Marjo Mäenpää - Co-Created Mobile Narratives / Research Data

Co-Created Mobile Narratives

Mobile social Media Research Project

The idea was to research how separately filmed mobile videos from the same event or experience could form dramaturgically intensive story after loading them into web based story generator MoViE.  The implementation is based on video database (MySql), a set of interface scripts (php) and user interface design for Nokia Series 60 phones (see: Multisilta, Mäenpää, 2008). The test hypothesis was that a community – weather it is virtual or non virtual, could create an entertaining experience through a video montage. Second sub-hypothesis was about the experience of entertainment being more visible if the community that shares mobile videos were already connected.

Narrative structures

Narrative structures not only determine the dramaturgical solutions of a story but also how the story is received. By analyzing the structures, the motives, functions and context of the story can be revealed. Structures are like building blocks made up of the actors/actants, events, objectives, time and place – and also the reception – of the story which together form a coherent whole. In the present era of interactive, digital media much has been written about narrative structures. This has given rise to such questions as how does the role or status of the author change when the user can interfere with the plot, like in games, or when there are several authors and the users can choose the most exciting one of a selection of story plots. In narratology, the starting point has been definition of structures. In my thesis I will examine how the observations made by structuralists apply to co-created narratives. Could post-structuralist narratology possibly provide better tools to study the narrative structures of digital, interactive media?


Film and game productions are for the most part co-created by a collective group of authors. The story is born from the collaboration of many different media professionals and writers. Narratology focuses its study on the text in general, the narrative medium and the story itself. Do I have to trace my steps back to the origins of media research to prove that the “medium is the message” if I claim that the means of production – for example, co-creation, brings something new and different to a story?

Mobile co-creation

My research into the mobile video projects proceeds from the baseline assumption that in a social community (network, event, etc. ) people can portray a one and same event from different perspectives and with a certain kind of structuralized model create automated, coherent, i.e. functional, understandable and even enjoyable video narratives. The narratives can be interesting and meaningful to the community itself. One could speak of a “whole and proper narrative”, according to the model Aristotle proposed on the structure of tragedy. (Mäenpää 2010, Vainikkala 2008).

See: Mobile Social Media Researc Project:
Multisilta, Suominen, Mäenpää (2010) Yhdessä ja liikkeellä, Mobiili sosiaalinen media
About Pori Department of Art and Media | Creative Businessa Management MA| Contact Me | © 2010 Marjo Mäenpää