[-empyre-] Grigar's First Post
I am pleased and honored to be a part of this provocative discussion about
narrative in contemporary culture. Thank you, Marcus, for including me.
And thank you, Empyre, for making this debate possible.
Before posting a formal response to the questions posed, I want to
foreground my views by saying that my interest lies in rhapsodic,
ephemeral, multimedia environments--that is, I have been experimenting
with telling stories "on the fly" in mediums that do not necessarily allow
for permanent access and archiving *and* that include, along with "words,"
light, sound, music, images, animation, and video. One may be able to
videotape, for example, the recent work that Steve Gibson and I created
(When Ghosts Will Die), but it remains only a documentation of the
performance we gave--and not the story the performance is about.
The reason for my interest is simple: As a graduate student in the 1990s
I studied ancient Greek epic and wrote my dissertation on Homer's
_Odyssey_. It wasn't the idea that a poet could memorize and retell the
thousands of lines comprising the story of the wandering Odysseus and his
wily wife that got my attention (though I found it a remarkable skill).
Rather, it was the idea that the poet sculpted the story in different ways
for each telling and each audience. That there were literally thousands
of _Odysseys_ circulating the ancient world provoked my curiosity. And,
of course, one can draw parallels between such a method of storytelling
and hypertexual literary works that were emerging at the same time I was
translating and thinking about Homer's story. So, while I was a student
of Homer, I was also a student of Joyce and Moulthrop and Malloy and
Larsen and Coverly . . .
I have found Roy Ascott's notion of human preeminence in technological
innovation immensely important in understanding the first of my interests
(rhapsodic storytelling) and Kate Hayles' work helpful in making sense of
the latter two (ephemeral and multimedia storytelling).
I am excited to think of this approach to storytelling as "liquid
narrative" (God knows explaining it as "rhapsodic, ephemeral, multimedia
narrative is too unwieldly") and look forward to hearing what others have
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