I had a mail on Friday from Carolyn Guertin, Director of the eCreate Lab at the University of Texas at Arlington, asking for some guidance for her students who want to contribute to ‘Flight Paths’. It’s great to have her interest in and support for the project, but it is slightly alarming that these media arts students, doubtless highly web-savvy, are a bit baffled by how to contribute. This supports the conversation that Chris and I have been having about finding ways to make the project more accessible, and more inviting to contributors. I sent Carolyn the following as a reply:
“Chris and I are actually in the midst of rethinking the overall structure and approach as it is clear that people find it hard to find a way in to the story. However, unconnected fragments are often very fruitful we find - so feel free to send us those as well. We are going to create five little flash story hot points over the next few weeks and maybe if I run through those for you, this will help your students:
1) Yacub before he stows away - working in Dubai in construction, alongside many other Pakistanis. He’s a young man working hard to try to get ahead.
2) Yacub at the airport at home in Pakistan before he stows away.
3) Harriet in London on her way to do the weekly shop for her family. She’s a middle-aged woman with a radical political past that she’s put behind her - has tried to forget in some ways.
4) Harriet as she watches Yacub fall from the sky. Yacub as he falls.
5) Harriet and Yacub after his fall: Yacub wakes up dead, but to Harriet he is alive, and a story develops here as he follows her through her life.
These might change, but we are thinking if we create five little flash stories around these points, people can then add their own bits and pieces. It might be useful for them to enter the story via the point of view of either Harriet or Yacub. Any kind of media is good for us. “
Hopefully, this will help her students and, once we get these little stories up and running, help make ‘Flight Paths’ more accessible in general.