The Cyborg in the Basement Manifesto, or, A Frankenstein of One’s Own: How I Stopped Hunting for Cyborgs and Created the Slightly Irregular Definition of Cyborgean Forms of Storytelling

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 Version of Record: Dreadful, Jilly (2013) The Cyborg in the Basement Manifesto, or, A Frankenstein of One’s Own: How I Stopped Hunting for Cyborgs and Created the Slightly Irregular Definition of Cyborgean Forms of Storytelling. Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology, No.3. doi:10.7264/N3ZP4415

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 Creative Commons License
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3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 Jilly Dreadful

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 One need not be a chamber to be haunted,
One need not be a house;
The brain has corridors surpassing
Material place. –Emily Dickinson

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 : | : [1]

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 The Spectral Dollhouse is a project that I animated with Adobe Flash Professional 5.5. The writing that is housed within is both critical and creative, one haunts the other, inside this domestic space. The order is less important than the hypertextual connections one makes on their own as they explore each room. I believe making connections is an act of creativity.  http://transmography.net/

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8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 2 There was a hand-scrawled sign that read “sold” on the dollhouse. It broke my heart because it was the perfect Victorian dollhouse I had wanted to construct for my new media project, The Spectral Dollhouse. In my writerly life, I use monstrosity as a means to chart the interdisciplinary terra incognita between the gothic and new media, between graphic literature and critical theory, between critical and creative writing, all the while using gender and feminist theory as my true north. In order to trace the nexus of these concepts, I needed to build and design a physical dollhouse, and stage death scenes of real and fictional women inside each room and then photograph them in such a way that one might “forget” that one is looking at a simple dollhouse. I envisioned each digital photograph would be fully interactive as an explorative environment, and that the space would be animated by having the reader conjure my writing as apparitions. The combination of the two visual mediums is meant to challenge and explore the photo as a representation of reality, and the creative and critical writing featured together in the space–one haunting the other–symbolizes the ways in which stories animate our humanity, and that the loss of storytelling is the true horror. The Spectral Dollhouse exposes forms of literary oppression that women face in regards to the procreation of their stories and bodies.

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 2 The dollhouse even had a turret with an attic space that I envisioned “The Madwoman in the Attic” inhabiting. I am somewhat of a compulsive rule-follower, so I almost didn’t ask about the dollhouse because it was marked “sold.” The manager, Craig, had never sold his own items in the thrift store before because all proceeds from The Treasure Chest benefit the Albany Damien Center which helps people living with HIV/AIDS. But this was just a special case. He had received a few inquiries about it. But everyone tried to lowball him. I bought it for his asking price of $200, a bargain if there ever was one, and it came with all the electrical, wallpaper, flooring, siding, windows, shutters, gingerbread trim, shingles, railing and spindles, stairs and posts, and chimney. He sold me the bones of the dollhouse he originally planned to build for his mother. He never said it, and he didn’t have to, but she died before he could finish and since then he had kept it in his attic for the last 10 years.

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 2 I literally found the answer to my project in The Treasure Chest that day–due to budgetary constraints, I was in the process of illustrating these rooms by hand and scanning the images, but the affect lacked the unsettling quality that I knew the photographs would possess. If I didn’t have my fellowship from The Graduate School at USC that year, I wouldn’t have been able to finish The Spectral Dollhouse in the way it was meant to be finished. I felt what I can only describe as a psychic urge to go to that thrift store on that Saturday–and I almost didn’t go.

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12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 2 It’s important that we can see the narrative seams in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. After all, Frankenstein’s Monster is one of the first and longest lasting metaphors of the posthuman: he is a man-made fabrication, created from makeshift body parts beyond the parameters of the biological, maternal body. Mirroring the monster’s body, the narrative is also pieced together, thrice-fold removed from the reader, sewn together through the perspectives of Victor Frankenstein, his creation, and Captain Robert Walton. Furthermore, the fact that women are largely absent from the narrative drive [2] underlying the story is a conspicuous form of invisibility that can be read as a feminist call to action (I imagine Mary Shelley tweeting, “Frankenstein: it’s what happens when women don’t participate in culture or meaning-making. #literarycaesura #thisiswhatafeministlookslike”). In this way, the character of Frankenstein’s Monster and the narrative drive share a familial bond in the art of seaming: out of the pieces, readers construct the whole in a process called “cognitive closure.” [3]

