purple square, return  home_space:

when you need somewhere to run to

Autumn and the audible crackle of new color emerging in trees. Winter and the perils of hidden ice, hidden drifts, hidden ground. Spring and the early evening warmth of darkness dappled with firefly light. These are moments in a perpetual cycle I have never experienced before, having spent most of my life in Texas dust and Louisiana swamp, and I work through Iowa's snow and ice, knowing a master's degree and an adventure in Arizona await me on the other side. The cycle moves and will move without me when I am gone.

purple square, section 2
The hope of fall semester nerves, spring's promise to be better and different, and a long summer of deep exhales. This academic rhythm is familiar; it is the home I bring with me to Tucson.

purple square, section 3
In Tucson, I begin my work in a PhD program with my first class, Spatial and Visual Rhetorics, and my seminar project is an experiment with hypertext. My project is to be a website—this website, in fact—and I sense a little irony in the situation: I left a focus on environmental rhetoric and ecocomposition in Iowa to spend much of my first seminar project in Arizona seated uncomfortably in front of a computer screen. My project would provide several opportunities to walk around in the outdoors—indeed, walking around the university is an integral part of the project—but creating a website often seems to entail a certain amount of sitting. Alone. With a computer.

But this is the life of the mind, too? Academics, those folks with noses permanently nestled in a world of books, are supposed to spend hours sitting, right? Eric Zencey (1996) in "The Rootless Professors" argued that professors, because their degrees often take them to and fro across geographic regions, "belong to the boundless world of books and ideas and eternal truths, not the infinitely particular world of watersheds, growing seasons, and ecological niches" (p. 15). Longing for intimacy with local landscape, wedded to a rootless academic world, I engage the tension between an abstracted academic home and residence in a particular, bound-to-the-earth place.

purple square, section 4
Each new place brings with it a need to create and discover ways of relating to new surroundings, new biomes, and new folks with whom I will work. Personal growth, in this way, is connected to place and movement, and this growth is not always easy, not always pleasant or something in which I take pride.

My purpose in this reflection is to complicate my project—how I grew as the site grew and how, with continued study of spatial rhetorics, I have grown since the seminar's end. As I reflect, I use "progress" and "growth" as tropes to complicate and challenge linearity as a potentially troubling concept that shapes how we experience and understand movement: the linearity of writers and readers moving through digital texts, of students moving through academic semesters, of humans moving through life toward a concept of progress as perpetual improvement. Critiques of linearity, however, are by no means novel. Hypertext theorists have critiqued linearity (Aarseth, 1994; Johnson-Eilola & Kimme Hea, 2003), as have composition theorists. For example, Gary A. Olson (1999) in "Toward a Post-Process Composition: Abandoning the Rhetoric of Assertion" illustrated how process-oriented compositionists have theorized the recursive nature of writing and revision processes (p. 7). Similarly, he noted how post-process writing theories confront the linearity of the "rhetoric of assertion," or writing instruction in which teachers advise students to assert and support strong, clear arguments in their writing (p. 9). And although composition studies has witnessed calls for alternative writing forms—perhaps less linear and more personal or reflective forms—he illustrated how linear, assertive arguments still dominate composition classrooms (and, it seems to me, the world of academic publishing). Olson argued:

In short, despite our attempts to introduce alternative genres, to help students become more dialogic and less monologic, more sophistic and less Aristotelian, more exploratory and less argumentative, more personal and less academic, the Western, rationalist tradition of assertion and support is so entrenched in our epistemology and ways of understanding what "good" writing and "thinking" are that this tradition…defies even our most concerted efforts to subvert it. (p. 9)

Thus, in this reflective hypertext, I join Olson in his critique of linearity and the rhetoric of assertion by exploring growth in the abstract and in the particular (i.e., as I experience and have experienced it) through episodic prose pieces modeled on the distinctions Lev Manovich (2001) made between database logic and narrative logic. Manovich, in The Language of New Media, analyzed the "anti-narrative logic of the Web" (p. 221), arguing that the constant growth of websites "means that [they] never have to be complete" (p. 220). The near constant addition of links and information to most sites relies on database logic, and "the result is a collection, not a story" (p. 221).

This hypertext, then, is a reflection. A collection of what Doreen Massey (2005) might call "stories-so-far" (p. 9).

thirdspacing the university: performing spatial and visual literacies hello/goodbye: project introduction/conclusion bringing svr to fyc: video responses and experiences orientation: svr, theory, and invention thirdspace: mapping svr at the university of arizona references: all text sources used in my project
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thirdspacing the university:
performing spatial and visual literacies

artist's statement

Using audio, video, photography, and text, Londie T. Martin's project invites readers to participate in a reflective, hypertextual environment that explores spatial and visual practices in first-year composition. Specifically, the project is a multimodal collection of stories that seeks to contextualize the projects featured in this SVR (Spatial and Visual Rhetorics) seminar. Furthermore, the project attempts to reimagine the university as a fluid thirdspace in which literacy is dynamic and multimodal. Londie hopes that her project will help instructors appreciate some of the challenges and benefits of SVR while encouraging all to imagine new possibilities for SVR in first-year composition.

Many new media objects do not tell stories; they do not have a beginning or end; in fact, they do not have any development, thematically, formally, or otherwise that would organize their elements into a sequence. Instead, they are collections of individual items, with every item possessing the same significance as any other.
— (Lev Manovich, 2001, p. 218, emphasis added)