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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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Tracing the Trace: Rationale and Audience


The motivation behind this project is quite simple.  I really wanted to make something.  In this way, I tried to consider how the project might be an opportunity to think about criticism and writing outside of the standard framework of the academic essay.  I also really enjoy thinking and writing about art, and found that this project presented me with the rare opportunity to do both. As far as digital humanities goes, I think there is quite a bit to be learned from how contemporary art has grappled (and continues to grapple) with many of the same issues surrounding materiality, memory, storage, representation, and modeling that animate DH today. Finally, I saw this as a chance to work collaboratively, and in doing so learn something about how artists use a medium beyond (or perhaps just other than) words to make arguments, thus revealing our dependence on the power of the media we employ in our own making of texts in the humanities. I hope that in some way this will continue to inform the way I think not only about texts (particularly digital texts), but also about my own work, whether in the digital humanities or elsewhere. 


As far as my intended audience goes, I think this project is essentially for people working in the digital humanities.  In thinking about how digital environments facilitate certain kinds of encounters, I hope this project (or at least this kind of project) can inform how we, as digital humanists, go about archiving, documenting, and storing work--and to what end.  The project also hopes to comment upon the limits of digital technology to fully replicate experiences, other objects, or old environments, in hopes that the goals of archival work, modeling, encoding, etc. might be thought of not necessarily as having a responsibility to sustain a more authentic version of something that is lost, but rather to acknowledge the capacities and the limits of the medium in which a given artifact is operating, as well as to remain open to the contingencies of the historical and temporal moment in which it appears.

Author: Emily Smith
Word Count: 350
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