The principal objective of Evan’s hybrid augmented reality (AR) project is to invite readers into an interactive engagement of Laguna Pueblo author Leslie Marmon Silko’s 1991 novel Almanac of the Dead. The project, “All of it is a code anyway”: Augmenting a Literary Web for Almanac of the Dead, strives to enable readers to more clearly locate themselves within the physical and virtual storyscapes of Almanac through the conceptualization of knotting as a narrative, structural, and conceptual framing of reality in the novel. Initially conceived as a senior honors thesis in English, the project orchestrates an intellectual framework from preexisting works by Indigenous authors and scholars whose concepts Evan perceives to resonate throughout Almanac. Notable inspiration comes from N. Scott Momaday’s “The Man Made of Words,” Daniel Heath Justice’s book Why Indigenous Literatures Matter, the poetry of Joy Harjo and Ofelia Zepeda, the art of Cecilia Vicuña, and numerous others.
Evan also draws from much of Silko’s own fiction and nonfiction writing in which she implicates the reader within the stories through sensory evocation and embedding multimedia in the form of images. In his own relationship over the past year with Almanac of the Dead, the novel often demanded an investment of Evan’s emotional and physical energy (it’s a heavy book, weighing in at around 763 pages, with small text font to boot). In response to his experience, Evan designed his project to have the primary function as a “seeing instrument,” supplying readers of Almanac with an intellectual tool to help recognize the interrelational webs of meaning present throughout the novel’s storyscapes. In addition to considering characters’ empathetic abilities to imagine more-than-human familial relations alongside notions of fluid Indigenous adaptability and survivance (Gerald Vizenor’s term), Evan’s project examines the reiterations and re-articulations of the imagined “ancient almanac” that features heavily in the novel. Evan analyzes ways in which the fictional almanac’s stories and cultural knowledge adapt, translating and transforming across space-time and across physical, virtual, and digital boundaries of medium.</span?
Evan’s project is a digital project housed on paper. AR videos embedded in printed images throughout the text may be activated through the iPhone/Android app LifePrint.
Evan is a fourth-year undergraduate student at Amherst College on track to fulfill requirements for the Five College Native American and Indigenous Studies Certificate. A double major in English and French, Evan first gravitated to digital humanities after recognizing the potential to foster accessible, interactive, collaborative, and engaging spaces within digital mediums. He hopes to trace his interests in ecological and Indigenous rights activism, literature, translation and adaptation, and DH to more creative junctions as he continues his personal and intellectual research. His involvement in DH currently focuses on exploring the ways in which digital tools such as Kumu and Twine can be adapted as decolonial teaching instruments that reflect Indigenous conceptions of space and time as folding and spiraling, and of creation as a dynamic interrelational web. Before coming to the Connecticut Valley, he lived in Boulder, Colorado on Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute) land.
To read more about Evan’s project and experience in the fellowship, read his reflection on our 5CollBL/DH blog!