In contrast to words like intermedial, interdisciplinary and convergence (which evoke a stable condition), transmedia suggests a deliberate move across media boundaries—whether it's referring to intertextuality, adaptations, marketing strategies, reading practices or media networks. Like the terms transnational, transdisciplinary, transcultural, transgenerational and transsexual, it implies an on-going active process that always remains open and is always subject to change.
Playing with Power in Movies, Television and Video Games (1991)
p. 1, “Thus, even before children go to the cinema, they learn that movies make a vital contribution to an ever-expanding supersystem of entertainment, one marked by transmedia intertextuality.”
p. 3, “This combined mode of spectatorship helps to account for the extraordinary success of that commercial supersystem of transmedia intertextuality constructed around TMNT, those ultimate sliding signifiers who transgress every important border, except gender.”
QRFV, New Directions in Television Studies
, 14:1-2 (1992)
MK essay, “Playing with Power on Saturday Morning TV and Home Video Games”
p. 35, “The most casual glance at Saturday morning American network television yields many examples of transmedia intertextuality among television, movies, and toys. The most obvious case is the TV spin-off from a successful movie, recent examples of which can be found on all three major networks:Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Dink, The Little Dinosaur (from Land Before Time) on CBS, The Karate Kid on NBC, and Beetlejuice, Slimer and the Real Ghostbusters and The Wizard of Oz on ABC. Although such intertextuality is not restricted to children’s programming but is pervasive throughout all of commercial television, it probably has the greatest impact on young children. For, even when they don’t recognize most of the specific allusions, it still provides an entrance into a system of reading narrative, i.e., a means of structuring characters, genres, voices and visual conventions into paradigms, and models for interpreting and generating new combinations.
MK essay, “Screen Wars: Transmedia Appropriations from Eisenstein to a TV Dante and Carmen Sandiego”
p. 162, “This essay will build on Eisenstein’s “promiscuous” use of analogies by reframing it as an ongoing process of transmedia adaptation, in which earlier works are appropriated as a ”screen” through which artists and audiences perceive and thereby shape a new medium.
p. 170, “It is difficult to tell which medium is appropriating the other, for not only is Dante’s Inferno being “screened” through television and computers, but television is also being filtered through Dante’s vision. Just as Dante is praised for “wielding” his own language into “a poetic instrument,” we watch Greenaway and Phillips wielding video into a “poetic language.” Specifically, we see how to use televisual verticality productively, how to make footnotes work on screen, and how to transform TV’s endless flow of chatter into a “generous stream of poetic speech”—strategies that seem more compatible with independent video than with broadcast television. As Vickers astutely observes, “the series certainly resists any familiar notion of television as an ephemeral flow of programming; its dense intertextual field virtually demands a VCR.” By coupling Dante’s poetry with the banality of television, the series infuses both of them with new life.”
p. 180, “By now it may be apparent (especially from the endnotes) that this essay reflexively traces the trajectory of my own career, which began thirty years ago with a dissertation on Fielding’s experimentation in the theater in relation to his novels, and then turned in succession through an ongoing process of “promiscuous” analogic thinking to movies, television, video games, CD-ROMs, and other forms of popular culture. While each new project was screened or reframed through my previous objects of study, they all remain deeply engaged with the ongoing process of transmedia appropriations and transcultural reinscription.
The New Media Book
MK essay, “Narrative Equivocations between Movies and Games”
p. 119, “I will argue that narrative experimentation in cinema from earlier decades provides a valuable legacy for those interested in designing productive combinations of games and movies, especially as transmedia adapatations have thus far been so disappointing.
p. 120, “The hybrids I find most productive move beyond transmedia adaptations by combining the distinctive conventions and pleasures of games and movies in original ways. Perhaps because cinema is the medium threatened with extinction, these expressive possibilities have been explored in a wide range of movies: in vintage game films such as Tron (1982) and The Last Starfighter (1984); in recent complex action films such as Run Lola Run (1998), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) and The Matrix (1999); in comedies and thrillers with experimental narratives such as Groundhog Day (1993), Being John Malkovich (2999), Sliding Doors (1998), XistenZ (1999) andMemento (2000); and in demanding experimental films such as The Pillow Book (1996), Until the End of the World (1991) and Timecode (2000). “
MK essay: “Uncanny Visions of History: Two Experimental Documentaries from Transnational Spain—Asaltar los cielos and Tren de sombras”
p. 21, “It is as if such films were designed to ensure that Hollywood action films like The Matrix do not totally dominate the emerging transmedia convergence between movies and interactive games. Thus, the narrative experimentation potentially has economic as well as aesthetic implications, particularly within a transnational market still dominated by Hollywood exports.”
Transmedia Frictions : The Digital, the Arts, and the Humanities (2014)
pp. xv-xvi, “The move from the 1999 Interactive Frictions conference to this anthology published fifteen years later is marked by a significant change in title. We replaced “Interactive” (a concept now taken for granted with digital media) with “Transmedia.” Introduced in 1991 in Marsha Kinder’s book Playing with Power in Movies, Television, and Video Games, this term proved central to arguments about medium specificity, both then and now. To maintain the line of continuity between conference and anthology, we retained the word “Frictions” which still evokes not only the vigorous debates being generated by the convergence of rival material forms rubbing up against each other but also (through rhyming consonance) a productive vacillation between fictions and histories, the virtual and the real.
Paradoxically, even within our current era of postmedia pronouncements, one of the most vibrant transmedia frictions is the debate over medium specificity—whether it’s still meaningful or now obsolete. Given the increasingly rapid emergence and convergence of new media forms, it is possible to argue that a discourse on medium specificity enables us to explore the social and aesthetic potential of each and thereby recuperate unique possibilities that otherwise might be lost. As N. Katherine Hayles puts it most succinctly, precisely because of the accelerating speed of these combinations, “clarity about the functionalities of different media is now more crucial that ever.” Or to state it another way, transmedia networks share similar dynamics with transnational studies; movement beyond the boundaries of any specific medium or nation does not render those entities or their borders meaningless, but rather requires us to look more closely at the cultural and historical specificity of the particular combination. Otherwise, “transmedia” and “transnational” would become meaningless buzzwords like “global.”