Sharing Ink

Public art artist Sayraphim Lothian invited me to participate in her “guerrilla kindness project” Sharing Ink. The brief is to write a short piece in a hand-crafted journal to leave for a stranger in the street, and hopefully they will add to it and leave it for another person.

I was interested in utilising the mechanic of leaving a message in a location, and so I wrote a piece that encouraged the finder to enter their own moment they want to “leave behind”. They then leave it at a place that is significant for the “leaving behind” moment for a stranger to find. So I wrote a story about the location I left it, and what was significant about that location and what I was leaving behind (the relationship). I enjoyed designing the process of finding, writing, and leaving as a cathartic ritual.



Synthetic Reality

Portuguese translation of my essay on player-created tiers by Luiz Adolfo de Andrade fin his sold-out book “Synthetic Reality”! Thank you Thiago Falcao and Luiz for inviting me to be a part of your book on games!

Realidade Sintética: jogos eletrônicos, comunicação e experiência social (2012) DENA, C. Práticas Emergentes da Cultura Participativa: uma análise do conteúdo gerado pelos jogadores nos alternate reality games In: ANDRADE, LA; FALCÃO, T. São Paulo: Scortecci Editora, 2012



Comics for Film, Games, and Animation

Comics for Film, Games, and Animation: Using Comics to Construct your Transmedia Storyworld (2012) Interviewed in Tyler Weaver’s book

‘The Scaredy Cat Factor’ for The Emerging Writer

The Emerging Writer: An Insider’s Guide to Your Writing Journey (2012) “The Scaredy Cat Factor” published in “The Emerging Writer: An Insider’s Guide to Your Writing Journey”

“Every writer has to find their own way to emerge – there is no set route, no absolute path and no road that must be followed. But there is a lot we can learn from those who have travelled before us: how to get there more directly, how to bypass the road blocks, traverse the peaks and valleys, or which is the most scenic route.
The Emerging Writer is an insider’s guide full of valuable advice from fellow travellers – a resource you can keep within arm’s length, for when you need to consult that map again to help you find your way.”

‘The Contributions of Multimodality and Polymorphic Fictions: Beyond Narrative and Games Studies’ for New Perspectives on Narrative and Multimodality

The contributors in this collection question what kinds of relationships hold between narrative studies and the recently established field of multimodality, evaluate how we might develop an analytical vocabulary which recognizes that stories do not consist of words alone, and demonstrate the ways in which multimodality brings into fresh focus the embodied nature of narrative production and processing. Engaging with a spectrum of multimodal storytelling, from ‘low tech’ examples encompassing face-to-face stories, comic books, printed literature, through to opera, film adaptation and television documentary, stretching beyond to narratives that employ new media such as hypertext, performance art, and interactive museum guides, this volume examines the interplay of semiotic codes (visual, oral, aural, haptic, physiological) within each case under scrutiny, thereby exposing both points of commonality and difference in the range of multimodal narrative experiences.


‘Creating Quality Cross-Media Experiences’ for Cross-Media Communications



My chapter for Drew Davidson’s book discusses ways you can create quality cross-media experiences. This is one of the earliest ‘how-to’ books on cross-media published.

This text is an introduction to the future of mass media and mass communications – cross-media communications. Cross-media is explained through the presentation and analysis of contemporary examples and project-based tutorials in cross-media development. The text introduces fundamental terms and concepts, and provides a solid overview of cross-media communications, one that builds from a general introduction to a specific examination of media and genres to a discussion of the concepts involved in designing and developing cross-media communications. There is also an accompanying DVD-ROM full of hands-on exercises that shows how cross-media can be applied.

Transmedia Practice: Theorising the Practice of Expressing a Fictional World across Distinct Media and Environments


My PhD on ‘Transmedia Practice: Theorising the Practice of Expressing a Fictional World across Distinct Media and Environments’ at Sydney University, 2009. I take a transdisciplinary approach, focusing on the changes to the way we create with transmedia, including phenomena from different types and countries and across time.

Examiner comments:

“I am particularly impressed with the wealth of material tackled in the dissertation, and also the numerous theoretical sources applied. Despite its almost encyclopaedic nature, the dissertation is clearly and engagingly written, and the richness of material does not congest the flow of argument. Dena furthermore manages to engage theorists and prior commentators in a generous yet critical manner, identifying their weaknesses while pointing out and employing their useful aspects. Her level of scholarship is impressive and style convincing.”

“But its significance extends far beyond the novelty of the phenomenon under investigation. This is a truly groundbreaking work whose strengths are too numerous to list: the breadth of its scope, the extent of its scholarship, its development of new analytical tools, its extension of the vocabulary of new media studies through interdisciplinary ideas, and above all its lucid examination of the design problems encountered by multi-media projects.”

“I would like to reiterate my strong appreciation of this excellent thesis that explores a vast field of fascinating practices, that demonstrates an impressive knowledge of numerous theoretical works on the various aspects of the question, and proposes an ambitious model that encompasses domains that are too often treated separately “ traditional media and Internet, narratives and games, entertainment fiction and experimental works of art. That Christy Dena has done this without lapsing into syncretism is much to her credit, and I would like to congratulate her warmly.”


