I explore media in transition. My research encompasses film, video, print, digital arts, and the web. I'm interested in what artists and writers are doing and in what critics and scholars are saying.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Autobiographical Mashups and Recycled Memories: A Multimedia Quartet

Recycled Memories: A Multimedia Quartet, a DVD now available on my storefront, includes digital copies of the four interrelated books I recently published:

  • Arella’s Repertoire—a novel that reworks archival materials across various media while exploring personal and cultural memory during the second half of the twentieth century. The text is framed as a hyperlinked blog.
  • Vagabond Scribe (Leah’s Backstory)—a literary experiment that inspired Arella’s Repertoire. Both texts tap into the same archives.
  • Video-Graphic Alchemy: Transforming “Dear Diary”—a personal, illustrated reflection on how the multimedia projects I was working on in the late 1980s influenced my approach to Vagabond Scribe and thus, indirectly, to Arella’s Repertoire.
  • VirtualDayz: Remediated Visions & Digital Memories—my blog reformatted and published as a “blook” in which an early draft of Video-Graphic Alchemy first appeared. I kept the blog while writing Arella’s Repertoire and refer to the novel now and then.
The idea to present these four texts as a quartet came after I had finished them all. Only then did I start to connect the dots and see how the disparate works might relate to one another and contribute to a project greater than the sum of the parts. Initially, my primary focus had been on Arella’s Repertoire—I saw everything else as background for understanding the novel. Lately, though, my perspective has been shifting, and I’m thinking more about how the four texts together set in motion a creative methodology that resembles autobiographical variations of the mashups and remixes that have become so popular in the digital age.

My fictional texts draw from both personal and cultural archives that shaped the characters’ life stories, and my early multimedia experiments tap into my childhood diaries. Overall, the entire project that the quartet represents relies on transformations of texts from one context—and often one medium—to another. Video-Graphic Alchemy explains the process so far and offers examples (see the preview online). Arella’s Repertoire, the most recent incarnation of this open-ended venture, may turn out to be a springboard to future transformations.

If so, I’d like the next stage to involve collaborations. I envision original videos of live performance and dance combined with digital presentations of the text either online or on DVD. The transformations could deal with the prelude of the novel (which can be previewed online), with the scenes listed in Arella’s Multimedia Gallery, or perhaps with the dance performances scattered throughout Arella’s Repertoire. I’d welcome suggestions.

P.S. Video-Graphic Alchemy and VirtualDayz are also available on (Video-Graphic Alchemy should be searchable soon.) VirtualDayz is available on the Kindle, too. It’s also being processed for the Google Book Search program.

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