Saturday, June 14, 2008

Day F/ix (five + six) - Hypermedia in Action!

Hi All,
First, apologies for my lack of posting yesterday - I thought that i would have time either before of after work, but alas i did not. Such is life.
However, i
did spend a good chunk of time uploading a bunch of media to post for you today. As i mentioned in the last post, my thesis work this year ended in the sudden realization that we were not, in fact going to be able to make what i wanted to make, leaving us with an excellent framework and lots of material, but no physical hypermedia. So what i can do, while i can't send you a DVD in the mail - much as i would like to, is to lay out video samples and walk you through what your options and course of action/viewing/navigation might be, were you to be playing with the hypermedia yourself.

And so we jump!
I'm not going to post the full film of The What's Left Over After yet, first because i'm not 100% done editing (it still needs to be color and sound corrected), second because i'm hoping to eventually sell it to fundraise, and third because there's no way i could concisely show the hypermedia structure by looking at the whole piece. So instead i've selected a short sample clip from which to work from. This clip comes about a third into the piece (which runs about 18min live and 19min on film). It is the very end of the lovers duet, which we've also referred to throughout the process/hypermedia as "the letter duet" and "LD2". As you watch it, try to watch it once as you would normally watch any type of media or art.

Now watch it a second time, this time posing the question to yourself - if i wanted to learn more about anything in this clip, and had been told that anything i clicked on would lead to more information and footage, what would i click on?

The visceral outline of this 2:23 long section of the piece is as follows:

  1. Larissa Handstand over
XI. Sarah’s Phrase (Rowan + Larissa)
  1. Hard fall
  2. Pelvis up
  3. Venn Diagram Spots
  4. Ungulate
  5. Sweep Around
  6. Connecting Fingers
  7. Hand to Face
  8. Sweep Forward
  9. Hard fall back
  10. Pelvis arch
  11. Hand to face
XII. Summer Section (Rowan + Larissa)
  1. Run Around
  2. Sweep around
  3. Connecting Fingers
  4. Hinge back
  5. Tilted lift
  6. Arch to floor
  7. Awkward thing
  8. Walk down
  9. Thumb to forehead
  10. Giving the letter 2
  11. Long slide back
with the bold movements/phrases being the ones that are live links in the hypermedia system (and thus deemed "important" by me in the sense that i decided there was additional information that we could share about them via the hypermedia).

So out of that 2:32 of the piece, there are are eight unique main links (1 section: LD2, 2 phrase: Sarah's Phrase and the Summer Section, and five movements: venn diagram spots, hand to face, the awkward thing, thumb to forehead, and the long slide back). It also should be noted that, had i the time and space (or, hypothetical space, as our predicted lack of space on the DVD is now voided by our lack of actual hypermedia system) that i would have created links for additional movements: hard fall, pelvis up, hard fall back, connecting fingers, walk down, and giving the letter.
For the purposes of this seminar, I'm going to focus on a few specific links, as each link has a multitude of videos that goes along with it. They are: (Section) LD2, (Phrase) Sarah's Phrase, and (Movements), and the Awkward Thing and the Long Slide Back.

Let's say you were interested in the Awkward Thing (which is that still moment when Larissa is awkwardly positioned against Rowan so that her shoulders and upper body are against the ground, with her legs braced on Rowan's upright shoulders) and you clicked on it, unknowing what you would find. First (in my ideal world of worlds) the video would freeze, and the item that you clicked (in this case, the awkward thing) would stay in color and illuminated as the rest of the screen went gray and darker. Then a flash animated menu would drop down from the still image of the movement, listing those five categories that i talked about yesterday (1. Evolution/Process, 2. Insights, 3. Meanings, 4. Questions, and 5. Media). Of course this is my fancy in-mind version. But isn't it beautiful?
In this case, because the Awkward Thing only links to three videos, the menu would appear like this:

1. Evolution/Process (2)
  • the Awkward Thing's Evolution
  • Rehearsal Footage from the Awkward Thing
5. Media (1)
  • Connection to Sarah A.O.'s piece "Haunt"
From that menu, you could decide to watch any of the three videos. Here they are:

In much the same way, here's what the menu would be if you clicked on the movement of the Long Slide Back, which to me sticks out as the most iconic image from the piece.

1. Evolution/Process
  • Evolution of the Long Slide Back
2. Insights
  • Vivi
  • Mrs. Sharp
  • I.B.
  • W.C.
  • Rowan
5. Media
  • The Music of the Long Slide Back
And here they are:

From both of these movements, after watching some, none, or all of these videos, you could go back to watching the piece, or navigate through the media web. You could navigate to the phrase (Summer Section) or section (LD2) that these movements came from, investigate specific music or lighting details, or click on one of the "related videos" that came up during one of the videos that you watched (much like a YouTube setup). For example, Vivi mentions making the movement for the Long Slide Back in the first day of rehearsal over the summer, so a link would come up in the related shorts for the short that shows that day's improvisations and rehearsal. Additionally, in the rehearsal footage from the awkward thing, i mention that it's a moment of stillness. While I don't make a direct reference to other moments of stillness in the piece, the link to a movement we called "Lift 1/2/3 Underwater" would come up under related shorts, because it is the other important moment of stillness in the duet.

Now let's say you were interested in something earlier on in the clip, something that wasn't linked, such as the hard fall or the sweep around from Sarah's Phrase. If you clicked on one of these movements, because the movement isn't linked, it would take you directly to the phrase. Phrases are different from movements, in that they would each have a separate "page" - think like a small pop-up web page that would have the shorts for the phrase, as well as a list of all the movements in the phrase, so that you could look at information for the phrase as a whole, or for the individual movements therein. If you clicked on Sarah's Phrase, you would find two videos:

Last, let's say you wanted to find out more about the overall section of the piece. You could navigate backwards from the phrase page, or any of the movements, to get to the larger section page. If you wanted to find out about LD2, you would have the option of choosing from a bunch of videos (only about half of which i'm showing here, as only about half of them pertain to the short clip of the film you saw.
The menu would be:

2. Insights
  • Rowan's Experience
  • Rowan and Larissa's Relationship
  • LD2's Importance to Sarah
  • LD2's accessibility
3. Meanings
  • Sarah's about

I hope this gives a good example of the type of information that would be offered with the Hypermedia. As you can see - each linked movement/section/or phrase offers a wealth of information, and this is (unbelievably) only about two thirds of everything offered for this 2:32 clip. Let me remind you that the film is NINETEEN MINUTES LONG!!! Fantastic.
I'll offer more insight and analysis on how one might navigate this structure, as well as a discussion of how things could be linked as "related" - which is where the hypermedia really takes off in my mind and stops being about "explaining" and starts being a whole new art form in itself - tomorrow. I think this is probably (more than) enough info for today.
Also, i'm sure parts of it are less than clear - questions?

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