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webslinky: digital storytelling
This week, telling tales.Digital Storytelling is about reclaiming the tradition of storytelling from the mass media as much as it is about creating personal or social history – a way of dragging the oral tradition up to date through the most basic of technology. In short, digital storytelling is usually short multimedia tales told from the heart and often made up of photos, words and music that come in at about two minutes in length.
A good place to start is by visiting Story Center, a non-profit making organisation based in California which assists people in making short meaningful stories from their lives. It got onto the possibility of this grassroots media very early, and is very much regarded as the grandaddy of the scene.
A very fine early example of the artistry behind digital storytelling can be found at I Photograph To Remember. At 35 minutes it’s a very long project, but touching and interesting in its portrayal of photographer Pedro Meyer’s parents. And the explanations of the issues behind the work are as engrossing as the work itself.
The BBC has been interested in the concept for a while on a local level, and the Capture Wales site is probably their most fascinating realisation. Partly because it gives people a voice and partly because the Welsh concept of “ysbryd” (spirit) can be found between the diverse stories on display.
Strictly speaking, Jonathan Caouette’s feature film debut, Tarnation, is the product of digital storytelling stretched out to cinematic proportions. Its mix of music, footage and narration reveals truths that straight autobiography might miss. YouTube is where the next Caouette might lurk, as individuals upload their short projects. A constantly revolving selection of films makes this site worth revisiting.
Possibly the most culturally significant implication of the whole digital storytelling movement, though, lies in its capacity to educate. Digital StoryTelling is a resource for schools, complete with archives encouraging younger people to create their own stories and reveal their history. It’s proof that even after a decade the art of digital storytelling is alive, well and as vibrant as the original art of storytelling.
Richard Hector Jones
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