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Seven interactive essays on digital nonlinear storytelling
edited by Matt Soar & Monika Gagnon

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On the Three Varieties of Interactive Media

Interactive works, including Korsakow films and database cinema, can be understood using Deleuze’s concept of the movement image. Those works that can be understood to be encyclopaedic in intent, where their aim is to present a lot of information, are dominated by the perception image. This includes Microsoft’s original CD based Encarta encyclopedia through to Wikipedia, and can also include database cinema works that emphasise knowledge or information over story or action. In such projects the interface becomes instrumental as its primary purpose is navigational and subject to the strictures of industrial or informational interaction design. 

Interactive works that are dominated by the action image are works that either, a) utilise some form of ‘gamification’ where users earn badges, rank or access to levels as they ‘progress’ through the work, or b) those works that have a narrative arc that presumes beginning middle and end and so encourage users to ‘click through’ to find the end or otherwise ensure they have seen ‘it all.’

In both the perception and the action image narrative voice is subsumed by the anonymity of the informational, or the desire for completion and closure. In these works you navigate rather than read and listen, and questions of navigation and architecture trump the indeterminacy and risk of the interval. To this extent they are anonymous, and often emphasise and rely upon technical effect and computational spectacle in lieu of voice.  
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