"Narrative has always been about the mix of invention and repetition; stories seem like stories because they follow rules that we've learned to recognize, but the stories that we most love are ones that surprise us in some way, that break the rules in the telling." -- Emergence
Click here to view slideshow of the narrative created.
Polaroid snap-shots were taken of the game board at 12:00, 3:00, and 6:00 by Storyboard players. The inclusion of the Polaroids had a twofold purpose: to document the narrative being created on the game board and also to incentivize play. The only stipulation was that the player to take the photo documenting their move had to write a few lines of narrative to contextualize their photograph.
There were no rules about whether the sentences players added to the narrative had to follow sentences that had come before. The "narrative" created could have been nothing more than strung together non-sequiturs. It is interesting to note that while the narrative certainly has its share of non-sequiturs, it also demonstrates some of the "rules" of narrative: repetitive appearance of characters such as "Baby Jenna", the pizza delivery boy, and Yogi Ashrami, development of those characters, and a definitive ending, for example.
It is also interesting to note how the community seemed to generate a negative feedback loop that regulated the process of the storytelling. As some players took the storyline into disturbing sexual/violent realms, another player explicitly expressed dismay at the new direction of the narrative and deliberately steered it back to more innocuous subjects. The strain of sex/violence did not make a reappearance.
Clearly, to truly test our hypotheses about emergent narratives, Storyboard would have to have been active for a longer period of time (since, after all, "more is different"). However, we think that the first signs of emergence did manage to reveal themselves in both the process and the product of Storyboard.
THE STORYBOARD NARRATIVE
by the ITP community
Babies are trouble. They escaped from their rooms during naptime
and are running amuck. This baby has pushed down Dad on his way out
They sat for hours contemplating how to cook this large
banana -- at least it will feed the whole family.
My cat's breath smells like cat food!
Her O.C.D. acting up, too much confusion in her room, baby Jenna take
a fresh air break! Baby jenna's fresh air break led her to the
forest of naughtiness! She's found a new friend!! "Oh, I can't take
it anymore...must escape from this sinful land of dirty minds!!"--
Wait...is that a body floating in the pond with all that
trash?...Baby Jenna leaves the forest in search of purity, only to
find two feet sticking out of the pond.
Hana says, "Do not look at me!" "I'm very shy" "Take my clothes off
And adding to the horror, the decaying remains of an innocent
rape victim lies just a few feet away.
He knew it was 'wrong', but
she was hot and he was drunk. It made him randy to sneak peaks at
her panties, yeah!
Someone was drinking tea in the "mquillaji" room and just left to
answer the phone.
In despair at the amount of violence + sex introduced recently into the narrative, the turkey will celebrate Thanksgiving in bed.
The car is better outside the house -- its meant to be there!
Multiple children out the window, Father is upset and begins to
demonstrate regressive behavior. Father replaces missing child, but
what role does child take?
He may only appear to be a baby, but Yogi Ashrami forced the masked man to stay in the cobra position all night.
Meanwhile, the angry "lost" son returns and, in between flipping off
his father and Yogi Ashrami, insists he is in fact Harry Potter.
Their minds addled by too much alcohol, ambiguously gay
pirates-in-training Lance and Jim dive out of the nearest window to
greet the pizza delivery boy. The pizza boy came & went. Birds flew
overhead. The rhinocerous stampeded. the sun set on the plains.