How was working on — thinking through — your project different from thinking through a seminar paper?
Well, as I already addressed in my Week 14 reflection, thinking about my media project in the process of developing my ideas for the final paper was a productive and generative process! I think it would have been different if I had a better grasp on my final paper when I started in the media project, but since my idea was still unsettled and in flux, I really felt the freedom to use the web site as a way to think through ideas. I was also forced to apply the theorists to exact points and distill my main ideas, as Maggie also said she had to do when creating her Prezi.
How are you mediated differently through your project than through your seminar paper?
Oh, this is a tricky question! At first, I read it as “How are your ideas…” but now I see it’s “How are YOU mediated…” I am not sure I could ever step outside myself enough to say how I am mediated at all, let alone how I am mediated through different platforms. I have a very odd/uncertain sense of myself, or how I think others see me. If I think about how I HOPE I am mediated, I would say my seminar paper hopefully mediates me as an academic, but also as an individual with accessible and relevant ideas. As for my media project, I hope I am mediated as a narrative voice and a living memory, just as the objects depicted on my web site tell a story and are living memories.
What sorts of differing thoughts about your topic/area of interest arose for you because you approached this work through differing media?
I knew I wanted the focus of the media project to be a dominant visual element, so I looked to examples of vintage zoological drawings (like this one and this one) and photographs of “memory boxes” like this wonder cabinet, this butterfly display, and this Joseph Cornell piece. I wanted to find a “visual archive” that would structure the interface of my web site. It was helpful to think about how my own memories related to the essay I was writing, and what really mattered to me about my project. More specifically, in thinking about my criteria for what makes a “good” or responsible archive, as a mediation of the past, I tried to think about real examples. In my example of City Lights bookstore, which I connected to the larger Abkhazia-Georgia conflict, I was trying to find an example of what might be at stake in the “gathering together” (Derrida) function of the archive and the “knowledge-control” (Stiegler) function. My media project made me realize that there is a huge difference between “individual exteriorizations of memory functions to large-scale technological systems” vs. “networks that organize memories” (Stiegler 67). I decided to take up this idea in more depth in my paper.