On “Inanimate Alice” and making elit….

imagesThanks Richonda for an excellent walkthrough of the seminal #elit text Inanimate Alice Vol. 4.  A multilayered episodic story about a young girl who grows up in varying spots on the globe, this multimodal combination of text, sound, video, and imagery has been an exemplar of digital storytelling. In the fourth episode of Alice’s overall journey, she is fourteen years old and living in a small town in the middle of England. Her first real friends have dared her to climb to the top of an abandoned building which supposedly has a great view of the whole town from the top. Alice accepts the dare. As she climbs to the top and the stairs give way. She narrowly misses falling, and is stuck at the top of the building with no clear way out.  Alice is frightened, and she must navigate her way out of this dark unknown place.  We navigate with/for Alice, and we “play the game” until we can find our way out of the abandoned warehouse.  Brad (Alice’s imaginary digital friend) is a help if we decide to “use” him for guidance during our journey to the top of the building.  The soundtrack and imagery set a foreboding and dangerous tone, along the way highlighting glimpses of surprising beauty in an overall industrial wasteland.  Alice has a way of finding the silver lining in her surroundings and her situation.  She is a sojourner who survives despite the constrained context(s) she find herself in.

UnknownIt was interesting to think about the resonance of the title for this piece (an illusion to “Alice in Wonderland” of course, as well as the inherent provocation as we think about what is “inanimate”).  We discussed the unique affordances of the “gameplay” version of the story’s conclusion verses the other choice to just read through the factory exploration.  The gamed version is more interactive, and as a result, perhaps the navigator/reader is given a more “empathetic lens” into Alice’s trials.  We also discussed the way in which this work has been a catalyst for many discussions regarding both digital literacy and globalization.  What is striking about this piece is the strong desire to really know Alice.  While we do not know what she looks like, or anything beyond the very basic facts of her transient life, we are still drawn to this character through a skilful and dynamic portrayal of her inner workings.  The textual, visual and auditory aspects of this digital novel work in powerful tandem – the reader discovers the important role technology has to play not simply in viewing a text, but in forming a more complex and intimate relationship with a character.

For next week:

Nadia will present and walk us through Pieces of Herself by Juliet Davis.  Your blog post should have two components this coming week -a reflection on the reading, and -a storyboard or a review of a new digital tool:

 1.  Please post your thoughts/reflection on the reading Pieces of Herself.  

2.  In addition, you have a choice between two different activities for next week’s class.  Please choose one of the following two activities:  -You can post your initial storyboard concept for your own elit piece.  Please reflect on the storyboard as you have mapped it out, and what you have learned in the process of producing it.  -You can post a summary of your “tinkering session” with a new digital tool you are considering for the production of your elit piece.  Please include a review of what you learned when exploring and playing with the new tool, and reflect on whether or not the digital tool will be helpful to you in making your own piece.  You can choose from the list of digital tools, or explore any other tools that have come to your attention.

I look forward to reading about your ongoing exploration.

See you soon,

Dr. Zamora


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