narration is the telling of a story. Narration is separated from authorship, as in texts the narrator is a figment of the author’s construct.

edited 5 October, 2015 by Admin

Associated Practices

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Associated Practices

Narration is one of the key terms where narrative environment design departs from narratology. Because narratology typically deals with texts, it is easy, in general, to distinguish between the narrator (a figment of the author’s narrative approach) and the author per se. In narrative environment design this is not necessarily the case. In fact, if we look at non european, non text based forms of narration, already it is becoming hard to distinguish: 1) between diegesis and mimesis; and 2) between author and narrator.

In both Bunraku (Japanese Puppet Theatre) and Wayang (Indonesian Puppet Theatre). there is someone who narrates the story through a mixture and speech, and also does (performs) the voices of the characters. In both traditions, the stories are episodes from traditional legend and myth, however, in Bunraku the text is formalised in a version handed down through generations, whereas in the Wayang tradition the story, which will be an episode from the Ramayana or Mahabharata, retold and embellished by the performer – a lot of the audience pleasure is in hearing a familiar story renewed. This is also the case in the various traditions of story telling in India, which will tell stories from the Ramayana or Mahabharata, usually through a mixture of accompanied speech and song, combined with vivid gesture and dance.

Bunraku video

Wayang video

In the above traditional styles a mixture of media (puppets, lighting, speech, gesture, music, song, dance) are used to tell the story. This relates clearly to narrative environment design where, typically, objects, space and media – graphical, time based, interactive, will all be used to tell the story (or stories).


It as also often the case that a Narrative environment will engage the audience in various levels and forms of participation which could include any or all of authoring, narrating and performing. In this case the space between author and narrator can become very blurred.

Stuart Jones (in development)

edited 4 September, 2018 by Admin