In many ways, humanity hasn’t come far from its storytelling origins. From cave drawings to Shakespeare to cinematic blockbusters, the hero’s journey remains a staple. However, the way we tell these stories is always evolving. Here at The New School, students from the Creative Writing Program, Parsons School of Design, the College of Performing Arts, and Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts combine text and multimedia imagery to bring brilliant narratives to life.
Luis Jaramillo, director of the Creative Writing Program, and faculty member John Reed wanted to design a writing course that was both compelling and universal. They created Illuminated Manuscripts, a course structured to reintroduce the hero’s journey to their students through the union of text with illustration. Using diverse multimedia formats — from scrolls to eBooks — students created a range of inspired final projects.
A Creative Writing student opens an instrument repair shop in Bushwick and encounters an old guitar the likes of which she’s never seen. She struggles to restring the alien ax and finds success only after four hours of effort. She then digitally documents the journey — and redefines the term “guitar hero.”
A young Parsons student laments his descent into the Hades known as Tinder dating and decides to document the comedy of this virtual tragedy through an analog narrative — a card game. He asks participants to match cards showing handsome faces on the right with their pick-up lines, non sequiturs, or insults on the left, adding a humorous, tangible “flip and laugh” to the increasingly cold “swipe left” of online dating.
Four students from the School of Jazz, eagerly anticipating the return of Star Wars, create a free jazz musical narrative based on John Williams’ score. They relive and reconfigure both Luke’s and the composer’s epic voyages. The band members name themselves the “Illuminated Manuscripts.”
The New School, with its abiding respect for multimedia, voyages, and destinations, is an illuminating force of storytelling. Be a Force of New.
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