Working individually or in small groups, students will construct their own experiment in textual media this semester. More than technical innovation, I’ll be looking for creativity, an awareness of the issues at work, and a sense of serious playfulness.
Your audience includes our Textual Media class, but of course, since this project is digital and likely online, it may eventually be seen by a much larger audience — something to keep in mind as you work on your project.
The degree of narrative coherence, interactivity, and closure you aim for will be up to you or your group to decide.
The subject of your digital text is also up to you. It may be wholly original or it may make use of existing texts or media (within copyright limits). It may be a personal memory, a creative story, a manifesto, a mashup, a parody of some official discourse, and the list goes on.
- The new media text itself. This may be purely text, or it may incorporate images, video, or audio. There is no minimum length requirement in terms of words. Instead, consider how long you want to engage your readers. Aspire for a work that is not instantly over. The best experiments will invite exploration or contemplation, as well as the sense that there is both representational and evocative meaning at work.
- An artist’s statement. This is a 500-word essay (written individually, even if you work in a group) that outlines the goals of your project. What were you trying to achieve? What effect or meanings were you after? What subtextual meanings were you trying to evoke? Why did the project take the form it did? Explain why you chose to work in this specific medium, and how that medium afforded narrative opportunities that meshed with the themes of your work. Here I’ll be looking for evidence that you’ve absorbed and thought about many of the issues we discussed throughout the semester regarding electronic literature, narration, points of view, texture, embodiment, etc.
- A reflective essay. This is a 500-word essay (written individually even if you work in a group) in which you evaluate how your project lived up to your initial goals. You will also consider the difficulties and epiphanies that occurred along the way as you created your project.
Possible Tools and Platforms
- The most comprehensive list of tools is the Digital Research Tools wiki
- An interactive map using Google Maps (like 21 Steps)
- Annotated or Interactive YouTube video (described here)
- An interactive multimedia timeline (using a tool like Dipity)
- Twitter (examples of a Twitter Novel…)
- Trailfire (using it to “talk back” perhaps to an existing online text)
- Multimedia hypertexts, created using NVu (installed in the campus labs)
Possible Source Materials
Possible Places to Host the Experiment
- GMU students are able to create and host their own websites on a GMU server. If these instructions aren’t enough, the staff at the STAR lab in the JC can help
- Smaller projects can be hosted directly on this blog. For example, I’ve installed a feature that allows you to create an interactive Google Map right here. (You can also create a map directly on Google Maps.)
The experiment will be due December 2, and we will use that day and the following class day to present the works to the class. The experiment and reflective essay count for 20 percent of the final semester grade.