So, I am really sorry for missing class yesterday. I was feeling rather under the weather.
Having downloaded the recording of the class discussion and listened to it on iTunes (how great is modern technology?), I have to say that I'm excited by the idea of a major, multi-media collaborative project. I'm still terrified of the idea of having to make another video, because good LORD those things are time-consuming. But molding an introduction to Renaissance literature through video, audio, blogs, wikis, and so forth sounds really worthwhile.
The problem is that this class is geared towards creating an end-product, and we have a mere handful of weeks left to determine the shape of that end-product, delegate tasks, and build it.
Thus, I'm going to through out some ideas for the two groups to which I have been assigned:
Brave New World
Although it kills me to say it, I think video would be a great entry point for Brave New World texts. It is--aside from video games and interactive fiction, neither of which have much cultural respect as art at this time--the newest art form in existence. Groping our way through creating some sort of video product that introduces and expounds upon travel literature, scientific treatises, the novel, and proto-science fiction would most certainly mimic the journey of Renaissance writers, while making the texts relevant and interesting to a modern audience.
I'm a little uncomfortable with the idea of a frame story, for several reasons. First, I worry that not all of our texts would be able to slot easily into any kind of frame story, whether it be astronauts in the far future rediscovering the Renaissance or a time-traveling explorer meeting the authors of important texts. Second, I think the video should be kept simple enough that large chunks of it can be created by individual students while at home. We just do no have the time at this point to try to juggle 3+ people's schedules to allow for meeting and filming outside of class. Third, we don't have any good costumes, and I have my artistic integrity to uphold!
Having said all that, I think it could be really interesting to, for example, create a mockumentary about students learning about Renaissance texts. We could get some footage of our class time, with Professor Burton lecturing, the students in the back of the class dozing off or browsing Facebook, and a group of four students getting really excited and diving into the texts.
We could create cut-away interview shots such as seen on The Office and Parks and Recreation where we discuss the texts and how we have engaged with them. Those could be created at home on our respective webcams without a great deal of trouble, as we have already seen. And we could script them or just do them free-form and cut together the best bits.
And we could tie it all together with an explanation of how to find out more about our class project or about the texts we reference.
Just a thought.
Audio drama, anyone?
One of the things that fascinated me about The Courtier was how the life of a courtier was demonstrated through the conversations and interactions between the characters as much as it was revealed through the discussions, themselves. So a good, well-scripted audio drama might be able to do the same thing.
There are a bunch of ways to take this. We could have an audio drama of courtiers discussing what life will be like in the future, with some "impromptu" poetry thrown in. That would allow us to demonstrate sprezzatura while commenting on modern life and how it ties in with Renaissance movements. Or we could have caricatures of ourselves haughtily discussing Renaissance court life as if we possessed sprezzatura. Or we could have a fictional discussion between cyberpunk avatars in a virtual world discussing how the ideas of sprezzatura were integrated into the American culture during the early 21st century. I don't know, I just think that an audio drama would really work for this theme.
I hope that my fellow classmates come to class tomorrow ready to lock down what our end-product should be. See you then!