Digital Humanities: Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants

Period of Performance

3/1/2010 - 5/31/2011

Funding Totals

$24,998.00 (approved)
$24,998.00 (awarded)

Gesture, Rhetoric, and Digital Storytelling

FAIN: HD-51031-10

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA 02139-4307)
D. Fox Harrell (Project Director: October 2009 to September 2011)

The refinement of a system for describing how different cultures use gesture as part of storytelling traditions along with the development of a prototype mobile application to capture that non-verbal communication as part of a digital narrative.

This proposal seeks to develop new theory and technology for digital interactive narratives based on cross-cultural storytelling traditions that utilize non-verbal communication to convey meaning. Digital interactive narratives are of increasing cultural relevance including: new genres of electronic literature, virtual museums and memorials, educational computer games, and computer-assisted generation of scholarly documents. We propose a new form of storytelling that changes emotional tone, theme, perspective, other subjective elements based upon gestural input via touch-screen and motion-sensitive devices. This proposal builds upon the Principal Investigator's significant body of work in developing humanistically grounded interactive narrative and artificial intelligence. The Principal Investigator has found that literary, cultural, and performance studies theories of orature (oral literature) and accounts of non-verbal communication from animation studies provide models that can be adapted to interactive narratives.