Manifestos can be wonderful community-forming, revolution ranting things. I cannot recall why (I just needed to I think) but I created my own little silly declaration in 2005:
A cross-media creator is a conductor of an orchestra of media channels & arts types; an imagineer, constructing fictional worlds that cover the planet; a programmer, interpreting conversations between technology and nature; a sorcerer conjuring awesome events even they are surprised by; an audience member that wanted more, and so made a pact with The Creator to change the world.
But, I’ve realised it is time to dust off a few great ones from creators both past and present. I chose the following according to how well they matched two things: related to cross-media/multiplatform/transmedia/360content and whether they functioned in some way according this this definition of a manifesto in Wikipedia:
A manifesto is a public declaration of principles and intentions, often political in nature, but may also be life stance related. [source]
So, here they are, listed in chronological order (oldest to newest):
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger are filmmakers that although did not create multiplatform artworks, they were passionate about the representation of many artforms in their films.
One, we owe allegiance to nobody except the financial interests which provide our money; and, to them, the sole responsibility of ensuring them a profit, not a loss.
Two, every single foot in our films is our own responsibility and nobody else’s. We refuse to be guided or coerced by any influence but our own judgement.
Three, when we start work on a new idea we must be a year ahead, not only of our competitors, but also of the times. A real film, from idea to universal release, takes a year. Or more.
Four, no artist believes in escapism. And we secretly believe that no audience does. We have proved, at any rate, that they will pay to see the truth, for other reasons than her nakedness.
Five, at any time, and particularly at the present, the self respect of all collaborators, from star to prop-man, is sustained, or diminished, by the theme and purpose of the film they are working on. They will fight or intrigue to work on a subject they feel is urgent or contemporary, and fight equally hard to avoid working on a trivial or pointless subject. And we agree with them and want the best workmen with us; and get them. These are the main things we believe in. They have brought us an unbroken record of success and a unique position. Without the one, of course, we should not enjoy the other very long. We are under no illusions. We know we are surrounded by hungry sharks. But you have no idea what fun it is surf-bathing, if you have only paddled, with a nurse holding on to the back of your rompers.
We hope you will come on in, the water’s fine.
Stan Vanderbeek’s Culture Intercom Manifesto
Here is an excerpt:
It is imperative that we [the world’s artists] invent a new world language, that we invent a non-verbal international picture-language. I propose the following:
* The establishement of audio-visual research centers, preferably on an international scale. Thes centers to explore the existing audio-visual hardware. The development of new image-making devices (the storage and transfer of image materials, motion pictures, television, computers, videotape, etc.)
* The immediate research and development of image-events and performances in the Movie-Drom. I shall call these prototype presentations: Movie Murals, Ethos-Cinema, Newsreel of Dreams, Feedback, Image Libraries.
* When I talk of the movie-dromes as image libraries, it is understood that such life-theatres would use some of the coming techniques…and thus be real communication and storage centers, that is, by satellite, each dome could receive its image from a world wide library source, store them and program a feedback presentation to the local community that lived near the cneter, thsi newsreel feedback, could authentically review the total world image ‹reality› in an hour-long show.
* Intra-communitronics, or dialogues with other centers would be likely, and instand reference material via transmission television and telephone would be called for and received at 186,000 m.p.s., from anywhere in the world. Thus I call this presentation,a newsreel of ideas, of dreams, a movie-mural. An image library, a culture de-compression chamber, a culture inter-com.
Excerpt from Stan VanDerBeek, «Culture Intercom, A Proposal and Manifesto», Film Culture 40, 1966, pp. 15–18, reprinted in Gregory Battcock, The New American Cinema. A Critical Anthology, New York, 1967, pp. 173–179, quoted by Jürgen Claus in Leonardo, Vol. 36, No. 3, 2003, p 229. [source]
1. Know your audience
Don’t bore people, talk down to them or lose them by assuming that they know what you know.
2. Wear your guest’s shoes
Insist that designers, staff and your board members experience your facility as visitors as often as possible.
3. Organize the flow of people and ideas
Use good story telling techniques. Tell good stories not lectures.