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 1 Scott McCloud details this process in Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, a book-length non-fiction work about comics written in the comics form [4]:

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 “This phenomenon of observing the parts but perceiving the whole has a name. It’s called closure. In our daily lives, we often commit closure, mentally completing that which is incomplete based on past experience. Some forms of closure are deliberate inventions of storytellers to produce suspense or to challenge audiences. Others happen automatically without much effort…part of business as usual. In recognizing and relating to other people, we all depend heavily on our learned ability of closure. In an incomplete world, we must depend on closure for our very survival.” [5]

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 By utilizing that space between the panels, called “the gutter,” McCloud explains that comics creators and readers work together to perform “magic” there. [6] He draws upon an example of a raised axe in one panel and a cityscape shot with a scream that rises above the buildings in the next panel, separated by a traditional gutter:

16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 2 “Every act committed to paper by the comics artist is aided and abetted by a silent accomplice. An equal partner in crime known as the reader. I may have drawn an axe being raised in this example, but I’m not the one who let it drop or decided how hard the blow, or who screamed, or why. That, dear reader, was your special crime, each of you committing it in your own style. All of you participated in the murder. All of you held the axe and chose your spot.” [6]

17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 2 Similar to the way in which the narrative structure of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and narrative drive symbolically represent and reinforce each other, so, too, does the structural medium of Scott McCloud’s treatise on comics, written in the sequential art form, reinforce the narrative drive of Understanding Comics. With some exceptions, print literature is typically regarded as not having a “body,” only a “speaking mind.” N. Katherine Hayles, a literary theorist that specializes in the posthuman and new media, explains the importance of a text’s “body” by arguing that, “the physical form of a literary artifact always affects what the words (and other semiotic components) mean.” [7] When the narrative structure symbolically reinforces narrative drive through forms of cognitive closure, I refer to this process as “narrative transmography.” Narrative transmography functions similarly to narrative drive, except for two distinct differences: 1) the structure or medium through which a story is told is inextricable from the narrative itself: one reinforces, or haunts, the other. 2) A shift in perception on behalf of the reader, instead of the protagonist, is necessary, usually in some form of cognitive closure. The beauty of new media art forms is that closure can come in a variety of different forms: from the way a reader animates an eye blink across two panels in a comic book to realizing later that he should have not have climbed down that ladder in the video game Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem. [8] Narrative transmography is the animation of the structural engine that drives the story in new media works of art.

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19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 On the outside, the dollhouse looks unassuming–well that’s not entirely true. The exterior of the dollhouse plays upon the specific assumption that the inside is immaculate in miniature. However, once you look inside, the violence that ravages the interior is literally splattered across each room.

20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 2 My childhood was a secretly violent one and there came a point that I wished my teachers would ask me how I got the bruises on my face. When I told my mother this desire, she told me that my younger brothers and I would be taken away. I said good. I said at least it’d get us away from our father.

21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 0 When I was nine years old, my mother said the words that haunt me still: if I told my teacher what was happening, my brothers and I wouldn’t be kept together. She said we’d be split up.

22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 I am five years older than one brother, and seven years older than the other. The only person at school who ever asked about my bruises was Mr. Franks, my sixth grade teacher. He knew my smile was fake, but Mr. Franks couldn’t get me to change my story about little brothers, cheekbones, and unfortunately placed doorknobs. When my mom warned me that if anyone found out about the abuse, not only would we be taken away, but that we’d be split up, I decided it was better to endure the violence I knew than to go into an unknown situation. At least I understood the rules of my father’s horror.

23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 5 I suppose there is an inherent playfulness in the choice of presenting this work inside a dollhouse. Dollhouses, ostensibly, are relics of childhood. But in my family, there wasn’t really a border between play and violence. In my experience, playing was hardly ever playful; it was a series of calculated, escalating risks.

24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 0 There’s a dollhouse in my soul, and I’m inviting you to look inside.

