Invisible Belfast: Flat Ontologies and Remediations of the Post-Conflict City

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

[in]visible Belfast was a research driven indie alternate reality game (ARG) that ran for 6 weeks during the spring of 2011 in Belfast, and was subsequently adapted, 5 years later into a fictional documentary for BBC Radio 4. The ARG is a participatory and dispersed narrative, which the audience play through. The text expands outwards across both physical and digital platforms to create a mystery for the players using everyday platforms. The ARG is a product of media convergence and at its heart transmedial; defined by its complexity and modes of participation. The fictional radio documentary which remediated the ARG into a more simple linear structure, but possibly a more complex narrative form, retells parts of the story for new audiences.
The premise of [in]visible belfast—the game and later the documentary—is itself an adaptation of writer Ciaran Carson’s novel The Star Factory (1997): a postmodern adventure through the complex psychogeography of Belfast. A trail through the labyrinthine text, which paints the history of Belfast in poetic prose. This chapter will map the concept’s journey from novel to game to radio, contextualising its development within its political and urban landscape; charting the remediation of the narratives as they fold out across multiple media and complex story arches.
The chapter will draw together ideas from previous publications on ARG, Transmediality and complex textualities from the authors, and reflect on the textual trajectories that the remediation of the narrative has taken from the original book, through the ARG, into the radio documentarary
In this chapter, we (the designers of the game) will examine these processes of remediation relative to Carson’s original, paying close attention to what each new medial interpretation constrains and affords—how each remediation shapes what it is possible to perform within its context. Form arrives not only on the screen, soundwave or page, but also in the implicit social forms that underlie any formal expression; with this in mind, we ask what these processes of remediation might express about the processes at work in Belfast’s history.[We trace the media geneaology of the “invisible Belfast” concept as it is presented in the novel, the game and the radio documentary, arguing that Belfast’s complex history, including the roles of various media in its conflicts, propels medial adaptations of a very particular kind, where each remediation privileges “flat” and object-oriented modes of performing Belfast.
LanguageEnglish
Title of host publicationContemporary Media Art in Ireland
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 21 Aug 2018

Fingerprint

Belfast
Invisible
Remediation
Ontology
Documentary
History
Fiction
Visible
Urban Landscape
Prose
Poetics
Trajectory
Arch
Narrative Form
Mystery
Privilege
Physical
BBC Radio
Fold
Journey

Cite this

Hook, A. (Accepted/In press). Invisible Belfast: Flat Ontologies and Remediations of the Post-Conflict City. In Contemporary Media Art in Ireland
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abstract = "[in]visible Belfast was a research driven indie alternate reality game (ARG) that ran for 6 weeks during the spring of 2011 in Belfast, and was subsequently adapted, 5 years later into a fictional documentary for BBC Radio 4. The ARG is a participatory and dispersed narrative, which the audience play through. The text expands outwards across both physical and digital platforms to create a mystery for the players using everyday platforms. The ARG is a product of media convergence and at its heart transmedial; defined by its complexity and modes of participation. The fictional radio documentary which remediated the ARG into a more simple linear structure, but possibly a more complex narrative form, retells parts of the story for new audiences.The premise of [in]visible belfast—the game and later the documentary—is itself an adaptation of writer Ciaran Carson’s novel The Star Factory (1997): a postmodern adventure through the complex psychogeography of Belfast. A trail through the labyrinthine text, which paints the history of Belfast in poetic prose. This chapter will map the concept’s journey from novel to game to radio, contextualising its development within its political and urban landscape; charting the remediation of the narratives as they fold out across multiple media and complex story arches. The chapter will draw together ideas from previous publications on ARG, Transmediality and complex textualities from the authors, and reflect on the textual trajectories that the remediation of the narrative has taken from the original book, through the ARG, into the radio documentararyIn this chapter, we (the designers of the game) will examine these processes of remediation relative to Carson’s original, paying close attention to what each new medial interpretation constrains and affords—how each remediation shapes what it is possible to perform within its context. Form arrives not only on the screen, soundwave or page, but also in the implicit social forms that underlie any formal expression; with this in mind, we ask what these processes of remediation might express about the processes at work in Belfast’s history.[We trace the media geneaology of the “invisible Belfast” concept as it is presented in the novel, the game and the radio documentary, arguing that Belfast’s complex history, including the roles of various media in its conflicts, propels medial adaptations of a very particular kind, where each remediation privileges “flat” and object-oriented modes of performing Belfast.",
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Invisible Belfast: Flat Ontologies and Remediations of the Post-Conflict City. / Hook, Alan.

Contemporary Media Art in Ireland. 2018.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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