The web’s ultimate frontier

The world of the web has unlimited potential. It can define new forms of communication, new styles of thought, new ways of telling a story, increasingly becoming a place for socializing and sharing.

Martina Giusti

Man’s discoveries have given rise to new ways to communicate. From Egyptian hieroglyphics to remote messaging through smoke signals, man has continually experimented with forms of communication, marking every historic epoch.

The evolution in communication has deeply influenced behaviors, forms of socialization and cultural mores. Gutenberg’s printing press, for example, with its mobile characters fostered the diffusion of books and newspapers, making them accessible to everyone. It is a clear example of how technical invention marked the beginning of a change in communication in society.

The diffusion of the web has modified and accelerated our way of communicating, of obtaining information, of socializing and sharing. The potential of this new means is still under elaboration and is constantly changing together with our habits. In the passage from analogical to digital, the web embodies all the styles and forms of communication discovered by man, deeply modifying our way of sharing ideas, information and emotional states.

Today, more and more companies choose the web to communicate the value of their brand and their corporate identity and their presence on Social Networks has become vital. A recent study revealed that the most popular ones are facebook, twitter and youtube.

And the Tissue field certainly cannot do without them, either. It lands on the web, on youtube and does so in its own way. With irony. And proof of this is the commercial created by the French Le Trèfle brand, property of the Sofidel Group to advertise their toilet paper dedicated to the French market. The commercial created by the Leo Burnett advertising agency describes how tablets can replace paper to draw, take notes on, play Sudoku, read books. But when the protagonist realizes that there is no toilet paper in the bathroom, the image of the roll pictured on the tablet is not very useful. This illustrates how this product does not fear the advent of technology but actually uses it for its own purposes, promoting itself through the youtube platform. It exalts but at the same time mocks technology by putting a limit on it.

What, instead, seems to have no frontiers is experimenting with the new forms of narration in the language of the cinema. The cinema, too, is modeled to the new technologies and the infinite possibilities that the world of the web offers. We’ve certainly come a long way from the first experiments by the Lumière brothers! It seems incredible that the first film in history and the instrument patented by them - the cinématographe - were presented in the pool room of the Gran Café of the Boulevard des Capucines in Paris just a little over 100 years ago!

Today, the cinema is above all special effects, computerized graphics and new distribution platforms. Within this new scenario, on January 15, 2013, Days was born on youtube. It is the first interactive film that in just a few days was viewed by tens of thousands of people. This is how things work on the new web platforms: the more views you receive, the more the product is convincing, the more you’re remunerated by publicity. Views are the audience’s indisputable judgment.

To see Days, all you have to do is connect to youtube, type in “Days the crossmovie” and a completely new world appears on the screen. Click “Play” and you become the film’s director. In the first frames, a series of phrases help us to understand what we are about to see…

Days is an epic, intimist, interactive series

Narrated through four heroes

In a succession of days

With infinite viewing modes

Days is defined as the first crossmovie in the world, created and directed by Flavio Parenti (Italian actor and director who studied and made his debut at Genoa’s Teatro Stabile. He has worked with nationally and world renowned directors such as Silvio Muccino, Sergio Rubini, Liliana Cavani, Woody Allen, Pupi Avati).

But let’s try and understand what is meant by crossmovie. It is an interactive film that brings the audience inside the control room and for the first time ever, places it in the condition of directing the outcome of the events and creating different film combinations. Through a simple click, the spectator selects one of the four characters to start the story with, and during the unfolding of events, can choose whether or not to follow a certain narrative line.

The innovation lies in the narrative device; every episode can be seen through different points of view thanks to interactive menus that allow the spectator to change the character in reference, creating a personalized narration within the film for each individual user. Next to the four initial protagonists, many different characters will appear, thickening not only the plot but also the points of view available. The same film can be seen in over 200,000 different ways. With “Days” the spectator builds his or her own episode, deciding what to see, when to see it and how to see it.

The plot of Days is certainly modern since it faces the theme of the economic crisis. In Italy, the Government dissolves Parliament, disperses bureaucracy, demilitarizes almost without realizing it. In just a few months, the country becomes no man’s land or everyone’s land. The four protagonists, hanging by the uncertain thread of the web, discover the existence of a mysterious, chilling video, witness to the fact that this global ruin is not fruit of mere chance.

The film is correlated by a logbook, always visible on youtube, a sort of backstage that allows the audience to get to know the actors and characters from up close, to interact with the director and assist at every part of the creation of this production.

But for those who think it ends here... there’s more!!! Days is tentacular and develops throughout the web. That’s why its creator decided to extend it beyond the natural confines of the creation itself, developing it through others. The social network can become a creative resource that generates artistic biodiversity. Focusing on this, the director of Days has thought up a parallel project that aims at creating the first “social character” in history.

Project 404 allows creating a character through a community of emerging and independent video-makers and musicians, using the Days project as a basis. How does it work? Simple. 404 is the “bad guy”, he who generated the crisis that the protagonists and the world are forced to grope in. Nothing is said about him, but watching the series, we can perceive his presence. And indeed the spectator looks for him, he will see his mask everywhere and by clicking on it, he will be able to see a video of “404” created by an individual external to the Days machine who will recount an episode of the “bad guy”.

The video’s theme is simple: in your opinion, the creator of a series like this is a savior or a tyrant? The social dimension becomes an instrument of communication. But not communication through words, or through the sharing of music, but rather through a creation that follows a common thread (in this case, 404’s paper mask, created by artist Phil Toys). Communication here is through art. The project is open to all creatives, from filmmakers to artists, from musicians to composers, animators, documentary artists and anyone else who wants to participate!

Days and all that rotates around it is index of a radical change in the world of movies caused by new technologies. The world of the web is contributing to create increasingly innovative products. In this case, contrary to popular clichés, we really cannot say that creativity is limited!

“And who knows: maybe even the world of tissue can find new frontiers in the web to boldly go where no man has even gone before...” *

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