4. Create a ‘come to me’ (the castle, the Epcot dome)
Lead visitors from one area to another by creating visual magnets and giving visitors rewards for making the journey
5. Communicate with visual literacy
Make good use of all the non-verbal ways of communication – colour, shape, form, texture.
6. Avoid overload
Resist the temptation to tell too much, to have too many objects. Don’t force people to swallow more than they can digest, try to stimulate and provide guidance to those who want more.
7. Tell one story at a time
If you have a lot of information divide it into distinct, logical, organized stories. People can absorb and retain information more clearly if the path to the next concept is clear and logical.
8. Avoid contradiction
Clear institutional identity helps give you the competitive edge. The public needs to know who you are and what differentiates you from other institutions they may have seen.
9. For every ounce of treatment , provide a ton of fun
How do you woo people from all other temptations? Give people plenty of opportunity to enjoy themselves by emphasizing ways that let people participate in the experience and by making your environment rich and appealing to all senses.
10. Keep it up
Never underestimate the importance of cleanliness and routine maintenance. People expect to get a good show every time. They will comment more on broken and dirty stuff.
We who have violated the laws, commands and duties of the avant-garde; i.e. to bore, tranquilize and obfuscate through a fluke process dictated by practical convenience stand guilty as charged. We openly renounce and reject the entrenched academic snobbery which erected a monument to laziness known as structuralism and proceeded to lock out those filmmakers who possesed the vision to see through this charade.
We refuse to take their easy approach to cinematic creativity; an approach which ruined the underground of the sixties when the scourge of the film school took over. Legitimising every mindless manifestation of sloppy movie making undertaken by a generation of misled film students, the dreary media arts centres and geriatic cinema critics have totally ignored the exhilarating accomplishments of those in our rank – such underground invisibles as Zedd, Kern, Turner, Klemann, DeLanda, Eros and Mare, and DirectArt Ltd, a new generation of filmmakers daring to rip out of the stifling straight jackets of film theory in a direct attack on every value system known to man.
We propose that all film schools be blown up and all boring films never be made again. We propose that a sense of humour is an essential element discarded by the doddering academics and further, that any film which doesn’t shock isn’t worth looking at. All values must be challenged. Nothing is sacred. Everything must be questioned and reassessed in order to free our minds from the faith of tradition.Intellectual growth demands that risks be taken and changes occur in political, sexual and aesthetic alignments no matter who disapproves. We propose to go beyond all limits set or prescribed by taste, morality or any other traditional value system shackling the minds of men. We pass beyond and go over boundaries of millimeters, screens and projectors to a state of expanded cinema.
We violate the command and law that we bore audiences to death in rituals of circumlocution and propose to break all the taboos of our age by sinning as much as possible. There will be blood, shame, pain and ecstasy, the likes of which no one has yet imagined. None shall emerge unscathed. Since there is no afterlife, the only hell is the hell of praying, obeying laws, and debasing yourself before authority figures, the only heaven is the heaven of sin, being rebellious, having fun, fucking, learning new things and breaking as many rules as you can. This act of courage is known as transgression. We propose transformation through transgression – to convert, transfigure and transmute into a higher plane of existence in order to approach freedom in a world full of unknowing slaves.
After solving the Stonecutter AND rune puzzles last night, only to find out that my long-desired first “SOLVED” post was trounced by 5 and 3 minutes respectively, I hereby give up and acknowledge the fact that I am a game follower, not player, not puzzle solver. Therefore, I give you the Game Follower’s Manifesto, which consists of the following points:
* I acknowledge that I have a life outside the game, and cannot be on-line 24/7. I further acknowledge that I need to eat, sleep, work, and socialize with family and friends, and these are all GOOD things, not weaknesses to be trouted.
* If I find out about a game, it will only be after it has been going on for several weeks or months.
COROLLARY-If I actually find out about a game at its inception, I will join the wrong on-line group and think that the game is going very slowly until I find out that it’s lightening fast, and my group just blows.
* I will never be the first to solve a puzzle.
COROLLARY-I will only find out about puzzles after they have already been solved.
COROLLARY-My name will never appear in the Trail, Guide, or any other game-related website.
COROLLARY-If I do actually solve a puzzle, the solution will have been posted by somebody else minutes before.
