Talk/Make/Play Session: (Digital) Writing vs. (Digital) Composition

One of the most important results of the proliferation of digital media has been a relative increase in studies of the history of the book. As new forms have challenged the primacy of the book, interest has been piqued in the form and history of the book as an object of intellectual communication. I believe that this is because the new modes of communication and presentation that digital media offer have defamiliarized the designed formats of traditional publishing. The design makeup of texts, which is normally virtually invisible because of the ubiquity of the codex, has had a light shown on it by the newness of digital formats, reminding us specifically of the oldness of books and that there was a time before the codex. From this point of defamiliarization we can begin to see that argument, discourse, and scholarly communication can happen in formats other than the book, article, or research paper. As such, we are provided with an opportunity to in effect start anew and explore the virtually infinite possibilities that digital media provide us in designing compositional experiences.

I would like to propose a session where we work to deconstruct those structures of writing that are assumed to be givens purely due to the design history of different forms of material texts, while actively attempt to experiment with different toolsets (Prezi, wikis, blogs, Tumblrs) to find creative ways of doing new types of digital composition. Think of it as a praxis session where we are actively considering the conceptual impulses behind why we choose to write in a certain way while actually composing new forms of expression to convey a narrative/story/argument that we normally would assume to be conveyed in traditional formats. This session will be conversational, playful, and experimental and hopefully will bring forward new tools, methods, and approaches to writing/composition.

A great place to read about how to handcraft visual argumentation such as this is Edward Tufte’s chapter in Visual Explanations about Visual Confections:

  • Edward R. Tufte. “Visual Confections: Juxtapositions from the Ocean of the Streams of Story.” Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative. Cheshire, CT: Graphics Press, 1997. 121–51.
Categories: Session: Make, Session: Play, Session: Talk | Tags: , , , , , |

About Kimon Keramidas

As Assistant Professor and Director of the Digital Media Lab at the Bard Graduate Center, I am in charge of implementing digital media across the curriculum of my institution and in research projects and exhibitions. My research focuses on the study of media through the lenses of political economy and sociology of culture and the integration of interactive technology into pedagogy. I have taught courses in interface design, media and materiality, artifacts in the age of new media, digital information fluency, theatre design, and performance, and am curating an exhibition on interface design that will open at the BGC in spring of 2015. I am also Director of Digital Initiatives at the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, co-founder and member of the editorial collective of The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy, and co-founder and member of the steering committee of NYCDH. When not teaching and working I play games on both fields (soccer) and screens (Xbox, etc.) and consume sundry televisual culture. Oh yeah, and I'm a mean baker.