Digital Nature Representation: Ecocritical Perspectives on the Children’s App Kubbe Makes Shadow Theatre
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionGuanio-Uluru, L. (2019). Digital nature representation: Ecocritical perspectives on the children’s app kubbe makes shadow theatre. Barnelitterært forskningstidsskrift, 10(01), 3-17. 10.18261/issn.2000-7493-2019-01-01
Combining two topics in modern children’s literature, that of new forms of representation afforded by digital media and that of ecocriticism, this article applies an ecocritical perspective to the reading of a narrative app for children, namely Åshild Kanstad Johnsen and Ciber’s Kubbe Makes Shadow Theatre (Kubbe lager skyggeteater, 2013), asking how this app presents and represents nature. Drawing on ecocritical scholarship on children’s literature (Goga et al., 2018) and placing its approach within this field, the article pays attention to the ways in which the digital medium shapes and affects the nature representation in the app. It argues that Kubbe Makes Shadow Theatre invites play as a cybertext (Aarseth, 1997) by enabling its users to add and subtract semiotic modes in the course of a reading and identifies a new performance mode, the Ambient mode. Allowing for the muting of the narrative voice, the Ambient performance mode foregrounds Kubbe’s forest environment and is thus ecocritically significant. Based on the app’s play with semiotic modes, the article goes on to analyse the ecocritical potential of the various modes in terms of their contribution to the app’s nature representation, with an emphasis on the Ambient performance mode.