Paper #1: Docu-Narrative


One the one hand, INART 010 demonstrates our continuity with the past: Mass-media merely extends the information storage and retrieval capabilities realized by artificial-memory technologies such as phonetic writing. On the other hand, INART 010 theorizes the drastic changes represented by our age: Mass-media arts signal the transformation of print culture (whose icon is the book) by the arrival of electronic culture (whose icon is the hyperlinked web site).

To fully appreciate our dual position in electronic culture, we need to understand relationships between artforms, technologies, and politics. Which leads us to this assignment. It asks you to tell the story of a technological development or discovery that made mass-media arts possible.


Tell the story of some technology crucial to the development of the popular arts in America. Structure your telling in such a way that it could be broadcast by one of the four mass media studied in this course: the phonograph, radio, film and television.

In the title of your paper, indicate the following:

1. The technology about which you are writing.
2. The audience to whom you are writing.
3. The medium though which your story will travel (or into which it will be encoded).

For example, your title might go something like this: "The Story of the Cathode-Ray Tube: A Radio Drama for Children").

Gather data for your narrative as you would gather material for any research paper. Consult at least five sources (not counting course texts and reading materials). But view your data as a journalist would. Look for the story it tells--the drama behind the facts. Finally, write this story as a television show or as screen play, as a drama for radio or sound recording (phonograph record or compact disc). Additionally, your narrative should include photocopied graphics and sound bites or, more precisely, your text should include directions for interpellating graphic and audio information. The goal here is to create a document on disk and on paper--a kind of blueprint--that could be easily converted into hypertext and posted on the W3.


This assignment, in simplest terms, asks you to employ the Hollywood thematic paradigm as a method for dramatizing a story (of some invention) for presentation on radio, television, cinema, or the phonograph. You are also required to target an ideal consumer--an audience or demographic--for your presentation.

Throughout your paper, as you rely on the work of others, you should make attributions. For instructions on this topic, click here.