Text " Recombinant Fiction "
theoretical Paper and Manifesto. 2008 - 2010.
Recombinant Fiction intro.
In previous ages, mediums for narrating fiction such as theatre, literature, cinema and television have defined
languages, models and formats; each media development provided an expressive shift in forms of storytelling.
Nowadays, media are multiplying, hybridizing, and mutating. The way they are used alters continually, creating
potentially new ways of producing fiction and spectacle.
Networked digital media merge as a productive vehicle to create new forms of fiction. In fact, the rise of forms of
storytelling such as ‘Transmedia Storytelling', ‘Alternate Reality Games', ‘Transfiction', ‘Dispersed Fiction' and ‘Viral
and Guerrilla Marketing' is a clear sign of an important revolution in ways to tell stories.
Recombinant Fiction emerges as a political and aesthetic fiction genre of this new immersive and participative form
of art. By identifying valuable, distinctive characteristics and objectives, Recombinant Fiction defines a unique genre
able to drive tactical activism and dramatic purposes.
Our contemporary media environment era is characterized by the explosion of Personal Media  (e.g. devices with
platforms for email, instant messenger, blogs, photo and video sharing services, etc.) resulting in new modes of
personal expression and interpersonal relations. Nonetheless, Mass Media continues to grow as well. Networked
media generates new channels and interconnected devices for consuming entertainment and news (e.g. proprietary
web platforms, digital TV, portable video/reader players, screen billboard, etc.). This results in the deregulation of
advertising restrictions and privacy policies by the corporate media complex to boost the flow of information.
Additionally, networked digital technologies accelerate and facilitate the production of offline and analogue spaces
of information (e.g. print-on-demand, production of manufactures, organization of public assembly, mapping public
spaces etc.). This results in a new mass of active prosumers, and a general increase of information in interior and
All of the above listed media are digital in origin, and therefore easily reproducible and transmissible through
networks (e.g. Internet, GSM, Wi-Fi, etc.). Networked digital media generate an intensification of flow, interactions
and processes of communication. The informative environment created by all those media that broadcast messages,
is defined as Infosphere . This conceptual sphere is the space in which modern society is immersed, where people
express themselves, build their own realities and manage societal organization.
In this context, a modern form of fiction should be narrated by networked media and staged in the Infosphere, which
can be used as the medium to dramatize reality and find a way to change it by a dramatic representation, as
humanity has always done.
1) The fiction is told through traditional news media, online social media and public space interventions. The pieces
of the fiction converge and evolve in one rhizomatic stage, synchronized and organized by networked digital media.
2) The fiction has conflicts and resolutions among characters with engaging personalities. There are not challenges or
gaming aims for the audience, it must be pure fiction and its nature should be obscured but not hidden.
3) The fiction penetrates reality by including real entities in the narrative.
The created fictional reality is made from
contemporary real-world patterns, which are semiologically relinked and mutable in the narrative elements.
4) The fiction is interactive and participative. It is unfolded with the active interaction of an audience that can
participate in it by creating characters and reshaping the storyline through their personal media and by public
5) The fiction has activist and educational qualities to achieve social change goals, by spotting controversial identities
or organizations, or by increasing awareness of real world plights. It must be without commercial or promotional
purposes at all.
Theory for practicing Recombinant Fiction:
Recombinant Fiction is composed of layering mediums, spaces, identities and modes, which can be seen as formally
interconnected as a rhizome . The rhizome reflects the abstract network structure, the configuration of the
The fiction is told through the convergence  of narratives broadcasted by networked media. Organized and
synchronized, these media create a rhizomatic space of narrative information that audiences can unfold and
The convergence of narrative elements broadcasted by the media is facilitated by the semiological links that can be
created among them. Each media of the rhizome is directed organically to broadcast narrative elements of the story
that refer to each other. The networked convergence of scenographic elements creates a rhizomatic totality,
recognizable as single stage, where the story is told and evolves.
