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.
Many picturebooks are published today as software applications (apps) for touch devices, presenting many opportunities for sensory experiences and interaction. A person’s sense-making is embodied (or grounded) in sensory experiences and interactions, so these new technological opportunities will impact how they physically engage with and make sense of a picturebook app. However, few studies have examined touch and physical interaction with digital devices, a lacuna that is problematic in the digital age. This article poses the research question: How is touch interaction with a picturebook app facilitating or limiting sense-making? The conceptual framework for discussing this question embraces sensing, sense-making, and interaction. Two potential core paradoxes concerning digital touch devices and picturebook apps are introduced: a paradox of materiality and a paradox of interactivity. The award-winning picturebook app, Wuwu & Co., was studied through an in-depth explorative inquiry supported with diary questions. The inquiry identified several examples of how the picturebook app facilitated sense-making, including how its virtual materiality evoked past experiences of physical materials, how it evoked empathy in the researcher, and how the story could evoke particular reactions and emotions in the researcher. The inquiry identified limitations in the app related to possibilities of exploring, predetermined possibilities of acting, and how the device influenced sensory perception. The study indicates that the app provides rich opportunities for cooperation; however, this cooperation extends only to co-option, not to co-creation. These findings are useful for future users, facilitators, and those involved in future app development, because it suggests limitations in the medium and improvements that could enhance sense-making through active, co-creating, touch interaction.
The dark and catastrophic futures of dystopian and post-apocalyptic YA fiction are often perceived of as critiques of late capitalist society, presenting an alternative to the status quo of what Mark Fisher once termed «capitalist realism». However, as these narratives at the same time comport according to the feedback and control mechanisms of genre conventions and popular media franchises, they also reproduce, within the system of genre and franchise structures, the very conditions under which creativity and, in extension, future worlds can emerge. The participatory aesthetics of dystopian and post-apocalyptic YA fiction, in which co-creation of other worlds is integral, here becomes a matter of adhering to the regulatory feedback of a system of control. Hence, the alternative futures presented by critical dystopias are already lost to the capitalist present. Nevertheless, this paper argues that one possible solution to the lost futures of capitalist realism can be found in the ecological concept of sympoiesis and in a parasitic notion of subjectivity. Discussing Scott Westerfeld’s two novels Peeps and The Last Days, it is suggested that the future of, and for, creativity lies in the haunting of parasitic infections.
Denne artikkelen analyserer bruken av konsentrasjonsleirer som visuelle metaforer i den danske bildeboken Lejren av Oskar K. og Dorte Karrebæk og den norske grafiske romanen Dagen vi drømte om av Bjørn Arild Ersland og Lilian Brøgger. Resepsjonen har problematisert måten barndom representeres på og satt spørsmålstegn ved hvorvidt bøkene er egnet for barnelesere. Det som ikke er blitt diskutert, er etiske og politiske aspekter knyttet til bruken av konsentrasjonsleir som metafor. Denne artikkelen utforsker de estetiske valgene som er blitt tatt, og den meningsproduserende effekten metaforbruken har. Ved hjelp av film- og bildeteori leser jeg bildene som del av en visuell kultur og innenfor en historisk og politisk kontekst. Målet er å diskutere de etiske, politiske og estetiske implikasjonene bruken av konsentrasjonsleir som metafor har i bøkene.
The article is an analysis of the use of concentration camps as visual metaphors in the Danish picturebook Lejren (The Camp), by Oskar K. and Dorte Karrebæk, and the Norwegian graphic novel Dagen vi drømte om (The Day We Have Dreamed About), by Bjørn Arild Ersland and Lilian Brøgger. While critics have addressed questions concerning the representation of childhood and whether the books are suitable for children, the representation of concentration camps and ethical/political challenges the use of such metaphors imply have not been taken into consideration. To address these topics, this article examines the aesthetic choices the creators have made in referring to concentration camps and the metaphorical production of meaning. Drawing on theory of photography and film as well as on discussions on representations of the Nazi crimes, I read these books as part of a broader visual culture and discuss the references to concentration camps within a historical and political context. The overall aim of the article is to discuss the ethical, political and aesthetic implications of the metaphorical use of concentration camps in the books.
