While I was trying to process all these technical ideas, all I could think about was that the kinds of narrative structures that are possible when creating animation with code are novel to me. I don’t mean that narratives that emerge from programming or mathematical concepts are new to mediums like animation, but the way I am used to structure an animated film differs from what is possible in a digital medium that I can program myself. I have been making films (both in actual film and digital formats) where one thing is defined from the beginning, there is a linear timeline and the smallest subdivision of time is a single frame. Life makes sense and all is sane in this micro worlds of 24 or 30 frames per second.
But when the linear timeline disappears and the subdivisions seem endless with nested functions and tons of coded operations running simultaneously on every single frame, things change. What not so long ago was considered radical in animation: “non-linear”, “open-ended”, even the poorly called “non-narrative” films are not radical anymore but essential to the coded mediums. This idea was explained by Manovich in “The Language of New Media” a while back, I’ve been familiar with database narrative literature and artworks due to the subject matter of my dissertation. Yet it is only until now that I am deeply invested in learning how to code, that I begin to understand how this ideas affect my own work.