Remediating the apocalypse

Ulmer: the wide image

Gregory Ulmer developed his concept of "the wide-image" guided by the categories that showed up in research into breakthrough inventors. He describes this research and his concept:

Their imaginations tended to be composite assemblages of cultural materials drawn from family experience, entertainment or popular culture materials, schooling background, and a particular community history. I am thinking of investigations by Holton or Gruber that characterize how innovators draw upon an image of wide scope--an aesthetic embodiment of their attunement with the world (what the philosophical tradition referred to as Stimmung).

My pedagogy aims at helping students notice, map, and enhance their own image of wide scope (their own learning style--with the term style marking the aesthetic quality of the thinking).

Given the heuretic principle that requires me to try out for myself whatever poetics my students are using, I have been exploring my own wide image. Perhaps I can get you to test this idea on yourself as well? You will recognize that the method of inquiry into Stimmung is what I have called mystorical. It starts with finding a memory associated with family (my memories of my father, for example, and I might have to come back to those again later). In the institution of Family we are introduced into our native language, and develop for a brief time an oral culture.

Very soon in our civilization the child begins to acquire an entertainment or popular culture as well, through television being present in the home.

Gregory Ulmer from: Joel Weishaus, 1998, "IMAGING EmerAgency: A Conversation With Gregory Ulmer," Postmodern Culture, 9/1.

This web project is an evolving space exploring contemporary manifestations of the apocalyptic in current affairs and popular culture. It is being developed in association with my Ph.D. research and is both a research method and a presentation of that research. In exploring the apocalyptic I am particularly interested in mapping a series of multimodal mythic clusters that are evolving through a process of remediation which I identify as a key cultural logic for an age in which electracy is the new literacy of nomadic subjects. This hypertextual presentation foregrounds affiliational logic and although I hope the project accumulates meaning it does not seek to present a single, formal, linear argument. I have presented some of these ideas in more traditional academic formats in other places. Although the navigational choices are the user's own these tips may be useful. Feedback is very welcome.

Marcus O'Donnell 2005-2006