Date of Award

12-2005

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Liberal Studies

Advisor

Owen Smith

Second Committee Member

Samuel J . Van Aken

Third Committee Member

Thomas J. Mikotowitcz

Abstract

Streaming Tales aims to bring together migrant andlor marginalized communities in different countries to explore online and in real-time aspects of each other's culture through the environment of storytelling using a video conferencing system called Access Grid. We see this project as an act of resistance against mass media and consumerist culture. Stories are part of all communities, they perpetuate cultural identities and we think that everyone has stories to share. We want to invite people to meet over the network to create a gathering space that is motivated by the wish to discover aspects of other's culture through the environment of storytelling. The palindrome loop "meet, exchange, learn, create" becomes meaningful in our attempt to change our world-view formatted by the mass media and the entertainment industry. The impact of this project will not only challenge many cultural assumptions that often contribute to misrepresentation and prejudice, but will profile the rich experiences that create living histories and celebrate peoples stories through a medium that has only been accessible to the more fortunate. Participants will be able to see each other and talk through the network from everywhere in the world. Streaming Tales will create a space that is above any cultural and political border. Such a venue gives different cultures a meeting place to exchange, learn from each other, creates together, affecting everyone's points of vlew. We envision the use of objects as anchors for the stories and mediators to travel from one story to another. Objects are connotative devices that revive memories and can be symbolic. They have different uses and, from one culture to another, one object can have very different meanings and values. The idea is that each participant brings an object carrying a personal meaning. Then they share with others a specific story related to the object. Little by little the stories will weave into each other, creating a network of stories fostered by these objects. The project could lead to the building of a network of communities of those who want to share their concerns about the world and their daily struggles in a world controlled by western governments and corporations. This network will create an environment for the social change needed in our world today. Our hope is that it will enable people to make new allies and friends.

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