“Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can’t remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story.”
― Tim O’Brien,
We keep certain ideas alive when stories are told, whether this is a person, memory, or a lesson learned we hope to hold for life. Stories are told because as human beings we have a strong desire/need to stay connected and communicate with others. Stories are the means of creating or maintaining a connection. We are now in a world in which stories can be brought to life beyond the means of speaking or writing them. Multimedia has opened a new door to storytellers. Storytellers can deliver their stories to listeners in a more present, in the moment fashion. The gap between the reality of the story and the audience’s present reality shrinks as multimedia platforms allow for advanced visuals and sound that traditional storytelling could merely touch upon.
The storyteller has always held a certain power in telling a story as they can expand upon, emphasize, dramatize, or downplay and even leave out certain aspects. That power and influence is still maintained and even enhanced as multimedia allows for more manipulation of imagery and sound. The beauty of multimedia storytelling lies in this ability to encompass the audience and the author’s control over presenting a specific message and perspective for the audience. But, here in lies what may be considered the weakness of multimedia. The author’s ability to present a story in a specific perspective with chosen imagery and sound retracts the capacity of the audience’s imagination. We, as humans in general, learn and experience in our own unique ways, so there is beauty in how text or oral stories allow the audience to experience the same story differently.
Imagination is key. While multimedia platforms allow the audience to feel more present and enhance visualization of a story, these platforms also tend to diminish the variety of imagination pathways audiences can choose from when experiencing a story.
I found the following podcasts important as a reflection of the power in story telling on an auditory level-still close enough to the experience of reading words on a page, while also allowing the speaker to add tone of voice, sound effects, and emphasis on certain parts of the story. The speaker adds their unique touch, but the listener is also allowed a spacious amount for imagination.
With the age of multimedia our mindsets can tend to remain stuck in the digital world. Although you are currently viewing this on a digital media platform, hopefully this video takes you to a new perspective of techniques meant for digital storytellers in terms of the outside world…
*Put to fullscreen for encompassing experience
The following are a few archival magazines found from Special Collections. The first two images [going left to right] are from the first addition of the current running WORD magazine from 2008. The rest of the materials are from an old student run magazine from the 80s.
UCSB happens to be known for their iconic newspapers, The Daily Nexus and The Bottom Line. However, what many people either don’t seem to realize, or even happen to forget, is that there are other literary publications on campus that deserve some attention as well. These publications express the creative and artistic side of our students and allow for a freedom of expression that can take the form of poetry, short stories, or life & style articles. Either way, they provide a platform for imaginative students to share their thoughts with the world. The two publications we plan to focus on are The Catalyst, a literary arts magazine, and WORD magazine. The story we plan to tell is one that not many people may know. It will include comparison interviews with past and present contributors and the evolution of the magazines over time. With these thorough interviews, we will be able to create a new piece of Isla Vista and UCSB history that starts and ends with the most important aspect: the students.
Our target audience for this story includes current students and alumni of UCSB that may not have a complete grasp on the student run publications and their origins. Through our research and interviews, we hope to inform students at UCSB and residents of Isla Vista (past and present) of the current literary arts scene centered on WORD magazine and The Catalyst. Students familiar with these publications will gain better insight from the historical context we provide as well. Our second target audience is those interested in Isla Vista and UCSB, but have no direct connection to these communities. By exploring these publications that encourage the emerging literary arts scene in Isla Vista, we provide these audiences with alternative narratives of our community. While some negative aspects of Isla Vista culture are more often projected, our research will expose this audience to a lesser known aspect of IV culture and help them see a more intellectual and artistic image of our community.
In order to inform the audience about magazine culture at UCSB, we will focus on past and currently running magazines. The purpose of inception, goals of the magazines, and how they contribute to Isla Vista culture will be discussed through interviewing magazine editors, contributors, and general Isla Vista residents. For the discontinued magazines, most information and media will be derived from the materials in the UCSB Archives. Editors from discontinued magazines will be contacted for interviews that may be conducted over Skype. Similar to the current magazines, the topics discussed of discontinued magazines will be: the conception of the magazine, specific mission statement, and contributions to Isla Vista when the magazines were running. Additionally, reasons behind discontinuation and how these magazines influence current magazine publications will be explored. For each person interviewed, there will be a short introduction of their role related to the specific magazine publication, followed by the discussion of the interview topics. The reasons for their involvement with the magazine will also be discussed. Most of the content will be shared through podcasts, but pictures will also be included.
