Interactive Digital Narratives: How Action and Embodiment Construct Meaning on Behaving Systems

Narrativas digitais interactivas: a importância da acção e do corpo na construção de significado em sistemas comportamentais

  • Ana Catarina Monteiro Universidade do Porto
Palavras-chave: Interactive Systems, Interactive Digital Narratives, Embodiment, Aesthetics, Action, Construction of Meaning


Computational and interactive technologies are ubiquitous and have facilitated the incorporation of a set of semiotic systems that enable the creation of distinct meanings and formats in the understanding of the emergent messages. Experiencing and comprehending the same system through the constantly reminded of distinctive strategies and paths creates some challenges and aesthetic implications represented in the social, political, and cultural context.

Forms of collaboration and communication are described by actions carried out while receiving feedback and evaluating their result, making itself available through physical movement and interaction. We act to sense and construct meaning, so our brains create information and sense-making based on our body’s movement, the environment’s spatial organization, among other organized activities. In the same way, interactive systems are embodied, dynamic, performative, and they are regularly communicating with their environment, becoming autopoietic.

Interactive digital narratives are artifacts that connect states and structured events finding meaning in them, making sense of the world by assimilating it to narrative. They stand for a wide range of variations and readers interact with a computational system to develop the narrative, assuming the role of active participants. They disrupt conventional aesthetics because their nature has a set of affordances and dimensions, and their dynamics of interaction are involved in a processual, performative, and enactive way, shaping the form of narrative and affecting the reader’s experience.

We will discuss some idiosyncratic characteristics that turn these artifacts into behaving systems from the analysis of how the supporting medium’s properties shape the narrative and the action as fundamental features of interaction and construction of meaning. Centring on systems that have their own behavior we can discuss a phenomenological perspective on embodied experience and understand how readers perform on interactive digital narratives.

Biografia Autor

Ana Catarina Monteiro, Universidade do Porto

Ana Catarina Monteiro (Porto, 1991) é licenciada em Jornalismo pela Universidade de Coimbra e mestre em Multimédia — especialização em Cultura e Artes pela Universidade do Porto, com uma dissertação sobre os “Desafios Estéticos da Imersividade no Documentário Interactivo”. Frequenta desde 2019, o Programa Doutoral em Media Digitais (FEUP) onde desenvolve investigação na área da computação, da interação humano-computador e das narrativas digitais interativas. É ainda investigadora no Instituto de Literatura Comparada Margarida Losa (FLUP), com atividade e investigação na área das Humanidades Digitais.

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