Elit Project

Each student of ENGH 400 will create a digital work of literature of their own, either from “scratch” or through remixing an existing piece of electronic literature. More than technical innovation, I’ll be looking for creativity, an awareness of the issues at work, and a sense of serious playfulness. The degree of narrative coherence and interactivity you aim for will be up to you. But remember that even works that are narratively diffuse should be thematically coherent.

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.Your audience includes our Post-Print Fiction 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 work will be accompanied by an artist’s statement and is worth 15% of your final grade. The project is due in class on November 30, 2011.

Baseline Requirements

  1. 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.
  2. An artist’s statement. This is a 4-5 page essay that outlines the goals of your project. You should consider the following questions (not necessarily all of them or in this order): 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 your design decisions and how the platform used 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 authorship, readership, narration, points of view, database, texture, etc. Finally, conclude your artist’s statement by evaluating how your project lived up to your initial goals. What difficulties and epiphanies occurred along the way as you created your project, and what would you do differently next time?

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 (open-source HTML authoring software)
  • For Interactive Fiction, Inform

Possible Source Materials

Possible Places to Host the Project

  • 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. I’ll work with you on figuring out how to do this.