ABC Gippsland Radio Interview

This morning I was interviewed on ABC Gippsland Radio about Digital Literacy and Digital Fiction. This was a result of the following Melbourne Herald Sun newspaper article about my conference talk at AATE last week:

Here is the interview:

And this was the flyer from my presentation:

New Literacies, Digital Media and Classroom Teaching Conference

I am convening a conference on September 3 and 4 which I am very excited about – click below for the conference flyer.


UPDATE: Here is a tv news spot about our conference:

and here is some assorted media coverage from the conference:

New Literacies conference media

Scrabble: the Beautiful Word

I missed this! Mattel created a really clever campaign to update Scrabble. From the art director on the campaign:

“Everybody knows Scrabble, it’s one of those iconic games, and over time it became maybe, in a way, a little bit old fashioned, so we wanted to get people, especially young people, to be more interested in the game. We wanted to do something very visual, and very self-explanatory, kind of bringing the words to life, and make them as fun as possible, so that’s where the ‘the Beautiful Word’ came from.”

Here are the ads that ran for “the Beautiful Word” campaign:

You can read all about the campaign on my new favourite website, Jawbone TV.

Kooky: Czech Puppet Film

As soon as I saw some stills from this movie I was enchanted. This movie comes from the imagination of Academy award winner Jan Svěrák, who also worked on the amazing online games of Samarost and Samarost 2. From, comes this description of the movie:

When asthmatic, six-year-old ONDRA is forced to throw away his scruffy, sawdust-stuffed old teddy bear, KOOKY, he prays for the safe return of his furry friend. Soon afterwards, across town, Kooky is about to be crushed in a rubbish dump when he suddenly comes to life, making his escape into a mysterious forest. The naïve, cuddly Kooky needs help to survive amongst the rough-and-ready creatures of the forest and he finds it when he meets the crotchety forest guardian HERGOT. Hergot is in charge of watching over the forest, but he has his enemies too – the malevolent NIGHTSHADE plans to take over the forest, by proving that the short-sighted but good-hearted Hergot is not up to the job of guardian.

Using puppetry and live action, Kooky is both an inventive, thrilling family adventure and a celebration of the childhood imagination.

Here is a trailer with English subtitles:

And also fun are some of the images from facebook:

Wonderful! I love all the behind the scenes shots, and the “making of” info on the website and on facebook. I wonder when we’ll get to see it here in Aus.

Sufferrosa: a non-linear interactive web based film

Have you watched Sufferrosa yet? From the site:

Sufferrosa is a non-linear, interactive web-based movie made by Dawid Marcinkowski (screenwriter, director, editor and designer) with help from an international group of filmmakers, musicians and artists. It is an experimental storytelling project combining cinema and the web. Sufferrosa is a homage to Jean Luc Godard’s movie ‘Alphaville’ (1965), W.J.Has’s cult-movie ’Manuscript found in Saragossa’, American film noir and the French writer Vernon Sullivan. The movie is a NON-COMMERCIAL artistic project. Sufferrosa is a satire of cult of beauty and youthin the present-day world. Do you remember the film ‘Logan’s Run’ (1976), where everybody who is older than 30 gets exterminated? Probably our generation is not endangered by such experiments. But there is a chance that, in 40 years time we will all have transformed into frustrated woopies (Well-Off Older People) who spend their life savings on plastic surgery. And when it happens that the scalpel is not enough, we will probably head directly to the clinic of Carlos von Braun. As Mae West once said ”You are never too old to become younger”.

I found this discussed at Jawbone TV – “The good, the bad, and the bad-ass of story in the digital age”.

Political Rhetoric and the Remix

In class today we were analysing the rhetoric of Obama’s “Yes We Can” speech.

(full text here)

A great linguistic analysis of the speech was done by David Crystal, here.

We then looked at’s musical collage of the speech, and discussed the added layering of messages through the remixed version:

(song lyrics here)

One student then alerted me to a comedic remix of Australian PM Kevin Rudd’s speech, called “”:

From the sublime to the ridiculous, from the serious to the comedic, from linguistics to multimodal semiotics… all offered material for some wonderful theoretical and analytical discussions.

