Aim of our research is to validate the possibility of a comparison between serial narratives and the ecosystem model of organization and evolution.
To consider a story world as a “narrative ecosystem” is particularly useful when one addresses media convergence and narrative spreadability. It may account for all the aspects involved by crossmedia narrative production, without erasing the specificities of each product configuring the ecosystem. It considers the narrative as a complex network based on the interactions among various elements, regulated by principles of modularity, interoperability, scalability, expandability, resilience.
The idea of a narrative ecosystem gives importance to the relations among the various narrative blocks and the many media involved. It therefore needs a multidisciplinary theoretical framework where the research is balanced between the partiality of each perspective and the wideness of the ecosystem itself.
Such a paradigm accords great attention to the changes in the traditional narrative forms: instead of a linear, causal narrative, in such model the research focus on the idea of complexity, highlighting the ability of the narrative to persist and pervade every aspect of its users’ lives. Most of all, the research wants to reconsider the paradigm of transmedia storytelling and to underline the contemporary shift toward seriality in the globalized mediascape.
The narrative ecosystem is in constant movement, open to every form of shock, and molded by external and internal pressures (including the ones coming from its users). One of the objectives of this research is to consider the possible evolutionary models of the vast narratives in front of the many inputs they receive. In particular, we focus on the system’s resiliency and self-regulation processes.
The research is particularly centered on contemporary television series, in order to highlight the many reciprocities between the economic and industrial context and the products’ formal and aesthetics aspects. In order to better read such complex audiovisual products (based on multiplicity), our research needs to take into consideration many different disciplines – among them, the theory of complexity and network analysis are privileged tools to study the relation among the characters. Furthermore, the television series should always be analyzed as a part of the wider contemporary mediascape, and put in their cultural, economic, geopolitical contexts.
In order to navigate the ecosystem, our research relies upon some aspects of information architecture, as a theoretical framework useful to create privileged paths for reading and ordering all the information we receive using a media product. Moreover, we consider thinking about each product specifically as an interface for the ever-changing relation between the narrative ecosystem and its users.