Digital Academics

Pondering a Digital Media Essay for #LIT306

I am sure most of you have written critical essays of a literary work at some point in your life. As an English student, critical essays have begun to feel like my profession. Sitting down with a work, reading it, consuming it, and then attempting to navigate around the liminal spaces created by the experience of the piece; this is what we do. The act of creating a piece of written thought regarding a written piece makes a lot of sense to me. I think that it makes sense to a lot of other people as well. This week, in LIT 306 at Marylhurst, we have been experiencing the new media novel, TOC, by Steve Tomasula and it has been an eye opening experience. His work is literature that exists as an iPad app (I will refrain from commenting at length on the narrow realm of availability this work exists within). It is a mix of video, audio, and textual story telling that occupies a moderately interactive environment that allows the reader to travel about any portion of the work at a whim, and serves as a wonderful experiment in temporality. I am sure you can imagine that coming from the flat land of letters-on-page to this new media work is challenging enough, but our needing to create our own digital media essay in response to it has me scratching my head. It almost feels like being thrown into the deep end and then finding out when you are thoroughly soaked that there is a wicked undertow to boot. Fortunately we have a good guide (Trevor Dodge) that is encouraging us, and we are being given a fair amount of time (two weeks) to create the video essay but I am still antsy over the idea of the whole thing. I delved into this world of new media at the recommendation of a professor that I dearly respect (Meg Roland), and I am excited to announce that this is the most excited and nervous I have been about an assignment in the last few years at Marylhurst. More and more I find myself being drawn into this world of digital humanities and the more I experience, the more I am beginning to believe that it is the course I was meant to travel along. I’ll share a link to the presentation when I am done putting it together.



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