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Hartmut Koenitz on Interactive Digital Narrative

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InteractiveNarrative

Join us this coming Monday the 5th of October at the Digital Arts Division.

Interactive digital narrative (IDN) in its many incarnations as video game narrative, interactive drama, hyperfiction literature, interactive fiction and other variants, heralds not only a change in the technology of representation, and in the opportunities for artistic expression, but also a challenge to the way we understand narrative. So far, in the prevalent forms of narrative in the western world, the author is the sole entity having control over the creation of the work; at the same time, content and structure are static and unchangeable. These basic assumptions are challenged in IDN, as the audience takes on an active role as participants and the narrative – content and structure – changes accordingly. Consequently, our understanding of narrative, must accommodate these changes. Such a change of perspective is equally important for analytical and practical work, as conceptual frameworks form the basis for many concrete projects.

Starting with view of IDN as a separate phenomenon, the talk will present a definition of narrative in interactive media and a theoretical framework that accounts for the specific qualities of IDN. Moving onto practical issues, a concrete implementation in the form of the ASAPS authoring system will be introduced, along with several finished projects. Finally, the talk will touch on a range of outstanding narratives in current video games.

About Hartmut Koenitz:

Hartmut has studied English Literature and Language, German Literature and Language, Drama, Communications, Information Science, Media Studies, History, and Political Sciences at University of Tübingen, Goldsmiths’ College, London, and Freie Universität Berlin, where he was awarded an MA and he also obtained a certificate in media research and media pedagogics. His PhD in Digital Media from Georgia Institute of Technology is on the theory and practice of Interactive Digital Narrative. He is an Assistant Professor in Mass Media Arts at the University of Georgia and member of the Games and Virtual Reality Lab, as well as the co-founder of the Games@Grady research group. 

His research interests are at the intersection of art, culture, history, and technology. He is especially interested in new forms of narrative expression in video games and other digital media forms. Other interests include serious games and physical computing. Together with an international team of researchers, he founded the Games & Narrative group, which is working on furthering the theory and practice of digital interactive narrative through publications, talks, and workshops. He is the creator of the ASAPS authoring tool for Interactive Digital Narrative, which has been used to create more than 80 IDN works. Breaking Points, released in March, is the first widely available ASAPS title via the iTunes Store for iPad. Another recent ASAPS title is Occupy Istanbul, a game on the Gezi park protest in Istanbul 2013. Hartmut is also a visual artist, and his works have been shown in Atlanta, Paris, and Istanbul.

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