Our last class in Explorations in Literacy ended with an introduction to Transmedia. It was ironic because a new genre was introduced in our last class, yet it made perfect sense since the genre was a manifestation of everything we have learned so far on multi-faceted aspects of literature. My answer to the quest to what literature is that literature is something that constantly evolves. It doesn’t have an end. And that’s what makes it so exciting.
We started off watching the first episode from Inanimate Alice which was a dark, post-apocalyptic digital series of a girl’s journey in search for her missing father. The format seemed linear at first because the narrative was captioned, yet the screen frequently shifted in various forms and media such as photos, sketches, and video games. The storytelling was also participatory because it asked the viewer to click onto the next screen or sometimes it wouldn’t let the viewer to move on until the screen was finished telling its story.A big theme ran across my mind while viewing the narrative. That was that the transmedia possesses the power to manipulate of proximity between the creator, characters, and the viewer.
Compared to that of reading a book or a story, transmedia allows people to access the characters and to the characters’ world without forcing ourselves in. We become the characters by participating the culture of the created. It’s not only that. We become the co-creators of different versions after we are done viewing because transmedia allows the viewers to become co-makers. For instance, in search of the father, Alice and her mother hits the road. While driving, Alice not only observes and describes what goes on in the journey but allows the viewer to elaborate on what she might see, what she might hear, or even come up with different types of endings. Teachers can use the story to discuss perspective taking, literary devices, word choices, and so much more.
The most conspicuous element that stoke to me is that it blurs the geographical, ethnic, and cultural distances the viewer feels against the text. While the books we are required to read for class is categorized as “Classics”, “African-American”, or “Asian-American”, this type of literature flexibly travels from one place to another without feeling “different”. Alice seems like a multiracial girl whose mother’s name is “Ming”. It sounds like they share some type of European heritage (but that’s really not important in the narrative) and they are in China in search for her father. The trans-nature of the characters’ cultural background allows the reader to prod into the why realms and in term challenges the viewers to assess whether it’s truly important to ask those questions.
Looking through different websites and exploring various forms of post-print texts, I can see how this type of literature will attract students who have different needs such as Exceptional Children and Gifted population. It leaves a plenty of room for collaboration, discussions and integrates arts, politics, poetry, and so much more.
Below are more resources on transmedia:
Here are some resources if you are interested in transmedia: