Hi! I'm an academic in Australia. I teach English Education and my research interests include new literacies, digital fiction, fan fiction, blogging, identity, pop culture, computer games, systemic linguistics, feminism and young people online. Recently I have been teaching and researching in the virtual world of Second Life, where I am known as Anya Ixchel.
Apart from this pretty neat jacket featured on textually.org, I haven’t seen many posts about the phenomenon of “wearable teachnology” lately. That is, until I read Chris’s most recent post about how he is preparing for his next marathon run…. it made me laugh for several reasons - 1) his description of it is so funny and 2) because here we are, looking for instances of this “phenomenon” to write about, while right under our noses our friends and kids are doing it already! Here is Chris’s description about his running shoes which I am sure you will enjoy too:
Ok, so I figure some of you are just being polite and saying “Umm, nice shoes Chris”. But these are just no ordinary shoes. They are Nike Air Zoom Moires. Still nothing fancy? Ok, I’ll let you in on a little secret. The left shoe is in fact a secret agent for my iPod. I have covertly implanted a computer chip into the sole of this shoe which wirelessly transmits to a receiver attached to my ipod, and records all the statistics I want from my run: distance, time, pace, even calories burnt. This is also relayed to me at regular intervals throughout my run. So as I pass a kilometre my music dims and a little voice tells me how far I have run so far. It also tells me when I have made it half way, and then starts counting down the kilometres right through to my target distance. Of course, if I want to I can set it based on running for a particular amount of time, and for other conditions too.
Thanks Chris, I really needed that laugh!!! (And best of luck in your runs to come!)
In lonelygurl15 fashion, the television series Law and Order have devised an episode around a videoblogger (Michelle Trachtenburg guest stars as “Weeping Willow 17″). They have released a series of videos in a fake video blog and I have seen them mentioned on a few sites already around the blogosphere.
This makes yet another addition to the list of fictions which traverse several media forms - here’s Christy Dena’s list of some of them. I met a guy recently doing his PhD on the way the TV show LOST has created a multi platform narrative experience - what a fun PhD that must be! But I think its interesting that other TV programs are beginning to incorporate additional media forms to enhance their narratives which are usually confined to within the 30 minute show.
and there’s lots more about art, identity, relationships in SL, musical events, SL lifestyles and more! Phew… and issue 3 is shaping up nicely, with some fabulous articles covering the arts, education, culture, and life in Second Life.
Yesterday I went to the most fascinating presentation by Christy Dena and she has totally converted me into the heady world of Mono-Polymorphism!! This was one of the best “big picture” conceptualisations for the many forms of distributred narratives, ARGs, digital fiction, fan fiction and media franchise narrative “events” that I have ever seen. I love talks like this because they remind me how SLOW education is in this field and really challenge my thinking to new levels. Here is Christy’s abstract - if only I had some of her mind blowing slides to show too!
Mono-Polymorphism: A Paradigm for Understanding Cross-Media Entertainment
In the age of cross-media production works are distributed over time and space like never before. A story can be adapted into numerous media and arts forms; episodes traverse television and digital games; a plot can stretch from a book to the web; a work of fiction can be indistinguishable from reality and a work of art indistinguishable from marketing. The methodological discourses touched by this phenomenon are, among others, Narratology, Ludology, Media Studies and Semiotics. How does one recognise, analyse and frame these works? Introducing Mono-Polymorphism: the theory where many forms and the singular co-exist. Giddy with the notion of a ‘unified theory of everything’, this theory seeks to provide a schema for understanding the meta-discursive, taxonomical, and rhetorical complexity of these works. And yes, the dissonance with ‘mono-polymorphism’ is intentional.
Yesterday I attended a brilliant linguistics workshop on heteroglossia (presented by Sally Humphrey and Dorothy Economou). I can’t believe how much I learnt! We spent a couple of hours immersed in the analysis of texts and discussing system networks (all very technical) but the most interesting thing that happened was a conversation I had with Sally when we were working in small groups. I confessed to her that this is one aspect of the interpersonal metafunction that I wasn’t as clued in to as I thought I should be!! Sally told me that the reason is that because I am a narrative junkie I don’t come across realisations of heterogloss in the texts I research and teach with (it is realised much more evidently in persuasive genres).
I’ve been thinking about that remark ever since and wondering whether in fact new forms of narrative have much more explicit realisations of heterogloss - particularly the distributed narratives (or as Christy calls them “polymorphic narratives“). When we get narratives that are distributed across different voices, different spaces, different times, and which are comprised of multiple micro-genres, I am thinking that the current linguitic system to describe heterogloss just doesnt stand up to account for this. At the very least, I think there’d be a PhD in finding this out! I am loving this linguistics and semiotics seminar series - it really pushes me into new ways of thinking and imagining.
My neighbour in Matisse (umm…do I even need to say I am talking about Second Life these days? *laugh*) Mathieu has just rebuilt his store to this stylish new look. To celebrate its opening, he gave me this WONDERFUL gift:
It is a radio that streams a whole heap of internet radio stations (and I can add more by voice command) - from my favourite jazz channels, to some fabulous spanish music suitable for my salsa dancing, and a whole host of others. It means I don’t have to keep fiddling with the media settings in my property, all i have to do is click through and find whatever station I want. I love the retro design of the phonograph too - look at the great detail on the record label:
I am finding the mix of old and new / real and virtual objects in Second Life fascinating to study. We rely on old images for various reasons: sentimentality, ease of recognition, the narrative we already bring to certain objects… and yet we’re always pushing the boundaries to find new ways of expressing our creativity that might be considered unique to Second Life. Some old literacies are being reappropriated in new ways, and entirely new literacies are being invented and explored and manipulated every day.