USC PRESENTS “LEVIATHAN: The Evolution of Storytelling”

USC PRESENTS “LEVIATHAN: The Evolution of Storytelling”


[LAS VEGAS] [Jan. 6, 2014] – The USC School of Cinematic Arts World Building Media Lab is debuting “LEVIATHAN” at the Intel CES 2014 Exhibit. This experimental storytelling platform explores new possibilities in entertainment—where physical and virtual worlds connect through the power and flexibility of technology.
Emerging between the console and the home theater, LEVIATHAN lives on the digital rim, where the robust storytelling of film and literature meets the physical interactivity of gaming. This hybrid storytelling platform draws inspiration from both narrative & gameplay and delivers engagements that are both physical & digital. This is a space where the author controls the story, and the audience plays inside that story. Using an Intel powered 2 in 1 as a portal, fans will play with “Huxleys” (genetically engineered flying jellyfish) and follow the Leviathan whale on her voyage through CES.

LEVIATHAN is a new storyworld, powered by Intel technology and USC imagination. We, along with other explorers in the entertainment industry, are building these worlds, and beginning to deliver them to audiences. In five years, will your living room become a portal to these new storyworlds? Will you be able to step inside these worlds like Alice stepping through the looking glass, and explore new kinds of stories? We think so.

“Built storyworlds like Leviathan spark new ways to both create and play,” says Tawny Schlieski of Intel Labs. “Intel is exploring this new narrative platform with tools that enable artists and technologists to collaborate, integrate, and create immersively from the earliest inception of story, while giving fans the ability to move and play naturally inside built virtual worlds.”

Alex McDowell and the students of the World Building Media Lab created LEVIATHAN in collaboration with Intel. “We are entering a new space for storytelling,” says McDowell, Professor of Practice and Director of the USC World Building Media Lab. “Not film, television, literature, theater, animation, or even interactive media. LEVIATHAN weaves of them all into visionary tapestry of modalities. It inspires us to experience stories, with an unmatched level of freedom and perspective.”

This is the first of many storyworlds that USC and Intel Labs are building, leveraging fast-moving advances in technology and new storytelling impulses in Hollywood. “This year, we are pushing the envelope,” says Schlieski. “We are continuing our experiments on the Digital Rim by bringing our storyworlds to audiences beyond CES.”

The LEVIATHAN experience is inspired by the steampunk tale penned by author Scott Westerfeld (Simon and Schuster, 2009) about a fantastic adventure aboard a flying whale, and interactions with a world of genetically fabricated beasts.

USC School of Cinematic Arts World Building Media Lab (WbML) advances the study of immersive and collaborative storytelling as it intersects with emergent technologies to craft a powerful new narrative process destined to impact multiple arenas, including entertainment, business, education, architecture, museum, biomedical, and urban planning. World Building designates a narrative practice in which the design of a world precedes the telling of a story; the richly detailed world becomes a container for narrative, producing stories that emerge logically and organically from its well-designed core.

Intel Labs develops technological innovations today for a better tomorrow in enterprise, consumer, and academics.

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