This stage embodies the Infosphere, denoted by the media that broadcast messages and by the messages
themselves. The broadcasted narrative signs are linked together in a network of signifiers, which constitutes the
rhizome in which all the signs used in the narrative build the environment of the fiction. As in semiotization  in
theatre, in the Infosphere, signs present in the narrative rhizome became functional to the construction of the
The fiction is unfolded by links that refer to each other, creating a semiotic networked storyline within which the
audience can be actively surrounded. This unfoldment should not have challenges or ludic elements. Instead, it should simply be easy to interact with and readable by the audience.
Furthermore, this process of semiotization through linking, quoting, cloning signs of reality is thought to integrate real
entities into the fiction, transforming real-world patterns into fictional ones, and vice versa, fictional patterns of the
story can be perceivable as real.
Characters in the Recombinant Fiction use networked media to dialogue and articulate their messages. Characters
show their masks digitally created and tell their stories through the disseminated media of the Infosphere that fit
and build their personalities.
General identities and entities are made by pieces of information broadcasted, which build their existences in the
Infosphere and influence directly their presence in the ordinary physical world. The informational body that is
broadcasted in the Infosphere through media can materialize the representation of the self, a general agency and
any activity. This state of being empowers the characters of the fiction to enact their roles with masks that appear
realistic and familiar to the audience. Hence, the way characters use these media reveals personality traits and
intensifies the emphatic effect on audiences.
Considering the audiences present in the rhizomatic stage of the fiction, they are able to unfold the story
and follow the characters' revelations with immediate ease, because characters and audience members share the
same tools of expression and communication. This enables the audience to participate in stories by converging their
mediated identities of the Infosphere into the rhizomatic narrative stage through their Personal Media (or other
media of the Infosphere) and by having direct conversations with the main characters or even creating new
characters and adding new elements to the dynamic storyline.
The audiences know how to have control over their own characters, since they build their identities and related
relationships with others through networked digital media in the everyday life. Often the projection of the self onto
the Infosphere is characterized by the attempt to appeal to others. This sort of internalization of the
spectacularization of representation of the self facilitates the personal reinvention for the performative acting in the
Through their participation, audiences turn into characters of the fiction. As they develop their personas and create
new narrative aspects, the storyline takes shape and opens to new dramatic concepts. In their new participatory
role, the audience consciously performs a responsible act in the fiction's dual being, which is both inside the actual
social reality and in the fictional story. As the audience shapes the story, they become aware of its fictitious double
The fiction uses variable forms of dramaturgical structures with interweaved situations among characters. The story
is told with dialogues, statements, monologues, public interventions and actions about a fictional scenario that take
place in a storyline over the Infosphere's stage.
Characters tell about discoveries, conflicts, reversal, resolution and twists of their existences, through background
dramas of interior feelings and foreground plots of public fights. The fiction should trigger the original aims of
dramatization of human condition for cathartic functions, representation of possibilities, and escapism from daily
pressures through engaging stories.
In the first person narrative voice, main and minor characters communicate their experiences and claims directly to
the audience with their masks. Characters' voices are broadcast over Social and any media functional to the
expression of the characters. Concurrently other media broadcast information to build the scenography and the
atmosphere of the drama.
The fiction is broadcasted live. Narrative situations happen in real time. Narrative information is communicated
simultaneously with the characters' declarations and dialogues, creating a spectacle that occurs during a
concentrated span of time. Audiences are pervaded in the story as they find themselves engaged with the progress
of fiction or as they attend scheduled dramatic events.
The action line oscillates on a variable mutable timeline. Multiple references among situations and characters on the
timeline make it unbroken and comprehensible as a complete reticulated sequence of narrative occurrences. After
the live broadcasting, the final documentation of all the narrative elements allows audiences to browse the fiction
The drama is set in the present, with scenarios contextual to the contemporary society and scripts similar to the
ordinary behaviors of the audience. In order to thoroughly penetrate reality with an active fiction, the topic of the
main conflict in the fiction should be a real world social matter familiar to the audience and engaged with
mainstream media content.
The fictional nature is declared; the audience must notice or perceive to attend at a fictional drama, through
narrative patterns blurred with real patterns, to involve the audience in an immersive fiction. Real and illusory events
come to inform each other. Memory and associative processes are subtly moving and shifting at all times in relation
to the present context.
