1. A Mathematical View of Logic in Storyspace: For my final project, I wanted to explore the ability of Storyspace to demonstrate the linearity of textual accounts, and to experiment with non-linear story paths. Ideally, I would have a single linear path, moving horizontally, of documents, that would contain a linear account of something. As the documents drop beneath this linearity, their account of the occurrence would grow more and more abstract, and as the documents drop above this line, they would grow more literal. In this manner, I hope to demonstrate that a story can have a non-linear path, and that a single event can be considered in varying degrees of abstractness and still have a place in a capitulation of an event.
Storyspace uniquely attaches a visual map to a set of documents, and it is capable of presenting information spatially. In my math studies, I have found that mathematical logic can often be applied to normal, day-to-day occurrences. However, mathematical logic also tends to have some sort of geometric significance. I found that this sort of project is a great chance to examine how mathematical logic could be applied to normal perception. In the aforementioned storyspace, I would highlight different geometric shapes in different colors to encourage the reader to go from one to the next along the geometric curve or figure. Note that in the accompanying picture, there is a red line with a positive slope, a blue line with a negative slope, a green vertical line, and a yellow circle. To give an example of how this would work, the yellow circle would contain a choice to link along the circle, having the reader first move along the account into the abstract, then back, then into the literal (moving backwards linearlly through the account), and then end up back on the document they started with, demonstrating a form of circular logic. I also think this kind of a project would have an interesting application to html. There could still be links from document to document in a similar manner, including naming links after the geometric shapes. It would leave the reader more in-the-dark, but that might be a good thing. It could also have a feature that would proceed linearly, but pick a random vertical account, giving the reader an account that varies between abstract and literal.
2. Mauro Carassai
My basic idea is to merge medium and content by writing a piece of nonfiction revolving around the theme of indecision and perplexity. Hypertextual environments and textual information conveyed through passages-to-links structures in general necessarily confront the reader with the task of making decisions at every step. Most of the hypertexts I read, however, confronted me with multiple possibilities and sometimes with an even redundant number of alternative routes but rarely with real crucial decisions. I would like to try to let readers experience at some level a true investment of personal attempt to perform a satisfactory reading of my electronic essay. The key idea is therefore to write about the very same topic they are experiencing during the reading. In order to write a piece of hyper-nonfiction that analyzes the experience of the readers AS they experience it, I would like to make use of different materials:
Passages written by me.
Quotations: I am not currently aware of a large bibliography on the topic but there must be authoritative sources on the subject (indecision) in literature, psychology and philosophy.
Paradoxes taken from common knowledge or specific fields.
Riddles and combinatorial word games.
The challenging idea underlying my attempt is that concepts that present themselves as incongruous or not immediately understandable are the most likely to urge the reader to TRY to see things from a different perspective. On the other hand, when you explain something a second time you never use the same words or the same sequence of causal relations in your demonstration. And here, hypertextual environments as the ones we have practiced with during the course are obviously the best help. I see Storyspace as particular useful because of all the different text-mapping options. This grants the reader a sense of control on the content that you do not generally experience on the web for example and provides the necessary comfort in trying to start again from any different point in the general overview map. Flash is instead definitely useful for graphic effects (words and parts of texts that recombine through animations). The very course assignment to write our project in two different hypertextual environments could become part of my own piece too. I imagine an initial screenshot telling the readers that they can choose to read the piece either in Storyspace or HTML/Flash briefly detailing the pros and cons of what they are about to get. This could blur the very concept of beginning, being nothing more than their INITIAL choice.
3. Stephen Colelli
I was thinking about two possible directions for my final project, one involving a ceative nonfiction piece and the other a research paper. I'm leaning toward doing something along the lines of what Mike did for his storyspace project taking a piece of poetry and then using storyspace to expand it outward from the central theme of the poem. However, I think it would be really interesting to use stoyspace to expand the poem with documents of nonfiction as opposed to using the works of other authors. Storyspace is really valuable because it lets you develop different themes and it allows the reader to choose which theme he or she is interested in learning more aboutl, and because poetry often allows the author to leave out certain details writing in storyspace might be an interesting way to take a story, condense it into a poem and then also include the neglected details that were not appropriate for the poem. In addition, I might also incorporate other authors works or links to web pages that aided my project.
