Associative Writing Framework: Spinstren Demonstration

Using the Associative Writing Framework to capture and present an interpretation of Spinstren

See also: Using the Associative Writing Framework to write a hypertext commentary on Scholarly Journals at the Crossroads: A Subversive Proposal for Electronic Publishing.

NOTES: (1) The TechSmith Screen Capture Codec is required to view the videos in this demonstration. (2) The videos are quite large (almost 1000x1000 pixels); I recommend full-screen viewing.

Spinstren spins together the story of Carla (a girl who steals a spinning top), with the story of The Spinstren (a breed of magical women), combining spinning stories such as Sleeping Beauty and that of the contest between the mythical characters Athena and Arachne. The Spinstren are themselves strangely quasi-mythical/fictional, because the choreographer Jools Gilson-Ellis created them for this piece.

This demonstration represents a mock-up of a scenario involving a dance researcher (Deveril) watching a streamed clip of the Spinstren performance and responding to it by capturing interpretations and intertextual connections with other works, with the choreographer (Jools Gilson-Ellis) and another researcher (Janet Lansdale) also contributing their perspectives on the piece and on Deveril's interpretations. The demonstration was created specifically to help evaluate the Associative Writing Framework in the context of intertextual analysis of dance performances, as part of the Decentering the Dancing Text project.

1. Describing the Performance

Jools Gilson-Ellis watches a streamed video clip from the Spinstren performance. We hear the narrator speak: "Carla studies geometries when she should be reading Byron"'. Deveril has already annotated the clip (note annotation icon next to video) with a description of the performance: "A rectangle of light on the floor comes up on two figures, dressed in pale, loose two-piece outfits..". Jools opens Deveril's annotation in new browser window, but it remains visibly attached to the Spinstren clip. Jools adds an annotation of her own, and also a description of the piece ("Geometries tells of Carla's distraction by the spinning tops.."). When opened, Jools' annotation also remains visibly attached to the Spinstren clip.
User names are linked to a description or CV for that user.

2. Exploring the Origins of a Name

Deveril annotates a specific part of the clip (the part in which the narrator says "Carla studies geometries"), with a Personal Response: "the name of the main character intrigues me...". Other users viewing this annotation will be able to watch the specific clip that Deveril has annotated. Persuing this line of thought, Deveril proceeds to search for the name Carla using a Web search engine, and finds a baby name page which outlines the origins of the name. Deveril annotates the specific text of the page describing the name with another Personal Response: "Origins of Carla suggest masculinity".
Deveril then connects this annotation with an Intertextual link (using the Relate tool) to his earlier response to the Spinstren clip ``the name of the main character..''.
This connection is rendered as a simple overview map when either annotation is opened.

3. Exploring the Theme of Weaving

Deveril creates a further (Cultural Response) annotation on the Spinstren clip: "Carla is ranked alongside the famous weavers". Following this response, Deveril searches for references to weavers in literature using a search engine and finds a page describing several mythical weavers, which he connects to his annotation with an Intertextual link using the Relate tool.
Continued searches around the area of weaving provide a further (Theoretical) insight: "Metaphor of weaving has become a popular metaphor for the Web".
This annotation is connected (with a Theoretical link) into the growing network.

4. More on Weaving

Continuing exploration around the theme of weaving, Deveril finds a page telling the story of Goddess Athena and her contest with the mortal weaver Arachne, annotating a specific passage with a Cultural Reponse: "Carla represents a modern interpretation of Arachne".
This annotation is connected to the network of ideas surrounding weaving and weavers with a Cultural link.
Jools then returns to the network, and views Deverils recent explorations and interpretations around the theme of weaving. Using the clickable overview maps, she is able to revisit the source texts that Deveril annotated. She finds that Deveril's interpretations were along the right lines --- she was actually influenced by the mythical Arachne in her choreographing of Spinstren.
She searches the Web for a particular painting of Arachne that inspired her, annotates it (Jools can select the specific part of the painting that inspired her) and connects this to Deveril's network of ideas.
When Deveril returns to work, he sees Jools' annotation, and upon opening it can see the specific part of the painting to which she refers.
Also exploring Deveril's network of interpretations is Janet, who finds that Deveril has not considered some of the negative connotations of ``weaving''.
She decides to annotate one of Deveril's responses...
...and connects it (using the Relate tool) to an online dictionary definition of ``weaving'' which illustrates her concern.

5. Exploring the interpretation network

Deveril revisits the network of interpretation.

6. Writing an Integrated Hypertext Essay

Having captured his personal and intertextual responses to the Spinstren clip, Deveril now decides to integrate the annotations and intertextual connections he created into a hypertext essay.
Using AWF's integration with Microsoft Frontpage, he is able to link concepts and ideas in the new hypertext to existing content, to create an integrated summarisation of his interpretations of the dance piece.