Experiments in Media and Narrative

Special Topic:: DMS 555 :: Tues 11-2:40 :: CFA 232

Teacher Josephine Anstey, jranstey at buffalo, office hrs M/W 1:30-2:30



Narrative is one of the sustaining structures of media art, a possible skeleton around which work can cohere and flourish. It has also been condemned as one of the major mechanisms sustaining oppressive and limiting ideologies. This seminar is for students interested in the both the potentialities and pitfalls of narrative. We will examine experimental media work that intersects narrative traditions. We will read theoretical material on narrative structure and function. Students will choose to create media work involving narrative OR to produce a scholarly/analytic paper on experimental media and narrative. In this course both media and narrative will be understood and explored in the widest, most flexible sense.

LEARNING OUTCOMES Upon Completion of the course student will be able to … Assessment
1. Trace the development and contemporary trends at the intersection of media and narrative. Reading Assignments, Class discussions, Annotated Bibliography
2. Discuss (implement) major theoretical issues at the intersection of media and narrative. Reading Assignments, Class discussions, Presentation 2
3. Use theoretical material to analyze works experimenting with media and narrative. Presentation
4. Produce a creative or scholarly work focusing on experimentation at the intersection of media and narrative . Final Project/Paper

Note This is a class for scholars and practitioners interested in experiments in media and narrative. Note that the syllabus will evolve based on the research and interests of the students. COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING:

  • Reading, Participation and Attendance, – You are expected to come to class thoroughly read/immersed on the material (not simply skimmed) and prepared for engaged participation with written comments/questions. (15 points).
  • Discussion Leader for readings: Assigned discussion leaders will make write a short summary (1 page max) of the reading in note form and present it and their comments and questions.  Please make copies for all classmates (15 points).
  • Annotated Bibliography: Throughout the semester, students will construct a network of works/texts based first on work experienced or read in class; then on the projects on the extended list/books on course reserve; and then on material  that links from, cites or is related in some way to these works. This network should serve as the research basis for your own future work. Finally, you will construct an annotated bibliography for the articles/works you’ve found. For each entry, you will write 1-2 sentences outlining the argument/describing the project and showing its relevance to your own project. Minimum of 30 entries, at least 10 annotated. (15 points) DUE Dec 15th
  • Class Presentations of Media Projects and/or Papers. Students will present items from their bibliographies to the class.  (15 points)
  • Project Proposal or Paper Abstract (10 points)
  • Project Demo or Paper First Draft (15 points)
  • Project or Paper Final (15 points). DUE Dec 15th

Required Texts and Projects (buy these! also on course reserve under DMS 555 :: glitch the course title is given as Green Media)

  • Narrative Across Media: The Languages of Storytelling, ed. Marie-Laure Ryan, 2004
  • Neocybernetics and Narrative, Bruce Clarke, 2014
  • Her Story – Sam Barlow – $6
  • The Path – Tale of Tales – $10
  • Never Alone –  Upper One Games – $15 – $5

More Texts (on course reserve)

  • Cybertext : perspectives on ergodic literature / Espen J. Aarseth.
  • Digital media revisited : theoretical and conceptual innovation in digital domains / edited by Gunna
  • Eloquent images : word and image in the age of new media / edited by Mary E. Hocks and Michelle R. K
  • First person : new media as story, performance, and game / edited by Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Pat Harrigan
  • Hamlet on the holodeck : the future of narrative in cyberspace / Janet H. Murray. Murray, Janet Horowitz, 1946- (not updated)
  • Hyper/text/theory / edited by George P. Landow.
  • Narratology : introduction to the theory of narrative / Mieke Bal
  • Writing space : computers, hypertext, and the remediation of print / Jay David Bolter.

Media and/or people (more embedded in schedule and here)

  • Afternoon [electronic resource] : a story / by Michael Joyce.  (on course reserve)
  • Patchwork girl, or, A modern monster [electronic resource] : a graveyard, a journal, a quilt, a story Jackson, Shelley. CD-ROM 5164:PS3560 .A22P38 2000 (on course reserve)
  • Sita Sings the Blues – Nina Paley
  • Tambien la Lluvia –  Icíar Bollaín
  • The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie – Luis Bunuel – DVD 2612: PN1997 .C443 2000
  • Teri Rueb
  • Crossed Lines by Sarah Atkinson
  • Kalup Linzy



Attendance for every class is mandatory barring serious emergency. Each student is allowed two unexcused absences for whatever reason (e.g., illness, weather). If extenuating circumstances arise (e.g., serious medical problems, child care), please contact the instructor as soon as possible to address the situation. Barring emergency circumstances, each absence after two will drop lower the final grade by a full grade for each additional absence (i.e.,3 absences = B→C). Punctuality is also expected. For the purposes of grading, three tardies will equal one unexcused absence.

Disclosure Statement: This class may include material dealing with ethical, political and moral concerns. I will make every effort to advise of any content that may be disturbing. Please review UNIVERSITY POLICIES

  • information about academic dishonesty, criteria for incompletes
  • information about accessibility resources and academic resources
  • information about student code of conduct & equity, diversity and inclusion policies
  • warning about using WEAPONS as PROPS in student productions