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A Presentation by Terence Adjei-Otchwemah
On 27/09/2013 @ D.O.T.T.S.
A Brief History of Storytelling
“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.”
― Rudyard Ki...
Stories Unending
 We‟ve really always told stories
 In different styles, languages, and forms
 In art, music, dance, an...
Rock Art
 Cave Paintings were used by prehistoric
men across different continents
 They were used to depict local flora ...
Oral Traditions
 Before the advent of forms of writing,
cultural norms, traditions, and tales were
transmitted orally
 T...
The Written Tale
 The advent of writing allowed the tales and
traditions of people to be set down in a
more permanent man...
The Performance of The Story
 Many stories were told not just through
oral recitation or written to be read but
were perf...
Remembered in Song
 Some cultures kept and transmitted
storied in the form of song.
 Songs were particularly effective d...
WAIT, What’s a Story Anyway?
“Artists use lies to tell the truth. Yes, I created a lie. But because you believed it, you f...
Stories and Storytelling
 Well technically, it‟s just relating a sequence of events.
 However, I‟d say it‟s more than th...
How Has Storytelling Changed?
 The traditional forms of storytelling: oral, written, drama, etc. remain extant
 But stor...
Owning The Tale
 Most traditional forms of storytelling do not
ascribe a particular author to the tale
 Stories were con...
The Reach of the Story
 Ancient stories used to be targeted at
fairly homogenous groups
 Modern storytelling however, ha...
Different Ways To Tell The Tale
 The different ways that ancient cultures used to tell stories is testament to the flexib...
Lights, Camera, Action
 Perhaps the most recognizable form of
storytelling today
 The advent of the cinema has taken the...
Animation
 Visual art has existed for centuries and has
served well as a method of storytelling
which abstracts the direc...
Video Games are Stories Too You Know
 Starting from arcade games, to MUDs, and
the creation of Dungeons & Dragons, a new
...
What’s In A Story Anyway?
“Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can't remember who we are or
why we'...
Impact of A Story
 A story today is more than a piece of text, more than 190mins of film, more than an hour
long play.
 ...
Consider these stories..
 Sarafina
 Maus
 A Tale of Two Cities
 Amistad
 Memoirs of a Geisha
 Les Miserables
 Narut...
Tell Your Own Story
 The beauty of a story is it can serve
whatever theme the author wishes
 The strength of a well-told...
Dedication: Prof. Kofi Awoonor
 A Husband
 A Father
 A Storyteller
 R.I.P.
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Connecting The Dots of The Human Experience

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A presentation focusing on storytelling and its power to communicate human experiences made at the September 2013 edition of DOTTS.

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Connecting The Dots of The Human Experience

