2016: Open (Re)source, a research-creation project

> media materiality
> global digital infrastructure
> planned obsolescence
> the open source movement

This project composes digital narratives to address three issues that are increasingly salient in media studies: media materiality, planned obsolescence, and the open source movement. I investigated how interactive narratives can propel user awareness of the roles of materiality in digital infrastructure—including in the production, consumerism, and reception of digital devices.

As part of the project development, I experimented with interactive storytelling methods in different media platforms and forms, including video games and media art. I developed a mini video game called “In your Phone, In their Air” that was inspired by a Washington Post article on graphite production and pollution in Northeastern China. This game provides an exploratory environment for a journalist to investigate further into graphite, which is a mineral necessary for lithium-ion batteries (used in many digital devices).

This project is on hold indefinitely, but the theme is incorporated into my graduate courses, including “Critical Media Infrastructures,” as a research and design assignment.


Video game: Fan, Lai-Tze. In your Phone, In their Air. 2017.

Conference presentation: Fan, Lai-Tze. “Towards a Digital Materiality: Embodied Narratives and Affect.” Panel: “Translation Palindromes: Embodied Narrative as Electronic Literature.” 2017 Meeting of the Electronic Literature Organization. Fernando Pessoa University, Porto, Portugal. 21 July 2017.

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