Denne artikkelen gjev ei økokritisk lesing av Birger Jåstads forfattarskap for barn. Dei seks romanane som eg tek føre meg i denne artikkelen (utgjevne mellom 1974 og 1983), tematiserer alle forholdet mellom kultur og natur. I romanane kan vi identifisere ulike økologiske posisjonar, og i fleire passasjar finn vi tydeleg djupøkologisk tankegods. Det er likevel ein meir antroposentrisk posisjon som dominerer i romanane, og den eigentlege helten i romanane er det tradisjonelle samfunnet, heilt konkret den nordnorske fiskarbondekulturen og den samiske reindriftskulturen. Desse tradisjonelle levemåtane er under press frå ein andletslaus modernisering, til dømes i form av kraftutbyggingar og urbanisering. Det er likevel karakteristisk for romanane at desse kreftene aldri kjem i forgrunnen.
This article provides an ecocritical reading of Birger Jåstad’s authorship for children. The six novels that I examine in this article (published between 1974 and 1983) thematize the relationship between culture and nature. Various ecological positions can be identified in the novels. Several passages express positions coinciding with the philosophy of deep ecology. In the novels we can identify different ecological positions, and in several passages, we find deep ecological thinking. Nevertheless, a more anthropocentric position dominates in the novels, and the actual hero in the novels is traditional society, more specifically the North Norwegian fish farmer’s culture and the Sami reindeer husbandry culture. These traditional ways of life are under pressure from a faceless modernization, for example in the form of power development and urbanization. It is nevertheless characteristic of the novels that these forces never come to the fore.
This article investigates how emerging environmental concerns became an important part in the history of Swedish children’s literature between 1968 and 1977. The politically and socially engaged children’s books published during this period are often considered to follow a strictly realistic norm. This article, however, highlights that the alleged realistic mode of representation is countered by a political writing that allows the supernormal and magical to permeate the plot. Following this, the books analysed here display a tension between different modes of non-realistic environmental writing and challenge the common view that political children’s books of the 1970s were limited to a realistic mode. The article concludes with a discussion of how imagination in environmental children’s literature can be interpreted as a political and emancipatory force, following the thinking of Herbert Marcuse, who was one of the chief philosophers for radicals around 1968.
This article analyses two climate fictions set in Nordic landscapes: Jostein Gaarder’s The World According to Anna (2015) and Memories of Water (2014) by Emma Itäranta, both classed as young adult fiction. The article draws on ecocritical perspectives to examine how the developing conventions of cli-fi play out in a Nordic setting. It calls attention in particular to the importance of the cabin as a heterotopian space in Gaarder’s novel, which is set in Norway, and to Itäranta’s reliance on the green topos and the sanctuary topos to articulate her vision of climate change in a rural Finnish landscape.
Representations of urban environments are not very common in Norwegian picturebooks, yet they allow for a nuanced understanding of how nature functions in picturebook iconotexts. This article aims to examine the relationship between nature and the city in the following works: Anda i ødemarka (2012) by Ragnar Aalbu, Fugl (2013) by Lisa Aisato, and Glassklokken (2010) by Bjørn Arild Ersland and Lilian Brøgger. Drawing upon the notion of the chronotope (Bakhtin, 1981), particularly Nikolajeva’s (1996) writings on the chronotope in children’s literature as well as Gifford’s (1999; 2012; 2014) scholarship on the pastoral and post-pastoral, the article provides an ecocritical reading of these picturebooks, inspired by some of the key questions of ecocriticism (Glotfelty, 1996). The analysis considers both the narrative and visual dimensions of the iconotexts, making it possible to shed light on environmental issues addressed in the books.
Lene Ask’s wordless picturebook Du (2016) renders the story of a day in the life of a little girl who has recently moved with her mother and baby sibling into a wooden house in the middle of a birch forest. The forest is part of a wintery landscape in the Northern Hemisphere with leafless trees and subdued light filling several spreads. Using non-verbal means of communication, primarily a combined technique of watercolors and pencil sketching, Du (You) brings the reader close to the experience of displacement and wordlessness of the protagonist. The scarce verbal text, shifts of perspective, and mirroring and bleeding of images over the limits of the pages all contribute to the complexity of the narrative. This engages the reader to relate to, or even identify with, the girl’s mental processes. The principal aim of this chapter is to discuss Ask’s interpretation of the topos of biophilia, as well as the book’s possible pedagogical aspects. This will be done by examining the role of nature in the protagonist’s environmental adaptation and the ways in which non-verbal communication becomes a central element in the book’s subject matter and form.
