April 24, 2008
Let’s play a game to demonstrate that the future of movies is dead.
First, pick you favourite movie.
I’ll wait… I know it’s a tricky question
OK, Good choice.
Imagine you have it on DVD, and you ripp it to your laptop as a 5 Gigabyte file.
Ok, What’s you second favourite Movie?
Ah! Crafty one.
Imagine you have it on DVD, and you ripp it to your laptop as a 5 Gigabyte file.
Right, third (and final) favourite movie choice.
Heh, ok.. I see what you did there.
Ok, you know the score, Imagine you have it on DVD, and you ripp it to your laptop as a 5 Gigabyte file.
You now have three movie files on your laptop, all 5Gb in size.
We wont mention this to the copyright authorities. It’s between you and me.
The thing is, you only need the one file for all three movies. The data for each movie has been conformed to the same size, it’s the sequence of the data that enables the viewing of the movie – through the player that understands the codec.
You see, any movie that has ever been made also exists within the single 5Gb file.
Still with me?
The data file is just noise, it’s how you tune out the movie you want is the trick.
But the fact that every movie that has ever been made is held within that data file also means that every film that will ever be made is within that file.
[Pause for thought – I know you’re thinking at this point.]
Think of it like radio, you have to tune to the right sequence of the data to get the movie you want or the movie you can imagine you would like to see.
Now, for the technical reader, I know you’re snarling at this – yes – it’s a question of retrieval and we don’t have the technology nor the methodology to tackle this puzzle.
But it does indicate a finite number of movies that can be made. It’s a huge number – but it’s finite.
Look at it from an single image perspective.
If you have a jpg file, 800pixels x 600pixels, the limitation of the dimensions, that is, the number of pixels multiplied by the colour depth is the limitation of the format of the image.
As screen/image performance ‘increases’, the colour depth improves and thus more variation can occur, but there is a limit somewhere. 32bit colour depth is probably what you have your monitor set to. Hi Def Tv blows this away, but the visual plane of us creatures is limited to a spectrum. We can only see so deep.
But back to the movie puzzle.
Schrödinger set a thought puzzle back in 1935,
He proposed a scenario with a cat in a sealed box, where the cat’s life or death was dependent on the state of a subatomic particle. According to Schrödinger, the Copenhagen interpretation implies that the cat remains both alive and dead until the box is opened.
You can read the whole cat debacle on Wikipedia.
If you have a 5Gb of data, the movie you want is in there if you can perceive it.
Now, there’s an alternative view of this puzzle from proposed in 1987 by Hans Moravec and in 1988 by Bruno Marchal. Their experiment essentially involves looking at the Schrödinger’s cat experiment from the point of view of the cat. It’s called the Quantum Suicide.
Which makes me think what will power does a movie that has never been made have, to fight it’s way out of the 5Gb of noise, sitting on your desktop?
What ‘will power’ do characters and scenes of movies that, don’t exist, have?
This question shows how our minds project emotive responses towards fictions, how we project our own sensibilities onto formats of existence. Narratives act as vehicles for our own perceptions, but do they have a magnetism to the needs of conversation between ourselves?
It makes no sense to reference movies that don’t exist because they are not a shared point of understanding – we tend to use the past as a reference, not the future. But as the sum total of all possibilities of movies can be formulated if we understand how language informs communication, then reference points remove any notion of authored time – that is, what will be and what has has no hierarchy – that is, the past is no more informative than the future.
But I digress.
If every movie can exist within 1 file, have a look at Amazon, Blockbusters, netflix and youtube. That’s a lot of duplication, a lot of technology used to propel unit sales where instead we should be looking at the solution of movie automata – growing movies – so that we are freed up, to move on to something else.
If you’re in marketing, especially planning, and tuned into the digital storytelling scene (ahem), you’ll know about Faris’s Transmedia Planning essay. You’ll probably know that it comes from Henry Jenkins notions of Convergence Culture, and you might know that he took it from Nicholas Negroponte, Director of MIT, book called Being Digital, where he talks about Bit Streaming. Bitstreaming is where the point of production which becomes the point of consumption (basically – think about Lifestreaming, User Generated Content and Conversation On-line). Your doing is the act of consumption. To use is to learn.
BitSteaming is not Transmedia, something has got lost along the way here. We have to stop thinking in terms of making media; production and distributions are side effects of design, they are not a means to an end.
Design, as an act, infers solution. Design is much better at finding problems than having to abuse creativity to produced polished productions for consumption.
Brilliant things are the messes we are fixated upon. Headlines in the press attract attention, not for the morbid cultural events but for the persuit of reason. A mess is a loose space that we can occupy mentally. There is peace in the eye of the storm. Time stands still in this space.
There has been so much written about this area within marketing, and I think Marcus bagged the best review so far, but it all amounts to avoiding the subject that authorship does not matter. It matters not for an audience nor for the producer, authorship is a channel for communication. Communication, does not need a singular writer to produce media. Films may have a director, but there is almost a countless cast of assistants required to design, produce and distribute.
