Cognition of narrative events: a True detection

MediaMutations 8 (Università di Bologna, May 25-26) hosted the paper The boundaries of never-ending. Events cognition and complex TV series narratives, a first exploration and literature survey on the notions of cognitive events and event segmentation in contemporary popular audiovisual storytelling forms, such as films, serial films, anthological and serialized TV series. The project is developed in co-operation with prof. Ruggero Eugeni and within the more general framework of Neurofilmology, a theoretical approach aiming at a comprehensive interpretation of media experience through the intersection between semiotics/narratology/aesthetic and cognitive psychology and neurocognitive research.

What is an narrative event? How do we perceive, remember, predict a narrative event?  How do we organize our narrative experiences – nowadays more pervasive thank to quality TV – into events? What is the relationship between film editing and cognitive editing?

Schermata 2016-05-27 alle 11.05.03

As a case study, we offered a (bit provocative) comparison between two stylistically antipodean sequences of HBO’s crime drama True Detective. Whereas episode Who Goes There (01×04) “refuses” editing and is shot with a single 6-minutes long shot, episode Down Will Come (02×04) adopts intensified continuity and high-paced editing, with 300 cuts in 9 minutes… a very “gun shot”! Although radically different in terms of editing style, both the sequences help to reflect on critical issues such as causality, complexity, temporality and embodiment. Our aim is that of develop an embodied approach to “extended narrative temporalities”.

Our presentation design takes inspiration and materials from the marvelous infographic We keep the other bad man from the door, a tribute to True Detective by Nigel Evan Dennis.