Cinematically Folded Narrative
Ted Goranson

Narrative is a central concept in our work. We are interested in narrative structures and the dynamics that build, sustain and change them. We also study spatial reasoning, analogy, and a collection of introspective devices we call “folds.”

In particular, we think a new spatial vocabulary is emerging in film right now. It is moving fast in some respects, both in the cinematic techniques and the approaches to folding in narrative. Therefore, we have begun a study and asked a community to participate.

This started with comments on the Internet Movie Database [More ], which were copied and indexed on [More ]. In turn, we created [More ] as a community platform with the idea of guiding the launch of Framethrower [More], our first use of topoiesis [More] in the WorldMerge implementation [More].”

The main focus of the film study is folding, which we define as a class of techniques which include self-awareness, film-within-a-film, parallel analogies, irony, integrated commentary, reflexivity and so on. We think these share common traits and are managed by the same cognitive processes. They map well to one class of narrative dynamics that present the challenge that topoiesis is designed to address.

The basic idea is that we can only understand these dynamics by studying them in real life, in this case meaning what real people work with. We confidently assume that cinematic techniques are where innovation happens in narrative structure. So the study is simple field science: watch movies; observe and parse folding (and other things); characterize them in situation theoretic terms; code them in a topoiesis-inspired system. The goal is to have a system that understands these and thereby be meaningfully intelligent.

The study includes a novel definition of “noir” and a speculation called Ted’s Law that supposes the semantic distance [More] between two folds is equal.

Incidental observations are made on redhead archetypes, women directed by their lovers, orreries, Alice in Wonderland, Chopin, absinthe, and cinematic inkflows, cloth, water and architecture.

The study is in a book called Films Folded [Here].

One user interface concept was worked out with a detailed example [Here] from the film, “Memento.” This bowtie concept is also our baseline for the kutachi [More] study.