Practices of World Building International Conference

Fans, Industries, Media Fields
Université Concordia, EV 1,615, 1515 St. Catherine W.
Boni, Marta
Collins, Jim
Hills, Matt
Jeffries, Dru
Leveratto, Jean-Marc
Macchia, Giovanni
Penley, Constance
Pescatore, Guglielmo
Picard, Martin
Ryan, Marie-Laure
Wolf, Mark J.P.
Zahlten, Alexander
Goyet, Florence

Boni, Lefebvre - Introduction

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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.

Papers will address the following issues:

• Epistemology: which tools can be used today in order to study the role of world-building in film, media and communication studies ? How do researchers adapt their methods for the production of knowledge when faced with “expanded universes”?
• History: instead of considering world building only as a contemporary practice, born with the digital technology, we can study it as a recurrent theme in literature and orality since the Classics. What links are the most fruitful to follow?
• Narratology: is an approach based on the notion of medium pertinent for the analysis of fictional worlds in the age of digital convergence? 
• Game Studies: does world-building influence the division between narratology and ludology ? What is the role of games in building fictional worlds? Should remix practices be considered in the context of game culture?
• Aesthetics: are there any specific forms used by world-builders? How do the notions of remediation (Bolter and Grusin, 1999), intertextuality (imitations, transformation, adaptation), and borrowings intertwine in world-building ? What role do remix practices have in expanding a world? 
• Cultural Studies: are media worlds persistent in their users’ lives? What are the uses of fictional worlds in everyday life, their role in social rituals (Goffman, 1959) and their contribution to social values and meanings? For example, how do viewers relate the building of their own identity to fictional worlds ?
• Sociology of culture:  how can we study the development of an expertise concerning media worlds? 
• Anthropology: can we consider remixing as a way to build knowledge? With what results? And does the notion of myth provide a useful description for fictional worlds?
• Technology: do world-building and remix require a certain technology?
• Gender: worlds are heterogeneous conglomerations in which relations of power, including those that pertain to gender are at stake. How does gender have an influence on the modalities of relating to a fictional world? 
• Nation: how does the nationality (of the product/ of the producers/of the users) influence the specificities of a fictional world?


Texts, worlds, stories: on the aesthetics of narrative and semiotic proliferation
Jeudi, Juin 6, 2013 - 10:00

A major trend in contemporary narrative production is the rejection of an aesthetics  that proclaims the inseparability of text, world and narrative.  The traditional formula “one text, one world, one story” is challenged on one  side by the phenomenon of transmedia  storytelling, and on the other by texts that that contain many worlds and

Narrative ecosystems: a multidisciplinary approach to media worlds
Jeudi, Juin 6, 2013 - 10:45

Inhabiting a narrative ecosystem is a distributed and diversified experience, that generate participation, urging for new consumption. Narration does not have a unique irradiation centre anymore, but it tends to develop along different routes.

Worlds and Video Games: the Case of Japan
Jeudi, Juin 6, 2013 - 11:45

Video game has become over the years an essential media in the creation of fictional worlds. These digital realms offer interactive and immersive experiences that transform the way we consume these worlds.

Absorption, Saturation, and Overflow in the Building of Imaginary Worlds
Jeudi, Juin 6, 2013 - 14:00

While much has been written about “immersion”, it is only the first step in the experiencing of an imaginary world.  This paper explores the experience by going further into the process, with the additional liquid metaphors of absorption, saturation, and overflow, and examines not only the effects that each of these processes or stages has on the world’s

Jeudi, Juin 6, 2013 - 15:00

The general question addressed is whether fan culture can--as oral-derived epic at its best--be the means of real political and ethical innovation. The participative nature of both fan culture and oral tradition invites this parallel.

Alternative worlds, multivers. The point of view of cosmology
Jeudi, Juin 6, 2013 - 15:45

Mankind, probably throughout all its history, has tried to understand the world. In these attempts, the concept of the world itself has often changed. For thousands of years there had been countless descriptions—driven by religious, philosophical, nationalistic, artistic, even personal, beliefs—about its origins, features, structure, fate.

Questions de méthode. Le sociologue face à l’industrie culturelle et à ses métamorphoses contemporaines
Vendredi, Juin 7, 2013 - 10:00

La communication vise à interroger les problèmes méthodologiques et épistémologiques que pose l’observation sociologique du panorama audiovisuel contemporain.

Transmediaphilia and the Pleasures of Personal Digital Archive
Vendredi, Juin 7, 2013 - 10:45

In this paper I’ll begin by tracing the historical context for world-building as enactment of fandom, primarily by constructing an arc between the golden age of cinephilia and the current state of transmediaphilia.

World-building and Gendered Fan Practices
Vendredi, Juin 7, 2013 - 11:45

Le résumé sera disponible bientôt

How did the ‘Whoniverse’ Begin? Hyperdiegesis and Trans-transmedia
Vendredi, Juin 7, 2013 - 14:00

This paper revisits a concept from Fan Cultures (Hills 2002): ‘hyperdiegesis’. I defined the term there as a textual quality inciting fans’ involvement in cult media.


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