The Korsakow System was developed at the University of the Arts (UdK) in Berlin in cooperation with the Mediamatic Foundation, Amsterdam. It is a software which consists of an editing surface to design interactive films. These can consist of text, image, film, and sound. As such, The Korsakow System allows producers to explore the synergies between these different media and their content.
The Korsakow System works with a simple but effective database structure that allows an author to add, withdraw and rearrange sequences at will. During the presentation, Korsakow projects can change dynamically in reaction to user choices, making them truly interactive. Each individual screen shows one main film part and offers up to three options in the preview under the main screen. The user can freely decide which one to follow. The author can determine how often individual films are to be shown. The "number of lives" can be between 1 and infinity.
The Korsakow software was developed by Florian Thalhofer, who remains one of the most prolific artists in this kind of interactive film. Some of his projects include e.g. Small World previously released as an add-on CD-Rom in Mediamatic magazin (Fall 1999). Other projects include 13ter Stock (13th level), a caleidoscopic portrayal of people living in a run-down block of appartments. The Korsakow System here shows its strength in allowing the user to follow thematic or narrative paths of his own interest. You can find a collection of Thalhofer’s Korsakow-based films here.
Although geared towards film professionals, the Korsakow software is easy to learn and follows an intuitive approach, similar to cutting a film. Via keywords (tags) the producer is free to determine levels of chance and structured experience. Ultimately a Korsakow piece is built around the choices of a user, who has to perform the project to be able to see it.
Using Korsakow requires mediamakers and storytellers to apply the skills of their profession in a new media context. Korsakow is especially designed to develop ideas for interactive content, in the form of stand alone projects, or for crossmedia purposes. Korsakow is intended to narrow the gap between different media forms.
Documentary filmmakers can present their material in a panoramic fashion. Videoartists can relate video and audio material in unforeseen ways.
Writers can use Korsakow to explore the limits of semantic plausibility.
The interactive environment presents the adequate solution for the hyperconnected age.
The software itself is free. You can download the necessary tools from Florian Thalhofer's Website.
Korsakow projects can be put online with a minimum of fuss, The Korsakow Engine is one of the easiest and most reliable tools to put interactive streaming content on the net. Korsakow projects can also be published on CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM. For more information on The Korsakow System and former Korsakow Projects go to the Korsakow homepage.