Transmedia Storytelling – Episode 4/5: Arcade Fire


Episode 4: An immersive visual experience offered by Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire is an indie rock band from Montreal. With an extraordinary stage presence, they wanted to replicate the experience but this time by adding a Transmedia Storytelling dimension and by involving their public and/or community. They are offering to us two interactive websites including two tracks from their album “The Suburbs”.

The Wilderness Downtown project

The first website offers us an interaction that could be described as passive.
The album “The Suburbs” evokes the daily routine in the American residential suburbs. That the spirit found into the project called “The Wilderness Downtown”.

The site’s homepage could make us think about the context of a suburb where the people would have been there forever, choosing to stay there instead of living in city centers. On this same homepage, we are asked to enter the address of the street where we grew up. And this is the beginning of the project, a music video. In the musical background, you can listen to “We used to wait”, the first single of the album. The framework: a young man in a hoodie running in the street. The video includes images from your street (picked on Google Street View) which gives us the impression that this young man runs in your neighborhood. Camera movements from the original video coincide with the images from Google; you can even see this young man running on Google Street View, stopping by your address and making a complete turn on himself, as if he was looking for something. The video includes at the same time a 360° view of your street.

The immersion is complete. This young man constantly running, the atmosphere of the video, the integration of images from your childhood neighborhood, reminds us that it is difficult to get rid of the past, of the memories of the place where we grew up. This is especially true in the United States; populations grow up and make their lives in cities where they were born.

At the end of the video, you are asked to send an interactive postcard for the attention of the people of your city. All postcards were displayed at concerts during the Arcade Fire “The Suburbs” tour and it was even possible, then, to get answers to them on their website.

The Wilderness Downtown, the postcard

If I had to sum this Transmedia Storytelling experience in a few words, I would say: “Sit back, relax and enjoy the show”. The project was developed in HTLM5 to show off the possibilities offered by Google Chrome browser when it was released. For a better experience, we advise you to try this game on Google Chrome!

The Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains): Dancing with the artists

The second website, “The Sprawl II”, second single from the album “The Suburbs” is more of an interactive experience. By connecting your webcam, you can by waving your hands in front of it, make dance an urban dance troupe. The video unfolds before your eyes as interactivity operates. A very nice visual experience.

Arcade Fire, by offering these two websites focused on the visual artistic side and on the Transmedia Storytelling dimension. The platforms are much more oriented towards the treatment of the image than the interactive side. It’s a different way to involve the fans, the community. This is somehow an extension of the visual experience that they’re offering while on stage.

Intro: What is Transmedia Storytelling?
Episode 1: Nine Inch Nails
Episode 2: Jay Z
Episode 3: Gorillaz
Episode 5: Johnny Cash
Outro: How to revitalize the music business?