My other idea was to use the project I used for my first storyspace project about the Three Kings movie and expand on that through storyspace using both documents I'd written and documents from primary sources.
4. Michael Costagliola
For my final project, I want to create something that is truly multimedia - utilizing text, audio, and video. However, I would also like to extend this concept of multimedia to mean multiple programs working in unison. This would mean that part of the work would be told in the Storyspace environment, and the other part in a web browser environment, so that the reader views the two programs simultaneously. My work will contain separate narrative threads, so that I can isolate each thread to a different environment. This technique would be more dramatic than typical devices for isolating threads, such as changing the background color, font, etc. I could even make three distinct threads by dividing the web thread into HTML and Java. This plan could allow for some interesting interaction between the programs and their corresponding story threads, and with clever planning, I could maximize the advantages of each while minimizing the pitfalls. The biggest challenge will be connecting the programs so that they can link and interact with each other seamlessly, giving the overall effect of a single piece of literature instead of disjointed works. In addition, this plan has the potential to make the reading experience distracting due to having to switch between programs, but if I construct the project with this problem in mind, I can turn that distraction into intense reader involvement and make the viewing experience more engaging.
The idea of narrative threads is essential to the construction of the project, which limits the subject matter. The structure works great for a fiction piece, but tailoring it to a creative nonfiction piece is a little more challenging. I have not decided on the exact implementation, but I had the idea of using personification of inanimate objects to relate a nonfiction narrative. For example, I could have one distinct (nonfiction) storyline, but have the separate threads be different objects' "accounts" of what happened. I am interested in what the seminar thinks about this - does giving inanimate objects a voice (the author's own creative writing) but using that voice to convey a nonfiction narrative from a particular viewpoint qualify as creative nonfiction? It is certainly stretching the limits of the genre. According to wikipedia, creative nonfiction is defined as "a genre of writing which uses literary styles and techniques to create factually accurate narratives." Since this type of personification is simply a literary technique, this idea could very well be within the bounds of the genre. I still need to work on what the actual subject of the narrative will be, but one idea I have is taking real-life events that occur in my room (between myself and whoever else is occupying it over a period of time) and transcribing them through the "eyes" of certain objects in my room, i.e. a laptop, guitar, Spiderman poster, etc. The different threads could intersect and combine to give the reader a sense of what is happening in the room, and the reader might be tempted to give a certain object's account more credence in a particular situation, depending on biases that each object will have. At present, I just have a framework of ideas for the project that needs refining, but I think that with a combination of careful consideration and input from the class, I could create an innovative and successful project from these plans.
5. Sebastian Gallese
6. Adam Kriesberg
For my final project, I would like to translate and expand my senior thesis from the History Department in Storyspace, and also create an html website from that web. I recently found a website with hypertextual history articles (http://chnm.gmu.edu/aq/), and began thinking about using hypertext to expand my own work. I hope to create multiple paths through the thesis, in addition to the chronological one in which I wrote it by constructing a detailed site map/finding aid. I also plan to add sections to the work; for example, I want to scan my most important sources, place them in the web, and expand on the discussions I present in the paper by engaging directly with the source material. I also plan to link out to relevant websites that I reference in the paper. As I work on the project, I hope to keep finding new places where I can add to the paper. Please let me know what you think of this idea. I look forward to sharing it in class tomorrow.
7. Mary-Catherine Lader
For my final project, I would like to use Storyspace and Flash to represent a story of racial tensions and politics in a Providence neighborhood or public school. Though I have yet to pinpoint a specific event, possible options include a focus on the Cape Verdean community in Fox Point or controversies over busing at Hope High School. Using newspaper articles, Census data, recent local histories, institutional documents (e.g. school or neighborhood association records), and especially interviews or oral histories, I'd like to write a creative non-fiction piece that narrates several perspectives on one episode in Providence's changing demographics. This research will also go toward a history paper in AMCIV 1740: "African-American History Since 1876," but the written product for this class will, of course, be different.