We will utilize material from the early development phases of the magazines to compare the material that the magazines are producing today and build a trusting relation with the audience based off the consistency of the magazines ideals and emphasis. We plan on conducting interviews with current writers of the magazine to establish a reliable source and demonstrate information straight from the magazine publishers. These interviews will add on to both the logos and ethos style of rhetorical appeal. The use of visual imagery and audio podcasts in our project will evoke emotional appeal from the audience since we will be representing Isla Vista and UCSB in a different light, which will allow them to gain a sense of pride as students here. The combination of these interviews, images and examples will influence the audience to embrace the Isla Vista community as an intellectual body that is commonly masked with the party culture.
There is so much going on at UCSB. There are hundreds of clubs for a variety of people and it’s difficult to keep track or be aware of what does exist. As students, we are tired of people shoving fliers into our face as we try to make it to class on time, and we don’t care to pay attention to what is outside of the groups we have already formed. So in one aspect, this story is about bringing attention to a part of UCSB not many are aware of but is an important part of the culture here. The story behind the two student run magazines expands awareness of a unique aspect that is part of UCSB and Isla Vista culture. What is unique and important about the existence of these student run magazines is in what they represent and how they play a role in the community. The Catalyst’s mission statement aims to bring students across majors and different backgrounds together to create and explore a multitude of artistic disciplines and cultures; it is an environment where “creativity and academics join”. And then there is WORD magazine, which covers Isla Vista culture in general—what is currently going on in the community? What is trending? They help community members become more aware of the place in which they live everyday. As students within this UCSB/Isla Vista community, it is nice to have a voice and have recognition. These magazines allow for the community members within and those outside, who maintain a certain perception of us, can appreciate the diverse culture and life in UCSB and Isla Vista community. There is so much more than just party culture and studying to pass a class. There are certain perceptions and misunderstandings with every community or culture, so exploring these groups of students that choose to express the uniqueness of the Isla Vista and USCB community are taking a few steps forward in bringing awareness to the rest of the world. These stories are relevant to both those living within this community and enlightening to those viewing it from the outside.
If there are no words in a video does writing have anything to do with it?
Well, the thought may be that yes video could exist without writing in some artistic videos that are abstract and not meant to tell a story…but does the artist never write down their plan or ideas that are floating around their mind for a new art project? No matter the counter arguments, the importance is in how writing does in fact serve a basis and guiding hand for videos. Movies and music videos, for example, revolve around stories or lyrics. The beauty in creating a video along side writing is the power in bringing the writing to life. Video encompasses the audience so, even more so then reading or listening to a narrative, they feel they are witnessing the story firsthand.
I do not believe writing will ever be abandoned even in the ever-growing digital age. In writing (as opposed to images or video) messages, feelings, thoughts, etc. can be explicitly stated so there is not much room for misinterpretation. Multi-media is simply is an innovative addition to spreading the power of writing to the world in a variety of forms. The more forms that exist, the more opportunity for different people to receive and comprehend a message or story communicated.
I encourage the expansion and exploration into the use of all different mediums, but we should not forget the practice of writing down our thoughts or writing out complex ideas.
Now for a cross-cultural take on the connection between writing and video, I present a Kpop music video. Why exactly?
Well…I myself enjoy Korean music, although I do not understand a majority of the language. I found that although I may not understand what the lyrics are, the way the music video was filmed allows the viewer to still get a gist of what the song could be about, or at least the viewer can gain a sense of the song’s mood. In this, I appreciate the power of video to speak to people across cultures.
Take a listen…instead of a read.
The history of narrative and how people communicated focused on the oral form until the evolution of writing and then the discovery of print spread text to the general public. Now we are in an age concentrated on imagery, as even text takes second place in many areas of culture. So where has the importance of sound fallen amongst all these other mediums? Sure enough sound is just as abundant and constant, but beside the realm of music, how has our society treated the importance of sound in educational or writing terms? Reading and writing, all i ever feel i am doing in classes these days are reading 50 pages and writing in response to them. I have become so left alone in my mind and my voice when reading. Reading is an important and valuable act, but let us consider, in this multimedia world, how the addition of sound may enhance or simply provide a new perspective in how we learn or experience life in general. Listening to the unique sound of a person’s voice telling a story, hearing the emotion or nuances of their speech lend a more present feeling for the audience. When one adds the natural sounds of the environment in a podcast or other audio recording along with spoken narrative, this contributes to the transportation of the audience to the where the author resides. Overall, sound is a powerful tool in terms of writing and multimedia. If the author hopes to connect with the audience then incorporating sound will bring them at least one step closer. The definition of multimedia includes all mediums, and sound is a medium that can be utilized to convey meaning. It is up to the author in how it will best be incorporated with other mediums.
Listen in on what we do over in the Art Department…