2 Aristotle

2.1 Aristotelian stories

 I do not want to use the term "story" in the everyday sense: one telling, one or many listening - what is being told and listened to is a story. Instead I want to broaden the concept like this: anything that unfolds itself over time is a story. There are things that you can instantly understand, and or be aware of; similarly there are some things that only unfold over time. Story line is essentially something that needs to take some time in order to be understood. One perceives them in time like navigational paths, which can be interpreted in terms of Aristotelian notions of ontological causes, story line and structure of drama.

Picture 9: Any story model can serve as a tool both in analysing, synthesising and producing structures over time.

 In algorithmic design I used to promote strategy of dividing any programming problem into begin-middle-end sequence. Recursive application of the strategy worked out as program refinement. I called this format "The Japanese Model" because it is simple and you can apply it flexibly to any sequential structure.
 Hollywoodian movie format is based and built on Aristotelian tragedy and classic short-story. In this type the story is largely related trough the fates and fortunes of main character (Aristotle).
 The brechtian model, where play is a succession of independent acts, that are joined by narrative commentary of songs and visuals (Brecht). As a fourth example of story formulae are algorithmic outlines either for computer programs or work and job descriptions. They have a start and they usually have an end point. The action of algorithm is described precisely in steps leading to the desired result. There may be repetitions or alternative routes in the flow of algorithm but it is essentially like a story unfolding over time.
 When doing hypermedia you are working on and with computers and the end product will be viewed on computers, so inevitably you will end up dealing with programing and algorithms, or somebody in your group will. The idea is that story model for hypermedia storyboarding should be applied to algorithmic design too.

2.2 Navigational paths

 We made in spring 1994 together with photographer Jari Arffman three installations of an interactive piece "Crusade". We had seven grayscale photographs and three screenfuls of highly abstract text which were interlinked for audience exploration on a Macintosh with a mouse. Extracts of poetry read by actors were added to enrich the links. The idea was that the exhibition visitor could look at the high quality photographic prints and then he could, in a very postmodern manner, deprive images of their visual meaning and start exploring them in association with a very conceptual text framework.

Picture 10: Crusade installation in Alvar Aalto museum in Jyväskylä, Summer -94.

 We wanted to have a few people at a time engaged in exploring images and the text preferably engaged in mutual conversation. We did not put in any navigational clues, because contemplation over our material through free exploration was one of the points of our piece. To get those minds moving and the conversation going. I wanted to leave it to the dark attractors of chaos in the work to make and keep audience interested.
 I call this form of hypermedia hyperpoetry, because it thins out the narrative and does not necessarily have story lines as such. At best this leads to contemplative interaction between the explorer and work and is an attempt in lyrical hypermedia expression.
 I was very happy to see and learn later on that roughly about a third of the visitors were pleased with the experience. They said it was something adding to the images on the wall. Of course, one third said it was completely beyond their understanding. Perhaps that evens the success out a bit. This was our crusade into a storyless composition - conclusion was that the lack of narration personalises the experience - not so much diminishing it but rather rendering it incommunicable further.
 A navigational path lays out a story, the flow of which can be user-controlled, marked by attractors, outlined by agents or led by a guide. Crusade took the user control to the extreme offering no cues and no stories. A navigational path can be marked out for the user by icons that connote the line of narration.
 An agent can be represented by anything - in hypermedia documents it means that any programmable object can call up operations that complete the task of called agent. In modest environments text labels and icons can represent agents.
 One term has been coined: knowbots - software robots, task performers, programmed entities that exist only inside the computer. They may have some defined task-handling skills, even learning skills and so on.
 A primitive example of an agent controlling any arbitrary linear story could be a leafer agent that is implemented essentially as two routines that use an index - a list of is-a-kind-of components in their navigating order. The two routines locate the name of the component the navigator is at from the index and according to the call either choose the name above or below it and take the navigator there. In our first experiment, Codex B, the hypernovel we placed these routines into an animated icon of a book that leafed itself back and forth and took the navigator back and forth in our stories. I know that this is stretching the agent concept, but the rationale was to offer a context free service (an agent) that anyone would intuitively be able to use. This arrangement also enabled us to modify and rearrange the stories freely once we kept the index in order.
 Similarly it is relatively easy to construct services that select items or indexes or both. With the selection method they can impose their intentions on the navigator, and as such assume the role of a narrator or instructor. Use of agents, especially intelligent agents or agencies (collections of agents) in storytelling - laying out navigational paths - is definitely one of the main techniques in future hypermedia.
 Through artificial intelligence techniques you can device intelligent entities that represent or draw your story line, who are guardians of your story, or they tell or act you the story. I have often called agents with distinct intentions guides - one example might be learning companions in educational titles. More about agents in (Maes) or (Minsky), Apple Computer's Guide -project is discussed in (Laurel 90).

