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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Room 8/9, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
Event date: 
Monday, 28 October, 2019 - 17:00 to 19:00

Dr Barbara Wall
(University of Copenhagen)

A Digital Approach to Visualizing the Story Universe of The Journey to the West

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 films, comics, or computer games. Although Jenkins argues that transmedia stories are too broad to be grasped, I suggest that by approaching them as what Roland Barthes calls dynamic texts we can develop tools for comprehension and analysis. In this study I demonstrate how such a tool might work by applying Barthes’ concept to Korean variations of The Journey, and in particular by using tree diagrams and an animation to create a visual map of the story’s elements.

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 and a PhD in Korean Literature from Bochum. 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 and create story universes like The Journey to the West. Her articles have appeared in journals such as Acta Koreana, Journal of Japanese and Korean Cinema, and International Journal of Communication.