The laboratory aims to encourage an exploration of alternative formats for presenting ethnographic data and provoke a discussion on the potential use of nonlinear narratives in anthropology. This will be achieved through inviting participants to create their own hypertext ethnography.
Participants will explore the potential of employing hypertext to create a nonlinear, interactive ethnography. While linear text remains the default mode of presenting ethnographic, and indeed all scientific data, nonlinear forms such as hypertext offer a number of unique features which in turn open up intriguing possibilities. The nonlinearity of hypertext means it has the potential to capture the complexity and multi-layered character of culture and experience better than a linear account. Navigating through hypertext can also evoke the dynamics and cyclical patterns of human thinking. The interactivity allows the reader more agency, making ethnography something that they can explore or even construct within given constraints. Participants will create short ethnographic or autoethnographic accounts using Twine, an interactive story creation tool. They will then reflect on the creation process and the complexities arising from the nonlinear nature of the medium. The discussion may touch upon such issues as distribution of agency between the ethnographer and the reader, the challenges of structuring an ethnographic account, and the practicalities of working with non-traditional formats in academia. No previous experience of interactive story creation is required; learning the basics of Twine only takes a few minutes. NB: The host university requires that anyone who uses the computer lab register themselves in advance. Please take a minute to register your participation here: http://goo.gl/forms/UJy5CYcVdTddLE8r1. You are kindly asked to register before July 14.