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Medium, knowledge, structure: capacities for choice and the contradiction of medium-specificity in games and comics.Chris Ware’s Building Stories (2012) is a box containing fourteen items that can be read in any order, and for this reason it appears to offer its readers a great deal of choice over the narrative structure of the work. This paper contrasts Building Stories with the video games Fallout: New Vegas and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim to demonstrate that that although Building Stories does offer choices, these choices are not ultimately meaningful because while the reader can decide the order of presentation, they cannot decide the order of events as they can in the games, and in other examples such as Marc Saporta’s novel Composition No.1. The article draws upon the work of Seymour Chatman, Gonzalo Fresca and Espen Aarseth in analysing narratives in games and texts, and concludes by considering the implications of choice in narrative.
Misrecognising Misrecognition: the Capacity to Influence in the Milieux of Comics and Fine Art.This paper will consider some of the relationships between subjects, social institutions, media and ideas that characterise differences between the environments in which both comics and fine art are produced, used and become comprehensible. It will outline a specific theoretical framework encompassing these differences, describing the discursive co-dependency between forms of media, the uses to which they are put and the habits of thought and expectation engendered by these uses. This encompassing theoretical frame draws in particular upon Althusser, Bourdieu and Hodge and Kress, describing these relationships as ideology, deriving from Karl Mannheim’s and Marx and Engels’ critiques of ideocracy, the promotion of or resistance to ideas on the grounds of the degree to which they reproduce or contradict a dominant social structure. Utilising examples in the productions and social histories of fine artists Jean-Michel Basquiat, Billy Childish, Raymond Peittbon, Lichtenstein and Manet and comics artists Grennan & Sperandio, Janette Parris and Gary Panter, the paper will explore how the relationships between the dominant ideas of one group of people, and the world experiences of other groups, include misrecognition. Those ideas that dominate social discourse in any particular circumstance are not actively misrepresented by the dominant order, according to this model, but rather misrecognised and either overlooked or accepted by others for whom they are materially disadvantageous. Referring to social studies of the fine art world by Zolberg, Danto and Dickie, and to Beaty’s recent commentary on the roles of fan culture, authorlessness and the dynamics of ‘outsider’ status, in creating the social environment of comics, the paper will finally suggest that the degrees and types of this misrecognition constitute two distinct, though continually developing, sets of social constraints that underwrite the possible meanings and uses of comics and fine art, by continually substantiating the histories of their own milieux.