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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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Granulating E-Lit: Formal Analysis of "Reconstructing Mayakovsky"

Formally, the organization of text, audio, and images is patently disorienting. 

I can break the audio components down into two categories: audio podcast of individual chapters and "found sound artifacts" that blare when the cursor moves through the cloud—the principle navigational method of the piece. The user is to guess the relationship between the sound artifacts and the podcast chapters. Presumably, the jarring and disorienting aspect of this soundscape works to break the metanarrative of history that underlies the thematics of this novel. 

The text is accessed through a cloud navigation system as well, called "Mechanism B." The chapters are not numbered or named, but accessed through ambiguous keywords (with the rate of usage abutting the floating keyword in parentheses). These keywords refresh each time a user enters "Mechanism B," rending the process inimical to a linear reading of the novel. Whether interesting or merely frustrating, the text chapters in "Mechanism B" do not align with the read chapters in the "Audiopodcast" cloud, despite being identically numbered. I've uploaded a screencast that demonstrates the navigational method. 

All this works under the rubric of the title "reconstructing"—a sort of pastiche of narratives and artifacts that do not seem to add up to any whole. The only issue is that this works as a multimedia, "choose your own adventure" narrative rather than finding innovative ways of relating the various content together. That only the reading process and the "anti-google" image search are made ephemeral, undermines the D-I-Y aspect that the "reconstruction" hints at.

Author: Michael Stevens
Word Count: 245
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