Emerging Horizons, Part Six. Bethany’s Story: Layers of Meaning
This six installment of the Emerging Horizons series explores Bethany’s digital storytelling (DST) experience (please see the introductory editorial, Crafting Meaning, Cultivating Understanding, to access the documentary film on which the series is based). In the film, Bethany demonstrates how a digital story can become both a signpost and a monument in the life of an Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) cancer survivor by indicating how they have changed, providing direction for their future selves, and creating a reminder of the meaningful moments that happened along the way. Her experience also reveals how DST can help participants craft a story with many layers of intentional meanings while the plurivocity of word, image and compositional elements of DST enables a profound hermeneutic excess (i.e., x = x+) and ensures that what is contained in a digital story is always more than what was intended by the storyteller. Using the screenwriting framework of the “said, unsaid, and unsayable,” and Nicholas Davey’s concept of “aquifers of meaning,” I (Lang) demonstrate how a digital story artwork can act as an artesian well, providing AYAs and their friends and family an encounter with the “unsayable,” by bringing to the surface what has been mute and beyond awareness.
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