By Leah Schweitzer
This is a senior-level course designed to explore how writing in a multi-modal and/or hypertext environment changes (or doesn’t) the way we approach creating narrative. This particular project, the first of two, asked students to create a work of fiction or non-fiction which created narrative using sound, visuals (by means of still or moving images), and narration. This wasn’t a movie, per se, as students didn’t script a project and then have it “acted out”—rather, they considered how having sensory objects like pictures and music available to them affected the way they approached writing and how it opened up (or closed down) narrative possibilities. Students in this course have previously taken more traditional creative writing courses and are therefore well-practiced in developing story ideas. Therefore, there were no subject guidelines for this project, only the instruction that they re-examine what narrative can mean.
What is most impressive about Miah Saunders’s work is the way in which she rethinks the possibilities of story, using the multi-modal nature of the project to its best effect. Her narrative explores ideas of what it means to die, and more important, what it means to be post-death, what that existence is like, through the eyes of a young narrator who knows that her early death is imminent. She uses images and sounds to explore the abstract and combines them with the concreteness of her narrative voice-over, creating a visually stunning video and an engaging hybrid of philosophy and fiction that truly accepts and embraces the challenge this project sets forth.