The Locative Corpse Haunts Our Campus

Today, we will work together to “hide” a series of story fragments and buried memories across campus, using Twitter and geotagging to add (or perhaps just reveal?) a new layer of buried memories across this space.

This will be a locative narrative. It will also be collaborative (in some cases, unwittingly appropriateive), and interactive.

1

Working in groups of 2-3, you will each develop a story you want to tell — this may be fiction, nonfiction, or a blend of the two — about / on the Pitt-Johnstown campus. Your story will be told in bits and fragments, in tweet-sized bites, so think of a narrative that will work in an associative, rather than direct, way. Your Tweets will suggest a story, rather than fully develop it. The general theme from which we all work is ‘hidden.’ You can interpret that any way you like.

Each group should visit at least five locations on campus (chosen from the list below), then post a Tweet that includes a few sentences of story and a photo of the location. The text of your tweet should be a story except, not a caption for the photo. Not: “This is the place my boyfriend broke up with me,” but rather, “The breeze ruffled his hair as he looked away. ‘I can’t do this anymore,’ he said.” You can also be associative with your pictures — you need not post a photo of the building, for instance, but can choose a smaller space or detail in the location instead. Make sure to use location services to tag your Tweet.

As an additional challenge, I’d like each Tweet (whether in its text or in its photo) to hint at another location in your story. This hint can be subtle, but this will encourage readers to ‘find’ the rest of the story.

You may use more than five Tweets, and you may Tweet from the same location multiple times, but must have at least five different locations. Each Tweet should stand alone — that is, no multi-part tweets just because you ran out of space. Work within the constraints of the genre.

Pitt-Johnstown Geotagged Locations

  • Biddle Hall
  • Jazzman’s
  • Blackington Hall
  • Blackington Computer Lab
  • Krebs Hall
  • The Quad
  • Owen Library
  • UPJ Student Union
  • Student Union Cafeteria
  • Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center
  • Richland High School (close enough!)

When all groups have finished, we will have hidden countless possible stories in the campus’ geotagged locations; each group will have an interactive story readers can hop from one tag to the next to read (in theoretically, any order), and each location will have fragments of stories woven into other social media users memories and details from those shared spaces. In many intersecting ways, we will have given each location layers of story to be unearthed.

This writing exercise is a blend of prompts and ideas from Mark Marino and Mark Samples, who deserve all the credit.

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