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Interactivity and transmedia

Interactivité et transmédialité

Interactivity and transmedia

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Published on Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Dans le cadre du projet Narrations sérielles et transmédialité mené au sein du Centre d'études et de recherches comparatistes (CERC) à l'université Sorbonne nouvelle – Paris 3, en collaboration avec l'université de la Rochelle et l'université d'Amsterdam. La journée, qui se tiendra le 8 février 2014, a pour but d'explorer, dans une perspective pluridisciplinaire, la question de l'interactivité dans les oeuvres transmedia.



TV series often coupled with social games, forums and web developments to make the viewers “interact” with their fictional universes. Thus like videogames or role-playing games, contemporary forms of narration seem to incorporate more and more interactivity. Viewers are asked to appropriate the artwork through devices that transform the narration into a patchwork or a jigsaw puzzle which one can enter in many ways.

Or so, at least, is the discourse that underlies many transmedia productions. Yet, what does the notion interactivity exactly cover? The “active” aspect is indeed more and more present, for instance insofar as the fan productions, which used to develop parallel to the professional text are also today created by the industry, which sometimes co-opt the audience’s creative impulses. Besides, the recreational dimension of the link with both fiction and narration is also highlighted in the way that the viewers are led to manipulate and appropriate fictional events through play.

Yet, is there a true interaction between the viewers and the artwork? Most of the time, the games and the transmedia developments are made around the “main” piece of work and are its marginalia, considered an “extra piece”, for neighboring productions shall not seem to be utterly missing to those who only care for the “main” artwork. Nevertheless, this is not always true, and the personal investment that is asked from viewers, as well as what the content can offer them, can be very diverse.

If interactivity happens, is the notion of the « canon » still valid? Then, if there is no more canon, on what level is the unity of the artwork achieved? In this vein, let’s also think of the attention producers pay to fans’ reactions on the internet, which can sometimes weigh on the narration. Are the fans actually lent an ear, and if so, which of the many types of fans achieve real influence? Are commercial dictates compelling the TV channels to produce an illusion of interactivity? Similarly, the eBook provides those authors and publishers who have the will to seek interactivity with tools to create transmedia-enriched works; readers may then have to manipulate a text to get access to the entire audiovisual content.

Somehow, it is no longer a time for writing stories, but rather one to create worlds, diegeses in which the viewers/readers can enter and with which they can interact. It is indeed a reality in the current system of media production – with, for example, smartphones applications allowing players to conduct an actual investigation in the field – but one may wonder if the relationship existing between the viewers/readers and the story would not already entail some interaction, in emotional, sensory, or intellectual terms, as an imaginary form of commitment. This relationship might have left audience members freer to make theirs the fictional universe and the characters, whereas setting up explicit game dynamics may tend to re-enclose imaginary possibilities by imposing a path to follow. Actually, the development of fan fiction or fan vids already derived from that dynamic of appropriation of the artwork by fans, of personal involvement in the fiction, and of building an interactive community around that piece of fiction.

It seems obvious that transmedia productions open paths that are still totally unexplored, set between the opening and the closure of a fictional universe, between the narration and exploration of a diegesis, and between the viewers’/readers’ personal investment and their actual intention of getting into action. These productions already bring about theoretical questions concerning the functioning of both fiction and narration, and especially serial narration, and about the relationship between the readers/viewers and the artwork, the story and the fictional universe.

Submission guidelines

This workshop (to be held on February 8th, 2014 at the Université Sorbonne nouvelle – Paris 3), taking place within the global project entitled « Transmedia Serial Narration » runed by the CERC (Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Comparatistes) at the Université Sorbonne nouvelle – Paris 3 in collaboration with the University of La Rochelle and the Amsterdam University, aims at tackling all these paradoxes in a multidisciplinary perspective, without being limited to any specific cultural areas nor disciplinary fields – literature, cinema, TV series, new media, role-playing games, videogames –, to question the link between those narratives and fictional practices and the notion of interactivity.

Proposals (5000 characters), along with a brief bibliography and a short author’s statement, should be sent

before June 30th 2013

to narrationsserielles@gmail.com 

Scientific Officer

  • Claire Cornillon (associate researcher at CERC, Université Sorbonne nouvelle – Paris 3)

The proposals will be evaluated by members of the project.

Coordinatrices du Projet :

  • Claire Cornillon, ATER, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle-Paris 3/ Université Paris 13 – Nord
  • Danièle André, Maître de Conférences, Université de la Rochelle
  • Anne Kustritz, Assitant Professor, Université d’Amsterdam

Membres du Projet :

  • Mélanie Bourdaa, Maître de Conférences, Université Michel de Montaigne – Bordeaux 3
  • Claire Colin, ATER, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3, Université du Havre
  • Nadja Djuric, ATER, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3
  • Sarah Hatchuel, Professeur des Universités, Université du Havre
  • Ariane Hudelet, Maître de Conférences, Université Paris 7 -Diderot
  • Louiza Kadari, Doctorante Contractuelle, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3
  • Pierre Leroux, Doctorant Contractuel, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3
  • LJ Maher, Doctorante, Monash University
  • Isabelle Périer, Docteur, Université de Grenoble III
  • Natacha Vas-Deyres, Chargé de cours, Université Michel de Montaigne – Bordeaux III
  • Aurélie Villers, PRCE, Université Picardie – Jules Verne 


  • 17 rue de Santeuil
    Paris, France (75005)


  • Sunday, June 30, 2013


  • transmedia, interactivité, récit, séries télévisées, nouveaux médias, jeux de rôles, jeux vidéo


  • Claire Cornillon
    courriel : clairecornillon [at] gmail [dot] com

Information source

  • Claire Cornillon
    courriel : clairecornillon [at] gmail [dot] com


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Interactivity and transmedia », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, May 14, 2013, https://calenda.org/247259

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