Memories of the future (1) Cinema with the backchannel built-in

I've managed to largely stay offline for much of the last month – off the blog at least.

But in the last day or so, I've been pondering a few things that seem to point up likely directions

Not that these thoughts are in any way predictions (precise and definite singularities)

Rather – as Swedish neuroscientist David Ingvar might suggest – they seem to represent pre-echoes of how things might well turn out…

So here's my first one:

 Oy! Calcutta Invite-2
Earlier this year, I was invited to a private screening of "Oy Calcutta!" – a fascinating documentary by young film-maker Saul Abraham about his grandfather's return trip from North London to the Jewish enclave in Calcutta he had left half a century previously.

What struck me strongly was not so much the quality of the film-making (excellent btw so watch that name) but rather the experience of watching a movie with the back-channel on: on the one hand, the key characters were known to many in the room, indeed, most of them were actually sat in the audience; on the other, the audience plain refused to adopt the expected passivity – they talked all the way through the movie, questioning and debating what they saw on screen.

My point here is not really about the movies or entertainment in the broader sense either – I'll be honest, I've seen better movies this year and I'm sure you have, too – but I've not had a more powerful and distinctive experience as this of what living with the backchannel is like.

I've talked and written before about how the connectedness which dominates our age encourages the backchannel to expand and spread into every corner of our lives* and I'm sure many readers will have experienced the joy of presenting to an audience when the twitterfeed on the screen behind you reveals all too clearly what your audience is saying to itself as you speak, but all too often we understand this idea of the backchannel in the context of marketing.

The truth is it's going to leach into every aspect of our lives – with some really interesting consequences all round. And not just for film makers (or marketing bods)!

*I'm sure you've heard the same old case studies from social media experts, so I won't repeat them here