My project, Queer Continuum is now live here!
Queer Continuum is a theoretical project I have been working on over the course of the last two years. As I have worked on my PhD in rhetoric and writing, it has often struck me that the rhetoric and writing discipline places a great deal of value on finished products. To create a finished project, we often rely on linear logics and text. Indeed, lines and lines of alphabetic text are currently how I am getting this message across to you now. My project, Queer Continuum, is aimed at challenging that value system from a queer perspective. A few years ago, I came across a passage from Ann Wysocki, who wrote, “How might the straight lines of type we have inherited on page after page of books articulate to other kinds of lines, assembly lines and lines of desks in classrooms” (14)? Or, I might, add, to gravestones? While reading through this text I was already thinking about what it means to be a queer body that writes and composes; in what ways does linear composition perpetuate an inherent valuation of straightness? How might the teaching of linear composing practices that lead to finished projects stifle other kinds of composing; queerer kinds of composing? In what ways does that stifling of queer work lead to the stifling of queer people?For a visual representation, take a look at this infographic I made.
Thus, Queer Continuum is a digital project that has no real beginning or end– it is an exercise in anti-finality, in circular logics, in an avoidance of a finished product. Prepare to be a little frustrated. Each page of this site include some theoretical framing from me, drawing from specific scholars in queer and digital rhetorics, or images and videos I have also created. There is no one way to navigate the site, and it’s possible you will interact with repeats of the site long before you see every page. The site only ends when you decide you’re finished; there are myriad ways to navigate the project.
I built this project using Twine, self-described as an open-source tool for telling interactive, nonlinear stories. Learning to use Twine has been a challenge, as I have discussed in previous blog posts, because it engages in coding languages like html and css, but also in others specific to Twine, like the one I used called Harlowe. While this project might look a little #basic in design, it exists after hours and hours of labor and learning– I’m happy with this version of the project and hope to add to it in the future.
Putting together this project has allowed me to continue to question what it means to compose queerly in an academic world that so values linearity and finished projects. I feel a bit at-odds even presenting the project as it is, because such a launch feels final, and therefore counterintuitive to my argument. Still, there is much work I can do on this project and I look forward to doing so. My hope with this project is that it will open up space for readers to consider the ways in which a reliance on linearity in composition is detrimental to those of us who see the world differently–queerly– than others.