4th International Conference

Digital Culture & AudioVisual Challenges

Interdisciplinary Creativity in Arts and Technology

Hybrid - Corfu/Online, May 13-14, 2022

Kazantzakis, his life and work: An interactive narration through a multimedia database
Date and Time: 14/05/2022 (15:30-17:00)
Location: Ionian Academy
Giorgos Papakonstantinou

The text presents the DVD-Rom Kazantzakis, his life and work, produced in 2005-2006 by the Multimedia Laboratory of the University of Crete, with funding from the Kazantzakis Museum, the Ministry of Culture, and the European Union. Αn analysis of the work is placed in the context of Lev Manovich's reflection on the database as a symbolic form. He proposes the database as a basic form of cultural expression in the contemporary digital age, following the literary and cinematic narrative of the 19th and 20th centuries. The DVD belongs to the category of cultural interactive multimedia and constitutes a wander through the labyrinthine world of the exuberant personality of Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis and the turbulent times in which he lived, through original scientific texts, visual material, rare photographs and manuscripts, photographs and videos. The digital publication is complemented by information on the works of the righter’s writing projects, editions, and foreign translations, as well as transfers to other art forms (theater, cinema). The text analyses the narrative structure and the aesthetic approach to the database formed by the information on Nikos Kazantzakis life and work.

The database is a new way of structuring our experience, of ourselves and of the world that emerges from the poetics, aesthetics and ethics of the unstructured collection of images, texts, and other records that seem to constitute our own world. Our research focuses on the exploration of the ways that narrative and database can work together.

We used the flexibility of interactive multimedia to approach the life and work of Kazantzakis from several angles: episodes from his life, excerpts from his works, with references to historical and cultural events of the time. The aesthetic approach of the communication environment is based on the fact that Nikos Kazantzakis should be treated as a European personality of the interwar period since it is this typical period that his work reflects. Kazantzakis is not a typically "Greek" personality; he is rather a case in the field of literature. His work is full of symbolism, stereotypical and allegorical forms. This is why we have used graphic elements and symbols inspired by European culture in general and not specifically Greek. The terms that come to mind when trying to define his personality are intensity, immersion, distance, contradiction, outrageousness, anguish, eclecticism, epic dimension, and combat. The content is organized in six sections: "Life and Work", "Peregrinations", "Companions on the road", "The character", "The literary Odyssey", "In the eyes of others". Along with the sections, the application contains Annexes: an analytical directory of the writer's works and a list of biographies.

New technologies can be applied to the search and organisation of data in order to decode the personal world of a personality such as Nikos Kazantzakis. Nevertheless, the construction of interesting narratives should be based on the construction of particular arguments.

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