Archiv der Kategorie: Communication

Communication consists of perception, thought models and communication behavior.

Retro – the fanciless reuse

Cultural artifacts have now become economic products and services that follow the rules of the market – literature, music as well as the performing and visual arts. Artists thus become designers of new offers. A wide variety of channels have to be continuously supplied with content – television and radio stations, concert stages, theatres and museums. A quick way to expand your own palette is the fanciless reuse of existing offers. In the absence of subject matters, interesting outgrowths occur. Television stations live from reruns; cinema blockbusters become serials and remakes; pop music lives from cover songs and cover bands; theater plays are completely alienated under well-known titles. Do the artists lack ideas or is the market forcing them to reuse work without imagination?

Previously, the rule was: form follows function. Creatives came up with content and put it into a form. Do the markets demand the endless continuation of the form and fill it always with the same content? Are there rarely enough contents? The following elements are reused thereby.

  • The plot
    The red thread that runs through a story follows a certain rhythm that ensures that the attention of the audience is continuously refreshed once in a short while. The associated actions follow a conceivable sequence that is interspersed with suspense – in a thriller, the perpetrator is uncovered at the end, during the course or at the beginning of the story; through deliberately interspersed effects such as unknown cultures, unusual role models or elements from other genres (e.g. esotericism in an adventure). Depending on the culture the actual action is always the same – in the USA the investigation team and in Germany the commissioner with his assistant.
    Retro provides target groups fanciless repeated plots.
  • The format
    Depending on the target media, e,g, print, radio, film or Internet, the plots are differently offered. A new novel is planned like the rollout of a product – after publication, the book is discussed on the radio and the television, and reviews are launched in the relevant magazines and eventually sold to the highest bidder for further exploitation. What counts is the signal effect of the original title. Good examples of this kind of marketing are Perfume by Patrick Süskind or The Little Prince by Antoine St. Exupéry, which have already completed their rounds in various formats. The actual story doesn’t change – just the format.
    Retro often provides the target group fanciless repeated formats.
  • The theme
    The Zeitgeist brings different subjects to the fore, which, if successful, will be repeated by many – the psyche at the beginning of the twentieth century, totalitarianism after the Second World War or the GDR after German reunification. Today, scientific findings in psychology are used in television series such as Lie to me or Leverage to attract viewers with insights into non-verbal communication. The attraction lies in new insights that could be used in everyday life.
    Retro often provides the target group fanciless repeated topics.
  • The protagonists
    The introduced actors are the supporting pillars of a work – e.g. religious characters in the visual arts; mythology in music; contemporary people in stories. Honoré de Balzac with his human comedy showed the French society of the 19th century. Jules Verne had his courageous researchers who broke the boundaries of the world. Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrapped the South American reality in magic. Heinrich Boell provided a picture of the FRG during the economic upswing. Today’s protagonists are the same again and again: the crazy scientist; the spiritualized commissioner; the punk investigator. Seldom new personalities emerge, as in the book The reader by Bernhard Schlink.
    Retro often provides the target group fanciless repeated protagonists.
  • The Songs
    With the spread of records, the twentieth century became the age of popularized music. Whereas in the past music required musicians, music can be reproduced and enjoyed at any time of the day or night through the canning of records and today’s Internet. In addition, the countless radio broadcasts and films require a continuous flow of new compositions. Certain styles are reused. The fate of the new musicians is to sound like Led Zeppelin or Adele. And at the same time old pieces are re-staged as covers, at best interpreted in a new way. It is possible that music has reached its limits and new harmonies are no longer possible without repeating existing melodies.
    Retro often provides the target group fanciless repeated compositions.
  • The design
    Designed packaging is in the economy an important element of marketing. The customers accept an offer, if the packaging appeals to them – the performing arts use for this purpose a special stage; the visual arts the spectacular exhibition space; music and books the book cover. Part of the design is the attractive title that triggers the first buying impulse – The secret; What everyone needs to know; Passive income for everybody. The advertising poster, the flap text and the trailer are further components of the packaging that suggest certain quality criteria with their design and sometimes promise more than they can keep. The actual content takes a back seat – the design determines the business.
    Retro often provides the target group fanciless repeated designs.

