Deseriis: No End In Sight

A networked narrative is a conversation over time and space, which holds a specific set of rules or values. It is driven by details that emerge through a co-construction of the ‘story’ by various participants.

This essay is called ‘No End In Sight’ and I must admit this is exactly how I felt when I started reading this. Marco Deseriis tries to explain how internet communities can create and tell a story from just interacting and sharing information. For instance if a network has no leader, it is an appealing subject and an active on-line community which holds it together. The internet gives people an opportunity to interact and enter a dynamic relationship which leads to developing a storyline however it must also rely on the stories to be heard, read and understood. He then continues on to explain how chain mail, spam and virus alerts can also be seen as storytelling. They can take the form of a narrative as they often set out instructions. For instance, one could be asked to forward a chain message, connecting to a website or signing a petition. This network instructs that everyone take part which means that everyone then has a role in the narrative.

He later brings different narrative examples into the essay, such as spoof websites such as The Yes Man and TMark. This was an interesting section to research as I had never heard of them before however I didn’t feel the examples helped me understand the essay. If anything I became more confused when reading this section.

I found the Toy War section very interesting and thought it was amazing how the whole of net.art network supported etoy in their battle of saving their domain name etoy.com from the toy retailer’s eToys. The battle consisted of a campaign for artistic freedom against the commodity of the Internet and it successfully promoted etoy and the net.art community. Best of all it saw eToys filing for bankruptcy and finally renouncing their domain name. I really liked how internet communities such as activists and the media came together to create their own narrative.

In conclusion, I found this essay really interesting but very confusing at points. I think this was because the examples he used to portray his point were very different but also my lack of understanding internet jargon did not help the matter. I tried to research as much of the terminology and examples as I possibly could but this sometimes seemed to confuse me more. However, I think the general idea behind the chapter is interesting as I really like the idea of a community and narrative being created by a large amount of different people.

Rose Casey

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One Response to Deseriis: No End In Sight

  1. editolah says:

    Hi Rose and Everyone,

    Rose, thank you for the summary.
    I have to say that your summary is all I have regarding the assigned reading for the week, as my laptop couldn’t open the chapter (or any other chapter as a matter of act) for a reason. It shows everything on the page but the text itself.

    My opinion on this topic is that I really like how the Internet and the networking sites reshape the way people communicate and create communities. I think this could be a great tool, which everyone should learn to turn to their advantage.

    I have a favorite talk on my beloved 🙂 TED.COM about this.
    Please find the link below:

    Clay Shirky, an adjunct professor in New York University’s graduate Interactive Telecommunications Program, in this video posted in June 2009, talks about how the Internet facilitates the ‘many to many patern’ in communication providing ‘native support to groups and conversation at the same time’.
    He makes a very interesting statement in this talk about how the media shift from being only the ‘source of information’ to being the ‘site of coordination’ while allowing us to be both consumers and producers at the same time.

    Shirky brings a similar example to the ‘Toy War’ mentioned by Deseriis, when the local people in Szechwan province prevented the Chinese government to keep the May 2008 earthquake in secret from the rest of the world by recording and reporting it as it was happening. He also shares an eye-opening fact that the BBC got to know about the news from Twitter before the U.S Geological Survey could detect anything.

    It seems that the Internet as decentralised medium, if used well, is giving people more opportunity to form new kinds of cooperative structures, for instance, to act together and against whatever they feel to be unjust. This changes the political scene or at least how governments approach their people.

    I think this is an important learning point even for those, who disapprove technology driven, capitalist development.

    I can see why many people say that currently we are spoiled by choice, choice which is very much controlled by the current political and economical powers in the world.
    (Those who sat for Renata Salecl’s lecture on ‘Tyranny of Choice, or how Capitalism increases People’s Anxieties’ in the series of open talks organised with MA Photography remember the powerful stories about this topic.)

    However, I feel that the root of the problem doesn’t lie only in the variety of the offered opportunities/opportunities to chose, but in the fact that there is less and less guidance one can get about how to choose.

    Paula, I hope that this is the kind of contribution you expect and that this isn’t a far shot from the originally assigned text. Otherwise, Rose, we will be falling together. 😉

    Anyway, thanks for the opportunity. 🙂

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