  1. A Presentation by Terence Adjei-Otchwemah On 27/09/2013 @ D.O.T.T.S.
  2. A Brief History of Storytelling “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” ― Rudyard Kipling, The Collected Works
  3. Stories Unending  We‟ve really always told stories  In different styles, languages, and forms  In art, music, dance, and the spoken word we have created and transmitted stories for centuries..  Some highlights..
  4. Rock Art  Cave Paintings were used by prehistoric men across different continents  They were used to depict local flora and fauna  As well as to tell stories of hunts or more religious themes
  5. Oral Traditions  Before the advent of forms of writing, cultural norms, traditions, and tales were transmitted orally  This function was so central to societies that a number of individuals specialized in relating these oral traditions to members of the society  These storytellers thus served as the guardians and transmitters of their people‟s tradition  These stories were told in the form of drama, dance, prose, or poetry.  To the right is a Kyrgyz manaschi..
  6. The Written Tale  The advent of writing allowed the tales and traditions of people to be set down in a more permanent manner.  Writing would ensure that tales could not be corrupted or lost over time  Many of these written tales have survived through the ages and afford us a unique glimpse into ancient cultures and mores.  This form of storytelling has effectively survived unchanged into the modern era.  To the right you see the Deluge Tablet upon which is inscribed part of the Epic of Gilgamesh(circa 18BC)
  7. The Performance of The Story  Many stories were told not just through oral recitation or written to be read but were performed before the people.  These performances helped to illustrate the story to be told before the audience  Many specialized groups were formed in societies to conduct this duty  Here we see an actor performing as sugriva in the Hindu epic, Ramayana.
  8. Remembered in Song  Some cultures kept and transmitted storied in the form of song.  Songs were particularly effective due to being easy to remember and easily related and memorized.  Ballads and epics served to preserve certain stories across the ages  The song of the Prophetess Deborah as recorded in the Bible is one such example.
  9. WAIT, What’s a Story Anyway? “Artists use lies to tell the truth. Yes, I created a lie. But because you believed it, you found something true about yourself.” ― Alan Moore, V for Vendetta
  10. Stories and Storytelling  Well technically, it‟s just relating a sequence of events.  However, I‟d say it‟s more than that  A story is truly a way to capture and communicate a human experience to another person.  In the contexts of a culture, a story is just a way of preserving that culture‟s tradition‟s, religion, and mores.  The art of storytelling then, revolves around preparing and presenting the information in the most relatable fashion possible.  Consider Akan stories and proverbs…
  11. How Has Storytelling Changed?  The traditional forms of storytelling: oral, written, drama, etc. remain extant  But stories and storytelling have undergone some major changes:  Ownership of the story  The reach of the story  Different Styles of presenting the story  Take a look at some of the new ways stories are being told today..
  12. Owning The Tale  Most traditional forms of storytelling do not ascribe a particular author to the tale  Stories were considered to be commonly owned and commonly shared  In this way, different versions of a story could be commonly found, as there was no fear of „copyright‟  e.g. Many ancient tales such as The Stories of Ananse or Beowulf have no definite author..  However, the advent of the written form changed all this as stories came to be more definitely owned by the individual and not the group.
  13. The Reach of the Story  Ancient stories used to be targeted at fairly homogenous groups  Modern storytelling however, has transcended cultural barriers and is targeted at people in general.  This does not mean that stories have lost their cultural context..  Rather, storytellers have learnt that their stories transcend individual cultures and practices..
  14. Different Ways To Tell The Tale  The different ways that ancient cultures used to tell stories is testament to the flexibility of storytelling as a medium  In modern times and with the rise of technology, we may have seen a slow decline in the traditional forms of storytelling such as written and oral forms.  However, new technologies have birthed even richer ways to tell stories.  Take a look at a few..
  15. Lights, Camera, Action  Perhaps the most recognizable form of storytelling today  The advent of the cinema has taken the concept of drama and expanded it  Movies today allow stories to be told in easily consumable and distributable formats all over the world.  Millions pack into the cinemas for various movie releases every weekend across the world
  16. Animation  Visual art has existed for centuries and has served well as a method of storytelling which abstracts the direct human element  Visual tales such as those of TinTin and Asterix have captured the minds and hearts of many across the world  The rise of technology has allowed for a greater exploration of this form of storytelling  Leaders in this area are the forms of manga (physically drawn storylines) and anime in Japan.  See Maus and the work of Miyazaki.
  17. Video Games are Stories Too You Know  Starting from arcade games, to MUDs, and the creation of Dungeons & Dragons, a new form of participatory storytelling was birthed alongside the internet and computers  Movies seek to immerse the person in the story visually  But video games and gaming immerse people in a story by requiring their participation  In this way, powerful connections can be created between the story that is told and the individual who lives it.
  18. What’s In A Story Anyway? “Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can't remember who we are or why we're here.” ― Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees:
  19. Impact of A Story  A story today is more than a piece of text, more than 190mins of film, more than an hour long play.  A story is a shared human experience a way to not only glimpse but be totally immersed in another‟s life.  That is why a story from a culture totally different to yours and in a form you may be unfamiliar with, can still draw an emotional reaction  It is because at the heart of it all the essence of our humanity is common. It is shared.
  20. Consider these stories..  Sarafina  Maus  A Tale of Two Cities  Amistad  Memoirs of a Geisha  Les Miserables  Naruto  Final Fantasy 7  A Midsummer Night‟s Dream
  21. Tell Your Own Story  The beauty of a story is it can serve whatever theme the author wishes  The strength of a well-told story is it‟s ability to make a connection even in those far from the author‟s time, culture, or context.  Stories have been told around cars, phones, even shoes. Not to mention human lives  They remain one of the most effective methods of generating empathy and sympathy in others.
  22. Dedication: Prof. Kofi Awoonor  A Husband  A Father  A Storyteller  R.I.P.

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