The collaborative space and artifacts archive for CHID 480 F: Mediating Identities at the University of Washington, Spring 2012. Taught by Edmond Y. Chang.
iLog #7: Imagining the Oankali
For this exercise, draw or create a one-page visual representation (8.5” x 11”) of what you imagine Octavia Butler’s Dawn’s “Oankali” to look like, be like, act like, live like. How do you represent or convey something conveyed only through words, inferences, and expectations? Consider the initial descriptions of Jdahya: “His tentacles seemed to solifiy into a second skin—dark patches on his face and neck, a dark, smooth-looking mass on his head…He looked remarkably human now. Was it only the tentacles that gave him that sea-slug appearance? His coloring hadn’t changed. The fact that he has no eyes, nose, or ears still disturbed…His skin was cool and almost too smooth to be real flesh…” (23). You can hand draw, use mixed media (but keep it flat), use digital tools. Be creative and think critically. Given that one of the central tensions in Dawn is a decentering of the “human,” consider what it means to try to represent something alien, monstrous, different, nonhuman, posthuman, even inhuman.
Bring your Oankali drawing to class on Monday. I’ll collect them and we’ll scan them for the Tumblr. If you create an e-version, email a copy to me as well.