Wednesday, 26 March 2014

follow up to today's class on digital narratives and new media experiments

Hopefully I'm posting this in time to catch the various things we discussed today, before they vanish from my ever more sieve-like memory. Lecture slides are posted in the usual secret location (Blackboard), but we also looked a couple of videos that you can find online. Taking Kirschenbaum's concept of medial ideologies (as described in his book Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination) we looked at the trailer for Al Gore's web app adaptation of his previously published book Our Choice, available at the Push Pop Press website.

Another example we considered was Steve Jobs's demo of the iBooks app and store from the 2010 iPad rollout event. You can download that video through iTunes if you search for "Apple keynotes" under podcasts (it's a free video podcast), or you can watch a streamed version on Apple's website. The segment we watched starts at about 51 minutes into the presentation, though I also recommend watching the opening sequence as well. I find this presentation fascinating, in terms both of text and of subtext, and have written about it in an article called "The Enkindling Reciter" (linked from our Week 8 readings) and in a book chapter titled "The Tablets of the Law: Reading Hamlet with Scriptural Technologies," in this book.

Next week we'll return to Portal, especially in relation to the ideas of paratexts and palimpsests (good prog-rock album title right there, if you need one), and pick up some of the threads that we covered only briefly today. If you didn't get a chance for this week, I recommend checking out the links to this week's recommended reading on the game. Also, here's another of Portal's paratexts in the form of an Aperture Science "investment opportunity" ad (voiced by the great J.K. Simmons):

Some other ads from the series should be linked among the related videos. Please note that Aperture Science is not a real company; actual investment is not recommended. Next week we'll also consider the future of the book through the lens of an earlier semi-satiric story in the form of Octave Uzanne's "The End of Books," along with a couple of other views of the future from the past. Happy reading in the meantime -- for science!

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