Technology in Teaching: A Podcast with Chris Best and Angela Thomas


Hello there! Whilst in London, I spent an afternoon with Chris Best (a former student of mine who has been teaching there ever since he graduated, and who now produces a series of podcasts about technology in teaching). We did a podcast – quite informally – about what was happening in my world and why I was in London and the like. Here is a link to go to the podcast: I am “Episode 18″. Chris and I giggled a little as we were working out how to do the podcast, but we eventually settled down and discussed the state of our respective contexts and how our work needs to develop as teachers to account for new social and discursive practices of online communities.  Let me know if you have questions or comments!

Notebook Stop Motion Animation

I accumulated hundreds of stop motion animation examples during my research about DIY Stop motion trends, practices and literacies. I couldn’t use all of them (as it was I think my 20 screenshots might have been overdoing it for the publishers), but here is one of my favourites on youtube from a recently graduated arts student from the Netherlands who has won a ton of awards for her work – watch and you’ll see why!

Proposing A Machinima Canon

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was being interviewed (by William) for the journal Transformative Works and Cultures. I was hunting through previous interviews to understand the expectations and genre for an interviewee when I came across a great interview with Paul Marino about Machinima. I liked the discussion of gender in particular. The last part of the interview is Paul outlining what he proposes a potential machinima canon, where he offers 6 examples that showcase historical and technically diverse films. One of them is the Snow Witch (2007).

This Japanese ghost story is adapted from Hearn’s “Yuki-Onna” (Kwaidan)

This one uses a known story and adapts it to machinima form.

Another of his 6 examples is The Photographer (2006).

A lone photographer is searching for his subject through the crowded city. Filmmaker Friedrich Kirschner mixes various media elements in his machinima, thus emphasizing that the medium not only can be devoid of game assets but also can break free of its commonly known framework.

I love this one because of its artistry, and because you don’t need to be an insider of the gaming culture to appreciate it.

Yet there are some Second Life machinima which I think I appreciate most of all (which don’t make Marino’s canon suggestions) precisely because I am an insider and I “get” the pathos or the humour at a much deeper level. Robbie Dingo’s Better Life (2006) is one I cite all the time:

and of course, I always mention the one in which I was the leading lady, Lip Flap (2006):

Lip Flap has had almost 10,000 views, The Snow Witch has had about 60,000, and Better Life has had about 80,000. Nothing really in comparison to the other machinima I quote a lot which has had over 1.6 million views (!), the first episode of Red vs Blue (2003):

What machinimas would you add to a proposed machinima canon?

HUMlab Talk/Tour Video


Today I gave a tour of Macbeth for the HUMlab in Sweden! Click here if you’d like to view the video stream of the tour. It goes for about an hour. It was a bit of an experiment for us to do the live streaming, but it mostly worked well, except an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction in which I lost my hair! Thanks to Jim Barrett for the invitation to speak and for doing all the camera work.

Red / Wild – Art in SL by AM Radio

Which way up?

Again, thanks to Corwin, I visited a new art installation by AM Radio. The info details about the work include the following notecard:

AM Radio’s The Red and The Wild

IDIA is pleased to host artist AM Radio as the inaugural artist-in-residence at IDIA Labs – an exhibtion and installation sim for virtual installation art and performance.

THE INSTITUTE FOR DIGITAL INTERMEDIA ARTS is a hybrid art and design studio established as part of the Center for Media Design at Ball State University and funded the Lilly Endowment, Inc. The institute is an interdisciplinary research and design environment that explores the intersections between arts and technology. Students, faculty, staff and industry partners engage the discourse of emergent media design on projects employing virtual reality, visualization, simulation and human computer interface in this project-based immersive learning center.

