A Million Blue Pages Reflection
Danielle: I feel like the A Million Blue Pages assignment really made me pay close attention while reading House of Leaves. The text itself is incredibly complicated and required a lot of extra attention, but then looking for something to make an object out of- a meaningful object- became a much bigger part of the challenge. I really appreciate this challenge because it required me to think deeper and dig deeper into the novel. Instead of just thinking that something in the book reminded me of something in the real world and just letting it go, I had to actually think about the connections I was making and bring them into fruition. I think the most interesting thing that came out of this whole project was seeing the various ways people made connections to the text. By looking at other people’s posts I would get ideas of the type of quality I wanted to aim for. In that respect I think the site was very successful. However, the lack of communication among the posts and the sheer lack of quality control really made the site fall flat.
Katie: This assignment encouraged me to focus on small bits of the text in a more intense manner, similar to the way someone would view individual pieces in an exhibit or gallery. This, in turn, greatly aided in my perception of House of Leaves as an object, rather than a simple book telling a story. In a way, my approach to object creation was similar to that of a close reading, though the possible mediums varied and therefore allowed greater potential for creative expression and idea conveyance.
Since we presented the projects in a gallery format, we were better able to see the works of other students and the varying interpretations of various pages, much more so than we would be in the context of a traditional humanities course. I found it intriguing that the table of contents – sorted by page number – showed page “hot spots” that many students had chosen to create objects for.
I think the most interesting and successful posts overall were those that connected the text and images in House of Leaves with outside works and knowledge, like the page concerning the “tree of knowledge,” and those that maintained an academic focus. The least successful posts seemed to superficially connect the text with popular culture, without an in-depth explanation as to the significance behind such connection.
Both: We found that our different experience levels with the novel played a vital role in our relative interpretations of the text. While Danielle was a first-time reader, Katie had read the book in a previous class. As we discussed during lecture this past week, a reader’s first encounter with the novel varies greatly from subsequent readings. It was fun to create objects together because of this, as each of us provided a different perspective to the object. Overall, we leaned toward using images and gifs as our mediums, with Twitter and Tumblr as our primary platforms, though straying away from the text format of traditional essays was difficult. These platforms allow for quite a bit of collaboration and conversation through many different users. We feel that with proper use these platforms can be huge assets to different exhibits, especially from a PR standpoint by getting the word out about each project.
-Danielle Brocker and Katie Hobbs