Anastasia Salter as the Mad Hatter

Alice in Dataland is an experiment in critical making created by Anastasia Salter. This is an exploration guided by the question: "Why does Alice in Wonderland endure as a metaphor for experiencing media?" The project leverages material from the University of Florida "Afterlife of Alice & Her Adventures in Wonderland" collection as well as a range of Alice adaptations and remediations.

Conceptually, this work is intended to remediate the text of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland into a critical lens for gazing into Alice herself. I've documented my search for Alice in public, on Tumblr, as part of the process of building this work. I feel that hypertext is appropriate for this play in part because its inherent simplicity is accompanied by a power of linking and exploration that we are still probing: as Mark Matienzo observed, hypertext and its kin amount to "stories + data," and provide a simple platform for the challenge of traveling in the spaces between linked and archived texts. This is in the tradition that Claire Lauer has described as having many names--multimodal, digital, new media--but all with the same intention of making the medium of criticism essential to the ideas. I've written the text as I've built the design and code, keeping in mind Susan Delagrange's assertion that "Design is intrinsic to an argument, not decoration for it, and must be part of the writing-imaging-designing process from Day One." This is a process of "critical making", which Daniel Chamberlain defines as "making a way to better ask questions." As such, this is a solo project: most of the work is coded in HTML5 and JavaScript with my own illustrations. I have tried to meet Alice where she is, across forms from written text to animation to games, and thus build a more complete portrait of the importance of Alice in Wonderland as a metaphor for understanding media.

Anastasia Salter is an assistant professor of Information Arts and Technologies at the University of Baltimore. Her primary research is on digital narratives with a continuing focus on virtual worlds, gender and cyberspace, video games, educational games and fan production. She holds a Doctorate in Communications Design from the University of Baltimore and an MFA in Children's Literature at Hollins University. She writes for the technology and pedagogy blog ProfHacker, hosted by the Chronicle of Higher Education She's on Twitter as @AnaSalter and online at Selfloud.net.

Except where otherwise noted, all project elements and illustrations are created by Anastasia Salter and licensed CC BY 2.0.

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