I’m sure all of you by now have had to endure the new advertisement in cinemas promoting the Mercedes Benz SLK. Drive and Seek is an interactive film that both promotes the new C-Class Coupe whilst positioning the brand as innovative and advanced car makers.
The narrative these guys are going for is an ultimate cliche but I give them snaps on their courageous efforts to appeal to customers. It delivers action, fast cars and most importantly, beautiful people. Additionally, the interactive elements aren’t hardly as intelligent as those used by Robert Altman but to see this kind of advertisement on mainstream cinema screens is definitely a real (groundbreaking) shock.
The film encompasses a list of ideas that have been covered this semester in Networked Media. It is an interactive film that can only be viewed online, emphasising an alternative form of writing in the network through the medium of cinema and also hypertext. Moreover, and most importantly it embodies Lev Manovich’s concept of spatial montage as a new interactive form of cinema that can also exist on the Internet. Although the film is primarily shot using a single frame, links also appear on screen and form as the interactive component of the film. For example, you can press “yes” or “no” to decide what path you want to take throughout this film. By clicking on the hyperlinks within the film, the viewer (or interactive user) is able to change the content or more specifically the images presented. As a result, the viewer begins to actively construct their own narrative. Moreover, forms of writing such as hyperlinks and HTML codes essentially become edit points within this piece. Whilst this reiterates Manovich’s point, outlining how spatial montage on the web can be reproduced in the cinema it also emphasises how a viewer can become more actively engaged with a film given they’re offered the opportunity to piece together the narrative presented.