Hestebøker er ein populær kategori tekstar i barne- og ungdomslitteraturen. Dei tematiserer barn og unges relasjonar til hestar i eit vennskaps- og modningsperspektiv. Spørsmålet er om hesteboka også kan utfordre eit antroposentrisk perspektiv på verda. Som del av arbeidet i forskargruppa NaChiLitCul ved Høgskulen på Vestlandet undersøker eg i denne artikkelen den illustrerte hesteboka Sommeren med Sigge (2014) av svenske Lin Hallberg (tekst) og Margareta Nordqvist (illustrasjonar), med særleg fokus på relasjonen mellom jente og hest som kameratar på tvers av artar: «Companion species is a permanently undecidable category, a category-in-question that insists on the relation as the smallest unit of being and of analysis» (Haraway, 2008, s. 165). Målet er å lokalisere og nærlese delar av teksten som eksempel på samband mellom menneske og natur, og spørre korleis dette sambandet er framstilt. Korleis kan dialogen jente–hest forståast som ein antroposentrisk dialog, eller korleis kan den eventuelt problematisere eit mogleg dominant arts-hierarki, og gjennom det skape økokritisk medvet? Studien er informert av problemstillingar frå posthumanistisk teori (Haraway, 2008; Willett, 2014).
Pony fiction are popular texts within literature for children and young adults. They thematise children and young adult’s relations to horses in a perspective of friendship and maturing. A question is whether and how pony fiction might make us revise our anthropocentric perspectives on the world. As part of the work in the NaChiLitCul research group at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, this article examines the illustrated pony fiction Sommeren med Sigge (2014) by Swedish Lin Hallberg (text) and Margareta Nordqvist (illustrations), focusing on the relationship of the girl to the horse as companion species: «Companion species is a permanently undecidable category, a category-in-question that insists on the relation as the smallest unit of being and of analysis» (Haraway, 2008, p. 165). The aim is to localize and to conduct close reading of parts of the text focusing on the human – horse – nature relationship, asking how this relationship is depicted. How can we understand the girl – horse dialogue as an anthropocentric dialogue, or how might the dialogue problematize a possible dominant species hierarchy, and thus create interspecies awareness? The analysis is informed by questions from posthumanist theory (Haraway, 2008; Willett, 2014).
1–2019, volume 10
Barnelitterært forskningstidsskrift (BLFT), etablert i 2010, er et nordisk digitalt vitenskapelig forum som utforsker barnelitterær estetikk, analoge og digitale medier, verbale og visuelle kunstuttrykk, samt synet på kunst og barn.
BLFT har som mål å bidra til en tverrfaglig diskusjon om barnelitteraturens medier, estetikk, interaksjon med andre kunstuttrykk, dens institusjonelle betingelser og resepsjon. Tidsskriftet henvender seg til alle som jobber med barnelitteratur innen estetikk, verbale og visuelle kunstuttrykk og barnelitteraturens institusjonelle rolle.
Martin Blok Johansen, Lektor, ph.d., VIA University College, Danmark
Birgitte Eek, Formidlingsleder, Norsk barnebokinstitutt (NBI), Norge
Lykke Harmony Alara Guanio-Uluru, Høgskulen på Vestlandet, Norge
Anna Karlskov Skyggebjerg, Aarhus Universitet, Danmark
Maria Lassén-Seger, Åbo Akademi, Finland
Tatjana Kielland Samoilow, Norges teknisk-naturvitenskapelige universitet (NTNU), Norge
Lydia Wistisen, Stockholms Universitet, Sverige
Sats: Type-it AS, Trondheim
Design omslag: KORD
ISSN online: 2000-7493
Tidsskriftet utgis under rettighetslisensen CC-BY-NC 4.0
Tidsskriftet utgis av Norsk barnebokinstitutt, i samarbeid med Universitetsforlaget.
© Universitetsforlaget 2019