Tactical functions of the fiction.
Over the course of human history, stories have always been used to understand and interpret reality, from religions
to ideologies, beliefs and identifications in large narratives defined civilizations. However it is in our mediated society
that stories replace realities in creating fragmented artificial worlds and capturing people's minds and imaginations
within them. Reality continues to be redefined not only by its narrated image as fabricated by the entertainment and
media industries, but recently also by the single individual who thinks and produces his/her own image to fit the
Only by dramatizing the artificial reality of the Infosphere can audiences understand and then change their physical
reality, over which they have recently lost control. Recombinant Fiction is about staging a drama inside the
Hyperreality and Spectacularization of society to engage participants in a process as political agents.
The endeavor toward an efficient modern drama with effective outcomes requires strategy on stages and mediums
as well as the employment of a language and aesthetic that speaks to the mindset of an individualized audience. The
educational, informative and transformative purposes of the dramatic actions should be developed for motivating
and transforming audiences usually indifferent to social issues and for mobilizing victims of oppression. This can be
accomplished by infiltrating the audience's language and environments with stories and characters that tempt the
attention and interest of the target. Through identification with the characters' dilemmas and public claims,
Recombinant Fiction becomes a useful tool to reach new and large audiences whilst creating concern for social
Tactical Recombinant Fiction is a powerful art form to exchange in human consciousness, demystify
absurd beliefs, undermining unethical powers and informing on social problems.
"There will be never winning over the system on the real layer [...] because the system relies on symbolic-violence",
J. Baudrillard. 
"Theatre is a rehearsal for revolution no matter that the action is fictional;
what matters is that is action!", A. Boal. 
Theories that have inspired Recombinant Fiction:
" Recombinant Theatre " by Critical Art Ensemble
" Invisible and Forum Theatre " by Augusto Boal
" TransMedia Storytelling " and " Convergence Culture " by Henry Jenkins
" Dispersed Fiction " by Jason Nelson
" TransFiction " by Alok Nandi
 "The digitalization and personal use of media technologies have destabilized the traditional dichotomization
between mass communication and interpersonal communication, and therefore between mass media and personal
Marika Lüders , ‘Conceptualizing personal media', New Media & Society, Vol. 10, No. 5, 683-702 ,2008
"The infosphere denotes the whole informational environment constituted by all informational entities (thus
including informational agents as well), their properties, interactions, processes and mutual relations."
Luciano Floridi, ‘Ethics in the Infosphere', The Philosophers' Magazine, 6: 18-19, 2001.
Related to the theory of Rhizome as "Principles of connection and heterogeneity: any point of a rhizome can be
connected to anything other, and must be."
G. Deleuze, F. Guattari 'A thousand plateaus: capitalism and schizophrenia' Continuum International Publishing
"‘Convergence' must be understood as a process that has several different manifestation."
Henry Jenkins, ‘Convergence? I diverge', Technology Review, 2001.
"The semiotization of an element of performance occurs when it appears clearly as the sign of something. Within
the framework' of the stage or the theatrical event, all that is presented to the audience becomes a sign that
"wishes" to communicate a signified."
