In this project, you will experiment with writing in augmented space.
In essence, you will write a "walking tour" (or perhaps driving tour) that uses a place or space not as the subject of your writing, but as the medium.
For this assignment, you'll create three different products (in this order)
- a written script following the formatting guidelines
- a podcast (a set of mobile web pages in HTML done in Dreamweaver, WordPress, etc.) that can deliver sound files (.mp3s), maps, and any other visual texts to the audience making your walk.
- a web site of pages that present the project to a non-mobile audience. Each page of this site will present the script and sound file for each location on the walk, as well as any contextualizing maps, images, Google Street View panoramas, and other material for a secondary audience who is not able to make the walk.
Place as Medium, Not Subject
Key to starting this project is understanding how a place can be used as the medium of a piece of writing.
A project composed on a neighborhood from your childhood could be about the families, or sports, or the influence of a television show, or the Bush administration. But your piece of writing should not be about just the neighborhood, any more than an essay is about paper, or a movie is about film, or a song lyric is about sound. The locations of the place or space--and how you have the reader move among them--is simply the "vehicle" of your thoughts.
Purpose and Genre
Your script will do the job of a conventional, written genre: a magazine feature article, a piece of fiction, a poem, an autobiographical memoir, argumentative analysis, academic essay, etc. It will realize these purposes, however, in the medium of augmented space. Like the genres mentioned above, your script should have a unified purpose, effect, and tone that is intended to move the reader in a particular way: intellectually and/or emotionally. The purpose, tone, and genre of the piece should be expressed in a well chosen title.
Juggling ("Here/Now" & "Not Here/Not Now")
Your script should use the "juggling" technique to move between the "here and now" of the place and the "not here and now": that is, ideas, information, memories, etc. that are not apparent to an audience in that location.
The juxtaposition of the "here/now" and "not here/now" is an important, synthetic means by which the place is used as a medium of writing for purposes larger than a simple tour. See the handout from Jerome Stern's Making Shapely Fiction.
For example, in Janet Cardiff's and George Bures Miller's "P.S. 1 Walk," Cardiff's voice leads the audience through a former public-school building, and directs them to walk "behind the stairs to the right.... Let's sit down here a minute." After instructing the audience to close their eyes, the sound effect of crickets rise up, and Cardiff remembers, "It was night, and I was walking through the barn to the house....." Sitting in the stairwell of an urban public school building in New York, we are mentally taken to the memory of a farm sometime in the narrator's past. Through physical direction, her voice (she says, "close your eyes" twice with an insistant cadence), and sound effects, she moves from the "Here/Now" to the "Not Here/Not Now").
We will use the following terms to describe the various aspects of your project:
Place: the general area that defines your WAS Project as a whole
Location: a specific spot within the place where the audience will receive a particular part of the content. Locations are defined by what your audience is able to perceive at any one moment or continuous segment of time. If your audience is walking or driving, the location might be a route or path followed, which lasts a given length of time. Your place should consist of multiple locations.
View: the totality of what can be seen from any one location.
Gaze: what is seen in a view when particular directions, distances, landmarks, characteristics are called into focus.
Object: Within a gaze, particular thing (a building, sign, rock, bush) to which you draw your audience's attention
The first portion of this project you will complete is the script. The script will be divided into locations along the waik, and presents the narration (which will be delivered orally and recorded as a series of MP3 files), descriptions of what the audience will see and do in response to directions given by the narrator, and notionations concerning sound effects (SFX), music, and other effects.
See the script format for how these are coordinated on the page.
Created in Dreamweaver, WordPress, or other means, these web pages are intended for the in-place audience to access with a internet-enabled mobile device. These pages/files might also be downloaded to a iPod or other non-networked MP3 player.
The Web Site
For the purposes of the class, you will also present your work to a secondary, non-place-based audience via the old-fashioned, virtual space of a screen-based web page or hypertext of web pages. Keep in mind, though, that this is only a simulation, prototype, or model of what the actual, on-location experience of the writing would be.
The Web Site should include
- a series of HTML pages featuring a consistent layout and unifying features--a banner, color scheme, and other visual features-- all linked together with a menu that appears identically on all pages
- a banner that echoes visual features and styles of the podcast's 300 x 300 pixel banner, except that the web site's banner is wider than it is tall to fit exactly into the page-design's layout.
- a home page that includes a brief written introduction or preamble to the particulars of this place/project which establishes its tone and ultimate meaning, as well as the genre of print-based writing that you are repurposing. (Think of this introduction as being the equivalent to the blurb on the back of a paperback book.)
- an explanation on the home page (probably near the bottom) of the the assignment that prompted this project, the experimental nature of writing in augmented space, and a clear explanation that the project is intended to be experienced in the particular place using mobile technologies
- a map on the home page of the place, with all the locations indicated in some way (you might choose to use an "image map" (aka hot spots) to make the locations on this clickable links)
- an internal page for each location
- location pages that include a plug-in audio player for the sound file for that location
- location pages that feature images, maps, Google Street View Panoramas, or other visual means to give the desktop audience some sense of the place-based experience that would have if they travel to the installation
- text of the script for each location, pasted into each location page (below the audio player and images)
- external links on the home page (probably toward the bottom, kept separate from the links to the site's internal pages) to the file of the complete script, the podcast, and any other resources appropriate to the project.
Here, we will collect some examples of tools useful for the script, podcast, or web site.
Google Street Views
MP3 file and Player
Simulated iPhone Image
This project will include
- The Printed Script (hard copy)
- Podcast created as a set of web pages (basic design for simple delivery via smartphone or mobile device)
- Web Site for the secondary, non-place-based audience
- a 500-word commentary that fulfills the guidelines for commentaries generally, and also includes
1. a clear statement describing the "here now/not here now" juxtaposition your project achieves, and what your intended effect and meaning is for this montage effect
2. at least two quotations from Lev Manovich's "The Poetics of Augmented Space," used to contextualize this project, cited and documented using MLA format
3. a passage comparing or contrasting a technique used in your project to some aspect(s) of a tour or walk that we discussed in class, or one of the Cardiff/Miller audio walks that you found instructive or inspirational. This tour/walk should also be cited and documented using MLA format
- Introducing Layar (YouTube)
- Domestic Robocop (YouTube)
- Discover Your City (Layar, YouTube)
- Fortworthology: Epsiode 56: Google Street View Tour of Paris (new urbanism blog)
- Tales of Things (Annie Lennox Dress)
Public Tours, Walks, and Augmented Space Installations
- Iowa 80 Walcott Tour (sample conventional tour)
- Kroll and John Mulaney - Walking Tour of NYC (example of tour used as comedy routine)
- Zombies, Run
- Passing Stranger: The East Village Poetry Walk (discussed in the NY Times article "Chasing the Ghosts of Poet's Past")
- The Oxford Poetry Walks
- Oxford Street View Example (This is the location for the sample track from the Oxford Poetry Walk)
- The Story of the Four Minutes Mile (Oxford Playhouse)
Cardiff and Miller
- Cardiff/Burnes Miller Walks (sample "audio walks")
- Alter Bahnhof Video Walk (Cardiff/Bures Miller)
- Her Long Black Hair (archived Public Art Fund)
- Power of Sounds (NYT Cardiff Miller)
Format and Assignment Materials
- Mutli-Page Model for podcasts that include supplemental maps, images, or documents for each locatipn
- Single-Page Model for podcasts that use only an audio file for each location without supplemental materials.
- Tutorial: Audacity for Sound Recording and Editing
- Tutorial: "Embedding Sound Files in a Web Page"
- Writing in Augmented Space assignment
- Web app AudioFormat to convert your .wav file to .mp3.
- Tutorial: Image Maps
- Prospectus (Form)
- Script Excerpt and Dialogical Meaning (handout)
- "Juggling" from Jerome Stern's Making Shapely Fiction
- Checklist of Criteria
- Script Format Handout
- Genre Exercise handout
- Rock Music Genres
- "It's My Home Town" (personal feature article written for the Florida State University newspaper The Flambeau, which refers to the location above)
Online Services and Resources