As always, AM Radio enjoys exploiting the SL space and creating art that is on the one hand familiar, yet on the other hand is very surreal. Here is another photo:

Am Radio's Red / Wild

Corwin has been teaching a virtual photography group and taught me how to make a wireframe view today, so here’s another photo from the installation, this time converted to wireframe -

AM Radio's The Red / WIld

Second Life offers so much potential for creativity, and I’m always learning and experiencing new examples of that. Thanks Corwin!

Derevo Detstva; Where the Wild Things Are

This Russian animation of a child’s nightmare is just incredible. The video is in the top 20 viral video list and the soft and dreamily drawn artwork is beautiful. According to the person who uploaded it,

it was drawn by pastel penciles on paper, animated in computer, but not in 3D programmes, all is 2D :)

It’s a kind of Where the Wild Things Are meets Surrealist art meets New Media. 


Speaking of Where the Wild Things Are, one of my favourite children’s classic picture books, it is being made into a realistic movie. Here’s the trailer:

Apparently the children’s author Maurice Sendak is “thrilled” at the film version of his book, however I am not yet convinced – maybe after years of teaching children’s literature and studying the picture book images it feels like too much back-story is filled in (always a problem with any movie interpretation of a well-loved book of course). However, this trailer also hit the top 20 viral video list last week, so its getting a lot of buzz.

Virtual Worlds and Language Learning

During the (Australian) Summer I was invited by incredible and passionate-about-education-in-virtual-worlds colleague Nick Noakes to participate in the Virtual Worlds and Language workshops held in Second Life (link to the associated ning here). I conducted a few tours through Macbeth and talked with participants about some principles for education in a virtual world. Today Nick shared a presentation he co-presented recently about the workshops, and when you look through it, you’ll recognise a number of images from Macbeth!  I really enjoyed all of the interactions I had with workshop participants and tracing their blog posts and flickr images and ning comments across the web, and seeing it come together here in this presentation is really impressive! Well done Nick and team!

Inanimate Alice – Music, remixes and retellings



(Hecate, from Inanimate Alice)    


Ironically, days *after* doing my Digital Fiction workshop which had a strong focus on Inanimate Alice, I am only now discovering things I could have included in my workshop to enhance it!  For example, did you know that if you signed up to Alice’s newsletter, “she” becomes your friend and sends you all of the music used in the first few episodes? My favourite is Hecate, have a listen above! This will be wonderful in future as it means I can provide my teachers a whole range of free soundtracks to include when making their own digital fiction. Also inspiring is the group of Grade 10 English students who retold their own multimodal versions of Alice on this blog. A huge thanks to Jess Laccetti, who has been in conversations with me about using Inanimate Alice, and who wrote the exceptional pedagogical pack to accompany the resource, and to the Inanimate Alice producer, Ian Harper, who has been responding very patiently to every question I have had over the past three years about the story background, behind the scenes, and multimedia decisions. And finally, just for fun, here’s my other favourite piece of music – can you find where exactly they’re used in the narrative?


(Ayisha, from Inanimate Alice)

Soy Tu Aire (I am your Air)


Listen to this incredible, evocative song and watch the wonderful music video that accompanies it. Then interact with the narrative of the song, by going to Labuat.  Make sure you move your cursor like a paint brush across the screen as the song crosses the space and takes its emotional journey with you, allowing you to connect with the piece as an art form. As you interact, your own expressive journey is recorded, each person unique and different, and then send your recording to your friends. This is truly inspired. Watch it. Be it. Love it!


There’s a blog post here in Spanish, saying something like this:

The new LaBuat group – formed by Virginia of OT, Risto Mejide and The Pinker Tones- it requested a experience to us Web different for the launching from its first single “I am your Air”. A full song of many and few. Of orchestras and threads of voice. Of truths and lies by halves. 

When a song arrives to us, we felt that uncontrollable desire to move to us. Here we wanted to offer an interactive experience that it allowed us to be able to express to us… with a brush. The user can freely move the brush by the screen like that dances or moves the arms, but the pinto brush in synchrony and so he happens in the song, changing of size and force based on the intensity of music. In addition the brush barks to the rate of the song.

