I’d hate to be repetitive, but I have a feeling my views on the A Million Blue Pages project are shared by most members of this course. The project’s concept is, in my opinion, genius. As we discussed as a class throughout the semester, the creation of objects/items digital or physical is a very intuitive and effective method for exploring Mark Danielewski’s House of Leaves [HOL]. This viewpoint is likely influenced by the fact that this is my first encounter with the novel, and the perception of the work as an object, to me, made the innovative piece much easier to swallow than approaching it through a traditional reading–trust me, I tried for the first few hours. This method of text exploration works well due to the novel’s own attributes–those attributes being more similar to an “object” than a traditional novel, in my opinion.
The above being said–the concept for AMBP/object creation from the novel being genius–I think the project is vulnerable to a couple of major downfalls. The first being one that our class came to a consensus on: the abundance of “meaningless” nodes/objects. In other words, objects that are simply what they are, and offer very little insight/exploration of the page or themes tagged–I’m thinking here of random photos or videos of dark hallways, doors, etc… This downfall is very noticeable in the AMBP project. A solution for this might be more specific guidelines for object creation/requirements, or, as we have done with our course’s “A Million Blue Objects” Omeka exhibit, curatorship and required captions/explanations. The second major downfall being the lack of a major guiding principal/idea. The lack of a guiding principal, other than just creating objects that relate to the novel, adds to the problem of the first downfall. Again we sought to remedy this in our Omeka exhibit by curating contributions and limiting/requiring object tags.
Overall I would say that I really enjoyed this project. I learned a lot by looking through the AMBP site, and though my thoughts on it appear to be negative I have to say the project is impressive. I think the scale of AMBP has a lot to due with the issues I have brought up, something like our exhibit is much more “closed” or focused and therefore more manageable. Both projects, from my experience, offer the reader/beholder of HOL many insights, AMBP just takes a bit more digging to find “the good stuff.”
For my specific nodes I utilized all of the required mediums: text, photos, video (in the format of a Vine), and a couple physical objects. As I am an very visual learner I found this creatively-expressive form of reading to e quite beneficial to my interaction with the novel. I think I got the most out “making,” both the “Blizzard Book of the Front Matter” and my “White Space” nodes were made during/inspired by the Hamilton Woodtype work shop. These two objects are my favorite creations, and I feel, hold the greatest significance to the novel as a whole, both are on the Omeka exhibit. There is something about HOL that begs the reader to have a physical as well as intellectual interaction with its pages, and object creation/making really satisfy that call, and allow for a certain kind of comprehension of the text that can not be gleaned through traditional means.