Nicole Munger 10/10/13  791 words


When I talk to most of my friends about this Interactive Cinema and New Media class, they look at me like I have two heads. Like me, before I took this class, the only interactive cinema they have ever heard of is video games. While we moved further into the semester, and I felt like I was a huge disadvantage because I had never witnessed interactive cinema outside of the gaming world, I realized that wasn’t true. I had taken an introductory course a couple semesters ago to make up a credit I missed in community college, because I already had a certificate in film I decided to take Intro to film with Dr. Ferguson. At the very end of that course we covered hitRECord, I thought that it was an awesome idea, but hadn’t really taken advantage of it, until this course. HitRECord is a website that is free to use, you can upload novels, sketches, photos, and videos that belong to you and anyone else in the hitRECord community can edit your work.


I had never even thought of hitRECord as an interactive form of media until we were reading Designing a Database Cinema by Marsha Kinder. When describing The Labyrinth Project Kinder said “For all three projects our goal was to create an interface design that conceptually grew out of the material and captured the unique style of the artist with whom we were collaborating”. This is the goal of hitRECord to make art that represents everyone which contributed to the end result. Many of the people within the hitRECord community will post some form art, whether it is a short story, photography, sketch or even film footage, as others to edit and collaborate with them on the piece. HitRECord goes even further than the Kinoautomat, with the Kinoautomat you given choices, with hitRECord the only choice is to do whatever you want, it is absolute freedom. Maybe absolute freedom isn’t exactly the right choice of words there are some boundaries, like copyright laws, if it isn’t yours you can’t take credit for it. Which brings me back to Kinder’s article, Kinder and the others that participated in The Labyrinth project did in 1997 almost exactly what hitRECord is trying to do now. The Labyrinth Project took art from archives and databases and mixed them with new original ideas to create a collaboration of old and new. While hitRECord deals with primarily digital media, everything is uploading the website so there are no hard copies of individual pieces until it is finished, the ideas are the same.  In The Labyrinth Project Kinder says that “the basic idea for each project came from the veteran artist”, the same is true for hitRECord, each idea is sparked by the original creator and then others put their own ideas into the mix a prime example would be the collaboration “Still Here”. http://www.hitrecord.org/records/1436320hrec


The idea came from one of RegularJoe’s (the creator of hitRECord, also Robin) friends who started it with a short story about a shoe, contributors jumped right on the collaboration train and started sending in their ideas such as shoe art and voice overs. In Kinder’s article she says “I see database and narrative as two compatible structures whose combination is crucial to the creative expansion of new media, since all narratives are constructed by selecting items from databases (that usually remain hidden), and then combining these items to create a particular story”. This combination is what happens on hitRECord, you could see sketch that someone else drew that inspires you to write a story, you combine the story and sketch, post it and you could end up with a film for your story. The inspiration you got from a database then becomes part of the database, and is then left for someone else to be inspired and create art. The labyrinth project did the same; it combined an old detective story with a modern city symphony and created Bleeding Through: Layers of Los Angeles, 1920-1986.

While The Labyrinth Project left its mark on the world of interactive media, hitRECord is doing the same, allowing collaborations with user to create a completely interactive experience for users. The labyrinth project was only available for collaboration for a handful of artist; hitRECord is free and open to the public, making interactive cinema and new media available to everyone with a computer.  It could be argued that hitRECord is an experiment known only to a niche group of people, but after experiencing hitRECord, you can’t help but wonder if this form of interactive media could ever become a mainstream cinema.

Kinder, Marsha, Designing a Database Cinema, Future Cinema: The Cinematic Imaginary After Film, 2003, pages 346-353, MIT Press

In class lectures

Pictures from Google

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