Part of the Autumn 2018 season of seminars at SOAS:
Dynamic Texts as Hotbed for Transmedia Storytelling: A Case Study on the Story Universe of The Journey to the West
Barbara Wall (University of Copenhagen)
Friday 14 December 2018, 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Brunei Gallery Room B211
If you would like to attend the event please register. Online registration
Transmedia storytelling is often promoted as the future of storytelling. By Henry Jenkins’ definition of transmedia storytelling, though, we can also find transmedia stories in the past. Taking The Journey to the West as a case study, I show how it is a transmedia story that started to unfold hundreds of years ago. While The Journey is conventionally identified with a Chinese novel, most people are familiar with The Journey universe through TV series, comics, or computer games. Although Jenkins argues that transmedia stories are too broad and deep to be grasped, I suggest that by approaching them as what Roland Barthes calls dynamic texts we can develop tools for comprehension and analysis. By applying Barthes’ concept to Korean variations of The Journey to the West I visualize the story’s universe by mapping it with the help of radial tree diagrams. I argue that dynamic texts function as a hotbed for transmedia storytelling due to their variability.
Barbara Wall is an assistant professor in Korean Studies at the University of Copenhagen. She has a BA in Japanese Studies and Classical Chinese from Heidelberg, an MA in Confucian Studies from Sungkyungkwan University in Korea and a PhD in Korean Literature from Bochum in Germany. Her main research interests are the circulation, translation and adaptation of literary narratives in Korea, Japan and China. At the moment she is working on her first book in which she develops a digital tool to visualize popular literary classics like The Journey to the West as dynamic texts.