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26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0 The Spectral Dollhouse started as a very different project. I had envisioned it to be a traditional book project–with quires and a spine and binding–that did a feminist analysis of cultural representations of cyborgs. I had noticed a similarity amongst the texts I had chosen to work with. Even though the epistolary gothic works (Frankenstein, Dracula) were vastly different from the manual/guidebook style of Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide, which, in turn, was wildly different from the comic books I wanted to include (David Mack’s Kabuki, CLAMP’s Chobits), the narrative structure of each text is essential to the narrative drive of their stories, and each text required a different form of cognitive closure as well. In order to contextualize these disparate works of fiction within “A Cyborg Manifesto” framework, I focused on applying two of Haraway’s more abstract definitions of the cyborg as starting points, the cyborg as a creature of social reality and as a creature of fiction. In doing this, I found the genealogical strand that bound these texts together:

27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 2 “A cyborg is a cybernetic organism, a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social reality as well as a creature of fiction. Social reality is lived social relations, our most important political construction, a world-changing fiction. The international women’s movements have constructed “women’s experience”, as well as uncovered or discovered this crucial collective object. This experience is a fiction and fact of the most crucial, political kind. Liberation rests on the construction of the consciousness, the imaginative apprehension, of oppression, and so of possibility. The cyborg is a matter of fiction and lived experience that changes what counts as women’s experience in the late twentieth century. This is a struggle over life and death, but the boundary between science fiction and social reality is an optical illusion.” [9]

28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 0 When Haraway dismantles the notion of social reality as a “world-changing fiction,” and reminds readers that “women’s experience… is a fiction and a fact of the most crucial, political kind,” she is calling to attention that there is no real distinction between “lived social reality” and “fiction” because one is constantly defining, or haunting, the other.  Haraway’s use of the word “fiction” is simultaneously troubling and empowering. It’s troubling because acknowledging that social reality is a lie is a tremendously scary proposition. We find ourselves as Neo in our own version of The Matrix. However, understanding the fact that social reality is a fiction means we can now write our stories.

29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 3 Since I’m a storyteller and new media artist, I’m most interested in what the myth and metaphor of the cyborg can do for the possibilities of storytelling. I interpret Haraway’s “A Cyborg Manifesto,” as a call to action: to be a storyteller and take control of my own narrative. Haraway says that the figure of the cyborg will “change what counts as experience,” especially for women. Changing what counts as experience takes a certain amount of intellectual freedom. But what does intellectual freedom look like? In Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire argued that identity is a form of storytelling, and that the act of coming to the awareness that oppression exists means that storytelling can be used to create revolution. He reminded us that sharing a story can be empowering and that one can use storytelling as a framework to move beyond oppression. He called for cognitive development to go beyond simply the “I” in order to have a wider awareness of one’s subject position as part of a greater whole. In order to understand the balance of power between colonizers and the colonized, Freire throws the illusion of choice into sharp relief. Freire writes, “Freedom is acquired by conquest, not by gift. It must be pursued constantly and responsibly. Freedom is not an ideal located outside of man; nor is it an idea which becomes myth. It is rather the indispensable condition for the quest for human completion.” [10] Framing notions like freedom and the illusion of choice through a posthuman and gothic lens, the notion of “awareness” filters through as the true anxiety of our current, post-industrial era; for it is awareness that wakes the ghost in the machine, and it is awareness that will beckon the technological singularity. [11]

30 Leave a comment on paragraph 30 6 The fact is: we’ve already experienced the singularity. And we’re currently in the Third Wave of it.

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32 Leave a comment on paragraph 32 3 Donna Haraway “haunts” in the kitchen because her statement on preferring to be a cyborg over a goddess resonated with me on a couple levels. The first is the resistance to the implication of domesticity that goes along with being a goddess (biological imperatives, being barefoot and pregnant in a kitchen, being a “domestic goddess”). The other is the problem of being a cyborg: what does one eat? In this tableau, I imagined Donna Haraway rejected traditional sustenance and drank a teacup of oil.

