Between Floors: The Ups and Downs of Mediated Narrative

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

“Between Floors: The Ups and Downs of Mediated Narrative” and the accompanying creative remediation project, “Between Floors: Love and Other Blood Related Diseases,” meld theory and practice of print with electronic literature and installation art. I argue that as the medium changes, the narrative is transformed. The narrative can be reconstructed and pieced together as the reader or viewer becomes increasingly involved, even embodied within the work. This embodiment is what Nathaniel Stern calls “Moving and thinking and feeling” (1) and can result in a more direct emotional experience. The form, structure, and medium (sju┼żet) rely on authorial intention, yet as a narrative becomes more interactive and experiential the feedback loop shifts, placing meaning, message, and construction of narrative (fabula) between media and reader/viewer. This necessarily complicates the notion of authorship, yet within an embodied space, such as the installations included in this analysis, there is a potential for greater emotional understanding between author/artist and reader/viewer. In the print story “Between Floors: Love and Other Blood Related Diseases,” the protagonist, June, visits her father in a hospital after a tragedy and ends up spending the rest of her life there. The metaphor of an elevator throughout the print, electronic, and installation versions furthers the trapped, claustrophobic feeling of the narrative as well as the ups and downs of relationships and grief. Pieces of the narrative remain recognizable through the electronic literature and installation, yet as the reader/viewer is increasingly immersed in the narrative, it becomes his or her own—a more subjective and overwhelming emotional experience. The elevator metaphor extends through the analysis—an emblem of traditional linear narratives and the narrative arc and technological immersion. The analysis explores theories of language, medium, authorship, nonlinearity, interactivity, and embodiment through existing narrative, new media, and installation theorists such as Peter Brooks, Marshall McLuhan, and Nathaniel Stern. This dissertation and to an extent, experiment, uses theory and practice to illuminate narrative using a recombination of existing theory and an original remediation in three distinct forms, to further the understanding of the nature of narratives, media, authors, and readers, while blurring boundaries between disciplines.

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Melinda White