Faking Depth

MTV and the perception of (intellectual) depth through physical depth

Can depth be perceived in 60 second video bites? We can receive an impression, surely, guess that there might be depth, be intrigued, be pulled into the mix, but can we really find depth before the next story flashes across the screen? If we could play the same bite over and over again, and pull it apart, and follow the patterns, what would we find?

How do we recognise the depth so fast? Is depth just another pattern? Are there triggers that let the quarter-second flash of an image leave the taint of depth on our senses? Do we each time attempt to find the depth and get rebuffed? Do we succeed some times? Are there designers who are cynical enough to plan the depth, to design, to predict our thresholds, our familiarity with the elements they use to create the depth-feel? Balancing the effort of creating more twists of depth against the status quo, and how much complexity will force the user to admit defeat and reject the title. Surely we all have our thresholds, eventually we cannot decode what they encode. Certainly not in the video-bite.

And how do they keep the user attracted? Is there a balance being waged, between the puzzles the user is allowed to win and those lost? Is there a mathematical formula that allows the gambling house to know that it will always win, or is there a chance that the user might beat the odds? What would that mean? Understand nothing, feel threatened, attack or flee? Understand everything, become bored, walk away? Is the only goal escape? Is beating the odds failure? Are the creators of the bites solely motivated by our best interests, the ultimate benefactors, wishing nothing for us save a good and happy life? What hand beats a cynical flush? Would beating the flush ruin the game?

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Document Name: tb.depth.depthsplit.feeling.htm
Copyright (c) 1997 -- Mike Fletcher
Reproduction for other than personal use prohibited without express written permission from the author.