Patrice Pavis, Christine Shantz , ‘Dictionary of the theatre: terms, concepts, and analysis', University of Toronto Press,
J. Baudrillard, ‘Symbolic Exchange and Death', Sage, London, 1993, ISBN 0803983999
A. Boal, ‘Theatre of the Oppressed', Pluto Press, 2008, ISBN 0745328385
- N. Abercrombie and B. Longhurst, ‘Audience', Sage, London, 1998
- P. Watzlawick, ‘The Language of Change', W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 1993, ISBN 0393310205
- J. Marchessault and S. Lord., ‘Fluid Screens, Expanded Cinema', University of Toronto Press, 2007, ISBN 9780802092977
- John W. Gosney, ‘Beyond Reality: A Guide to Alternate Reality Gaming',Course Technology PTR, 2005, ISBN 1592007376
- R. Schechner, 'Performance Theory', Taylor & Francis, 1988, ISBN 041590093X
- D. Canning and P. Reinsborough, ‘Reimagining Change: How to Use Story-based Strategy to Win Campaigns, Build Movements, and Change the World', PM Press, 2010, ISBN 1604861975
- K. Becker, 'Strategic Reality Dictionary: Deep Infopolitics and Cultural Intelligence', Autonomedia, 2009, ISBN 978-1-57027-202-8
- S.Turkle, 'Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet', Simon & Schuster, 1997, IBSN 0684833484
Lectures and presentations of the Recombinant Fiction theory and projects:
"Imagined Cinemas", Jan. 2012, at Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam - Netherlands
"WJ-Spots", Dec. 2011, at iMAL, Brussels - Belgium
"ISEA 2011 Conference", Sept. 2011, Instanbul
"Picteilín - Creative Media Conference", Sept. 2011, Dundalk - Irland
"IMAC 2011 - Re-New", May 2011, Copenhagen
"Mobile Learning Conference", March 2011, Bremen
"STRP Festival", Nov. 2010, Eindhoven
"EuropeanDays, Co-production forum", Oct, 2010, Turin
"Electrified 02", May 2010, Ghent
"DIY Days", April 2010, New York
"Moves09 Forum", Corner House Institute, April 2009, Manchester
"Seminar on Art and Espionage", Courtauld Institute of Art, Feb. 2009, London
"Territories and Resources", CinemaCity, June 2008, Novi Sad
Exhibitions with Recombinant Fiction projects:
"File Festival", June 2011, Sao Paulo
"Mediamorfosi 2.0", Sud Lab, Jan. 2011, Naples
"Mediateca Expandida Showcase", Laboral, Nov. 2010, Gjion
"IDEAS 10: Art and Digital Narrative", Emily Carr University, June 2010, Vancouver
"Map Digital Space", March 2010, Ithaca
"Hacking Public Space, Flashback", Microwave Festival, Hong Kong
"Art Project", June 2010, Viareggio
"Tag ties and affective spies", Online exhibition at the National Museum of Contemporary Art, March 2009, Athens
"FAD Festival 09", March 2009, Belo Horizonte - Brasil
"ENTER, 4th international art/science festival", April 2009, Prague
"4th Contemporary Art Festival TINA B.", Oct. 2009, Prague
".MOVE Festival", Oct. 2009, Halle - Germany
"Cairo Prize", Permanente, Oct. 2009, Milan
"Share Festival", Oct. 2009, Turin
"Espacio Enter Festival", Oct. 2009, Tenerife - Spain
"Da Festival" at the National Academy of Art, Oct. 2009, Sofia
Publications with Recombinant Fiction theory and projects:
ISEA2011, "Uncontainable" Leonardo Electronic Almanac, Istanbul, Volume 18 Issue 5, ISBN 9781906897192
IMAC2011, "Interactive Media Arts Conference, Re-new", Denmark, ISBN 9788771120370
R. Schwarz, WEAVE, Magazine, Germany, 2012
B. Pollack, ARTnews, Magazine U.S., 2011, ISSUE June 2011
B. Weil, B. Gottlieb, “New Narratives of Mobility”, Mediateca Expandida Catalgue, Gjion, 2010, ISSN 1889-965X
C. Campanini, “Antologia della webletteratura” Book, Italy, Il Foglio Letterario, 2010, ISBN 9788876062643
L. Barbeni, "Fino alla fine del cinema" Book, Mediaversi, 2010, ISBN 8849134118
A. Ludovico, "Neural" Magazine, 2010, ISSUE #35
P. Zorn, “.Move Festival” Catalogue, Halle, 2009, ISBN 9783000289729
M. Burian “TINA B” Catalogue, 2009, ISBN 9788090446106
D. Dragona, “Tag Ties and Affective Spies“, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, 2009, ISBN 9789608349360
A. Ludovico, "Springerin" Magazine, Austria, 2009, ISSUE 3/09
F. Nori, "Arte" Magazine, 2009, ISSUE 434