everything can be read, every surface, every silence, every breath, every vacancy, every eddy, every current, every body, every absence, every darkness, every light……
Some ideas to emerge from our discussion last evening:
Michael Joyce’s Twelve Blue = a reading experience; a conceptual exploration.
- Themes/Motifs: reading & flowing; water- upstream/downstream, stillness & turbulence, fluid and changing; memory; color; nature/seasons; traces; generations (young vs. more mature); history; perception (looking); multiple paths/multiple meanings; “skyways” (routes, infrastructure, mobility); self-referencial elements
- Character, plot and relationships: there are relationship “networks” but there was definitely some confusion – some readers knew some characters, other readers knew others, some of our knowledge of the text overlapped, some did not, etc.
- Reading strategies: Some chose to click on threads or the hyperlinks within the text randomly, some decided to stick consistently by a certain thread color, while others discovered the titles for each of the lexia tabs and used this as an attempt to “frame” possible meanings. Some considered the number 12 as a clue to a reading strategy, while some attempted basic “note taking” and/or “mapping” in an attempt to discern patterns or meanings. Everyone expressed frustration, and many felt a sense of exploration and discovery emerge after some more time spent with the text. Some expressed that the piece was “writerly” but the story was never compelling because there was no cohesion. We speculated on the effect of a lack of any discernible pathway to reading. A lack of any identifiable closure was certainly unsettling to most of us.
- Assessment: 12 Blue reminds us all of the active role of the reader in creation – we are “navigators” beyond just readers; We all shared an awareness of an underlying structure that cannot/couldn’t be apprehended, but was determined by the code of the work. (This is the central illusion – that readers have agency through navigation, but still, the world is a closed design determined by the underlying code). I think the idea of an illusion will be a key word for us to consider throughout our exploration of elit. With Twelve Blue, we struggled to apprehend an ending (lack of closure was deemed truly unsatisfying), but some of us agreed there was beauty in the fragments.
I would like to share with you some critical/review articles. These articles give you an idea of how critics/scholars write about a text like 12 Blue:
- 12 Strange, Blue Rains: Touch Evocations in Elit via Kathi Inman Berens
- Selected Bibliography of Hypertext Criticism: http://journals.tdl.org/jodi/article/viewArticle/115/114
- Postmodern Culture, Volume 8, Number 1, September 1997
- Don’t Believe the Hype: Rereading Michael Joyce’s Afternoon and Twelve Blue by Anthony Enns (2001 in Currents in Electronic Literature)
Some follow up planning issues:
You each should identify a date for your presentation. We will pin the calendar via negotiation next week in class. Remember as well to identify the elit text you would like analyze (have a few choices in mind, and I encourage you to select work from Vols 2 or 3). The first presentation for your E-lit Reviews will start next week – thanks to Andaiye volunteering to kick this part of class off on 9/27.
For next week:
1. For those of you have not identified an Elit piece to analyze, continue exploring the ELC Volumes and choose a few you would like to work with. Keep a few preferred presentation dates in mind and be ready to negotiate that date with the rest of your classmates in class next week.
2. Please read these three elit works from Volume 1:
Like Stars in A Clear Night Sky by Sharif Ezzat
Soliloquy by Kenneth Goldsmith
RedRidinghood by Donna Leishman
3. Your first blog post: Write analytically about one of those three texts: –Like Stars in A Clear Night Sky, –Soliloquy, or –RedRidinghood. Some questions to consider: What are some of the significant textual elements? How did you choose to navigate these texts? What visual, sound, interactive elements left an impression? What overall effect do these texts create? What themes and symbolic language emerge in navigating the text? What is literary about the text?
Next week we will walkthrough the three texts, as a model for what your reviews may be like. In addition, we will go over the Elit Review protocol/assignment.
I regret we did not have further time to discuss Twelve Blue and hypertext in general last night, but we still had a very rich conversation as we start to reconsider the act of reading . The links to your collaborative class notes can be found in the Course Resources section of this website.
Thanks for a great start to the semester….
See you next week,