* While not unintelligent, I do not know how to decompile a program for clues, and have not memorized the collected works of William Shakespeare, complete with line and verse numbering. These will be vital skills to solving key puzzles. Anything I know how to do will be useless when it comes to puzzle solving.
* I am not worthy to receive individual e-mails containing clues to be shared with the rest of the group.
* I may have one or two game-related items in my posession, but I have paid for them myself, not received them as prizes.
* The day that I have to actually work and not keep up with the game will be the day that the site I haven’t looked at yet is removed due to in-game events.
* If I try to post helpful observations, I will immediately be trouted by the players who solve every puzzle.
* Key sites and/or software for the game will only work with the OS I am not using.
* The one site I do not enter in my contact info. will be the one that is used to send out all game-related info.
* When I get frustrated and actually pay for an on-line game so I can solve a puzzle, it will turn out to be Majestic, with puzzles designed to be solved by people with a 5th grade education.
Big Games are large-scale, multiplayer games that include some form of real-world interaction.
Big Games point towards a future in which socially aware networks, smart objects, location sensing and mobile computing open up new ways for people to play.
Big Games use technology, but are not subservient to it. Big Games are made out of people, connections, ideas, situations, and events. Big Games have computers inside of them, not the other way around.
Big Games create a conscious confusion between the real and the imaginary, between ideas and objects, between information and space. Instead of the simulated worlds of computer games, Big Games transform the physical space around us into a shared gameworld, brought to life by the choices, actions, and experiences of the players.
Big Games encourage a playful use of public space. They have their roots in the neighborhood games of childhood; in the campus-wide games and stunts of college; in the nerd-culture of live-action role playing and Civil War re-enactments; in the art-culture of Happenings and Situationism; in urban skateparks, paintball fields and anywhere people gather together to play in large numbers and large spaces.
Big Games are games, not academic exercises, not tech demos. They must be easy to understand but deep enough to encourage thoughtful play. They must have challenges and rewards. They must run the gamut from purely abstract formal systems to richly rendered narrative experiences. They must connect people to people whether they are strangers, rivals or old friends.
Big Games are human-powered software for cities, life-size collaborative hallucinations, and serious fun.
My prediction is that the next big opportunity in entertainment can be found in the emergence of multiplatform storytelling.
A multiplatform story is a story that is created and designed to be told across television, PCs, and mobile devices. This is not the simple porting of television content to alternative distribution platforms, nor is it the use of those alternative platforms to market television shows. An end user can experience a multiplatform story on all of his or her entertainment devices. The glue that adheres the devices together and links the user to each platform is the story itself. The world of the story can be revealed on each platform in a way that exploits the platform to the fullest: linear TV, interactive TV with web applications, gaming, polling, user input, and whatever else the creator can think up.
The creator of the story world has to understand the nature of the person receiving the story and the nature of the multiple devices that the person uses to interact with entertainment. The story, like its distribution, is multi-dimensional and can offer a different experience to each user depending on that user’s entertainment consumption behavior patterns.
42 Entertainment’s 5 ARG Tenants
1. The concept of a hive mind. The generation we’re speaking to now is so communications-obsessed and -enabled, we thought that if given a common emotionally charged history or mission, they would seek each other out and form into a cooperative to investigate and expose the story. We thought if we could get a couple hundred thousand people engaged in a project, various groups—with only one or two degrees of separation—would involve every skill base, every knowledge base on the planet.
In reality, when that group formed (on the first ARG) and we had millions of participants instead of hundreds of thousands, not only did they represent every skill base and knowledge base, they didn’t even need to go to degrees of separation—it was zero degrees of separation and they had every skill base. In retrospect, what we didn’t realize was they had unlimited resources to devote to the subject—in terms of technology, canvassing, whatever was needed. It was very inspiring and daunting.
2. The experiment was to develop a narrative structure that was organic to the web. In looking at the web, I realized that it had been and still is used primarily for distribution of narrative formats that existed prior to the web—audio, video written word etc. There wasn’t a narrative structure that embraced the chaotic and frustrating nature of the web.
