But we have reached the point where our use of technology is so sophisticated and intimately connected to almost every walk of life that we may be too close to be aware of how our tools have become to shape us. Like the proverbial fish in the bowl, the last thing we notice about our environments is the water we’re swimming in.
The ways in which technology has developed to adapt to our needs and to actualize our aspirations reveals allot about our creative imagination. At the same time, the devices of art and storytelling do much to determine the direction the development of our technologies take; something any Star Trek or Doctor Who fan can attest to.
It is at the interface of this convergence that we find the lines between the arts and technology bluring. It is human intelligence that fuels our means of expression, communication and computation as well as the content that is being expressed, communicated and computed.
We have already entered the era of the data driven society wherein components of our identities and the actions that we take are spread out over networks of interlacing data structures that comprise a computational reality of who we are as consequential as our own flesh and blood. More and more of our daily activities at work, in learning and at play exist within a computational framework; recording and measuring not only our intentions and our actions, but also our outcomes.
These lectures will trace the recent history of convergence in the popular arts such as film, animation, comics and games with computational and communications technology such as artificial intelligence, augmented reality and network media as well as exploring the resulting influences each has had on the other.
We will look at game design not just as an industrial process but also as emerging sensibility whose structures and concerns have influenced education and training. Likewise we will explore the nature of storytelling in examining how technology has prompted multiple threads, computational narratives enabling us to see accounts as faceted perspectives of experience. Understanding character as vantage point and understanding the multitude of possibilities that exist between intent and action, before a choice is made.
We will look at the evolution of the image as representational document in photography, film and in art. Tracing the threads of intent behind portraiture and landscape through photography, film and digital art and how technology has altered our sense of record, depiction and fabrication.
Finally, we will look predictively at the path this convergence is laying for us in the future. How will we account for the realities we are living in the age of the computational society?
Igor Goldkind has over 20 years experience as a digital innovator, producer and strategist having worked in the sector since the early 90’s. He has extensive experience in project management, as well as explaining complex technologies to decision makers. He set up one of the first digital media companies in the UK that developed some of the first publishing websites. Igor Goldkind later became an early evangelist for new digital media and the Internet as a marketing and communications platform, project managing some of the first publishing websites and then ‘Signa Internet Strategies, the UK’s first SEO Company’. In 2008 he consulted and project managed semantic web development for the University of Oxford and the Stockholm Environment Institute.
He has pitched and presented project at board level, working with the senior management of both private and public organisations to derive digital solutions that achieve commercial results and build digital brands. Including successful projects for Oxford University Press board of governors, Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate Modern, the Swiss Foreign Minister and Ambassador to the UK, the board of Christian Aid, Eurostar, Pearson, Usborne Books and other blue chip clients.
In 2011 he was appointed Creative Director for a Liverpool University incubator named SUBVERSION developing comics and SF based digital entertainment products for tablets and mobile platforms. He is also involved in the development of artificial intelligence narrative generation for drama and storytelling