Hypermediacy in Garmann's summer

Abstract (in English): 

This paper will discuss how picturebook applications place themselves within the tradition of children’s literature. In the discussion the various ends of hypermediacy will be emphasized.
Children’s literature is characterized through a child perspective, which is a narratological means developed within literary modernism. It reflects a consideration for the child reader’s cognitive capacity. Even though the narrator may have an adult voice, the story’s point of view reflects the point of view of a child, in order that the reader may be able to recognize—or at least imagine—the story’s universe, characters, milieu and plot. In picturebooks for children the child perspective is equally dominant through the pictures and the verbal text. And in picturebook applications environmental sounds duplicates the effect. One might therefore ask whether the child perspective is highlighted in multimodal children’s literature with hypermediacy as a result.
Picturebook applications seem to combine a cognitive consideration with performative aesthetics. Interactive elements increase the possibility of play. Thus, the applications can be characterized as playgrounds, which is a common way to define postmodern picturebooks (Meerbergen 2012, Sipe and Pantaleo 2008). The interactive elements might also increase the reader’s involvement in the storytelling, which is a common ambition in contemporary picturebooks (Ørjasæter 2014a). Schwebs 2014 argues that the affordances of an app is to bring a story to life in a multi-sensous way, and that the story-telling is embodied in the reader through the finger gestures. My point is that even hypermediated picturebooks such as Stian Hole’s trilogy on Garman have developed means for embodied sensuous experience (Ørjasæter 2014b). But when the picturebook Garmann’s summer is adapted to a picturebook application the multi-sensous story-telling becomes redundant. The story is told out loud as well as presented as scripture. The environment becomes audible as well as visible. The effect of this seemingly redundancy in the storytelling might be regarded as hypermediacy. The question is how it affects the work’s capacity to make embodied sensuous impression.
Apart from Remediation. Understanding New Media (1999) where Bolter and Grusin introduce their hypermediacy concept, the discussion in this paper will be influenced by Software takes command (2013) where Lev Manovich points out that ”computers and software are not just ’technology’ but rather the new medium in which we can think and imagine differently” (13). Thus, the research question in this paper will be: What does hypermediacy do to the way one thinks about children’s literature? Does it in any way alter what one thinks children’s literature is?

(source: ELO 2015 conference catalog)

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Hannah Ackermans