Representing the Anthropocene: Transmediation of Narratives and Truthfulness from Science to Feature Film



The aim of this paper is to investigate the transmediation of scientific articles to very different media types, meaning that the form and content of scientific communication is transformed into other forms of communication – more precisely works of art or entertainment, as exemplified by the media type feature film. The focus is on transmediation of narratives and truthfulness. Specifically, the discussions centre around narratives of human actions changing the environment on a global scale. Such narratives are vital to scrutinize because they concern the conditions of future human existence. To make the discussions truly relevant, the complex issue of truthfulness in communication is also included. Different media types can be, and are often expected to be, truthful in different ways, and because of media differences it may well be the case that narratives and their truthfulness are corrupted in transmediation. Whereas communication in general has many widely different purposes, its function is sometimes essentially to get things right – to represent certain things truthfully. Therefore, it is imperative to explore the capacities of different media types to narrate truthfully. The paper starts with explications of some of the core concepts of the investigation – transmediation, narration and truthfulness – and continues with a discussion of general media differences between scientific articles and feature films. This is followed by a brief analysis of a scientific article (“The ‘Anthropocene’”, published by Paul J. Crutzen and Eugene F. Stoermer in 2000), a somewhat longer examination of the transmediation of this article to a feature film (The Day after Tomorrow, directed by Roland Emmerich and released in 2004) and a conclusion.

Keywords: Anthropocene, Climate change, Intermediality, Narration, Science communication, The Day after Tomorrow, Transmediality, Transmediation, Truthfulness

DOI: 10.24193/ekphrasis.24.3