Exploring-Deconstructing Reality with the Interactive Storytelling.

Presenter: Sevcan Aytaç Sönmez
Registration Number: 050
Institution: Yaşar University, Izmir, Turkey
Abstract: Black Mirror is a ground-breaking, sensational, staggering, critical science fiction TV series depicting a dystopic near future and present time. It is concerned with various themes about society, environment, technology, social media, power, dehumanization, and cyborgs. From the beginning of the series, each episode is focused on these themes with an innovative approach by using creative narration styles. But the most innovative boom of Black Mirror is definitely the interactive episode Bandersnatch. Mainly, Bandersnatch focuses on “reality.” With the characters and their actions in different pathways of the fragmented plot, the main issue is “reality” and “perception of reality,” or the illusion of the world. This questioning is being made by a medium—cinematographic narration—which constitutes itself as an art form of representing and reproducing reality but also defined as “illusion of reality” in some theoretical approaches. Nothing could be more creative than to bring together this approach on filmic reality in questioning “reality” with an interactive filmic narration. So, this article combines theories on filmic reality and the main approaches on illusion of reality in cinema, with the narrative style, spectator experience, self-reflectivity in Bandersnatch. Going further on the theme “reality and illusion” we can refer to the extensive literature of philosophy. The philosophers have been asking the question "what is reality" for ages. In relation with the focus of Bandersnatch we can remember William James with his “multi-reality” approach. Or focusing on “time and reality” notion, which is one of the constituting layers of the narrative, we should refer to Henri Bergson and his concept of multiplicity and the notion of time as “duration.” From Bergson, necessarily we should jump to Gilles Deleuze’s “time-image theory” arising from Bergson, in order to understand Bandersnatch as a philosophical narrative interrogating reality by using a new cinematographic form.

Bio: Sevcan Aytaç Sönmez was born in Turkey in 1983. She lives and works in İzmir. She is an academic at Yaşar University at Art and Design Faculty, Film Design Department. Her articles were published in national and international journals. Her first book Remembering Through the Movies was published from a well-known national publisher in Turkey. She has written book chapters, which were published nationally and internationally. A chapter entitled “Modernism, Memory and Cinema” was published in Film and Literary Modernism, edited by Robert McParland (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013). The national book chapters are “Hard Times, 1990’s Turkish Cinema” in Reflections of Modernism, edited by Eric van Zührer and Funda Barbaros, in 2017. “We Are All in Blockade, Time and Style in the movie ‘Abluka’” in New Frames: Cinema in Turkey, edited by Serhat Serter, in 2017. She is one of the editors of a recent book entitled Women’s Camera, Women Directors After 2000s, 2019. Her academic study areas are cultural studies, gender issues, and urban studies. Apart from theoretical works, she is engaged with experimental filmmaking and video art. Her films were shown and awarded in various festivals.