Stepping back and looking at it, I realized a lot of the daily experience of the web is looking through stuff we don’t care about to find one thing we do care about. I likened it to archeologists who go through a lot of sand looking for a piece of pottery. After they find that shard they have an idea of how to find more, and if there are enough shards they can reconstruct the society that made the pottery. Similarly, in each of our campaigns we write very elaborate character-driven emotional stories, which is, in any entertainment format the key to everything. Then we create all the evidence that would have existed had that story taken place. Then we throw the story out and bury all the evidence in puzzles that are organic in the story. As the hive mind discovers those pieces and starts to crack the puzzle, they start to gather those bits of evidence. They start with a wide range of theories about what’s going on and as they get more info they come to more consensus.Eventually, they’ve reconstructed our story, but now it’s become their story because it’s moved through the filter of these millions of minds—it’s now a personal piece.
3. The 18-35 demo has grown up in a marketing-saturated environment and has developed a sophisticated set of tools for avoiding the vast majority of marketing messages. As a rule of thumb, the bigger the neon sign the faster they’ll run the other way. So the premise here was, instead of shouting, go the opposite way and whisper—hide it. Finding it becomes an act of discovery—something they can feel proud of and are willing to talk about with their friends. It shifts entertainment presentation from exhibitionist to voyeuristic.
4. The idea of hiding in plain sight. The premise here is that after building this groundswell of revealed info, we could then embed in subtle ways bits of info into the company’s normal overt marketing campaign materials without disrupting the messaging they’re doing in their normal campaigns. In doing so we turned those other media elements from “must be avoided” into “must be dissected.” For a very small amount of additional media dollars, it turns your large investment into something people will seek out.
5. Surround the audience in what we call the electronic sphere in which they live. All demographics at this point live in sphere of communications tech that travels with them all day long—we didn’t want these campaigns to live exclusively on their computer screen, we wanted to reach out through every communications mechanism to surround them and allow them to immerse themselves as much as 24 hours a day if they chose to. Whether that was reaching out to the campaign or having the campaign reach out to them, it meant that the campaign took place on the web, obviously, but also on cell phones fax machines, SMS messaging, voicemail, clues in newspaper personal ads, billboards, flyers at live events and at clubs around the world—every medium we could touch.
Source: Weisman, J. (2006) ‘Games People Play: 42s Five Principles of ARG’, Creativity.
Julian Bleecker’s Manifesto for Networked Objects
The promising, exciting news around the Internet of Things cannot possibly be the “cool” factor of having my toothbrush connected to the network so that the Proctor & Gamble people knew when I was low on toothpaste. Design agents were always smarter than that. What if our RSS aggregators could tune into feeds from Amazonian forest and the daily clear-cut blog? Or critter cam video blogs that show us how really nasty seal bulls can be to their pups when they’re not playing their circus act at Sea World. And video blogs from schools of dolphins and whales that will make it increasingly difficult to ignore the plumes of toxins in the oceans and the slaughter of their kin by whalers and felonious fishing fleets.
This manifesto isn’t about predicting the future. This is a design imperative.
[…] Forget about the Internet of Things as Web 2.0, refrigerators connected to grocery stores, and networked Barcaloungers. I want to know how to make the Internet of Things into a platform for World 2.0. How can the Internet of Things become a framework for creating more habitable worlds, rather than a technical framework for a television talking to an reading lamp? Now that we’ve shown that the Internet can become a place where social formations can accrete and where worldly change has at least a hint of possibility, what can we do to move that possibility out into the worlds in which we all have to live?
Bleecker, J. (2006, 26 Feb). “A Manifesto for Networked Objects: Cohabiting with Pigeons, Arphids and Aibos in the Internet of Things.” from http://research.techkwondo.com/files/WhyThingsMatter.pdf.
I make games that give a damn. I study how games change lives. I spend a lot of my time figuring out how the games we play today shape our real-world future. And so I’m trying to make sure that a game developer wins a Nobel Prize by the year 2032.
Do you have a your own personal manifesto? One for your practice? One for your business? What about your genre? Are there other manifestos out there that you find inspiring or interesting? Let me know. As for me, I’m getting cracking on my own again. It’s Manifesto Time!