The Big Plot

The Big Plot considers itself a piece of recombinant fiction: “This new method blurs the boundaries between reality and fiction, swaps the roles between actor and spectator and plays with the idea of time-bound performances. It reverses-engineer the process of storytelling. Nothing is simulated, just transformed patterns for real-world actions. In the end the distinction between art and life collapses, and the artifact of human existence emerges.”

To achieve this aim, The Big Plot brings together YouTube video clips, blog posts, Tweets and Facebook messages. Through each technology medium we learn a little more about the characters of Brian, Vanessa, Mark and Paul. Each of the characters speaks to the camera sort of like a video diary, yet editing their response towards the other characters. Viewers of this narrative piece together pieces of the puzzle by sifting through “public” information. After reading the messages, reading the tweets, and watching the videos, the viewer comes away with a sense of “knowing all.” This feeling represents the Eurasia revolution that the characters speak of during the piece. As the “artifact of human existence emerges,” the viewer is hyper aware of the commercial culture the characters speak of as well as the culture that the viewer herself engages in. Vanessa heads the “Global Consciousness,” movement in which she is influenced heavily by Mark. Within this movement, “Now the only one solution for the planet is the Global Conscience. Nothing else.” This movement works in opposition the the Eurasia Revolution, American culture, in which “we bought its trashy dreams and now we can’t wake up.” In American culture today, the characters describe society as a place where “people say one thing and do another,” politicians speak half truths, the media gets excited about moral corruption, and there is no truth you can call objective. Global Consciousness would safe us from this society we have built.

Like Flight Paths, this piece focuses on real world issues. While Flight Paths comments on the plight of refugees, The Big Plot tries to bring awareness to  a new cultural movement. On the website are links to videos in London and Berlin of volunteers trying to spread information about Global Consciousness. I think that The Big Plot tried to mirror our everyday reality, the way we think that we understand a situation simple by accessing social networks. However, I found Flight Paths to be more effective in delivering a message. Maybe The Big Plot was too similar to our everyday reality. I consumed the piece as I would any other home made YouTube video, and found myself giving more credit to the artistic direction of Flight Paths. If The Big Plot tried to collapse the distinction between art and life, I think they achieved their aim. I am just not sure whether collapsing that distinction is effective.

3 responses to “The Big Plot

  1. As I expressed in class, I think the main issue with the Big Plot is its lack of a participatory element. In this sense, it misses the point of the phenomenon it’s trying to address. There’s no way for readers to engage in the “plot” except as spectators/voyeurs. In some ways, this makes sense as a rhetorical technique, because the Big Plot is a self-described commentary on the voyeuristic aspects of information sharing. However, it fails to take into account the fact that social media are also, well, social. Viewers are also participants, and vice versa. That’s why social media are so engaging.

    Flight Paths, by contrast, gains depth and richness through participation. In this sense, readers enact a social response to a social issue

  2. I agree with both of you about the two projects. After reading Rachel’s points, I was thinking how much more enriching it the Big Plot would be if it allowed for new characters to be integrated and communicate with other users. I think this would engage others and then really promote the ideals of the site which center on Global Consciousness. I think it would be very helpful and progressive to add links and information on HOW TO be Globally Conscious, for example, which store sell products that have not been made in sweat shops, etc. Maybe this should be the kind of project I should have taken on with this class. 🙂

  3. One thing that I did notice on the Big Plot site is that they had links to YouTube videos of characters that participants had created. The videos showed people talking in a similar fashion to the main characters. So, the site did allow for new characters to integrate into the story line. However, I do agree with you about needing more information about Global Consciousness.