Creative exploration in literature, place and technology.
Faster and more efficient networks, platforms and mobile devices have enabled us to explore interesting concepts like site specific digital art and literature. Site specific digital literature is texts that are place bound and accessed via mobile devices. An example of this is Byderhand (Byderhand.net, 2016), a site specific digital literature project that was launched during the 2015 Aardklop National Arts Festival in Potchefstroom. The project incorporated the use of QR- codes, which enabled users to gain access to multimodal texts on their mobile devices. Byderhand was awarded the Aartvark prize for a ground breaking production, and the team was approached to host similar productions elsewhere. In 2016 the Byderhand project and platform was used in various educational contexts. Most recently 1st additional language (Afrikaans) learners at HTS Potchefstroom were given the opportunity to publish their own site specific digital literature on the school grounds with the assistance from the Byderhand-team.
The possibilities of site specific digital literature opens doors for creative expression, place making and new multimodal user experience of texts in a non-traditional way. Site specific digital literature can also contribute to a better understanding of the relationship between digital interfaces, spatiality and people (Kaye, 2000:203; Turner & Davenport, 217-220)
Although there is a demand for expansion of the Byderhand-project there are some limiting factors a team of dedicated members is required to develop and implement such a project. This is costly and not scalable. Furthermore, infrastructure is needed in the form of servers and physical QR-codes that need to be maintained and updated to ensure functionality. On the user end, mobile data cost is also an constraining factor.
However, it is possible to develop an automated platform and basic infrastructure that can empower a user with very basic skills, to create and publish their own projects. Infrastructure can be provided by a single board computer such as the Raspberry Pi and the platform can be based on open standards.
This paper reports on the prototyping of such a system and considers the following:
1. Can the prototype platform enable users to publish multimodal texts and multimedia (e.g. audio, images and video) on their own.
2. Can the prototype platform provide an easy way to consume published work using entry level smartphones.
3. What possibilities does this hold for the expansion of multimodal site specific literuature and the building of of site spesific corpora.
4. What educational possibilities exist that can introduce students to the world of digital literature and the field of Digital Humanities.
byderhand.net 2016. interaktiewe Leeservaring http://byderhand.net/
Kaye, N. 2000. Site-Specific Art: Performance, Place and Documentation
Turner, P. & Davenport, E. eds. 2006. Spaces, Spatiality and Technology