Spinning Tales

tailspin

As soon as the world of Tailspin by Christine Wilks is open, there is movement and sound. Intricate designs grow and move in the background as the shape of an ear appears. If one did not read the description of the piece before entering, the ear would seem confusing, but after reading, it becomes clear that sound is crucial to this piece because of the grandfather’s tinnitus. I tried to do some research behind spiral shapes and their meanings, but did not stumble across anything that made it clear why the author chose to have swirling spirals as the point on a screen to click on. The reason could have very well been because Wilks just needed a shape or a spot for the reader to click. As you roll over the spirals, words fade into view to reveal part of a story. What happens next will be different for every reader because one may not roll over the spirals in the same order as another. I like the fact that everything does connect. The spirals could have been blurbs of unrelated pieces of text, but it connected to a larger story.

black-spirals

The story mostly centered around the lives of the mother, her two boys, the dad, and the grandfather. There are moments in the story that trails back to when the grandfather was in the war. Animations and caricatures sometimes moved across the screen as the story unfolded. At times, rolling over a spiral would result in the background transforming into a sky and plane would fly around. Once all of the black spirals on a single page is rolled over, a blue spiral will appear usually toward the center of the page to click on and move the reader to the next set of pieces to the story. I felt there was some sort of clear ending even though it may seem impossible in any type of electronic literature setting. There was a point where I was able to get to a red spiral in the center, and that brought me to the credits.

blue-spiral

Some of the spirals will have noses associated with them, in addition to the ongoing clinking of the grandchildren’s toys and the buzzing of tinnitus in the grandfather’s ear. Moments of the story even went back to when the grandfather might have been flying a plane and bullet sounds will blare out of the speakers. I can understand the feel the author might have been going for with such intense sound throughout the piece. The feel of the world reminds me of simulators that let individuals experience the kind of illness or disability another person has. I feel that the world is a great way to step into another person’s shoes and get to experience what is happening from the grandfather’s point of view. I can only imagine how annoying the constant ringing and buzzing is to him. All of the different moving parts on the screen emphasize how distracting it is to have so much going on at once.

The ability for a person to hear and the implications that the text makes allude to the fact that hearing is vital to human life. While some with hearing defects learn about the world in a different way to be able to adjust/adapt, if one is able to hear, they are automatically at an advantage and have a different view of the world than others. I felt a sort of weight once the author wrote “He can’t hear birdsong anymore” (Wilks “Tailspin”). I also felt there was a very distinct way in which the author went about sound so differently, and that was manifested when I’d roll over a piece of text and hear some of the words within it in a muffled shout. This aspect was creepy at first, but it is such a prevalent and striking detail. Overall, I didn’t know how much I would like this piece when I first started navigating it, but I feel like I found more joy in picking it apart than actually being immersed in the world and getting to go through it and navigate it.


Blog#2- Tailspin

tailspin
https://www.reverbnation.com/show/19373392

Wow! Tailspin really made my head spin. When first trying to read through this Elit piece I was beyond confused, but then as I read through it more and more and spend some time trying to “crack its codes” I realized that the title says it all. They use the title to convey a certain meaning with the emphasis on spin. The father who was in the war and now is apparently affected by loud noises such as most of those who return from war is bothered by the sounds of his playful grandchildren. I really felt the pain of the noise that I could imagine this war hero was going through. When I first started into discovering the wonders of Tailspin, I realized how loud the sounds were and they were bothering me as I would scroll over the turning circles and trying my best to focus on the readings.

At the same time of being able to feel the pain of the woman’s father, I was also able to feel the joy and excitement that the children were going through. On each of the turning circles, some kind of image or sound or even both the image and sound would come up relating to the text written in the piece. It really grabbed my attention and the noises began to fade the more I got into it.

Another really interesting thing that I noticed was that you cannot move on from the page shown until scrolling over all of the turning circles. This indicates that the reader does not want you to just pick and choose one or two of the sections to read, but that it is very important for you to read the entire section as a whole before moving on to the next part. At the same time of this going on I saw the bottom left of the screen had a little symbol indicating how far you have gotten in the Elit piece. I questioned myself as to why this was important for the reader to know and how it relates to the story directly and the only thing I could think of was that maybe the reader wanted us to see “the light at the end of the tunnel.” Everything in life has an ending, whether good or bad. So whether you were enjoying this Elit piece or not, it, like everything else in life has its own ending and it’s up to the reader to get through all the turning circles in order to find out exactly what that ending is.

