Of the 620 applications submitted for the BBVA Foundation’s 2021 Grants for Scientific Research Projects, 35 projects have been selected. Among them, “Multi-Plot Aesthetics and Information Density in Contemporary Television Series – ESTDISC“, headed by Héctor J. Pérez, professor at Campus Gandia of the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV). “This grant will fund the implementation of an interdisciplinary study that will investigate the relationship between the multi-plot narrative structure of series and their ability to transmit information.”
Working alongside Pérez are Mónica Barrientos, Alberto Hermida, Víctor Hernández and Jesús Jiménez (from the University of Seville), Cynthia Cabañas (from Birkbeck College), Catherine Bohn Gettler (from Saint Johns University), Joseph Paul Magliano (from the State University from Georgia), David Neil Rapp (from Northwestern University) and Beatriz Herráiz, also a professor at Campus Gandia of the UPV, rounding out the research team
“We will study specific phenomena to consolidate the introduction of concepts from the theory of narrative understanding in media studies. Series with rich storylines and extraordinary informative efficiency, coupled with tremendous international success: Chernobyl, Succession or Euphoria. And we will carry out a study based on a global survey of viewers and professionals in the field of TV fiction,” as detailed by Héctor J. Pérez.
Aesthetics at the Service of the Message: The Case of Multiplot Series
In recent years, television series are giving rise to cultural and consumer phenomena. For Pérez, “their aesthetic quality has given them an increasingly relevant cultural status. In many cases they’re long stories that last for years, with tremendous capacity to transmit content and with tremendous cognitive richness. The length of these TV series allows for the recounting of complex events, such as the Chernobyl catastrophe, or complex human relationships as they develop over time, making them especially attractive in many cases.”
Ante el auge de las series de televisión, Pérez ha afirmado que “es una mezcla de factores sociales, tecnológicos y artísticos”, pero “hay que tener en cuenta que los relatos seriales exitosos no son una novedad, empezaron a consolidarse de una forma muy clara a partir de la revolución industrial, cuando existen por primera vez sectores relativamente amplios de población con tiempo y nivel cultural y económico para suscribirse a los folletines literarios que lanzaban periódicos y revistas”.
In light of the rise of TV series, Pérez states that “there’s a mix of social, technological and artistic factors,” but “we must bear in mind that successful serialized stories are nothing new; they began to consolidate very clearly with the industrial revolution, when for the first time there were relatively large swathes of population who had the time and cultural and financial levels to subscribe to the serial novels published by newspapers and magazines.
A Boost to Scientific Research
The grant, awarded in the discipline of Humanities and endowed with 30,000 euros, is “a very important endorsement to foster the interdisciplinary collaboration phase and comes at just the right time, and personally it is satisfying to be selected in an independent evaluation in one of the most competitive awards that exist in our country,” assured the Campus Gandia professor Héctor J. Pérez.
It should be noted that the Grants for Scientific Research Projects 2021 are parta of the BBVA Foundation’s commitment to research and its contribution to society, as a way of expanding individual and collective opportunities, and effectively addressing the main challenges of the 21st century. The object is to grant financial aid for the development of scientific research projects in five areas: Mathematics; Climate Change, Ecology and Conservation Biology, Biomedicine, Social Sciences and Humanities.
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Source: Laida Frasquet Pascual