For my CHI fellowship project, I hope to use the theoretical framework I have created in my previous project to begin considering how queer modes of making act as a form of world-making. In particular, I want to focus on the ways in which queer communities make “things” in order to make their worlds (more bearable). Often, in rhetoric and composition, we are understandably preoccupied with composing practices that follow linear logical progression, and thus linear alphabetic text is privileged as the primary mode for rhetorical creation. However, I wonder how might a preoccupation with lines of text—to linear logic in particular—leave out queer thinkers who see the world differently? In what ways does telling those thinkers that they are “wrong” through a constant focus on neat arguments leading to finite conclusions lead them to lose hope?
I believe one way to avoid that kind of slow, organized death is to move beyond the boundaries. Our rows and rows of alphabetic texts are products of Western normative thought, and each neatly concluded seminar paper equates to a kind of death: a finished product. To avoid these little deaths is to embrace the death-defying queer possibilities of multimodal composing. But, at its most literal, an embrace of queer multimodal composing offers up a space in which queer ways of knowing are valued, and an embrace of queer ways of knowing has the potential to save queer lives. Developing and foregrounding the queer imagination is one way to counteract the normative structures in place that delegitimize and erase queer ways of knowing.
Thus for this project, I would like to investigate some of the forms of non-linear queer composing that queer communities undertake. Their creation of things is often a recursive relationship with the creation of their communities, and thus the making process is also a queer world-making process. This project will highlight some of my own queer makings, provide a theoretical framework for the way in which queer multimodal making helps to defy death through queer worldmaking, and provide examples for queer worldmaking through considerations of the Lesbian Avengers and Voguers.
The end result of this project will be a website/twine that acts as both a theoretical framework and theory in practice. The website itself will include multiple pages of my own art, theoretical framework, and the work of the women in the Lesbian Avengers and information about drag balls. Navigating through the site in what appears to be a non-linear site will make the focus on the website an experiential one to enact how non-linear composing helps to create life-affirming spaces for queer folx. The domain will be www.queercontinuum.com.
For this project, I utilize Twine, an open-source tool for telling non-linear stories. Twine will allow me to create pages like I have described above that act as a “choose your own adventure” style of experience. I will likely need to host my twine story on a website, so I will use GitHub and bootstrap in order to make a website that can host my story.
This project should be purposefully disorienting. This will probably look like a collection of images, both images that I have made myself (my own queer multimodal work) and images of stuff I find at the MSU archive. I want the user to be able to click on an image and have it hyperlink to a page that includes, essentially at random:
- A little piece of theorizing from me about what queer multimodal work can do to “defy death”
- Another image or video made by yours truly
- Videos and pictures from the Lesbian Avengers and Paris is Burning.
- A page that says “404 (purposefully) Not Found”
- Each of these pages will have navigation arrows that will take them to another random page.
The feeling of this piece, then, should be that it has no real end or beginning, and that there is no way to ever really “finish” the site.
My audience for this project will primarily be people within my field, queer studies, or the digital humanities. Because I am presenting a theoretical framework on multimodal composition and queer world-making, my primary audience will be those who would benefit from a conversation like this.
I look forward to providing updates as I move forward.