Bottom line: The countless remakes in cinema and TV, the endless repetitions of quiz formats, the new cover bands and the adoption of classical themes in computer games enable the industrial exploitation of cultural brands. The fanciless reuse of old plots, formats, themes, protagonists, pieces of music and designs flood the sales areas with a look backwards. The approach of packing old things into new vessels and selling them shifts creativity from content to form and prevents that way that new things appear. Therefore retro stands for fanciless reuse.

A medieval city – the ideal metaphor for a platform

The development, from the accumulation of some houses to a city, as an economic, social, cultural and political center, followed the traffic routes since the beginning of civilization – along coasts and waterways, e.g. from Marseille via the Rhone, Saône and Rhine to the north. Although many German cities date back to Roman times, more than two thousand years ago, most cities were appointed in the Middle Ages and the second half of the twentieth century. We identify many aspects of the medieval city in the architecture of today’s virtual platforms. This makes a medieval city to an ideal metaphor for a platform.

If we sketch the characteristics of a virtual platform, the similarities catch our eyes.

  • Access control
    The medieval city was surrounded by a wall that protected the possessions of the inhabitants. Access was only possible for authorized persons through guarded city gates. Within the city wall, the inhabitants lived in defined quarters.
    Platforms are also structured according to topic areas and stakeholders. The gate to the platform also opens only for those, who have a corresponding account, i.e. a user ID and a password.
  • Infrastructure
    In a medieval city, the residents used common facilities – from the town hall, the market square, public streets, schools, pubs, to prisons and execution sites.
    Virtuality also requires a general infrastructure – from administrative facilities, marketplaces, workflows, training areas, entertainment areas, to facilities for the punishment of extreme misconduct.
  • Cultural diversity
    The population of the city is made up of different cultures and professions. You find patricians, craftsmen, merchants, day laborers, hangmen and other trades.
    The platforms also have a large variety of members, who are divided into providers, consumers and platform operators, who meet there to do business with each other.
  • Economic hub
    In the Middle Ages, the reason for the foundation and mainstay of the city was the market place. There were goods for sale, manufactured in the city or procured from far away. In addition, guilds evolved, which mutually enriched their kindred business.
    The virtual platform also serves, above all, for the regular exchange of services between providers and consumers and to strengthen the own specialty.
  • Governance
    Due to the dense accumulation of many people, strict rules for coexistence were effective within the city walls. The craftsmen were organized into guilds, which determined regulations regarding education, tools and quality for their field of expertise. Non-members were not allowed to practice the respective craft. Taxes were collected to finance the administration of the commons.
    Virtual platforms also define rules that certify participants according to certain criteria, determine clear procedures, and ensure the outcomes of their work through best practice. The taxes of the virtual platform are the membership fees and donations.
  • Future development
    The progress of the city was the responsibility of the city lords, who were made up of members of the upper class. They decided on the expansion of the infrastructure, the influx of people and the promotion of certain trades.
    Accordingly, the operators of the platform are today primarily responsible for the continuous expansion of the functions, the administration of new and existing members, and the definition of new scope of services and standards.

Bottom line: The scope of a medieval city was determined by the physical accessibility, i.e. eventually by the wall. The same applies to a virtual platform – because you are globally only one click away from the platform and it is accessible to anyone, who has access to the Internet. The counterpart to the city gate is the access control, which protects the platform from unauthorized use. A wide variety of cultures can settle and do business within the area, as long as they comply with the regulations. Everyone benefits from the expansions, which offer constantly growing services. The aspects of a virtual platform become visible on the basis of a medieval city. This makes the medieval city the ideal metaphor for a virtual platform.