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Will Renny (M)
London, UK
Immortal since Sep 27, 2010
Uplinks: 0, Generation 3

all about everyone
My name is Will, and I am a creative geek. I work as a freelance digital creative strategist. Sometimes I design things.
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    From allabouteveryone
    Fictional Futures: The New...
    Now playing SpaceCollective
    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.


    I’ve written before about our progressive move towards greater degrees of participation in the way we consume and curate media and the fact that brands will inexorably (albeit with a bit of heel-dragging) gravitate towards audience participation, as a means to engage with them; in the process relinquishing some degree of control of their own messages.

    I’ve also alluded to a necessary, symbiotic relationship between fact and fiction or at least, a perceived understanding of reality and fantasy, as a means with which to make sense of our indentities within the linear trajectory of time.

    This coexistence of fantasy and perceived reality enables us to idealise ourselves in quasi-fictional ways. We rely upon fantasy to augment our perceptions of reality so as to successfully project ourselves into the future and so plan for the inevitable present.

    Advertising is a reality-blender; a projection device overlaying the unreal onto the real. Advertising is in fact a multiverse of semi-plausible fictions; alternate realities. The act of advertising elicits a positioning of the self within a super-reality – a half-real dimension that is at once a mirror of our own lives while at the same time an addition of things that don’t yet exist for us; an augmentation of reality. The residual superimposition creates a friction between our own sense of the present and an alternate, idealised version of that same present.



    These visions are not always extraordinary, although the extraordinary and the surreal are often present. We perpetualy brush past portholes into the semi-normal, semi-mundane fictions of product-centric worlds in our regular traversing of the public spaces we inhabit. Our cityscapes are crammed with windows onto the believable, so much so perhaps that we no longer recognise the idealised vision of the hyper-normal from the normality that encases it.

    These amalgams of the normal and the fantastic are, in essence, parasitic. They embed themselves into the skin of our physical environment, becoming enmeshed into the fabric of the fantasy of our lives, however mundanely, however trivial seeming, then hatch little mutations, altering the DNA of our daily fictions.

    But what if we could inflect these images with their signs and symbols? What if we were able to connect and participate more with the projected fictions? Pick them up, manipulate and participate with them, bring them more to life, so to speak. Imagine a multiverse of colliding and contiguously inflating ‘unreal’ ideas.

    Phantom ideas yet to be realised in the reality of our own physical world. Through a blending of our own present, experienced, real-time lives, with a fictional, narrative framework, we can create alternate realities, believable realities, that become participative semi-fictional stories, with varying degrees of immersion or opaqueness.



    An old college friend of mine had an idea about doing something along these lines - blending entertainment media with consumer brands to create visions of the near-future within which to posit audience driven brand development. It was called Purefold and it was a brilliant idea.

    Purefold sought to utilize several emergent forms of engagement and media production to create entertainment as well as brand engagement. Sadly, the project wasn’t completed. I don’t know all of the details but seemingly Purefold’s business model presented challenges that were deemed insurmountable for the commercial interests involved. In my opinion it may have just been a little too ahead of it’s time. Regardless of the project’s demise, I believed, and still do, in the central premise: that there is a rich, as yet untapped, space, between storytelling and brands, and audience participation is the key to linking the two.



    For audiences, the value in such a proposition lies in the ability to better realise (and position themselves within) a believable fiction; a blend of the hyper-normal and the super-idealised; a kind of magic-realism. A mimesis of the physical world that is at once a dream and a window onto the prosaic and the mundane; a quasi-normality and an infinite set of augmented-realities. It is entertainment. Science fiction. Fantasy. But it is also more than just entertainment. It has practical, developmental properties and these are driven by the audience, through their participation.

    It is actually only through a participative audience that brands are able to have a viable space at all within entertainment media, with which to develop their brands. I think this remains a massive opportunity both for brands and for consumers, as both can potentially walk away a lot happier.

    Objects, not just egos, can be revised and reborn. Brands can be reengineered. Time can be reordered.



    Science fiction has long provided the space to idealise and interpret new ways for us to live, both utopian and dystopian. Fiction itself provides the only space within which to idealise the future, however near or far that may be imagined. The present simply provides us with a testing ground for the past visions of the future. I suspect the Philip. K. Dick’s and Isaac Asimov’s of this world did not intend themselves to be latent product designers but nevertheless, science fiction has resulted in a form of product conceptualisation.

    If the consumption of science fiction accidentally helps us idealise and visualise new kinds of ways to live and engage with the world we physically live in, and these visions then actually lead to real-world products, then can't we deliberately aim to do this?

    Just as Second Life saw real-world brands setting up shop and trading across the border between the physical world and a fabricated, hyper-fictional environment, participative entertainment formats could evolve that would similarly support the fictional lives of real-world brands, and the creation of new brands, where anyone can participate and help create totally new products, services, tools or applications.
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