It all started with the happy end.
The long history of media had finally reached a catharsis and it looked like five billion smartphones glowing in the dark. Everyone connected to everyone else in a free-speech bliss.
No more churches or televisions: From now on, it was all going to be about everybody with everybody.
By giving us the toys to gossip 24/7, silicon valley´s wizards transformed their once utopian “access to tools” in a giant open-source tabloid. Facehugged by our phones, we´re quietly waiting for the alien to splatter out, but we don´t seem to have any guts left to gore.
We´re all transparent now.
Who shall we thank for this strange plot twist? The unicorns, the whistle-blowers, or simply ourselves?
After all, the platform economy was built on nothing but a thin layer of conveniance. The great digital transformation was supposed to be all about accesss and media empowerment, but the more control we seem to get, the least we end up being in charge.
Meanwhile, someone else is making plans in the cloud.
By making all content types universally available on the same screen, smartphones flattened all messages at the bottom of an endless scroll. Sandwiched between porn, kittens and smileys, news may not only be fake, but seemingly incapable to affect, mobilize and change us.
In this hyper complex environment, extraordinary new challenges are facing those willing to inform and communicate persuasively.
This place is called Zeitbildung. We like to think of it as a Metabloid, a place to theorize practically about media, digital storytelling and strategic communication with the same methods as the ones we analyse, reflect and criticize. We do not only want to investigate the so-called “dumbing down” and boulevardization of online culture, we want to play with it too.
We see in the practice of audiovisual storytelling an opportunity to experience mediating processes as a whole, – from ideation to realisation, diffusion, reception, appropriation and transformation. We think simple narrative exercises help us train our “audiovisual literacy” while exploring the current media environment by doing.
The projects we´re dealing with (re)formulate the same old question : who says what to whom, in which channel and to what effect? We´re using the famous (and much criticized) Lasswell formula to confront content and context in a mutually reflective process.
Just as every sentence we speak mirrors the totality of language, every story we tell with pictures reflects the media ecology in which it was articulated, consumed and “digested”. With simple narrative exercises, we´re training basic audiovisual communication skills, while exploring the multi-channeled “participatory” processes spreading stories out in the world.
This metabloid aims to draft an open handbook for a hypothetical Internet-to-come, and the so-called emergent processes shaping its present and future. If the digital public sphere can be described in terms of system theory and cybernetics, the internet can be thought as a macrosystem bound to “self-correct” as it grows.
Everyone of us is part of this digital cosmos. Every single bit of content we generate and circulate in this giant organism potentially contributes to this evolutionary process.
We´d like to see our work as a nano-contribution to this “biggest picture of them all”.