In the past few years there have been a number of theories emerge in media, film, television, narrative and game studies that detail the rise of what has been variously described as transmedia, cross-media and distributed phenomena. Fundamentally, the phenomenon involves the employment of multiple media platforms for expressing a fictional world. To date, theorists have focused on this phenomenon in mass entertainment, independent arts or gaming; and so, consequently the global, transartistic and transhistorical nature of the phenomenon has remained somewhat unrecognised. Theorists have also predominantly defined it according to end-point characteristics such as the ‘expansion’ trait (a story continues across media). This has resulted in the phenomenon being obscured amongst similar phenomena. Therefore, rather than investigate the phenomenon as it occurs in isolated artistic sectors and with an end-point characteristic, this thesis investigates all of these emergences through the lens of transmedia practice. That is, this thesis investigates the nature of transmedia practice in general, according to the way practitioners conceive and design a fictional world to be expressed across distinct media and environments.

To do this, this thesis draws on the semiotic theory of ‘multimodality’ and ‘domains of practice’ (Kress and van Leeuwen, 2001) to illuminate the unique knowledge and skills of practitioners involved in the design of transmedia projects. The industrial and aesthetic implications of the employment of distinct media are discussed, along with their semiotic activation. Related theories such as ‘hypertextuality’ and ‘transfictionality’ are problematised in light of transmedia phenomena. Since the phenomenon involves both narrative and game modes, a new methodology is introduced to study their presence at various stages of design: transmodality. The employment of the actual world in transmedia practices is discussed in light of Aristotle’s ‘dramatic unities’ and through ‘deictic shift theory’. Through research questions from media, narrative and game studies as well as semiotics, this thesis aims to explain how transmedia is a peculiar practice that demands its own research area and methodologies.


Transmedia Practice by Christy Dena

‘A Quick Primer on Alternate Realities’ for Space, Time, Play

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Edited by Friedrich von Borries, Steffen P. Walz and Matthias Böttger In cooperation with Drew Davidson, Heather Kelley, Julian Kücklich“Space Time Play” is a journey through the past, present and potential spaces of computer and video games.

Have you ever wondered what’s behind a perfect Tetris-wall?
Have you ever freed a 3D world from terrorists?
Have you ever made polygon friends in networked fantasy realms?
And do you know what happens when these games never end?

The richly illustrated texts in “Space Time Play” cover a wide range of gamespaces: from milestone video and computer games to virtual metropolises to digitally-overlaid physical spaces. As a comprehensive and interdisciplinary compendium, “Space Time Play” explores the architectural history of computer games and the future of ludic space. More than 140 experts from game studies and the game industry, from architecture and urban planning, have contributed essays, game reviews and interviews. The games examined range from commercial products to artistic projects and from scientific experiments to spatial design and planning tools.

“Space Time Play” is not just meant for architects, designers and gamers, but for all those who take an interest in the culture of digital games and the spaces within and modeled after them. Let’s play!

With contributions by Espen Aarseth, Ernest Adams, Richard A. Bartle, Ian Bogost, Iain Borden, Gerhard M. Buurman, Edward Castranova, Kees Christiaanse, James Der Derian, Stephen Graham, Ludger Hovestadt, Henry Jenkins, Jesper Juul, Frank Lantz, Bart Lootsma, Winy Maas, Lev Manovich, Jane McGonigal, Kas Oosterhuis, William J. Mitchell, Howard Rheingold, Katie Salen, Hans-Peter Schwarz, McKenzie Wark, Mark Wigley and many more.

Space Time Play: Synergies between Computer Games (2007) ‘A Quick Primer on Alternate Realities’ in Friedrich von Borries, Steffen P. Walz and Matthias Bottger (Eds), Architecture and Urbansim, Birkhauser: Basel, Boston, Berlin. Chapter available for download. ERRATA: The first sentence mistakenly says ‘Augmented Reality Games’ and not ‘Alternate Reality Games’; the photographer of the Sammeeeees photograph is ‘SpaceBass’ aka Sean C. Stacey; the ‘Daffy Google Map’ was an assemblage of the maps provided at the back of Mind Candy’s Perplex City cards.

‘Designing Cross-Media Stories’ for Making Cross Media


I wrote a chapter for Max Giovagnoli’s book (in Italian) – the first book about cross-media making.

Since many journalism-media (BBC News, Skytg24, RAI News 24) to video telephony and the Internet for fiction. From corporate communications all’emotional marketing and new formats for mobile phones and interactive TV. The book describes with examples, materials and speeches by international scholars techniques, scenarios and rules needed to implement communication projects spread across multiple media. Among the first published in Europe on the subject, this text uses the research on the collective and strengthening emotional, project management and alternative dramas to bring order in a discipline in which, even today, too often we rely on talent and mysterious improvisation determining success or unpredictable flop in the field of information, entertainment and communication.

Max Giovagnoli teaches at the Link Campus University of Malta-Rome. He was editor in chief of Big Brother and directs the laboratory cross-media Proiettiliperscrittori. He is the author of Writing the web (Dino Audino publisher), Web writing (new techniques), it takes fire (Halley publishing).


Foreword by Sergio Brancato; Introduction: Anytime, anywhere …; Chapter One: Think cross-media; Chapter Two: Designing the cross-media; Chapter Three: Imagine cross-media; Chapter Four: Inspiring with the cross-media; Chapter Five: Storytelling with the cross-media; Chapter Six: Audience scenarios and cross-medial; the Conclusions; Being cross-media; Bibliography and sources.

Fare Cross-Media: From Big Brother to Star Wars, Theory and Techniques of the Integrated and Distributed Use of Simultaneous Media (2005) ‘Punto, Linea E Superficie’ in Giovagnoli, M., Dino Audino Editore, pp.126-129