In this project, I am going to examine the temporal and spatial aspects of graphic novels and flash poetry. I am fascinated by the implications that these kinds of things can have on the affects that are generated by the reader or viewer. The analog artifact I will be looking at is the graphic novel Blankets, by Craig Thompson and the digital artifact is the piece of flash poetry Dakota by Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries. Both of these artifacts, in some way, employ visuals, text, and audio. In this way, they are extremely similar in the kind of opportunity they provide readers/viewers for an immersive entertainment experience, yet we consider them as vastly different objects. This has a great deal to do with the concept of materiality that we have discussed in class. The graphic memoir_, Blankets_, employs illustrations and dialogue/narration to allow Thompson to tell his story, but this work employs audio in a less traditional sense. The images themselves evoke certain sounds, whether by means of spelling them out in the image to the reader, or through the immersive nature of the image itself. The band Tracker independently produced a score for Thompson’s work, but he embraced it and illustrated the cover art for the album. This score still has great implications for the work itself. The piece of flash poetry uses the text as images to convey raw, emotional message of the experiences of the everyday reality of youth and accompanies this through more traditional means of audio.
For my final project, I think what I am going to create will be a short, 1-2 minute video illustrating the thesis of my project to viewers while employing some of those concepts and regulating the field of engagement that viewers/readers have with my final project. I will employ audio, visual, and text in this project. I will also play with the visuals a bit to try and make it appear like pieces of the video are panels from a graphic novel. My other goal for the final project is to compose a research paper explaining the research that inspired the video, because I have found so many interesting articles and books that describe the factors that make these two forms so immersive and affecting. I don’t have a great deal of experience creating and editing videos, so that is one of the major obstacles I think I will encounter in creating this final project, but I am taking the steps to work around this. I am more than likely going to use the video creating and editing software found on my laptop, but will certainly learn more about other editing software available on campus in order to make the project the best that it can be. This idea is really rough right now, but I am optimistic about the outcome.
Both the graphic novel and the piece of flash poetry regulate the speed at which a reader/viewer can engage with it. The flash poetry does this through the manipulation of the pace at which the words appear on the screen and for how long, while the graphic novel negotiates this aspect of engagement through managing the size of the panels as well as their content. By this, I mean to reference the fact that there may be pages upon pages in these graphic novels that convey the narrative solely through visual means, while on others dialogue bubbles or some other means of textual narration may be employed to move the story along. The gutter space is also something I’d like to examine in terms of how it can impact perception of space and time between the action of the narrative. I plan on doing some more research on digital literature and marked texts to see if a similar phenomenon exists there as well.
Still, there are what may be perceived as limits on the way that viewers/readers may engage with each form as well. The flash poetry can theoretically be accessed on any device that can connect to the sit and had the appropriate software for viewing installed, while it appears that the graphic memoir can be read only by procuring a physical copy of the work. Still, there is great intersectionality between these two forms. Although there are certain aspects of each artifact that make it distinct and it is crucial to recognize, analyze, and appreciate these differences, that there are ways in which both the graphic novel and the flash poetic form work in similar ways to cultivate a viscerally affecting experience for all who engage with them. This is accomplished by manipulation on the part of the creator/artist of these temporal and spatial aspects.
Though these aspects of both graphic novels and flash poetry may at first appear to limit the ways in which viewers/readers can engage with the works, these manipulations actually serve to enhance the emotional effects of these works. There are ways that images can touch viewers/readers, triggering certain associations or feelings that words cannot. The pacing of the work allows it to surround the mind of the individual engaging with it; the more or less time one has to grasp what it being conveyed results in the adoption of a certain state of emotion over another. The flash poetry is very in the moment; it is unapologetic in the events that it conveys and it the ways it conveys them. As such, it is incredibly beautiful in this regard, and in so many others. The graphic novel’s incorporation of illustrations between pieces of text also breaks up the dramatic tension of the story and allows the viewer/reader to feel more deeply. I have also taken note of the fact that I have used the term viewer/reader quite frequently in this post, and I think that it is possible to be both in the context of the graphic novel and the piece of flash poetry, so in going along with this idea of intersectionality between the two forms as created through their manipulations of space and time could be the idea that readers become viewers and vice versa through engaging with these artifacts.