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34 Leave a comment on paragraph 34 3 In 1845, Edgar Allan Poe wrote the essay, “Anastatic Printing,” which is ostensibly about the “revolutionary” and “new” process of relief etching, but is truly about the democratization of literature, and thereby, all knowledge. It was Poe’s vision to equalize literary culture in America along gender and class lines. He said that anastatic printing would allow for female scribes to replace male type-setters and that, “The wealthy gentleman of elegant leisure will lose the vantage-ground now afforded him, and will be forced to tilt on terms of equality with the poor devil author.” [12] The promise of feminism is that, at its best, it helps illustrate the ways different theories interlock. Feminism paved the way for re-framing narratives, re-fashioning the body, re-visioning the self and re-inventing the script. Feminism taught us that the body is information made flesh and that education is about welcoming people to the land of the dead. Feminism broke off into a multitude of hybrid endeavors, shining lights into the dark crevices, remixing poststructuralist theory for its own purpose. Feminism reminds us that nothing is ever truly original, even human DNA is mostly made up of primordial viruses. We’re in the middle of the social singularity: as technology progresses, society becomes increasingly self-aware. Men/women. Black/white. Colonizer/colonized. Living/dead. We’ve been remixing the same old narratives and narrative structures.

35 Leave a comment on paragraph 35 1 Current and emergent new media technologies are changing “what counts as experience” as it democratizes storytelling, through processes like “sharing.” Consequently, new media technologies have jumpstarted the democratization of knowledge in a variety of ways: from blogging recaps of favorite television shows that deconstruct casual racism and misogyny to universities hosting course materials for free public dissemination. [13] Intellectual freedom has been privileged too long–similar to the liberating possibilities Poe foresaw in a technology that was already 75 years old by the time he had “discovered” it, we’re finally starting to see the power of the Internet nearly 30 years after the first BBS boards. It’s been 168 years since Poe wrote his dramatic call to action, and we’re only just now starting to harness the possibilities of the Internet to empower people with not only access to knowledge, but to participate in its cultural production.

36 Leave a comment on paragraph 36 0 I found that question, “What does intellectual freedom look like?” haunting.

37 Leave a comment on paragraph 37 0 I decided that intellectual freedom looks like a motherfucking dollhouse.

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39 Leave a comment on paragraph 39 0 Once you are inside, there is an entryway where the front door is located. Under the stairs is a secret door to the basement. If you venture down below, you will encounter a cyborg being assembled in a secret laboratory. The further you explore the basement you discover writings and quotes about cultural representations of the cyborg. I thought it only fitting to have the foundation of the structure house the symbol that started it all.

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41 Leave a comment on paragraph 41 0 It’s a common occurrence for writers to think of their texts as offspring–in this way, writing has been a (pro)creative act dominated by male writers for centuries. [14] In their book, The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination, Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar propose that the pen is a metaphorical penis, and in print, ink is inscribed upon the “pure space of the ‘virgin page'” in a process that mimics cultural misogyny. [15] In her book, Between Women: Friendship, Desire and Marriage in Victorian England, Sharon Marcus comments that, “Literary critics have noted the relatively paucity of autobiographies by women that fulfill aesthetic criteria of a coherent, self-conscious narrative focused on a strictly demarcated individual self.” [16] This relative paucity of female writers is not limited solely to autobiography, but to the formulation of the Western literary canon. [17] Women’s lifewriting during the Victorian era, however, Marcus clarifies, is

42 Leave a comment on paragraph 42 0 “[D]efined as any text that narrates or documents a subject’s life. The autobiographical requirement of a unified individual life story was irrelevant for Victorian lifewriting, a hybrid genre that freely combined multiple narrators and sources, and incorporated long extracts from a subject’s diaries, correspondence, and private papers, alongside testimonials from friends and family members. …The authors… often did not name themselves directly. Instead they subsumed their identities into those of their subjects.” [18]

43 Leave a comment on paragraph 43 0 These Victorian female authors often wrote specifically for others with the intention of distributing the diary or work in small social circles. [19] From the “capaciousness” of the genre, to the subsumed anonymity, Victorian lifewriting can be seen as the precursor to the likes of blogs and Twitter today. Perhaps due to the ephemeral quality of the medium (diaries and ink) that contributed to authorial impermanence (the journals weren’t published in the traditional sense) lifewriting and new media texts share a monstrous, and feminized, lineage. Instead of contributing to the author’s immortality via publication, the (female) writers of these texts were (and are) content with allowing them to “die.”