2.3 Aristotle's four causes

 Aristotle uses a metaphor of a chair making when he explains his ideas of the four causes of all existence. Same ontological principles apply in and on all design levels, I will elaborate this on story's is-a-kind-of components.
 Formal cause: There is a form of chair, a universal chair form that all chairs wish to fulfil. A table does not fulfil the form of chair, so nobody calls it a chair.
 Material cause: The matter out of which the chair is made sets constraints to its properties. It makes a difference if the chair is a wooden or a metal one.
 Efficient cause: Aristotle means by them the skills and the tools available for the chair maker.
 End cause: Not least even if last, the end cause. Why chairs? For princes or paupers?
 Let us apply these principles in hyperboarding: With formal cause I mean that there are certain ways (data formats for the items) you need or have to represent certain is-part-of contexts. One has to be aware of what one is describing in writing - basic linear text, dialogue, something one needs to represent visually or with simulations. Certain messages and statements crave certain forms of expression. Also some of the formats (videoclips) are overappreciated and others underrated (animation).
 Material cause is the physical data that hyperdocument incorporates. At first most of it is described in writing that evolves towards the end layout and representations gradually throughout the project. One might say that text is the stuff hypermedia is made of and it follows that hyperboarding is writing hypertext for the hypermedia application. As the design progresses and better understanding of size and media constraints is achieved, decisions on the number, size, binary type of the composite data elements are made.
 Efficient cause means the tools and know-how. When one is embarking on a hypermedia project one has to analyse the possible audience, its size, the variety of its computers. Then one has to make allowances for what machines and environments one really has at hand in the production phase etc. The skills and methodologies one acquires and accumulates during the project may have great influenece on the end title. The efficient cause working on one's title is something you cannot really fix to any given time. The process and equipment develops so fast that you may want to keep your design very modifiable at this point in order to take advantage of technological development. The development of both job and task routines and skills together with group work dynamics and tools is vital in securing quality and timing in all hypermedia projects.
 End cause - the reason. The principal constraint one needs to impose on one's work is the message or collection of messages you want to convey to the navigator. This is best formulated in a couple of concrete and descriptive sentences. This definition serves as the ultimate measure in deciding which design propositions are accepted and which rejected, therefore it is utterly important that the team agrees and understands the document's purpose - its end cause.

2.4 Tableau

 Next I will break stories into components that can simultaneously belong to a number of stories. A story is a sequence of tableaux that are in an is-a-kind-of relation to each other. One is going from one screen to another when one navigates through a hypermedia title. The screens frame out the document for you in tableau by tableau. Our national poet Aleksis Kivi uses word "asuma", when he goes out in the summer by a lake and gazes at the sunset and what he sees, hears, smells and feels he calls asuma: a moment of stillness, something that one can stand and take a look at, understand and contemplate. For Finns there are connotations of "asuma" - to live, habitus, attire, inhabit, home. My idea is that a tableau should not be conceived unfolding over time but something that can be grasped instantly as a whole.
 We all know that aesthetic appreciation sometimes requires training, education, understanding, experience and so on. It stands to reason that some people understand some wholes (and tableaux) more readily than others. When we enter a room we instinctively conceive it as a unit 'X's room, Y's office etc.' - our knowledge of the content changes as we visit the room more often - but it still is understood as some one thing.
 Concrete realisation of a tableau may be a layout, just a simple newspaper page, for instance, it can be an ideal tableau for joining several story lines. Or it may be a painting, a still life, or it can be any collection - a collection of things. A snapshot of me lecturing at the podium here counts for a tableau. Situation... a pose, a scene - we approach drama and film.
 Wittgenstein in his "Tractatus Logicus Philosophicus" offers a formal view to tableau as he explains how facts are comprised of states of affairs. He sees behind linguistic concepts that can be understood as facts bundles of facts that are connected by grammars (Wittgenstein). One combination of facts produces a new fact and further on another combination (to another level of abstraction). Wittgenstein is very useful when you deal with computers and computer programming because he says you should shut up if you do not know what to say, which is precisely what you have to do with computers. Wittgenstein's "Tractatus Logicus Philosophicus" is a very useful piece of philosophy if you are dealing with computer programming, program design or algorithmic design.

2.5 Aristotle revisited

 I will apply Aristotle's ontological principles on tableau description: in hyperdocument one has a number of stories that are comprised of tableaux. One starts hyperboarding by outlinig one's stories - and it is very advisable to use several authors, so one gets the personal flair to each story. As a team you decide and work on the tableaux that are shared by individual stories. The process shifts between your own desks and meetings where you refine the tableaux for your stories. It is useful to start describing tableaux in terms of the end cause. Define the meaning, the fact you want the navigator to grasp instantly. A short and precise definition of its purpose and/or aim - for the team it is also a goal. Because you are working in a team, you have to make compromises, you have to make common decisions on what ideas go in and what is left out. The end cause serves as the measurement in making those decisions. It is vital that one does that definition otherwise one ends up having horrible arguments with nothing getting done at some point in the project.
 And then the material cause. By and large this means the text. Description of the content of tableau in text format gives the authors a better understanding to the quality, quantity and scope of information desired. This is the basis of its material cause, the substance of our end title. The text may be decomposed into several items.

Picture 11: A template for tableau description

 The formal cause defines the vessels (dataformats) for realising the content. By that I mean that the left column (picture 11) contains the material - e.g. a piece of dialogue - as its formal cause one defines in the right column correspondingly "how one does it", e.g. "Two icons having a dialogue in text fields, so as to give a 'semi-animated comic strip' effect". Formal cause is how one chooses to define the way one is going to do it when one gets the equipment and the time etc., etc... Even if one cannot go into details yet, the important thing is that one tries to describe the corresponding format for every text-item in the material cause. Then one analyses, synthesizes and produces the final tableau filtered by the efficient cause.
 For an efficient cause one needs to analyse what is feasible and lay down a production schedule and DO IT. This means the tools, facilities, skills, personnel and time available for the final tableau from the production point of view. In order to understand the effects and efficiencies shaping your work you need to have an understanding of your audience and the equipment available to them. It may even be reasonable to invest project money in improving infrastructure (network organisation or database management) rather than producing a single glamorous hyperdocument.

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