Skip to 0 minutes and 8 secondsWe had a quick look at the history of media in the last session. Media involves the conveying or delivering of some content via a tool. For example, we use a cell phone to make a phone call, which delivers a sound message.

Skip to 0 minutes and 28 secondsThrough TV: another important example of media, we view movies and dramas and the 9 o'clock news. Transmedia involves telling a story via several different media platforms, so in order to explore this subject matter, we have to first find into the characteristics of each of the media in this diverse category. Academics usually divide the history of media into five stages, Starting with the history of the image. Let me show you a picture to illustrate this point. This is a photo of painted cave walls in Lascaux in southern France, which very often gets introduced a humanity’s earliest art creation. If you were to visit the caves, you would be awed by the sheer scale of the paintings.

Skip to 1 minute and 29 secondsDespite being in a cave, the space is wide and long, and boasts rows upon rows of magnificent paintings. Even though I am introducing these paintings as the origins of art, your interpretation might be rather different if you were there and viewing them in person. Perhaps it might strike you that, while painting the cow, the painter’s intention was to declare, or perhaps it was a documentation of a village festival to celebrate a successful cow hunt. Maybe the image reflects the importance of cows in the village and the feeling of inadequacy in presenting a painting of cows over actual game.

Skip to 2 minutes and 22 secondsAlternatively, the paintings could be there for a reason we can’t even surmise, such as a stage setting for a performance of sorts. The more important point I’m making here is that,based on the image, we can safely assume that the message content being delivered was about cows. The media of that time was based on visual images. That was the first time humankind utilized media to celebrate or dance or engage using its senses. Following that came the era of spoken language, from the early and primitive days to the current age of precise communication; the words of this time differed from images, to be sure. After this came the development of written language and then of typeface print, followed by digital print.

Skip to 3 minutes and 25 secondsIt isn’t the goal of this course to discuss the history in detail, but we should be aware of the difference between image-based media and that which is language-based. With language, concepts became a lot more important. Let me show you another picture. Regardless of your cultural background or your period of reference, all of you should be able to say that this picture is of a rabbit. The next image shows the Korean characters and English word for rabbit. These words are meaningless if you don’t understand the respective languages. When you think about it was the shift from image to language a development, a regression, or perhaps a limitation?

Skip to 4 minutes and 24 secondsA key difference is that in the era of the image, humanity could only tackle singular experiences. “Seeing a cow”. “Feeling raindrops falling”. “Watching the sky”. We use the limiting form of images to convey these multifaceted experiences. With the development of language, we acquired the ability to convey our experiences more sophisticatedly through the use of concepts. Even though the word rabbit may prove limiting for some, with other words we are able to convey love, sadness, friendship, rage? Abstract concepts that are important to us and our being. These ideas were able to take form through writing, first, and then with more far-reaching effects later on through print and typeface technology.

Skip to 5 minutes and 30 secondsIn a way, when we look at the history of humankind, we renounced our sensual experience to gain an accurate grasp of abstract concepts. This understanding is both scientific and sequential. As we familiarize ourselves with an A, B, C, D, E, F, G order of rational thought, we have universally become comfortable with a linear perspective of the world, a worldview consisting of thinking that seeks comfort with a story structure of introduction, essay body, and conclusion. This paradigm has progressed in such a way that, as soon as we are born, we learn letters and words to form language, without which communication and learning would be extremely difficult. As mentioned earlier, we gained accuracy but lost our breadth of sensory experience.

Skip to 6 minutes and 35 secondsIt is not just the subject matter that suffers from this limitation in thought and distortion in experience but the audience and message communicator too. What cannot be communicable through words does not even spring to mind. However, the losses suffered through the eras of written language and print have the potential to return with our new cultural awakening. There is a new language that can bring us back to the multi-sensory experiences of primitive times. By this,I am referring to the language of digital print, defined by images that will allow us to have immediate experiences, such as seeing the rabbit picture.

Skip to 7 minutes and 30 secondsOur experience isn’t through memorizing the word rabbit, evoking the definition, and visualizing and recreating it in our heads but the immediate recognition of a rabbit by integrating the sensory impact of images with our knowledge of text. We aren’t returning to a time of pure images; we are establishing a multi-sensory era with the extension of the use of images for precision. Through convergence, this is possible. Next up, we will explore this interface with transmedia storytelling.  

UNDERSTANDING THE CONCEPT OF TRANSMEDIA

Academics usually divide the history of media into five stages, starting with the history of the image. Watch the video to learn more about this. We will consider the example of painted cave walls in Lascaux in southern France, which very often gets introduced as humanity’s earliest art creation.

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This video is from the free online course:

Transmedia Storytelling

Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU)