Two of our objectives in DIG 215 are the following:
- Apply specific discursive and theoretical concepts to the analysis of representations of death in 21st century popular culture
- Create original multimodal work that communicates informed theoretical and speculative perspectives on some aspect of death and technology
This next project combines both of these objectives. You’ll be thinking about the representation of death in the digital age by creating your own multimodal work that takes the form of a “haunted” media object. This haunted media object ought to either explicitly or implicitly evoke the dead.
This project is incredibly open-ended, but there are two ways to approach your haunted media object:
- We’ve encountered radios to the spirit world, ghosts in technology, and instant messages from the dead. These are all examples of “haunted media.” Technology that somehow speaks to, from, or for the dead. We might call these examples ghost-centric.
- We’re now learning about online memorials, grieving on Facebook, and other ways bereavement is expressed in the digital world. We might call these examples grief-centric.
Your haunted media project can take either approach (or even combine them). Whether your project is ghost-centered or grief-centered, the “dead” in question can be a historical figure, a character from literature or film, or your own fictional creation. Likewise, those grieving can be any of these.
What kind of work would these guidelines lead to? Some possibilities could include the following:
- a phone that you stage with a series of messages from the dead
- an online memorial page dedicated to a fictional train wreck
- an old transformer radio gutted and fitted with a chip that broadcasts a ghost
- a 3D-printed, laser-engraved tombstone that speaks
- a Minecraft graveyard full of every dead Mario
- the resurrection of Bob Ross as a Twitter bot
This list is meant only to be suggestive. There are countless possibilities!
Whatever you make, the work should be informed by the history and theories we’ve encountered in class and in the readings. Furthermore, the haunted media object will be accompanied by an Artist’s Statement, in which you demonstrate how your haunted media object engages with the history, theory, and practice of death and technology.
For your Haunted Media Project to count as Satisfactory, it must meet the following criteria:
- You must make something: either a modified physical object, or a digital artifact.
- The object or artifact must exhibit craft—a sense of care and intentionality put into the work.
- The object or artifact must either tell or evoke a story or phenomenon bigger than itself. Supporting material such as instruction manuals, terms of service, testimonials, packaging, and so on contribute to the aura of the work.
- The object or artifact makes effective use of your chosen form.
- The object or artifact must be accompanied by an 1,500-2,000 word Artist Statement.
- The Artist Statement successfully applies at least two historical or theoretical texts from our class readings and discussions in order to offer an perspective on some aspect of death and technology.
- The Artist Statement successfully applies at least one scholarly secondary source beyond our class readings and discussions in order to offer an perspective on some aspect of death and technology.
- The Artist Statement follows scholarly standards for citation, using either MLA or Chicago style.
- The Artist Statement contains no more than 3 grammatical, spelling, or other “mechanical” errors.
- The Artist Statement contains no more than 2 minor factual inaccuracies and no major factual inaccuracies.
- A minimally viable project is due in class on Thursday, March 30.
- The final version of the Haunted Media Project is due Thursday, April 6.
For your Haunted Media Project to count as Sophisticated, it must meet this criteria (in addition to the Satisfactory criteria above):
- The object or artifact must be unexpected or provoke surprise.
- The object or artifact reaches higher levels of craft.
- The object or artifact’s supporting material contributes to the diegetic effect of the artifact, making it seem real.
- The Artist Statement integrates at least two scholarly sources beyond what we’ve read for class.
- The Artist Statement uses more effective rhetoric and style to advance its argument.
- Play to your strengths but test your limits
- Make use of Studio M, Davidson’s makerspace
- If you find yourself thinking too much, work instead