Essays on cinematic narrative. The focus is a set of dynamics collected under the concept of folding, a related system of techniques to model agency and causality.

About These Ideas

Published: 13 Feb 2015

When we started this project, the idea was that elsewhere in scientific papers we would catalog the whole world of narrative dynamics, and that in this study would be the simple, manageable task of noting one among those many: noir.

Noir is important and variations are evolving quickly. It is also easy to illustrate by example. The study quickly expanded to a class of related notions, we call folding, different ways to layer narrative. The method involved watching a lot of films carefully, so along the way, we took note of some other interests.

Some of those do have direct relevance to folding. For instance, under the concept of Hispanic Reality, we have folded realities; under Australian Actresses, we have the notion of folded acting. Because we saw four large schools of this type, we included the others (similarly tagged by ethnic group: Japanese and Italian), though the relationship to folding is remote.


We have five things we have watched for in terms of how space is managed: built space, water, fire, dance and fabric. The reason for this is indirect. In our work, we are looking for new ways to convey complex notions on a computer.

We look to two areas: one of these has its own collection of essays extending a Japanese notion of the beauty in form conveying something about the nature of a system. The relationship with film is simply that both are visual.

The other area is the fact that we already do convey something like this in movies today through how we handle space and light. So when we come up with an observation that seems relevant, we include it in the relevant section.


In a similar vein, we have some other notions, apparently unrelated to one another or folding.

Keeping track of orreries is interesting. An orrery is a physical working model of the solar system, but we extend the notion to a physical representation of the universe of the film, in the film.

Alice in Wonderland references denote a special kind of template, an orrery of sorts that we have been studying for longer than we have film. A section on this will appear in the GeoKabbalitter Histories area of the site. Since almost no one uses this deeply, here we just note references.

The case when a filmmaker is making love to his actress is a fold of an interesting and engaging fold.

In terms of abstraction, the use of Chopin in a film is in a space midway among the Alice, orrery, space and lover dynamics. It references and sometimes uses a rhythmic vocabulary of passion for folding, usually folded acting (and that usually by Australians).

Noting the appearance of absinthe is perhaps the oddest of these. In research for the GeoKabbalitter Histories, I stumbled upon this. The largely unknown history and the unrecognized effects of this drug play a role in those histories. So where the architecture references are links to the kutachi study, the Alice and absinthe references are links to the history notes that appear elsewhere.

The business with redheads is low priority. It has little to do with any of this and is there only because I stumbled on a character research lab that worked on this. It will likely be the least well maintained.

Odds and Ends

This is also the area where I deal with questions that often come up. For example, why include porn (feature films)? What is the relationship to opera and the huge game industry?

I’ve got a rumination on the notion of the fourth narrator that should belong in the history section but is too darn interesting to wait for me to populate that section.

blog comments powered by Disqus
© copyright Ted Goranson, 2015