From Eco’s Apertura to Fractal Narrative: Recursion as a Tool of Order in Contemporary Narratives
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In 1962 Umberto Eco published his Opera aperta. Forma e indeterminazione nelle poetiche contemporanee, in which he dealt with the televised space and its influence on the development of plot in contemporary narratives. The analysis of the aesthetic of television led him to highlight the exclusive capacity of television to transmit events in real time: Live TV. Eco affirms in particular that through the editing in Live TV, the role of choice completely changes in comparison to what happens in the editing phase within the cinematographic narrative. In Live TV, choice becomes a proper composition, a form of narrative, a means of unifying in a discursive way a set of isolated images within the framework of a wider set of events taking place at the same time and intersecting one another. This impromptu narrative brings with it the use of some recursive forms, which represent an important narrative tool enabling a weaving of the narrative space. Eco identified those recursive forms in some jazz figures such as the riff, the recursive form of which allows for the creation of an organic composition full of improvisation. A few years later, the importance of figures of this kind was also noted by Deleuze-Guattari (1980), who posited that ritornello has an important function of organizing the exterior space, or chaotic space. Based on these considerations, this paper deals with the phenomenon of repetition, recursivity, and patterns, to bring these concepts into the construction of narrative spaces. The central point of the paper is that the birth of Live TV started a phenomenon of exteriorization of the inner data of the narrative construction. This phenomenon of externalization makes possible the understanding of data through spatial terms, and one starts to use recursive formulas to navigate it.
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