44 Leave a comment on paragraph 44 0 In Shelley Jackson’s Patchwork Girl–a hypertext story published in 1995–the form (the body) is the text and the text is the body. The reader becomes the psychic medium channeling the nonhierarchal branching mechanism that drives the story. I taught a class at Hobart and William Smith Colleges called Animating the Cyborg: Monstrous Forms & Digital Storytelling. I had my students “read” Patchwork Girl. For many, the method used for reading the story, the software program StorySpace, wouldn’t install (I did my version of chest compressions on the .exe file and managed to bring it back to life). When the story was finally functional, my students were angry. They craved linearity as though they craved air. They wanted to make sure they “read” the whole story. They didn’t want to miss a piece.

45 Leave a comment on paragraph 45 0 But that’s the point of Patchwork Girl. Making connections is creativity. There are stitches holding her parts together. And those stitches are aging. Archaic. Ancient, by now in the way technology evolves. So pieces are bound to drop off. Go missing. Hearts stop beating.

46 Leave a comment on paragraph 46 2 Shelley Jackson says she’s okay with the death of a text. In fact, she’s so okay with it that she’s in the process of turning people into living, breathing words in Skin. This story is being exclusively published in tattoos; one tattoo per human participant. She says words have bodies, so it makes sense that she transmogrifies people into words. The only time the story will be read will be once every word is inked into skin, and then the words will gather and read the story. These words will inevitably die. [20]

47 Leave a comment on paragraph 47 1 The power of the gothic is that it creates a language that can be used to discuss cultural fears. For years, we have been familiar with the science fiction horror story of machines taking over humanity. The metaphor of objects gaining sentience and having demands, and possibly destroying the world in the process, can be seen from the Seneca Falls Convention to the writings of Karl Marx to the Civil Rights movement: it’s the cultural fear that the oppressed will become the oppressors. As literature and new media have become progressively porous and demand constant cultural and cognitive closure, this participatory reading process has the ability to generate intellectual freedom–establishing the social singularity brought about by technology and feminism as a feedback mechanism. Consequently, The Spectral Dollhouse is a monstrous entry in the world of literature in the tradition of both the haunted spaces of the gothic novel landscape, as well as the haunted spaces of new media projects that have preceded it. In this way, my work highlights how technology has usurped the supernatural to become the emergent arena in which our cultural fears and fantasies play themselves out. Utilizing the technique that Scott McCloud employed in Understanding Comics, with keen attention to Haraway’s “A Cyborg Manifesto,” The Spectral Dollhouse is the embodiment of narrative transmography in practice: the dollhouse is a form of cyborgean storytelling, and, as such, highlights the ways virtual spaces and appropriations of gender combine to generate monstrous forms of embodiment. In order to interrogate the ways in which cultural anxieties are inscribed upon the feminine, the concepts that I focus on inside the dollhouse primarily revolve around the apprehension of maternity and authorial impermanence, the emergence of science and technology, desire.

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49 Leave a comment on paragraph 49 0 Shelley Jackson “haunts” the entryway. This room was uncomfortable to stage for me because I have admired Shelley Jackson’s work for almost half of my life, and I met her in real life in 2009, when she was a guest speaker for the Gender and Animation Speaker Series for The Fisher Center at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Placing her in the entryway, which is a marginalized, liminal space–the way that major pieces of her work, such as Skin, the story tattooed one word at a time across a couple thousand volunteers to be “words”–is marginalized and liminal–made symbolic sense. In a kind of Showgirls or All About Eve moment, my desire, to simultaneously admire her and to supplant her, has caused me to push her down the stairs. It’s a monstrous impulse harnessed in a marginalized space, and it is only by exploring the room in its entirety that the secret door to the basement is revealed–because Shelley Jackson’s Patchwork Girl was my entry point to new media, as well as my point of departure.

50 Leave a comment on paragraph 50 0 The cross-section of the dollhouse looks like patchwork on purpose.

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52 Leave a comment on paragraph 52 0 Stories are programming.

53 Leave a comment on paragraph 53 0 Stories are coding.

54 Leave a comment on paragraph 54 0 I love the ambiguity of those phrases. They each could mean that stories are either in the process of programming or coding, or that the stories are the physical embodiment of each. Stories can also be the viruses that spread across a population. They are all of these at once.

