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[This post is about the Bromsgrove Digital Shoebox project - bds]
I’m thinking about the scope of media/content/stuff. It’s a balancing act, working out where to draw the lines – what should be included, what should be outside the remit of the project.
It doesn’t actually matter that these lines are arbitrary and flexible, but at this stage, when the main focus is on explaining what I’m doing, in order to help people decide whether to fund more work, it helps if it’s clear enough for them to quickly understand the basics. On the other hand, I don’t want to dictate this too tightly, too early, I want your input.
So what’s in?
- I’ve talked about photos, film and audio; scans of documents might be interesting if they’re not available elsewhere.
- I’ve set the timeframe to be the 1970s and by that I suppose I meant 1970-1979 inclusive. I’m not deeply attached to this, and I wouldn’t want to exclude interesting material from say 1981. I think it’s something that can become firmer when we really know what is out there.
- The media should have been produced in Bromsgrove or include people who lived in Bromsgrove at the time (let’s not exclude those pics of school trips to France!). If it’s in Bromsgrove, then the media might not include people, it might just be places, buildings, roads, railways etc. I think using the boundary of Bromsgrove District Council is appropriate.
- I’m also most interested in media made by “ordinary people” rather than press or TV coverage (if only to avoid rights conversations with a bureaucracy) but I wouldn’t want to exclude them altogether.
Any thoughts on other dimensions to the scope?
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What’s all this about then? Well it’s becoming clear to me that there are two things that I need to do that I’m not doing enough of. First is that I should be writing more publicly about what I’m doing and how. But also that the connections between seemingly different bits need to be articulated too.
Wait. There’s something else we need to sort out first. This isn’t about me. I mean obviously it all is but that’s not because I think what I’m doing or thinking is particularly important or even interesting but because it’s the material that’s closest to hand.
I am interested in how stories get told on the internet and the rest of the world, and how storylines can move between the two. How narratives can carry over from blogs to films to games to comic-strips to conversations down the pub to a picture on the wall. That’s what transmedia storytelling is to me. Many definitions of transmedia include the word “fictional”. I think it’s valuable to operate at a higher level of abstraction and include elements that might be fictional or might be factual or maybe predominantly factual but include elements that are wholly and explicitly subjective interpretations of the “facts”.
And social art field trips like Tuttle2Texas are non-fictional transmedia experiences. And I know that it’s sometimes difficult to explain or understand what they’re for. They’re not *for* anything. They’re not a means to an end. They are deliberately at such a level of abstraction that their primary purpose is to help illustrate how stories (fictional or otherwise) might be co-created and told, because we don’t know that well enough yet – and if we operate only at lower levels of abstraction it’s much harder to learn what works and to transfer that learning between domains of interest.
So what I’m trying to here before my brain explodes is to shift up yet another level and say OK, if you take #tuttle as an element and #tuttle2texas as an element and that consulting work we did last year as an element, how do they all fit together?
Not “How can we find the common thread so that we can present a coherent marketing pitch?” But rather, given that this stuff is as coherent and congruent as anything else, what connections need to be articulated to help you suspend your disbelief? What needs to be explained? How wide and empty can the gutter be? What might I fill the gutter up with to help you across? What backstory is useful that helps you get to the beginning. And what is the beginning? Where do you start? Because when you’re telling this kind of a story, each element may have a beginning, middle and an end, but the great thing about having near infinite capacity to co-create and store stuff is that we can stretch the story out as long as our patience and interest and attention can last.
And if we can work it out at this level (and I’ll only do that by doing it) then perhaps there are valuable lessons that are more generally applicable.