Part 1

Daniel Punday, in describing his view of what the new media narrative has become, argues that such narratives are not so independent of older media after all, exhibiting a layered and unique combination of features found in other forms. This mixture, he suggests, works quite well as multimedia for two reasons: it combines several forms of already-existing media and is encountered through a digital device such as a computer, video game console, phone, or tablet (the latter two mine).

I agree with Punday’s assertion that multimedia “offers a productive model for understanding the complex and overlapping relationships between media that make up the digital work” (21). I also find truth in his idea that multimedia is a rhetorical act.

Of all the theories of interartistic comparisons, I might most align myself to Dick Higgins’s “Intermedia.” I think, like Higgins, that categorization has a tendency to obscure the “particularity” of a multimedia work. Instead of showing how the layers unite, maybe they are only alike in their resistance to being pigeonholed. I’d like to think that gives the rhetor the artistic freedom to create without reservation – if I’m always concerning myself with how this goes with that, then I’m missing the larger point, aren’t I? And aren’t rhetors to talk of what’s possible?

I’m also drawn to Bolter and Grusin’s “Remediation,” agreeing that all mediation is remediation in that “each medium or constellation of media as it responds to, redeploys, competes with, and reforms other media.”

And what of narrative? In many games, for instance, picking up in medias res seems to lend authenticity to the plot, and may even tie it to another media artifact – referential media (Star Wars, for instance). That a story isn’t completely finished is part of the play media. But a narrative isn’t even necessary, at least not in the traditional sense.

Some other, connected, thoughts:

  • w/r/t Lexia – the influence of and recent backlash to Apple’s skeuomorphism
  • also Lexia – simulacra and current web design iconography trends

 Part 2

Everything I learned about technology I learned from … failure. Trial and error has been my greatest teacher. I’ve not had a class in how to use Adobe Creative Cloud apps, or a workshop on video editing … it’s all been by doing, usually on the job.

From a content strategy perspective, which I think gets left out of the technology conversation far too often, I’ve learned the most from Kristina Halvorson. On the creative side, which is where I think technology has to begin, I draw the most inspiration from my dance teacher of 15 years, Jennifer Maddox, who was creating multimedia pieces back when I didn’t realize there was a term for it, layering spoken word, video, and even a live canvas to paint into her dances.

I would be remiss if I didn’t include my husband in this list – his curiosity toward technology sparked in me a desire to know as much, if not more, than he did.

My hopes with technology is that it is used in a rhetorically responsible way. We are at a point in usability with apps that makes everyone a photographer, a videographer, a creator. And not everyone has the creative or rhetorical mind to use such technology to create something substantial or impactful or even (dare I say it?) good.

My fear with technology is just that: that the tech skills will surpass solid content know-how. At its heart, storytelling still needs a strong storyteller, which requires a foundation of more than just knowing your way around a piece of software.

I’m a big subscriber to the “fake it till you make it” approach to technology. For the most part, that has worked. I’ve also got a hacker mentality. I will spend hours trying to master a piece of javascript, or build something in Illustrator, or edit a video. I’ve been lucky to surround myself with some talented and generous people who are willing to help when I reach a mountain I can’t climb alone.

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