The intention of the project that we will refer to as the “Instagram Narrative” is to create a narrative in which the linguistic is either just as important as or less important than the visual. For my purposes, when I use the term “the visual”, what I intend to encompass is image, motion with or without sound, gesture, and dance. I do not simply refer to the image or the photograph.
The inspiration for the Instagram Narrative project is Hey Harry Hey Matilda, the first Instagram novel to grace our screens. The short epistolary was written at one time and is being slowly released over a period of nine months. What is unique about this Instagram account is not that the visual tells a story along with words–children’s stories do that–nor is it unique because of its intentional arrangement–comics and movies do this. What is unique is the medium and the constraints that come along with it. One constraint is that the text portion of the entry has to stay relatively small. Readers will only continue to read the text inside of the “Caption” box for so long before becoming bored. In fact, we might consider an ultra-hurried reader to be another one of our Instagram-specific constraints. It is our job as the creators to slow our readers down. A tool that we use to do this is the visual. On Instagram, the visuals appear in tile form and act as the title page for the written component. This means that if the visual is not appealing, the text is not seen. Thus, the visual is the gateway to the linguistic.
The above are some of the reasons that I chose Instagram as a platform specifically, but the idea of allowing the visual to lord over the linguistic is not new. The idea is also not unique to this particular Instagram Narrative. The specifics of what I intend to do; however, is different in this sphere. My goal is to bring movement and dance into a different space than it has occupied before.
Dance online has often occupied an advertising space. Ballet and contemporary companies, independent artists, projects, and musicians use the web to promote a physically existing person, company, or organization. Misty Copeland, for example, has a large following on social media as she tells her story of overcoming adversity while selling Under Armor and tickets to see the American Ballet Theater. The other example of dance and gesture online comes in the form of movies or short clips of dance on Youtube in which artists come together to create a new visual work for a specific rhetorical effect. What I have yet to see is a space in which dance can be used through interaction, arrangement, image, words, and sound to tell a story online. I also believe that there is a disconnect between the dance world and the civilian world, a disconnect whose abolition might lead to discoveries about ourselves as physical beings in this physical world.
See Gantt Chart here.