The blue turning circle in the middle that allows you to click and move on to the next chapter in the story turns red towards the end of the piece and to me that indicates anger and eruption. The woman’s father is so mad about the noises and he is taking out that anger on his grandchildren who are really just trying to be kids and have fun. Its kind of like reality vs. innocence. When the children grow up and go through life the way their grandfather has, they may lose all that excitement and turn into these grumpy- like adults. Overall, I enjoyed this piece. It easily captured my attention and held onto it the entire time, noises and all!


Tailspin

Tailspin is a fascinating interactive text that uses sound to tell the story with sparse text and striking images as supplements for the story. It is focused around a father/grandfather figure that is suffering from tinnitus and reflects the way he communicates (or fails to communicate) through a haze of chaotic and discordant sounds. The reader is encouraged to click on spirals to advance the story. On each page, all of the spirals have to be clicked in order for a blue one in the center to appear – that is the one that advances the story to the next “scene”.

It begins with eerie music and what sounds like plates and silverware clinking, giving the reader the sense of a domestic scene. One of the spirals brings sound of the father figure shouting – a menacing, incoherent voice (I later reflected that it sounded more like a beast than a man, so probably how it sounded to those hearing it but also possibly to the man who is shouting but is only partially hearing himself). Nothing happens when you click on the spirals. You only need to cursor over it. Each one has text and some have images as well. When a spiral reveals a poem about a child helping birds, you hear birds. Images of birds also show up. Here, for the first time, we start to understand what’s going on. A child is fearful of her grandfather because he is angry and shouts (that’s mentioned twice). Also, the idea of the birds here introduces a contrast that appears throughout the story – the sky and birds and flying. I feel that ultimately, it is used as a metaphor for being free – free from the family conflicts and physical limitations (like tinnitus) that shackle the protagonist. The children also wish for freedom from a home dominated by this angry man.  A third spiral reveals an image of a cat dancing with a dog. The imagery is interesting. It is a sketch rather than a full picture, it looks cartoony, and the creatures move across the screen. They almost look like kids in costumes. The dog is particularly odd. It has clear eyes (no pupils) and the body looks like a six pointed star. They are not fixed on the screen, but are constantly moving and changing. In this way, they are like kids, and the images are accompanied by the sounds of kids laughing and playing and the sounds of an arcade or a cartoon. After cursoring over the screen a few times, a third creature appears – more like a kid in a costume (looks like it has a hood with whiskers drawn on).   The images stay on the screen, even when you move to the next spiral. On this screen, the main character is named as George and the text reveals him to be kind of a typical grumpy old man (he says things like “the kids should play outside” and references “back in my day”.)  Another spiral reveals a girl wanting to smash plates – the first indication of anger here from someone other than George. The source of the voice is not clear. Up to this point, the voices seem to be either George or his young grandchildren. The blue spiral appears when you click on a spiral that says “Kill the noise, deaden the fear” – kind of an inner monologue, like a devil on George’s shoulder. This is a constant theme – the issues he has with his family and noise. The cat cartoon character has disappeared leaving just the dog and squirrel. On the next screen, there is spiral mentioning that the girl doesn’t want to ask her grandfather something – reinforcing the fear the kids feel from him. The last spiral here has references to fire engines and is totally off topic from anything else so far. It introduces an element of uncertainty and chaos into the story. There is a sound like the wind on a microphone held by someone running.

The next screen shows more references to kids playing and indications that the parents are trying to downplay it. George is getting increasingly annoying. There are the faces of multiple cartoon characters on screen – more close up – maybe that means they are more in his face, so to speak? I’ve also begun to notice a series of escalating high piercing notes that play over and over while I’m reading – an obvious reference to tinnitus and the high-pitched whine in one’s ears.

 

New references now to George’s war history – and a time in his life that he clearly remembers with some  measure of pride, but as we find out later, also some shame. At this point in the story, it contrasts with a child or grandchild’s love of war films. So both characters referenced “love” the war, but for difference reasons. One of the spirals here sends out red rings and a kind of a “death ray” type of sound.  Looks like radar as well. Seems to be a reference to his hearing because of the sound, but could be a reference to the war as well. One spiral here shows one of George’s adult kids thinking about telling the kids to tone it down but opting against it – in other words, willfully eschewing an opportunity to help her father. Another makes clear that George has told them that almost anything sets off his hearing problems, yet when we read that other people have talked to him about his hearing problems, we get no sense that they are really reaching out – only that they are upset about his reaction. More rings appear. Also, we see images of ears and an image of blue sky and a plane when he talks about joining the military with hopes of being an air cadet. Also a reference to “explosions” – amping up the urgency from this element of chaos introduced alongside the story.

