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Today, viewers consume audiovisual products in the form of fragments, in any place and at any time of day. A plurality of screens, as points of interaction with media “worlds”, relocates the film-going experience (Casetti, 2010). Producers don’t just create stories or characters, they now design worlds (fictional worlds, character worlds, alternative worlds...) and they are increasingly distributing the experience of these worlds across multiple media channels, creating transmedial experiences (Jenkins, 2006), comparable to ecosystems. In this context, often described as a digital “convergence” (since the beginning of the internet era, cf. De Sola Pool, 1984, Negroponte, 1995), the viewer’s experience is not limited to mere “consumption.” Spectators become explorers and, in turn, world builders. Thus, fictional worlds are constantly expanded and remixed by fans and ordinary viewers alike who, both online and offline, rewrite, parody and pay homage to stories and characters. Social networks encourage viewers to exchange “shorts quotes” of movies with friends. These various “poaching” activities (Michel De Certeau, 1990; Henry Jenkins, 1992) contribute to rewriting the values and meanings of the original texts, expanding them and, at the same time, functioning as catalyzers for communities, suggesting new ways to “read” contemporary society, contemporary spectatorship and media production practices. This conference seeks to use the notion of world and world-building as a starting point to revisit and reconsider media theories (in film, television, visual culture, cultural studies, literature, etc.), and move beyond traditional notions of communication.
What are the connotations of the model of world building as a metaphor for our current engagement with media? What are the consequences for our relationship to fiction?
Jay David Bolter’s article “Transference and Transparency: Digital Technology and the Remediation of Cinema” identifies a “cyberphobia” that emerged in films of the 1990s, just as digital technologies were gaining widespread acceptance in the industry (and, indeed, as blockbusters increasingly began to rely on them to create theretofore unimaginable spectacle