Sunday, November 21, 2010

Static Symbolic Accentuating Triggers

This essay is an excerpt from a longer article on Story/Message Theory, originally published November 14, 2010. To read the original article in full, click the link. Links to other excerpts follow at the conclusion of this entry.


Luc-Henri Fage/Borneo
As with 'Help', the static image may not always present Story, but it capably delivers a Message.

We can think of a message as an Actuating or Motivating Trigger.  Either you will or you will not respond to the Trigger, but you can't ignore it completely, not to mention that with enough impressions, it will possibly produce a latent urge to act.

In fact, by the time one is an adult, conventional signs are so ingrained in the human psyche that it is nearly impossible to act on them. Consider a stop sign; consider a red or green light; consider even the compelling effect of ancient cave art. And yet few purely illustrative pieces, however rich with character or activity capably inform all audience members the same singular Story.

Granted, some static works of art do present a substantial amount of symbolic data, so much so that we can judge them to contain all the elements required of singular Story (within the Story/Message model). However, other works simply frame a composition, present a mise-en-scene or otherwise freeze a moment. At the very most, the pictorial content may indicate some point belonging to a Narrative. Alternately, in the case of signification, the generally non-verbal content devoid of Narrative is provided as a means to communicate instruction or to influence behavior and trigger immediate action.

It follows that Time may or may not be essential to Story delivery, but a chronological Data Sequence does make Story delivery easier to digest. We are perhaps better off by suggesting that a Data Set that lacks a Time element is best defined as a Puzzle. But if do choose to work within a very limited Time framework, we can advance abandon Narrative completely and still deliver a powerful Message, make a connection, trigger behavior and certainly initiate a relationship.

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Articles in this series:

Story/Message Theory (Original full length article)
What is a Story?
The Parable/Fable Framework as Story Algorithm
The Story/Message Theory Construct
So It Goes: Vonnegut's Law
The Power of Effective Messaging
Create Engagement with Compelling Signification
Elevator Pitch: Speed Dating Signification
Static Symbolic Accentuating Triggers
Story is Dead
Leading with Message Signification
Non Linear Cross Platform Transmedia Storytelling
Mythology and Messaging

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