55 Leave a comment on paragraph 55 0 The process of narrative transmography is not linear, but a meandering, and, at times, an abject method, in which the steps of the cycle often become blurred and reordered. I combine seemingly disparate parts into my very own creation in order to examine the intersection of gender, technology, monstrosity and narrative construction. I employ the metaphor of the cyborg in the form of a virtual dollhouse to highlight notions of materiality, visibility and impermanence, in an effort to prove that cyborgean forms of storytelling are able to break free of the dualities that once doomed the writing to vanish in the ether. Instead, these concepts now inhabit a polymorphous perverse space: the area of the grey: a convergence of the dualities that at one time were the foundations of the cyborg’s original programming–boundaries and binaries that the cyborg now transgresses and blurs.

56 Leave a comment on paragraph 56 1 Shelley Jackson has said that writers are Frankensteins. [21] She was highlighting that storytelling is about piecing together seemingly disparate parts in a Frankenstein process of one’s own. In this way, she said, readers are Frankensteins as well because readers galvanize the story to life with the act of reading. And so I write and read. I tell stories and pass them on. I code meaning, and in the process I revive the space of the cyborg.

57 Leave a comment on paragraph 57 0 End Notes

58 Leave a comment on paragraph 58 0 [1] The seam symbol–  :|:  –appears often in this essay. It is symbolic of the narrative seams writers and readers sew together during the course of a story. The specific fashioning of this symbol is based upon the cesarean scars my grandmother has on her abdomen from when she gave birth to my mother and her siblings.

59 Leave a comment on paragraph 59 0 [2] Einstein said, “You can’t solve a problem at the same level of consciousness that created the problem” (qtd. in Watt 16). For the purposes of narrative transmography, I am using Alan Watt’s definition of “narrative drive” as, “The meaning [the protagonist] makes out of his apparent problem is the engine that drives the story” (17, emphasis his). Watt explains that at, “The heart of every story is a dilemma. If we’re not sure what our story is about, let’s consider this for a moment: Problems are solved while dilemmas are resolved through a shift in perception” (16). Narrative transmography only works when there is a shift in perception on behalf of the reader.

60 Leave a comment on paragraph 60 0 [3] Scott McCloud, Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 1994), 63.

61 Leave a comment on paragraph 61 0 [4] Comics are also known as “sequential art.”

62 Leave a comment on paragraph 62 1 [5] McCloud 63. Emphasis his.

63 Leave a comment on paragraph 63 0 [6] McCloud 68. Emphasis his.

64 Leave a comment on paragraph 64 0 [7] N. Katherine Hayles, Writing Machines (Cambridge, MA: Mediawork/MIT Press, 2002), 25.

65 Leave a comment on paragraph 65 0 [8] Drawing upon the example of the Nintendo game Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem (2003), Chris Kohler explains:

66 Leave a comment on paragraph 66 0 “[O]ne of the first things you do is play as the character who soon becomes the mainantagonist, and there’s a ladder in front of him that will lead him down into the tomb  where the main events of the game — horrors that will span millennia — are kicked into    motion. And when you look at the ladder, you see this:

67 Leave a comment on paragraph 67 0 “‘Should Pious climb down the ladder? Yes: A; No: B’

68 Leave a comment on paragraph 68 0 “This seemingly innocuous dialog box is actually a brilliant little trick. There’s no gameplay reason why anyone would need to press “B” at this moment; there’s nothing else in the room and nothing else to do but climb down the ladder. A more recent videogame would simply have a screen overlay that reads “A: Climb Ladder.” But here Eternal Darkness uses a gameplay mechanic to make a point: Pious, you realize a little later, should not climb down the ladder, should not set these events into motion. Written somewhat like a text adventure, the game is actually breaking the fourth wall to address you the player directly and asking your opinion: Should he do this? Is this a good idea? And by assenting, you’re implicated in everything that follows.”

69 Leave a comment on paragraph 69 0 [9] “A Cyborg Manifesto,” (Amelia Jones, ed. The Feminism and Visual Culture Reader. New York: Routledge, 2006), 475-497.

70 Leave a comment on paragraph 70 0 [10] Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 30th Anniversary (New York: Continuum, 2000), 47.