There’s is also the notion of copyright and licence. That was demonstrated in Where are the Joneses?
You may want to look at Roland Barthes ‘Death of an Author’ or Walter Benjamin’s ‘Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.’ Both have indicated the moral and virtues decline in the notions of authorship. It can be argued that authorship maintains our identity as humans. Crosbie and Doc Searles may debate that synthesis of human authorship is almost upon us. Though Andrea may not agree.
Digtal methodologies, as we have seen within all forms of publishing, does not honour the author as a predicate for future productions. From Markov chains to Bayesian search theory, pattern matching of semantics is beginining to be taken seriously as the direction of technology which will author our future. BookLamp is doing something interesting in this area (Thanks to Ben for the link). We will be experiencing the automaton of narrative far beyond the postmodernism of Baudrillard’s Simulations and Simulacra as seen in those Matrix Movies.
This is why Hollywood is dead wood, tinsletown will burn to the ground.
We’ll be left with an ever present of change, a shifting sifting of values that look more like noise than logic.
The Semantic hope of web3.0, where stuff talks to each other, means that we are the participating audience of a story that we all know even though it has not been written, and constantly trying to escape by retuning the aesthetics back to what makes us feel comfortable. It’s going to harder to be feel secure in the thought that you have a fate, destiny or an objective future when the principles of subjectivity are iterations of a systematic upgrade of general consensus – you belong to your peer’s perceptions.
Narrative may well collapse into pace determined by a rhythm of participation. The story and melody could be perceptive instead of prescriptive.
From storytelling to synthesis, we see performance and identity central to the act of engagement. The human centrality is the primary node within a creation plane, which is pure transaction – an act. It’s how you map the individual the execution of transaction that will make the semantic web, not the alignment of meanings within language. An act is a meaning – a word is a symbol. Signs are conduits between the two.
Life will become a pure dress rehersal because the movie will never be made. Maybe this is the constant betaness. Maybe this is how we should never to be afraid of making mistakes. This sense of ‘incomplete’ or ‘disconectivity’ makes us relate more to each other.
Our patience for this consistant change will be subject to invariants. Just as the notion of interestingness is based upon anomalies; configurations, standards and useful protocols that provide moments of clarity, will become the Greek island oasis that defines peace – and maybe peace of mind. While Advertising hates this, marketing loves this. Disruptions in perception are only useful when you want someone to believe that they are in control – isn’t that so tiger?
But I digress, again.
I’ve no idea on how to retrieve the finite collection of movies within the 5Gb of data, but I’ve started using Twine to collate the ideas and references that made me thinking of this problem called Schrödinger’s Movie . If you’re using Twine, do pop by and have a look, help out, or comment.
Either way – the song remains the same. Open up.
Update [27-04-08] There is now a really interesting thread on Yahoo!Groups about this post.
Now open up
You changed the stakes
Magnet toss that pie in the sky
Unrehearsed let the bubbles burst
All in all a three-ring circus
Of unity with parody tragedy or comedy
Make room for me
Now open up
Make room for me
Lose myself inside your schemes
Go for the money, honey
Not the screen
Be a movie star Blah, blah, blah
Go the whole hog
Be bigger than God
Burn, Hollywood, burn
Taking down Tinsel Town
Burn Hollywood, burn
Burn down into the ground
Burn, Hollywood, burn
Burn, Hollywood, burn
Take down Tinsel Town
Burn down to the ground
Down into the ground
P.s. Ask me sometime how I know Peter Andre is responsible for LeftField’s first 2 albums.
April 20, 2008
Designers should always have a have a plant not a bird.
Work, talk less.
Pull off something at the table.
April 20, 2008
You can argue there is a right time for everything; you could say that the unexpected is always a jolt to your perception.
Either way, there must be a correlation between usefulness and uselessness and the sweet spot must be a time based ideology.
Now, if time has curves to it, then the act of serendipity acts like a magnet to possibilities, and possibilities are either useful or useless, depending on what you think you are looking for.
Being in a state between passive and alert, shall we say ‘open’, at what point in the cycle of interaction of stuff do we identify possibility?
Basing this upon the 4 Humble Demands, and mapping on LongTailness (Green line in the diagram above) [via Chris Anderson] and The Dip (Blue Line in the diagram, above) [via Seth Godin], with an understanding that inventions are either pushed onto audiences (Advertising) or pulled into markets (Marketing), we can see two points of attraction/repulsion that seem to occur in society debate: Criticism and Appropriation.
Godin’s point about the Dip is one of persisitance and quitting – identifying what you are expert at and disgrading the rest of your work – as ever – the persuit of the remarkable.
Andersons, well discussed, model of markets as a Long Tail, where there is more possibilities in the tail, than in the head of market releases, that is, your back catalogue is of more value (if not the same) than your new inventions.
