Metalepsis means moving from outside to inside a diegesis (or vice versa). In narrative environments it is usually used to refer to the process by which the narratee moves (is moved) from the extradiegetic to the intradiegetic position. This is typically caused by eliciting participation/performance/performativity in the story, commonly through interaction between the visitor and the space or objects within a narrative environment. This interaction can be through digital technology, but not necessarily so.
Referencing narratology: Genette (1980) defines narrative metalepsis as an intrusion by extradiegetic elements into the diegesis (and vice versa). He recognises that anyone or anything can slip from one diegetic level to another if the boundary between the levels is porous, and it worries him: ”The most troubling thing about metalepsis indeed lies in this unacceptable and insistent hypothesis, that the extradiegetic is perhaps always diegetic, and that the narrator and his narratees-you and I-perhaps belong to some narrative” (Genette, G. Narrative Discourse: An Essay in Method. Trans. Jane E. Lewin. Ithaca: Cornell UP (1980) page 236). This, in a sense, is pretty much what we consider to be the case in narrative environments, where the diegesis typically is constituted of things that exist in the real world.
Here’s an example of metalepsis in a short film: as the narrator walks along, elements from the story he’s telling appear on the side of the path. The Man Who Walked Around the World
For further discussion of metalepsis see my essay: Louis, Mr Dog and Rabbit: metalepsis in an interactive narrative. Originally published in: R. Aylett et al. (Eds.): ICIDS 2010, LNCS 6432, pp. 248–251, 2010. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
Broader terms:The diegesis - intradiegetic - extradiegetic
No Narrower term