Just as we often find it hard to imagine our own civilization before the advent of widespread literacy in the 17th and 18th centuries, in the next century our descendants will find it hard to understand that while everyone watched movies, videos, and TV, so few had the tools to make them. Technologies for representing, retrieving, and repurposing video content will enable radical changes in media production, distribution, and reuse. It may be hard to conceptualize a world in which you engage in a daily practice of making media artifacts to communicate and play with others-your grandchildren will not understand how you ever lived without it.
The ability to hybridize personal media production with the products of mass and popular culture, and to construct media artifacts and spaces that blur distinctions between consumer and producer, high-end and low end, mass media and personal record, will bring about, and require, new perspectives in our theory and practice of multimedia. What will we face when we freely inter-mix computational artifacts with human agents in our living, writing, viewing, or performance spaces? How will we make sense of such hybrid spaces and how will we share these interpretations? What forms of research practice will support the creation of these new technologies and media experiences?
These questions are intimately tied with techno-scientific issues as well as literary and social issues. How should media technologies evolve to meet the needs of these personal narrative spaces? What are some expressive limitations of our tools, frameworks and languages? What are some potential functions that inhabitants, browsers, composers, and architects can tap in emerging frameworks? What are some worthy challenges for researchers and developers interested in interactive multimedia?
Davenport has also produced interactive fiction and theatrical work. In 1992 she co-directed Wheel of Life: a Transformational Environment with Larry Friedlander. Davenport holds the Asahi Broadcasting Corporation career development chair. She received the Gyorgy Kepes Fellowship for excellence in the Arts in 1991 and is currently finishing abook on digital media systems and the art of storytelling.
Marc Davis is a Member of the Research Staff at Interval Research Corporation and a Lecturer at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA. He recently received his doctorate from the Machine Understanding Group of the Learning and Common Sense Section at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Laboratory. With a diverse background in literary theory, media technology, and artificial intelligence, he researched and developed Media Streams, a prototype system for annotating, retrieving, and repurposing digital video. Marc Davis' research is about creating technologies which will put the power of a Hollywood studio, a network television station, and a vast film archive on everyone's desk and in every kid's garage.
Larry Friedlander, a professor of Literature and Theater at Stanford has worked with multimedia since 1983. He developed a series of experimental applications on Shakespeaere and on French theater, and then began investigating the use of technology in public spaces. He has designed works for several museums (including upcoming information and exhibit designs for the Musee d'Orsay and the National Museum of Scotland), has worked at the Apple Multimedia Lab, The Mitsubishi Electronic Research Lab, and was visitng professor at the MIT Media Lab where he worked on a theater piece with Glorianna Davenport and on other projects. He is collaborating at Stanford now on a "Virtual Theater" that uses intelligent agents, and is a visiting scholar at the Exploratorium Museum in SF.
Sha Xin Wei is a member of Stanford University's Academic Software Development group, specializing in mathematics -- differential geometry and geometric visualization, simulations of physical and human systems, and distributed media. After graduate studies in mathematics, he joined the Stanford-Apple software innovation project in 1984. Recently, Sha has designed and built a distributed framework for composing richly structured media spaces. To inform the work, he is studying issues related to structured media, interactive spaces and the representation of topological and geometric structures.