I’ve nudged Andersons long tail model to have a bump, so to reflect the point of interest in a back catalogue. Let me expand upon this.
When a new movie comes out (normally pushed) it will pass through criticism and drop to a level of the market, after which referals to the movie will be peer or algorhythm based (Amazon/Netflicks) after which the title will fade to obscurity (either being watched lends itself to being shelved or that the referal wasn’t adequete).
Therefore the bump in interest is the secondary market moment.
Now, as with the Dip model, a market that examines your efforts (criticism) increases your desire to succeed until you find a moment of self doubt, which makes you rexamine your interest in what you are going. It’s during this Dip that you look around for something that will help you understand and refine your offering, and if you get out of the Dip, you know you’ve found something useful.
It’s the point at which The Dip and the secondary Market meet each other that is of interest to me. It’s where a connection is made that either enables the Longtail model to revive a market or an inventor to disolve an interest. It’s a point of grave decision on what to do next.
Let’s look at the time factor, between the Slow and the Fast.
Releasing an invention (book, film, lawnmower) is a done with some form of promotion: with (creative) agency engaged, the clock starts to tick because the billings have kicked in. You have stock in the warehouse and you have to shift the glorious invention. Time is money at this moment. Costs are driven by a demanding ROI.
Equally, those who invent in public (always in beta) are looking for feedback – the faster it comes, the faster the product can be refined.
In both states, adrenaline is pumping – it’s exciting to be involved with inventions. It’s a birth thing…
But the thing about enthusiasm, it wains, and even if you artificially pump the enthusiasm with buzz and PR, unless the invention finds a residency in usefulness, the interest levels drop to what a market will find acceptable. The pace of conversation around your invention will naturally succumb to banality, because there is always something else that is being invented, released and hopefully criticised.
On the other end of the spectrum of pace, is the slow time, the pace of acceptance and controllability. This the audiences control over the objects in circulation. It’s the pace at which a decision (acquisition) happens.
The 4 Humble demands (Inspiration, aspiration, insight and acquisition) are charted as volumes of time, not spped of time. I have a base line ratio of these 4 psychological phases, there are:
Inspiration – 30%
Aspiration – 20%
Insight – 40%
Acquisition – 10%
So as acquisition takes up the smallest amount of time (this is the actual transaction) it also happens with a pace of consideration. Insight on the other hand, has more energy and more depth to the action. Insight and Aspiration, although have a greater degree of excitement, the attention or dwell time is less significant.
So you get the idea.
Now, back to the point of this, finding the point at which invention becomes a useful, or why inventions don’t become useful.
There are two significant moments of in the diagram that influence the outcome of invention. First is initial criticism, which either way creates buzz for you (No PR is bad PR) and the second is the point of the invention being picked up for REUSE. Now this is likely to be of renewed interest based upon a contextualisation of circumstances, or that there is a detail in the invention that is applicable to something unrelated; regardless, the Appropriate Moment is activated when retrieval and doubt meet.
Uniting the sought and the lost which make a connection happens pace begins to slow down; the attributes of the seeker and the object are identified, connected and revived because of time resisting to be used as a catalyst.
This point in the curvature in time can make a journey become fascinating; renewed understanding of the relationship of things can not happen when an accelerated conversation is happening, nor when the audience is asking what, why, where, when or how (Aspiration phase).
The implications of this are curious – the mid paced ethos of curating has more value to society than the release of new inventions – it’s the recycling of the existing which hold the value of markets.
I think we know this deep down.
Equally, the Dip is nothing more than an opportunity to explore markets for cross-selling and product development.
Now, I could go off on a tangent to mark that commercial appropriation only really works with a Creative Commons BY-SA licence, though many IP lawyers will point out that the largest market for them is the abundance of patents their clients own make them the most money – and of course these are activated financially at the Appropriate Moment.
But I wont.
Instead, the lesson from this is that the channels of pace are widely overlooked in terms of marketing.
Instead of the heady pace of releasing the new (and The Shock of the New is worth a read to understand when an art market goes nuts the quality of production’s interestingness plummet), the area to focus on is around the Appropriate Moment, the space where the audience can gather, create and refine their interests.
It’s some time after the time where they ask questions (“Do you have these in a Blue?”) but before they make a purchase decision. Hmm, that’s a bit obvious isn’t it.
Ok, the Appropriate Moment is when the audience / prospect is beginning to considering.
You know that moment when you get cold called and the smart ass broker is yakking and yakking, you said yes to a couple of meaningless questions and then they drop the line on you and you pause to think…
That’s the moment.
It’s the moment that useful and useless collide and all you can see is possibilities.
That’s the invention of use.
Use does not come from invention but a grasping of the affordances of oppotunity.
An invention is just a configuration of what already exists because the inventor found an Appropiate Moment.