It is therefore a connected species of alive brush to music that you can use still more for meterte within the song. The result is a video with your personal interpretation, that you can see and send to your friendly.

Every day barriers are transferred. Every time it is one more near which it does the other. Even within him. The public form leaves from the artist, of its work. It implements it amplifies, it, trasforma. And although to many we would have liked to live the great moments on the sixty, we did not forget the great revolution ours was: the democratization of the information, the leisure and the art in the network makes that our thought is less local, more human and altruistic. The work is of all, anybody and each. 

(Translation thanks to Babel Fish).

Isn’t it beautiful!


(thanks to Gary Hayes for the link, and for his fantastic post: Letting Audiences Play With Your Pieces: Participatory Film and Media)

New Writing Universe

New WRITING Universe

At the end of last year, the Australian Council for the Arts published The writer’s guide to making a digital living. The authors are Therese Fingleton, Christy Dena, and Jennifer Wilson. Christy has been a long time friend of mine since my early days in Second Life, and I met Therese whilst working on the Virtual Macbeth project, which was funded under a Story of the Future initiative. This is a wonderful guide for writers of new media, and Christy tells me that its required reading already in some new media writing classes. 

I am thrilled to be quoted in different ways in this guide – firstly where references from my book are used to dispel the myth “New media is killing the art of creative writing“, and secondly in conjunction with Kerreen and Kate (my collaborators on the Virtual Macbeth project) in the DIY case studies section. 

But I am most excited with the wonderful resource that the section New Writing Universe will be for all of the English teachers I work with. I missed this before now until Christy tweeted it to me when I was discussing yesterday’s Digital Fiction workshop on twitter. Thanks Christy!

Macbeth Parties

 Macbeth Halloween Party

In two weeks we’ve had two parties and about 20 tours through Macbeth, and the average number of people who have visited per day is close to 2000, sometimes 5000 on a weekend.  Its lovely to have so many people visiting and talking to us about the sim.  Here are two shots which although not high resolution, show me in shocked states as I kind of met two Lindens who came to our Halloween party:

 Me and Sidewinder Linden

That is me and Sidewinder Linden

Anya Ixchel and Claudia Linden

and that is me and Claudia Linden!!


Anya Ixchel and Corwin Carillon

That is me with Nick Noakes (aka Corwin Carillon), and this is me with my green skin, courtesy of Ina Centaur (thanks, Ina!):

Anya in Green Skin

Foul Whisperings, Strange Matters: Shakespeare’s Macbeth in Second Life

UPDATE: Please see corrected times for the launch of Macbeth!  Also, we will be honoured with the lovely voice of Paisley Beebe entertaining us on the day. Hope to see lots of friends there :)

It is my pleasure to announce the grand launch and opening of our new Second Life sim, Macbeth (SLURL: here).

This is a project I have been working on since March. The project, Foul Whisperings, Strange Matters: Shakespeare’s Macbeth in Second Life is a collaboration designed by  Angela Thomas (virtual worlds content designer), Kerreen Ely-Harper (director) and Kate Richards (producer).

Funding was provided by Literature Board of The Australian Council for the Arts , and investor partner, the New Media Consortium (full credits)

The island is accompanied by a wiki and the page labelled island guide describes the island and some of our design choices. On the wiki we have also started a collection of teaching resources for the use of the sim and also for teaching Macbeth in general.

Please feel free to join the sim, the Macbeth group in world, and the Virtual Macbeth flickr group.  Contact me in Second Life if you want a private tour – Anya Ixchel.

Full press releases coming soon :)

Next week I am off to the NMC’s advisory board meeting. I am doing my homework right now and finding some great articles about emerging technologies in the associated wiki – its public for viewing, so go have a look!

The press clippings are most interesting, with an assorted compilation of reports, articles, and media attention given to new media and education. I am in the process now of starring the clippings I think are significant from my teaching and research perspective. But its difficult not to just star them all.


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