Div III Student Nexus Hope F22 Creates a Multimedia Experience Intended to Make the Reader/Viewer Uncomfortable

What is the title of your Div III?

“Dear Diary: A Multimedia Exploration of Ergodic Literature in the Form of a Fictional Journal”

Who are your committee members?

Writing instructor and Faculty Associate Faune Albert and Associate Professor of Cognitive Development Melissa Burch.

Anyone else who has particularly supported you during your Hampshire experience?

I did take excellent writing classes with Assistant Professor of Creative Writing & African American Literary Arts Nathan McClain, who inspired pieces of this project and allowed me to explore this idea before beginning my Div III. I also had the backing of family and friends who always read what I put in front of them.

Please describe your project.

This is a multimedia 160-page, 5.8" x 8.3" lined leather journal filled with writing from the perspective of a fictional person of my creation. The journal comes in a beat-up, painted, black shoe box filled with empty prescription bottles, the type of old box you’d find in an attic while cleaning it out. This is a catalog of their life from October 1997 to May 1998, meant to create a window into the mind of the journal’s author, The Writer.

There are three main storylines: The Writer’s life, the video game they’re making outside of work, and a mysterious second voice that begins to interact with the author and calling itself The Journal. This project is heavily inspired by ergodic literature (in which effort is required for the audience to understand the text), and interspersed within the handwritten journal is a collection of notes, printouts, photos, collages, and more. It was curated with the intention of something that is found. It’s meant to evoke a feeling of unease and intrusiveness when read.

This is an exploration into mental health and the distortion of perceived reality. As readers, people who found this journal by chance, we’re supposed to doubt The Writer and their ability to accurately recount what has happened to them. This journal walks the line between the natural and the supernatural. It poses an ever-present question: Is the second voice, of The Journal, something of paranormal origin or further evidence of The Writer’s deteriorating mental state?

I set out to make this to convey what it is to lose yourself to your own mind in real time. Whoever finds this journal and reads it is pulled into The Writer’s orbit. You’re forced to sit back and watch as this person who feels so real slips away with years between you. This journal is an artifact from the past, and everything that occurs in it has already come to pass by the time a reader gets their hands on it.

More than anything, the project is made to create an experience. From the moment you find the box, to opening the book, to flipping to the last page, it’s all a part of the project. This journal is a moment frozen in time. The person I created is meant to feel so real that there’s an aspect of guilt for prying into their life. This is an experiment in humanity and multimedia, learning what it is to connect to someone who no longer exists.

What are you planning to do after graduation?

I already work full time as the digital media specialist at a local nonprofit and will continue to do so.

My piece “The Thing That Lives in the House” was recently published in Spectrum: An Autistic Horror Anthology, and I plan on writing and submitting more after graduation. I also plan on pursuing a master’s degree in either library science or English.

Nexus Hannus Div III project
Nexus Hannus Div III project
Nexus Hannus Div III project
Nexus Hannus Div III project

Images courtesy of Nexus Hope