Interpreting Nature with Digital Media

Early this year, I read that David Abram had released a new book, Becoming Animal. I’ve been working on a book (in collaboration with Vermont Family Forests, a small non-profit in Bristol, Vermont) that explores the notion of re-wilding, both ecological and personal, so Abram’s book intrigued me. I bought it, but before reading it, I wanted to re-read his first book, Spell of the Sensuous, which had blown me away when I first read it in the ‘90s.

In that book, Abram contemplates, among many other things, the layers of abstraction that separate us from a direct, sensuous experience of what he calls the more-than-human world. During the time the I was re-reading that book, I talked with fellow interpreters about “state-of-the-art” interpretation—namely about digital media as the new and improved means of connecting people with place.

Abram’s writings and those conversations prompted me to query Legacy magazine, the trade magazine for the National Association for Interpretation, about writing an article on the subject of digital media and nature interpretation, or specifically, why not to use digital media in nature interpretation. It so happened that the theme of the upcoming issue of Legacy (March/April 2012) was “Interpreting Through Social Media,” so the editor welcomed my article.

When I returned from spring break with my family this weekend, the magazine was waiting in my mailbox. Looking over the contents page, I saw that mine was the only article questioning the attributes of digital media as an interpretive tool.  Here’s a link to the Legacy article.

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