StorySpace's multi-linearity lends itself to a narrative with several perspectives, centering, ideally, around one event. For example, primary sources and maybe sound clips (?) from interviews can appear in StorySpace windows with divergent interpretations linked to the primary source or statements. There could be several possible paths through the piece along chronological or thematic lines or tracing my own reporting and research process. An HTML/Flash website version of the project would bring the neighborhood or incident to life in a different way, grounding the narrative and sources/interviews in an organizing image on the home page. This could be either a map/image of the central location or a visual timeline of the event. Either home page image would have links to chunks of text, original primary sources and video or audio of interviews. Ideally, I'd like for the entire site to be experienced as buttons on the home page, where content appears as you roll the mouse over a specific area, but my Flash skills may not be up to that challenge. (Also, that may not be amenable to a lengthy written piece.)
8. Emily Sorg
For my final project, I plan to explore the role that facades, both literal and metaphorical, play on my own small, but well-networked neighborhood block.
I live on a very close-knit street in a small town on Long Island, NY. Thanks to the efforts of our nosy old neighbor, Naomi, everyone knows everyone else's juicy secrets (but keep knowledge of them very hush-hush). At the same time, there are aspects about my neighbors' lives that no one knows. I was thinking that using a Storyspace web view portray all of the connections between the houses as they exist on the actual block might be interesting. Additionally, "shelling" folders containing deeper and deeper secrets would emphasize a neighborhood's inherent contrast between public/private information. I also thought that connecting the neighborhood's stories to a larger theme, such as the seven deadly sins and/or perhaps the seven wonders of the world would deepen the project. In playing along with the theme of 'seven', perhaps I would only write about 7 of the families.
In expanding the project to another format, I think a Flash project might be best. Starting with the Google Map of the block, I could have each house serve as a button to a picture of the house from street level (which I could take over spring break), and then, eventually, as a foray into the story. Still, I'm not exactly sure how to execute this.
9. Jesse Strecker
Advertisement bans have become very popular in the past fifteen years, particularly amongst developed European countries. Most of the bans focus on products whose safety is uncertain, or with decidedly negative health effects. In my project, I will create a comparison of different nations and region's advertisement bans, including their causes, implications, supporters, and detractors. I believe that the arrangement of Story Space will provide useful tools for the project, because its ability to create conceptual as well as referential links between phrases and lexias allows for easy and clear comparisons. I can start off the story space project with a map dividing between locations, and then within those lexias, separate into the various pro and con arguments. Within the lexias describing various viewpoints, I will provide links to advertisements people thought were particularly heinous, create point/counter-point links, and offer my own analysis of those arguments when I think that's necessary.
I would also like to transfer the project to html, so it is easily web accessible, and the links can run smoothly to other websites. The html version will probably start off with an image and a menu on the bottom of the screen that allows people to navigate between the various locations where the bans have taken affect. In the html version, I can also provide links directly to the sites containing the documents from which I will get my sources for synthesizing various arguments. I would also like to include some interactive flash elements, and I think a good way to do that would be to layer flash buttons over particular ads that linked to different analysis of those ads, or possibly that revealed short phrases relating to aspects of the ads.
10. Stuart Woo
For my project, I would like to make a Web site and Storyspace project for my intramural softball team, which will be playing again in a couple of weeks.
My main audience (besides this class) is the members of the team. I hope to create a fun site where they can easily stay connected to the team.
I hope to model the site on ESPN's model. But the centerpiece of the page will be a photograph that corresponds to the softball team's latest news, and below it or beside it will be links to older news articles. I will include links to a profile page for each team member.
By the end of the softball season, we will have played about 15 total games, so there will be a page for each one. I plan to have a profile page for each of the team's 12 members.
My main challenge will be creating a clean front page in which I can easily update the main story. I'll also have to shoot new photographs to make the site more visually appealing.
Last modified 4 February 2008