Behind the Minds of Great Storytellers

A Conversation in Audio and Comics

I have always loved talking to people who create stories — those who study human interaction so deeply as to develop a strong sense of empathy for the weak. These are artists, writers, journalists, game designers, but also researchers publishing their findings, or fans writing their next piece of fic.

For lack of a better term, I call these people “storytellers”. Or, if you’d prefer, narrative designers — not in the game design sense, but in a much broader sense of helping us all shape the narratives we tell ourselves about ourselves.

Diverse as they may be storytellers are bound by one thread: A realization that meaning is malleable — a constructed, often contested process — followed by a curiosity of how these processes take place, and what we can do about it to make sure it doesn’t go sideways.

So I decided to start a podcast…

“Narrative Design” is what I have decided to call it. It combines the various strengths and passions of mine — writing, speaking, having critical discussions with other intellectuals — to generate a thread of critical discussions on culture, art, journalism, and all the various ways we make these meanings. Also? Each week, I’m going to summarize our conversation in comics. It’ll be fun.

It will air starting next week. This week, have a listen at the epic soundtrack my partner CJ has created for the show:

While listening, read on and find out what (and who) you can expect to listen to in the first five episodes:

Award-winning artist and intellectual Johannes Grenzfurthner kicks off the show — a very fitting premiere from a context hacker for a podcast on designing narratives and contesting meanings. Johannes talks about his art-technology-philosophy group, monochrom, and their many art projects that challenge our notion of artistic subversion.

Psychoanalytic media researcher Jacob Johanssen talks about his research on social media in Episode 2. Although many often say that social media allows us to feel more connected, the one-sided changes on various social networking sites often leave us feeling powerless. An analysis of Facebook comments reveals the alienation inherent within these social networking operations.

A veteran in the world of multimedia journalism, Claudine Boeglin discusses the future of journalism on our third episode. We talk about the increasing abundance of data, the growth of new technologies, and the rise of citizen journalism, as well as the challenges that younger, more experimental journalists must face when they attempt to create richer experiences in their multimedia stories.

Multimedia artist and performer Ipek Koprulu discusses her work on our fourth episode. We talk about her various artistic projects and the theme underlying them, and how she utilizes screens, cameras, projections, sculptural objects, and various interactive technologies to question the classical dualities in art: performer-audience, presence-absence, real-digital.

Our fifth episode takes a look at my personal all-time favorite visual novel as we talk to Cameron O’Neill a.k.a. cpl_crud, one of the key players in the Katawa Shoujo project. As one of the writers in the 4chan-borne Four Leaf Studios, Cameron shares with us the process he went through and the impact that Katawa Shoujo has had in his life. Other 4LS members may be appearing, as well!

It’s going to be a long and exciting journey…

. . . And I can only hope that it will be of worth to you, dear readers and listeners. If you’re intrigued by the topics of discussion, have enjoyed the music, or simply liked the cute comics, I would very much appreciate your support.

Hit the ♥ Recommend button and be sure to Follow this new publication — I’ll keep my end of the bargain by providing you with great content every two weeks.

Places you can subscribe and listen to:
SoundCloud | iTunes | Stitcher | Pocket Casts | TuneIn

Oh, and one last thing:

Narrative Design is entirely self-funded, so we really do depend on all of you. Click here or on the image above to check out our Patreon page, and if you like what we’re doing, please consider making a small monthly donation. Thank you!