71 Leave a comment on paragraph 71 0 [11] The technological singularity is generally understood to be the development of sentient artificial intelligence in computers, and the common trope is that this superintelligence supplants humans in an apocalyptic fashion. Skynet in the Terminator series is a prime example of this.

72 Leave a comment on paragraph 72 0 [12] Poe, Edgar Allan. ”Anastatic Printing’ [Text-02], Broadway Journal, April 12, 1845, 1:229 231.” Web. 15 July 2012. <http://www.eapoe.org/works/essays/anaprt01.htm>.

73 Leave a comment on paragraph 73 0 [13] A couple examples of higher institutions attempting to democratize knowledge include, but are not limited to: MIT Open Courseware, http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm – University of Oxford podcast lectures, http://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/ – these are my personal favorites because I happen to use them.

74 Leave a comment on paragraph 74 0 [14] Gilbert Sandra and Suzanne Gubar, The Madwoman In The Attic: The Woman Writer And The Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination (New Haven: Yale UP, 1979), 3-4.

75 Leave a comment on paragraph 75 0 [15] Ibid.

76 Leave a comment on paragraph 76 0 [16] Marcus, Sharon. Between Women: Friendship, Desire, and Marriage in Victorian England. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2007, 34.

77 Leave a comment on paragraph 77 0 [17] The paucity of women writers is a topic that has gathered momentum of late, due in part to VIDA’s The Count, which counts the rate of publication between male and female writers in the most respected literary outlets. You can go here for more information: http://www.vidaweb.org/the-count

78 Leave a comment on paragraph 78 0 [18] Marcus 34.

79 Leave a comment on paragraph 79 0 [19] Ibid.

80 Leave a comment on paragraph 80 0 [20] Shelley Jackson gave a lecture entitled, “Words and Other Bodies in Motion,” at Hobart and William Smith Colleges as part of the Fisher Center Speaker Series on February 19, 2009. You can listen to it here, and I suggest that you do because it is amazing: http://www.hws.edu/news/podcasts/fisher_center/jackson.mp3

81 Leave a comment on paragraph 81 0 [21] Ibid.

82 Leave a comment on paragraph 82 0  

83 Leave a comment on paragraph 83 0 Works Cited

84 Leave a comment on paragraph 84 0 Gilbert Sandra and Suzanne Gubar. The Madwoman In The Attic: The Woman Writer And The Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination. New Haven: Yale UP, 1979.

85 Leave a comment on paragraph 85 0 Haraway, Donna. “A Cyborg Manifesto.” The Feminism and Visual Culture Reader. Ed. Amelia Jones. New York, Routledge, 2006.

86 Leave a comment on paragraph 86 0 Hayles, N. Katherine. Writing Machines. Cambridge, MA: Mediawork/MIT Press, 2002.

87 Leave a comment on paragraph 87 0 Jackson, Shelley. “Words and Other Bodies in Motion.”  Fisher Center Speaker Series. New York, Geneva. 19 Feb. 2009. Lecture.

88 Leave a comment on paragraph 88 0 Kohler, Chris, Jensen Toperzer, and John Mix Meyer. “Letters From Columbia: Breaking Down BioShock Infinite.” Wired Gamelife. Wired, 13 Apr. 2013. Web. 20 July 2013. <http://www.wired.com/gamelife/2013/04/bioshock-infinite-spoilers/>.

89 Leave a comment on paragraph 89 0 Marcus, Sharon. Between Women: Friendship, Desire, and Marriage in Victorian England. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2007.

90 Leave a comment on paragraph 90 0 McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. 1993. NY: HarperCollins, 1994.

91 Leave a comment on paragraph 91 0 Poe, Edgar Allan. “”Anastatic Printing” [Text-02], Broadway Journal, April 12, 1845, 1:229         231. Poe’s Essays. Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore, 11 Sept. 2011. Web. 15 July  2012. <http://www.eapoe.org/works/essays/anaprt01.htm>.

92 Leave a comment on paragraph 92 0 Watt, Alan. The 90-Day Novel: Unlock the Story Within. Los Angeles: 90-Day Novel Press, 2010.

93 Leave a comment on paragraph 93 0  

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