As this photo was taken it dawned on me how storytelling needs to be redefined. Pt I. Varsities take note.
It’s 8.39 p.m, 27 degrees centigrade and the humidity is like a plastic blanket. I’m in a villa in the hills of Llorete de Mar just emerged from this pool. This will be nature’s oil painting that will greet us each evening.
The air fills with crickets chirping at each other, as if we’re on a Jordan Peel set. Tonight, the hues and colours are too great to be confined to just a visual memory. “Click” the earth’s gallery now resides in Ros’s Samsung.
She takes another one, and another. This scene, what in our digital existence is an Instagram “many likes” moment will likely take on a new life. Me, I wish I could have stitched it to the back of my mind because this serenity will soon be shattered.
Quite soon, I’m going to lacerate my foot on a sharp boulder nearby. My bad! It’s a deep gash which will ruin my holiday break. F*** F*** the pain shoots up my leg. I hobble over to the fridge, pull out a bottle of Jamaican rum, alcohol strength 45%, and pour it over my wound. It hurts like F***.
Two weeks later, as I write this it’s yet to heal. Cause and effect. The latter part of my holiday I reached for my packed books. Neal Stephenson and Frederick George’s Interface depicts a world where a presidential hopeful, who’s suffered a paralysing stroke, is about to have a controlling chip inserted into him. Meanwhile the Network that controls the world’s finance are about to cash in by calling on their debts that’s financed the US economy.
Then there’s We Need to Talk About Putin How the West Gets Him Wrong by Mark Galeotti, about how misguided Putin pundits are at reading him. Whilst digging through I’m triggered by a thread that will drop me in the middle of memory palace of my PhD.
That’s it! How storytelling could work on an entirely different level to the crisis we’re in. There’s a piece to write. This. I’ll sign off my holiday with this photo of the photo taker, Ros and then confess everything you’ve read so far is true, but it’s an allegory for the distrusted world of stories.
Many of us will go through life being bystanders to change, being swept up by the forces that shift new tech and behaviours. I’ve been very fortunate to be at the epic centre of two major ones. Third time lucky? Well!
The first was in 1994. A thing called videojournalism launched at a station, Channel One. Imagine before 1994 the idea that one person would report, produce, direct and edit what they filmed for news. It was absurd and ridiculed by the news industry. If you were known to have done this no one would hire you. Seems incomprehensible as it’s common place now. Here’s two of the UK’s most respected media brains talking about how we we pioneers.
Its equivalence now would be a roaring successful world of Metaverse productions, decentralised automotive organisations and Hollographic images. Journalism and storytelling would be replete with NFTs. Somebody would have bought this article for $5000. Peanuts. Immersive content doesn’t require headsets. You can choose to live in different states.
The second was in 2004. I built one of the UK’s first video magazine platforms, Viewmagazine.tv (the original laid to digital RIP). Youtube didn’t exist. But if you knew your action scripting and lingo you could build a video player. But that wasn’t the KPI.
The essence was an aesthetic playing high end media. Simulacrums of Vogue magazine and Vanity Fair etc in which images and video connected seamlessly like something out of Minority Report, according to the UK Press Gazette and the Economist.
I referenced it as IMOLs ( interactive Magazine’s online)and something called the Outernet — the internet looking outwards in public spaces. Pulitzer prize winner and the head of the Knight Batten Award judges aid this was the actions of a media giraffe after I received an award.
How about the possibility of a third major innovation, amongst the TikToks, and Instagram generation? It’s possible, but to increase the odds to crack this requires experimentation built on experience of the social, economic and political forces around us.
And since it’s difficult not to imagine how we’re facing a more existential crisis in our time with climate change, food poverty, population migration, wealth inequality, plastic pollution, there’s a massive innovation footprint staring at us.
Innovate all you wish, if your idea doesn’t align with social-economic-political conditions you’ll become a 401 — no one will find you. Experiment boldly says one of the UK’s most respected figures in the creative industries Jude Kelly CBE when I was one of her artists in residence at the South bank Centre.
Part II continues here which provides historical solution to re-imagining storytelling through powerful movements. Don’t miss it.
I write about innovation which has led to @Medium referring to me as one of their top writers in journalism from 26K writers. You can find more about me here @linkedin. Below a visual mind map of what I do and collaborate o: