Instructor Reflection – Gorgias Revisited (5.1)

by Justin Hodgson

I am always excited about giving this particular class assignment to my classes because I never really know what I’m going to get from the students. They spend a few weeks discussing remediation and transmediation and they role of medial awareness, they develop some basic screen-media authoring skills, and then I just kind of turn them loose. Pick an article or a selection of reading. Remediate. Simple directives, but what get’s produced is anything but simple.

Tim Simmon’s Gorgias Revisited is an example of what can happen when students have the opportunity to figure out the grounds, contexts, and boundaries for themselves. Here we have an expression that runs adjacent to a fairly well-known exchange (well, well-known for most rhetoric scholars anyway). It functions as both an adaptation and a mutation. In its key moments, we see a kind of direct adaptation of the central arguments in Plato’s Gorgias. But in other moments we have a kind of mutated representation that exposes us to any number of additional threads and comments on this exchange. And while there were some production concerns and narrative tensions, particularly in the first version of this project, I think what Tim was attempting to do in this production is true to the essence of the assignment.

Further, as the Editor of TheJUMP, I’m also in the unique position to have seen this project go through the review process, to evolve from feedback and revision suggestions, and to take its current form in relation to an ongoing feedback loop between reviewers and author. As such, this final version includes clips and comments that weren’t in the version turned in for class, and I think it’s worth noting, from the instructor’s standpoint, just how much this project continued to evolve after it completed its function for my class. What he turned in for class was an engaging draft with a vision for the kind of expression he wanted to produce. What emerged with the feedback of the review process was a much more complete kind of statement.

One final aspect I think work noting is the amount of time this kind of production requires. The production window in our class was a tight one, with initially only a week from assignment to due date (adjusted later to allow for one additional class period). And the amount of footage Tim had to watch just to find all these scenes coupled with the tedious process of pulling them into a video editor like iMovie and then cutting/trimming to fit his goal is really quite impressive given that timeframe.