A 3'00" version of The War of the Worlds

Martians with Moustaches

Martians with Moustaches

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Overview | Exhibitions | | Statement | Outcomes


Martians with Moustaches is an installation exploring transmedial storytelling experiences using an edited version of the 1938 The War of the Worlds radio broadcast as the base story. This show is a culmination of the work done by students in my digital storytelling, Fall 2013.

Exhibitions / Publications / Broadcasts

Martians with Moustaches was undertaken with students in my digital storytelling class, Fall semester 2013. Their transmedia narratives were featured in a gallery exhibition, Martians with Moustaches, curated by Amalia Vacca, at Nouspace Gallery & Media Lounge, Vancouver, Washington, 1-30 November 2013. More information at the Nouspace Gallery website.

A special opening was held in conjunction with a performance by the Willamette Radio Workshop of the The War of the Worlds radio drama broadcast on the occasion of its 75th anniversary, 30 October 2013.

Artist Statment

Transmedia storytelling seeks to use specific features and affordances of multiple digital media/technologies to make storytelling more immersive and interactive. Usually, a transmedia story begins with a "base story." Specific media are then selected from their ability to tell some part of the story in ways not possible in more traditional storytelling. For example, if a story involves a number of brief narrative sequences, the transmedia storyteller might utilize some form of social media as the vehicle for posting these sequences to multiple readers/participants.

Students first edited a recording of the original 1938 The War of the Worlds radio broadcast to 10-minutes or less based on their individual interpretations of the narrative. Then, they identified various forms of digital media whose particular affordances could promote an expanded context for their narratives. Students designed and developed content for their selected media and sought to use these media so to elaborate the telling of their stories, while maintaining an overarching conceptual narrative framework true to the original.

What are the results? One project provides an opportunity to read famous astronomer Professor Pierson's notes. Another proposes the alien invasion was real. The fictional radio show was designed as a cover up. Another suggests aliens are among us, disguised with moustaches. All have great fun with the original story.

Each project, although based in a website, extends outward and involves opportunities for reader participation and immersion in the transmedia experience. These links lead to the student projects. You can see how they responded to these challenges and you can interact fully with their narratives. Enjoy!

Research questions
The use of specific affordances of different digital media platforms is integral to how the story is told, why it is told, and to whom it is told. For example, the combination of social media and multiplayer / multiplatform contexts may promote collaborative creation of interactive narratives. This raises interesting research questions . . .

How might specific digital media enrich the storytelling experience?
Can digital storytelling serve as a form of tinkering apparati for collaborative thinking/creating, as a mode of knowledge production?
How can we make digital storytelling communicate its content effectively?
How do we build interactivity into a narrative?
How might we apply storytelling elements to the production and experience of narrative delivered on different digital media platforms?
How might digital storytelling facilitate the creation and consumption of knowledge that will engage, enlighten, and involve diverse readers / interactors / participants?


"Sound Curation by Re-creation: The War of the Worlds radio (re)broadcast." Leonardo Electronic Almanac. Histories, Theories and Practices of Sound Art special issue. Lanfranco Aceti, James Bulley, John Drever, eds. Fall 2016.

"Sound Curation by Re-Creation: The War of the Worlds Radio (Re)broadcast, Martians with Mustaches: A Case Study and Suggestions." Curating Sound Art, Goldsmith's, University of London and The Courtald Institute of Art, London, England, 15-17 May 2014.