Janet H. Murray

Janet H.
Murray
1946

American Author, Computing Initiatives Research Scientist, Digital Media Professor and Interactive Designer

Author Quotes

A linear medium cannot represent the simultaneity of processing that goes on in the brain – the mixture of language and image, the intimation of diverging possibilities that we experience as free will. It cannot capture the secrets of organization by which the inanimate somehow comes to life, by which the neural passageway becomes the thought.

Eventually all successful storytelling technologies become “transparent”: we lose consciousness of the medium and see neither print nor film but only the power of the story itself. If digital art reaches the same level of expressiveness as these older media, we will no longer concern ourselves with how we are receiving information. We will only think about what truth it has told us about our lives.

Every age seeks out the appropriate medium in which to confront the unanswerable questions of human existence.

One hundred years after its invention, film art still occupies a marginal place in academic circles. The very activity of watching television is routinely dismissed as inherently inferior to the activity of reading, regardless of content. But narrative beauty is independent of medium. Oral tales, pictorial stories, plays, novels, movies, and television shows can all range from the lame and sensationalist to the heartbreaking and illuminating. We need every available form of expression and all the new ones we can muster to help us understand who we are and what we are doing.

Stories have to have an equivalent “moral physics,” which indicates what consequences attach to actions, who is rewarded, who is punished, how fair the world is.

Storytelling can be a powerful agent of personal transformation. The right stories can open our hearts and change who we are.

We are on the brink of a historic convergence as novelists, playwrights, and filmmakers move toward multiform stories and digital formats; computer scientists move toward the creation of fictional worlds; and the audience moves toward the virtual stage. How can we tell what is coming next? Judging from the current landscape, we can expect a continued loosening of the traditional boundaries between games and stories, between films and rides, between broadcast media (like television and radio) and archival media (like books or videotape, between narrative forms (like books) and dramatic forms (like theater or film), and even between the audience and the author. To understand the new genres and the narrative pleasures that will arise from this heady mixture, we must look beyond the formats imposed upon the computer by the older media it is so rapidly assimilating and identify those properties native to the machine itself.

Any industrial technology that dramatically extends our capabilities also makes us uneasy by challenging our concept of humanity itself.

Author Picture
First Name
Janet H.
Last Name
Murray
Birth Date
1946
Bio

American Author, Computing Initiatives Research Scientist, Digital Media Professor and Interactive Designer