 

Next screen is more examples of kids playing and the grandfather getting annoyed. In one, he yells again – a monster-like sound – and it says he “spits fire” – a war/fire metaphor that gets used repeatedly. Now we start to get some shape to the storyline about the fire and explosions – there is a reference to a burning plane and images of fire. Again, one of his children willfully doesn’t help her father by sitting on the side of him where he can’t hear. Wondering if the images of the cartoon animals that show up are an indication of the way the grandfather sees the kids? As animals?

A heartbeat has joined the sound of the escalating tinny whiny noises and a schematic of the inside of an ear appears.

On the next screen, closeups of the cartoon faces coincide with a mesage about not being able to understand people. I feel like the way the faces flash and are closeup is a reflection of how he feels intimidated or confused. There is a lot of overlapping noises now. We get an indication that he never got to get into the air cadets with a message that says his dreams were dashed. Noises are annoying and chaotic.

Interesting that where one message talks about about George never listening to her, there’s a line that says he can be fun too, but its faded as if spoken under the person’s breath or as an aside – like a thought that seems ridiculous or shouldn’t be spoken aloud or even a distant memory cropping up out of the blue. I feel like the heartbeat has sped up now. Lots of references to war-like metaphors or burning – for instance, an argument for treatment is “shot down in flames”.References here that the grandfather still holds out hope of flying – a peaceful sound of wind,m images of blue sky and birds appear. Interesting that when a kid talks about the birds and sky they say it’s boring. An interesting contrast between two viewpoints. The sounds are more persistent now – the heartbeat faster, the bells ringing, a siren-like wail, a sound like a teletype machine beeping…. Lots of use of “hearing language” – mentions turning a deaf ear, says she cant get a fair hearing – birds and planes are prominent here – as if everyone wishes they were somewhere else

In the next screen, we get to the nut of it – he feels ashamed that he was never a pilot – the daughter feels shame as well, mistaking her father for a “hero”. But we see that it’s not that cut and dry. He remembers seeing a pilot die in a burning plane – and says 9 out of 10 of the pilots ended up being a “dead hero”.  In the passage about a pilot trapped in a burning plane, we hear a teletype machine and fire engines and images of fire. He also writers that about the pilot “screaming for his mother” but the text is faded – like it is a thought he is trying to suppress.  Lots of warlike language here – words like bullets, him spitting fire, etc

The next screen has an image of a spiraling plane (spirals again!) coming at the reader and a horrible voice yelling “Help Me” and the grandfather says he’s actually happy for his bad ear, presumably because he couldn’t hear the screams of the dying pilot – an interesting contrast after the entire story has been spent talking about how much trouble and heartache his ears have given him.  Another passage showing George’s child willfully opting against reaching out to him. Even when he looks “vulnerable”, there’s a “red hot burning block” keeping her from reaching out – interesting language considering how much burning and fire plays into the reasons that George can’t reach out to her.  Here, the blue sky starts to feel like a metaphor for death – the ultimate escape from the world in which he is physically trapped and perhaps an escape to the world he misses – of flight and planes and heroes in WWII. The final spiral is red and takes you to a screen where there are dozens of circles and the text “Hang onto deafness for dear life”. I take that to mean that in the end, the grandfather may have actually been more grateful for not being able to hear the screams of the dying, even if it cost him the ability to communicate with his family. Interesting that he is physically barred from communicating, but his children (and by extension his grandchildren) have chosen not to communicate with him – preferring to lecture him about treatment and then passing on opportunities to genuinely reach out.  Another spiral takes you to the credits for animation, sound and special thanks.

 

 

 

 


Taking a Nosedive: Exploring the Complexity of Communication in Christine Wilks’ “Tailspin”

When stories want to describe a place as “abandoned” or “eerie”, “desolate” or “lonely”, words such as “quiet” or “still” are usually used, a phrase like, “no sounds of life” thrown around. Rarely, have I thought hard on those descriptions and, more, what they implicate–that life is noisy. The click of my computer mouse, the creak of my desk chair, and, yes, the sharp clang of cutlery against my plate are all distinct communicators of actions–affirmations of those actions, even–but, so easily taken for granted. These everyday sounds are background noise.

But, what if they weren’t? What if they were loud? The volume in your own head already at 100 but it’s like someone is lead-footing the control on the remote. Those clicks and creaks and clangs now ring in your ears. Everything hurts.

