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Interactivity in Zoe Beloff’s “Beyond” Web Serial Essay

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Updated: Mar 30th, 2021

Zoe Beloff can be discussed as both an artist and a filmmaker. Beloff’s Beyond (1995-1997) is an example of the interactive work in which the principle of using the moving images is combined with the idea of creating the virtual space where people can travel and explore new horizons (Zoe Beloff: Beyond, n.d.). In this essay, it is important to discuss how Beyond utilizes integration, interactivity, immersion, narrativity, and hypermedia because Beloff unites several artistic forms in her work; she allows the involvement of the viewer in the process of selecting the scenario; the viewer becomes the part of the panoramic environment; the narrativity is achieved through different sources; hypermedia is used to produce the final result and effects.

Hypermedia and integration can be viewed as the main features of multimedia when artists choose several tools in order to create their art object. In Beyond, Beloff focuses on combining photographs, moving pictures, speakers’ words, recordings, panoramic pictures, and videos in order to create the interactive environment in which a viewer can be involved as a participant or a traveler in the virtual reality, uniting the past and present times (Beloff, 2002, p. 290).

While allowing a viewer to manipulate the space with the help of clicking the options presented as images and choosing routes, Beloff intensifies the experienced level of integration, and the unity of media can be felt more clearly. The level of the person’s involvement in the process also increases. Thus, in addition to hypermedia and interaction, Beloff also applies the ideas of interactivity and immersion in the work.

Interactivity is accentuated in Beyond because Beloff discusses her work as an interactive film. The space created by Beloff provides a viewer with a lot of opportunities to act in it while transforming the path from the present to the past times. In its turn, the immersion is also achieved when a viewer can choose his own paths in the 360-degree space. Thus, Beloff creates not only the immersive environments but also the participatory spaces, as it is explained by Packer and Jordan (2002).

According to Packer and Jordan (2002), integration, interactivity, immersion, narrativity, and hypermedia are closely connected; therefore, narrativity in the work is used to promote the integration, and it is achieved with the help of supporting the pictures with audio recordings that explain the evolution of the technological world (p. xxii). While combining the approaches and tools, Beloff achieves the unique effect on the viewer who feels the part of the dark, horrific, and intriguing space of Beyond.

When the viewer watches Beyond, he can feel like wandering through many possible routes, uniting the present time with the past periods. Starting his journey, a viewer can choose any path to follow in order to explore the virtual world of Beyond. The panoramic pictures create the feeling of the full immersion. The music and sound effects create the atmosphere of traveling through time and spaces. A viewer can perceive oneself as opening the door to the world of the late part of the nineteenth century and early part of the twentieth century (Zoe Beloff: Beyond, n.d.).

Moreover, it is also important to note that the journey and exploration of spaces are full of unpredictable moments and discoveries. A traveler can find himself in the unreal world of the metaphor that has many features similar to the real world. The experience of a viewer is unique each time when he chooses this or that path with the help of the film interface. Thus, a viewer becomes emotionally involved in the process, and it is possible to speak about the highest effect of hypermedia on the people’s feelings.

Zoe Beloff’s Beyond allows a viewer to think about the film as an interactive experience during which a person can learn new ideas and feel new emotions. Thus, Beyond, as an example of the multimedia, can be discussed as fitting all the qualities of this concept, including integration, interactivity, immersion, narrativity, and hypermedia. The reason is that Beloff combines artistic forms, provides opportunities for the viewer’s involvement in the process, and adds the narrativity to produce the required effect on the viewer.

References

Beloff, Z. (2002). An ersatz of life: The dream life of technology. In M. Rieser & A. Zapp (Eds.), New screen media (pp. 284-296). London, UK: BFI Publishing.

Packer, R., & Jordan, K. (2002). Overture. In K. Jordan & R. Packer (Eds.), Multimedia: From Wagner to virtual reality (pp. xv-xxxviii). New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.

Zoe Beloff: Beyond. (n.d.). Web.

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