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Teaching and Learning Multimodal Communications

Alyssa Arbuckle, Alison Hedley, Shaun Macpherson, Alyssa McLeod, Jana Millar Usiskin, Daniel Powell, Jentery Sayers, Emily Smith, Michael Stevens, Authors

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in absentia: Formal and Forensic Materiality

The site predominantly utilizes JavaScript media formats; along with the Google Maps API, there is JavaScript-based text. There are also images in JPG format surrounding the map and placed variously within the pinned text boxes themselves. The various media function to create an annotated map that offers narratives (in English or French) on a threatened way of life in Mile End via fictional classified ads, personal reflections on the neighbourhood, and lyrical reminisces on urban progressivity. Interjections of the author's meta-information (e.g. biography, comments on fictionality of the environment, comments on the project itself) within various annotations convey a postmodern awareness of the creative act.

The overall effect of the relationality of the media serves to create a time stamp of place as an endangered ecology; classified ads echo local anxieties over looming changes in the area, and the API format allows for an updated map that nonetheless retains ghostlike imprints of the past. In other words, though the map itself may be updated (which obliterates the physical presence of the former residents), their narratives remain intact via annotation and thus create an ontological problem over how to differentiate between space and time as an indicator of location.

The menu at the top of the page consists of five items, written in French: à louer ("for rent"), à vendru ("for sale"), perdu ("lost"), trouvé ("found"), and vide ("empty"). There is also a “home” button (written in English). Each menu item links to a new set of pins superimposed over the same map of Mile End. Pins have various graphical representations, from Logements à Louer ("rooms for rent") labels to images of bulldozers, and the content embedded within the pins may or may not contain images or hyperlinks to biographical information of the various contributors.

Author: Shaun Macpherson
Word Count: 300
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