Locating Our Stories, Locating Our Selves

The first and most important task you need to undertake in order to begin writing your own locative narrative is to identify a place.

What place — whether a specific physical location (East Carson St. on a Saturday night), a type of location (libraries), a characteristic of location (rain), or even an idea of a location (home) — is central to the story you want to tell?

Only once you have identified the location can you begin to know what kind of locative narrative you want to write. Pick a place you feel a deep emotional connection to, something you feel compelled to explore in the physical world, an exploration you can translate into the figurative world of language.

1Remember to think about engaging with the questions from our discussion on locative narratives, most significantly:  How can you use a locative narrative to add or reveal the layers of a physical space?

Remember, too, that the project must have a digital component that involves the physical space; that is, it is not enough to merely write about a place. You must write in a digital medium that engages directly with that place.

Here are some ideas:

  • Write a narrative that can be “found” only in specific (digital) locations by composing it via a social media with geotags embedded. For example, you may write a story via a series of tweets, each of which is tagged with the geographic location. The story can be read by searching that geotag, and will, of course, be disrupted / enhanced by other users geotagged content. You may even choose to intentionally incorporate others’ contributions. You could hack almost any location-based app (YikYak, FourSquare, UrbanSpoon) to turn it into a narrative space.
  • Follow Shelley Jackson’s (Snow) lead and write a narrative that is physically located in a series of specific locations, but can only be fully captured/distributed via digital media. This can also be a great way to explore a more figurative or ephemeral space. See Carley Barnes’ project from last semester, wherein her “place” was the hidden internal space in which we keep our own secrets.
  • Or, work in the tradition of “Welcome to Pine Point” and create a digital narrative space for a place without a specific physical location — a former place, an imaginary place — or that layers a fictional or mythological world on top of the physical world. You may do this, if you’re feeling ambitious, by created an augmented reality experience, or simply by building and establishing a full digital space (like an interactive / multimedia website). For this option, you should feel free to incorporate found material.

After you’ve had some time to browse and think about these narrative possibilities, I’d like you to add your name to this Google doc, under the kind of narrative you’d like to try writing. This will form the beginning of groups for the project, though the groups may subdivide from there.

Your group’s locative narrative will be due by this Friday, 5PM, as a post to your blog. You must each post a link on your own blog, along with an independently-written “artist’s statement.”  The artist statement should articulate your goals and vision for the project — what you wanted to create — along with the process you took to create the narrative. Make sure to think about how the narrative embodies the characteristics of location-based narratives, and how it may engage with other characteristics of digital writing (public, multimedia, collaboration, hypertextuality, nonlinearity, etc.)

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