Hi everyone. My name is Porter Olsen and I’m a Ph.D. candidate in the English department working on a dissertation exploring the relationships between digital culture and postcolonial literature. What does that mean? It means that I’m interested in how authors in the global south (the preferred term to “third world countries”) think about, represent, and integrate cell phones, computers, GPS devices, etc. in the stories they tell.
For this class, I’m interested in how space and place figure into stories, especially in our digital world of 3D video games and virtual worlds (such as Second Life). We’re going to talk about how humans have been “virtualizing” spaces and places through writing long before we started making 3D worlds with computers, and then we’ll apply what we learn by creating our own machinima (machine + cinema) videos, paying special attention to the importance of space in our story telling. Just to give you a sense of what machinima is and how it’s been used in the past to tell stories, here are two examples. (The first is somewhat less serious than the latter, but it does include a pretty interesting discussion of the importance of space. See if you can spot it.)
Red vs. Blue (using Halo 2)
History Channel Decisive Battles: Attila The Hun (using Rome: Total War)
I look forward to studying digital storytelling with you this semester, and if you have a favorite machinima, feel free to link it in the comments section!