Digital Story Telling

December 31, 2009 by

I am interested in digital story telling.  I would like to discuss issues of presentation, interaction, argumentation, narrative and non-narrative structures.

4 Responses to Digital Story Telling

  1. fvanhorne on January 1, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    This could be interesting. I’d like to see more details on this. For example, I know a lot of storytelling goes on in the form of blog posts. Is this the sort of thing you’re talking about?

  2. Marjorie McLellan on January 11, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    I’m curious about the kinds of digital stories you are looking at. Who are the authors and what is the context in which they embarked on digital storytelling? What motivates the narrators? Where and how do they share their stories?

  3. Andrea Odiorne on January 12, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    The reason why I blogged about digital storytelling is because I regretted not attending the session on the topic at THATCamp last summer. But if google results are any indication, ‘digital storytelling’ is a fairly well defined entity. The University of Houston site outlines how to use digital storytelling for teaching and as a learning exercise. Their suggestions, rules, and guidelines are based on those of the Center for Digital Storytelling at Berkeley.

    Still, I would also like to talk about an expanded idea of digital storytelling. Like Faith Van Horne suggests, a blog could be considered digital storytelling. It seems most people construct ‘digital stories’ as part of an assignment that teaches them to use audio and video as primary source material or as a way to rather quickly present an historical argument with multi-media.

    To tell the truth I don’t see much difference between the methodology of digital storytelling and historical documentaries produced for television broadcast. The former, having the advantage of being more easily produced and distributed, are surely at a huge disadvantage in terms of attracting audiences. Historical documentaries use interviews, archival footage and narrative voice-over to make arguments. This seems also to be the major thrust of digital storytelling. The argument does seem to be of more importance in digital storytelling, or at least seems less obscured than the historical documentary’s often inevitable seeming conclusion. However, digital storytelling inherits many of the problems of the historical documentary, particularly in terms of narrative authority, causation, and the use of experience as evidence.

    By this I mean that the voice-over commands an authority to interpret events, and unlike his written counterpart, the history writer, calls more often upon anecdote, affect, and experience. Furthermore, he/she is not held to the standards of footnoting. Also, like its linear counterpart, writing, the choice of evidence and its arrangement in documentary often suggests a causation that may be questionable or presentist. Also, the Center for Digital Storytelling encourages participator production methods, surely an unsettling issue for academics who prize critical distance in analysis. In short, the digital documentary seems to take advantage of online materials and the ease which software allows them to be arranged and interpreted, but doesn’t offer much in the way of new interpretation methods.

    I myself recall the time-consuming matter of driving to archives, setting up an easel, and videotaping documents, then copying the video footage to the tape on which my interview or voiceover audio was recorded. Digital storytelling is faster, no doubt, but those setting the rules seem to downplay some of the other advantages of the digital. Those that allow evidence to be annotated, linked or footnoted instead of buried in the credits. Those that might question voice-overs as authority, break down narrative structures, present fuller and more varied patterns of causation, or even deny causation altogether. Of course, that has been a goal of many pre-digital storytellers, in print, radio and television. So, again the digital would just make this faster and easier. Ideally I would like to talk about how to move past this. I’m not sure how to start thinking about it, but I’m pretty sure it’s time to stop making the rules and start breaking them.

  4. […] how my questions relate to those presented by Elizabeth Schultz, Candace Nast, Marjorie McLellan, Andrea Odiorne, Justin Hons, Stephen Titchenal, Doug Lambert, Jonathan Tarr, and Phil Sager. For a quick bit of […]

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