Sunday, February 19, 2006

Press Green for Kinoautomat

Thursday night (16/02/06) went to the NFT to see 'Kinoautomat, One Man and His House'.
It's a revitalisation of the Czech film made in 1967 (dir. Radúz Činčera).
Truly a fascinating thing, because it's an interactive movie, and billed as the first one ever. The film stops at certain points and the cinema audience votes on the next course of action for the narrative to follow. More details can be found at the Kinoautomat website. I was really up for this, and nice to see art college mate Tom Hillenbrand acting as host/compere for the night.

Got to thinking that I've had quite a few experiences with these branching narratives in various forms already; teenhood 'adventure' novels; early text-based computer games and the games at the Siggraph 'Electric Cinema' come to mind. I even tried creating a branching HTML narrative of sorts on the first incarnation of my website 'Tall Story Hotel' circa '97. The idea of modular, self-generating or random story devices has been kicking around in the things I'm keen on for quite a while now.

KinoAutomat shows that participating in an interactive movie can be engaging as a live and communal cinema experience. Astonishingly ahead of its time; the technologies of DVD and the web make it technically easier to create and deliver work in this field nowadays. I guess that once digital projection is more common in cinemas, there'll be much more of this to come...

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