Today’s post focuses on the book Narrative across Media by Marie-Laure Ryan and is raised through my Multimedia Storytelling class at the UW. The prompt is to “Incorporate Ryan’s definitions of narratology into an analysis of the “Where the Hell is Matt?” project”. While Ryan’s reading may be exceptionally dry and academic, there are still very important points raised that have a direct relationship with Matt Harding’s Dancing Badly Around the World video series.
Ryan’s view on narratology is that “the act of narrating enables humans to deal with time, destiny, and morality; to create and project identities; and to situate themselves as embodied individuals in a world populated by similarly embodied subjects.” (Ryan, 2004, 2). Matt’s videos create a narrative where an ordinary guy travels the world dancing poorly and gets others to do it with him (and that they all love Stride gum). By doing something as simple as dancing he is able to draw on themes of time, destiny, morality, and identity.
By watching the videos the viewer is transported to the time and place where Matt travels. He makes it seem as if it is our destiny and a moral obligation to have an equal world where everyone is able to have a good time with each other in peace. Finally, he is able to create an identity for everyone in the videos by showing that everyone has a sense of humor.
Where the Hell is Matt may seem like a simple idea at first but it is a very complex example of the narrative. He is able to create a space in which everyone in the world can work together, no matter what his or her differences are. That is why his videos have worldwide popularity and have been viewed millions of times. Even though the video may be fake.