Monday, March 29, 2010

Galleries - NGG, ACMI. Afterthought: Viral Marketing

Visited ACMI and NGV a week ago. Had a look at the free stuff.

In NGV had a look at some ancient relics. Statues, pottery, idols, books. It's hard to imagine that some of these things are hundreds, even thousands of years old. If I found some of the vases in my backyard, I'd just think it was some junk from the 70's. I particularly like Aztec and Mayan things.

At ACMI I gravitated towards the sections relating to video games and the internet. There was a monitor with a few internet fads, known at Memes listed. I knew quite a few of them.

There was one meme that I looked up when I got home (which I hadn't heard of), which turned out to be a sort of ARG(Alternate reality game)/Viral Marketing thing. Not so much a game. But it was a series of videos posted on youtube by a user named "lonelygirl15" in the form of a video diary. Initially it seemed to be just a real life girl posting about her day to day stuff, until some people on a forum worked out that the girl was a New Zealand actress. It took them a long time to analyze all the videos to come to the conclusion that it was a staged piece of work. It then developed into a tv/web series with more than just diary posts.

I've become really interested in the concepts of viral marketing and ARG in the last few years after I saw the movie Cloverfield at the cinema. I loved the movie so much that I had to know more about it, on the internet I stumbled upon all the "easter eggs" in the movie, as well as web-only content that is seemingly posted by characters from the movie. The web only content can reveal more clues about the events that happened in the movie, even giving us more insight into characters that only play a small role.

I vaguely followed an ARG called "Junko Junsui" late last year. It was really exciting to watch a game unfold over the internet in real time. Waiting for clues and then for people to unlock them to advance the story. The story seemed to have ended with it open for more but currently it is in limbo. The original "in game" websites seem to be gradually going offline. However many people have posted the videos from the websites on youtube.

The internet has given birth to this new style of Alternate Reality storytelling. With the global platform, users from all over the world can collaborate their ideas. Games such as Junko Junsui required some multi-lingual detective work as the related websites were in English, Russian or Japanese. It was necessary to work together with people from other countries to find the answers to the clues that each website presented.

Currently I am following a series called "Marble Hornets" which is a mysterious video log from a boy named Jay, who is trying to figure out what happened to his friend Alex after viewing the footage from a film they were making. An urban myth character called "Slenderman" appears in the background of the videos and it gets really quite creepy! The series has been unfolding for the last year over Youtube and is still going.

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