INTERACTIVE NARRATIVE SEMINAR
LOS ANGELES, CA
BILL BARMINSKI, WEBSTER LEWIN & JERRY HESKETH
I'm Bill Barminski. this is Webster Lewin and Jerry Heskth. Together we are Consumer Productions, a new media company dedicated to bringing art and a point of view to CD-ROM and other emerging new media technologies. Today we will be showing a quick look at BAR-MIN-SKI: Consumer Product, our first title which is now available for both windows and Macintosh. And then we will show a demo from our new title called THE INTERACTIVE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CLAMPS. A rollicking look at the fascinating world of clamps.
By the way both of these titles plus some other very cool projects are on display at the Interactive Communities Lounge found in room 407 (up by the Animation Festival) so please take the time go up to the lounge and check out the work. Before we start let me give you a brief history of our company.
A little over two years ago Webster Lewin approached me with the idea of doing a CD-ROM based on my art work. The idea was to make it a cross between a documentary film and a catalogue. Starting from a basic documentation piece we quickly realized that we wanted to, and needed to say more and do more with the disc. So we added more interactive elements and a game called SUB-VERT where you become a crazed advertising executive. But even up until the last moment we kept thinking of improvements and changes and new elements we wanted to include.
Now fortunately Jerry kept Webster and myself in line by telling us "Great Idea, Lets put that in the next disc" Which leads me to the only major point I want to make today to any artists or creative people who are struggling to create or publish their own new media work, You have to finish your project and place in the public forum. It is of the utmost importance that your work, blemishes and all, be finished at some point and shown to the public, otherwise you'll end up just going on and on and you will not experience the crucial artistic growth that creating finished work gives you.
Now having said that, we took the knowledge we gained while making "CONSUMER PRODUCT" and are now making the "ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CLAMPS", which is a experience oriented CD-ROM. The major difference from this title and our first disc is that we have moved from using new media technology as a documentation devise to using is to create art solely for this medium. As a painter I originally had mixed feelings about this, until I realized that the computer is nothing more than a paint brush, and that learning to use programs like Director was no different and no harder than learning about the different properties of oil paint.
Now Myself and my partners are trying to create digital experience art that hopefully is entertaining and provocative, and takes a point of view. So, "THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CLAMPS" is a 3-d environment that in the end will contain 20 -30 exhibition rooms, each one as unlike the last as we can make them. The project has no design document or flow chart to work from, we will keep adding new rooms as good ideas come to us and when we reach 500 to 600 megabytes the disc will be done. We think that the total effect will be a unique blend of interactive art gallery meets fun house.
Now my partner Webster Lewin has a few words and then we will show you our two projects....
When I first started working in multimedia, in 1991, had some reservations about it. I come from a filmmaking background and consider myself a story teller. At first it was hard to see how one could create experiences of any emotional depth on an "interactive" CD-ROM, but, through working in non-linear media over the last four years my ideas about what constitutes a story have changed quite a bit. A lot of writers are afraid of letting a someone else control the experience they create. When you look at the number of interactive products where the primary goal is to kick, punch, or shoot as many bad guys as possible its no surprise that few talented writers are attracted to this medium.
To date, multimedia has given birth to only a hand full of works of any literary merit, but that is exactly what we are striving for at our company. We want to affect people, a lot of people, and to have the kind of impact on their lives that great books, film, and art does.
One of the ideas that we've been toying with lately is the analogy of an interactive story as a kind of theme park, an environment that you enter and have a series of related experiences in. However, our idea of a theme park is no Disney Land. We have a little more to say, and so we definitely want the people who enter one of our environments to come away with a clear message. We emphasize THEME.
Even though you're sometimes free to go where you want, and to leave, you're always going to come away with at least a piece of our message. So far, we have been working completely independently. Any offers that have been made to us by the major CD-ROM publishing companies came with serious strings attached and we turned them down.
This CONSUMER PRODUCT disc was completed over a year ago, and despite getting international acclaim and awards plus good reviews in over twenty magazines, including WIRED, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, no publisher would touch it. So, we became a publishing company and the disc will be available later this month through a distribution arrangement with Distributed Art Publishers, (D.A.P.) a book distributor that has just started to carry CD-ROMs.
Now, Bill and I will take you on a little trip through the SubVert Section of Consumer Product, which is the most direct link to the ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CLAMPS.