In Christine Wilks’ Tailspin, this scenario is not some hypothetical what if–it is an experience. Felt and internalized. Upon entrance into this experience, the clangs and scrapes of cutlery are almost completely devoured by a persistent, high- pitch ringing sound–that doesn’t abate. A cluster of spiraling animations appear on the screen, accompanying these sounds and overlaying a diagram of the inner ear. They mimic the shape of the cochlea, the tiny organ in the ear responsible for, simply, translating sounds into messages. A quick Google search reveals that Tinnitus is commonly caused by damage to the cochlea.

Moving your cursor over these cochlear, downward spiraling animations, makes text appear on the screen. It fades slowly into focus, almost hazily. Lilian Wang (Electronic Literature Directory) describes the text as appearing, “almost reluctantly.” It’s as though the reader is dredging up these memories. And, these bits of text read as scenes from memory, each pulsating spiral revealing some nostalgic or repressed moment. Audio clips seem key in distinguishing which feeling each memory fragment is trying to provoke.

The twitters and tweets of birdsong tend to sound when a nostalgic memory appears on screen–usually when the grandfather, George, is recalling his dreams of being a fighter pilot. Though, they sound as well when Karen is remembering a time she tried to help some baby birds without disturbing her father only for that to blowup in her face. So, these sounds communicate messages specific to the characters themselves as well.

Explosive or crackling sounds, alarms screaming, tend to arise when George is remembering his time as an airplane fitter but alarm sounds also go off when more “present” memories appear, such as when George is telling his family that anything can set off his tinnitus. So, stress seems to be a connecting element. When paired with the nonstop ringing in the background, these alarming and explosive sounds certainly provoke feelings of frustration. Why can’t everything just be quiet? What will make it all stop? The sounds of everyday life that flow into this narrative become added irritants when paired with that continuous ringing, as communicated by the text and associated audio–shouts.

It’s interesting to not that George’s frustration seems primarily communicated through the use of audio and accompanying images–animations of birds and planes flying when he waxes wistful about wanting to be a pilot–while Karen’s frustration seem most intimated through text. “She has an urge to smash the plates….” One of the cochlear spirals reveals, no sound but the persistent ringing to accompany it. “but doesn’t.” In another slide, Karen wonders, “Why does he [George] never listen to her?” And, in another she admits, “It hurts.” That sound is more emphasized by audio when the scenes are in George’s perspective versus how sounds–or their lack thereof–are more often referenced in text in Karen’s POV seems to highlight the fundamental problems of communication in George and Karen’s relationship. Too much sound has made George demand silence while too much silence has made Karen resent it. More, all the sound seems to represent shame and failure to George–images of flames and planes flying every which way accompanying the barrage. “He fears the shame,” one of the spirals reveals, a pounding alarm and an image of smoke and fire assaulting the reader. But this deeper level of meaning never goes addressed, instead fading into the ringing and the screen, symbolically and metaphorically never reaching Karen or the rest of George’s family.

As a reader, you move through these slides of spirals as if sinking deeper into the psyches of the characters. Text–memories, dreams–incite sounds and images that give way to other sounds and images. This story could have been presented in a traditional, linear way–past to present–but by presenting it in spiraling, free-form, organic manner a kind of consciousness is created, assumed. The audio brings the reader into that consciousness. It’s not George’s ears that are ringing but ours. Sound immerses us in this narrative, the communication disconnect between George and Karen something we can not only read but hear, feel, and see.

At the end of Tailspin, a red spiral takes you to a slide with a tuning fork on it, black-and-white lines reverberating outward from it. The words hang onto deafness for dear life rest in between 2 reverberating lines. These words along with that continuous ringing seem to echo the lack of closure received from the story. Karen continues to speak from her father’s deaf side, tells her children to leave their grandfather alone, doesn’t reach for him and George doesn’t extend his hand either, instead remains like that boy trapped in the downed fighter jet, surrounded by so much noise, his screams unable to be answered. They exist in endless staccato. They exist in deafening silence.

“She was extending a hand I didn’t know how to take so I broke its fingers with my silence.” ~ Jonathan Saffran Foer

This whole piece made me think of this quote I had to hunt down on Google.

Image courtesy of WebMD


Tailspin Reaction

I enjoyed the layout of Tailspin by Christine Wilks. There are many things I can say about this piece on not only the story line but the layout as well.  There were several characters that were mentioned throughout the story. Such as; Daddy, Moma, Edna, Karen, Lauren and Chloe. I could not tell who the narrator of the story was. Sometimes it felt like it was a girl telling the story but then at times I felt a boy was talking. That was one part that confused me along with other things.

I liked how I had to click on the different spinny things to continue the readings. One thing I would have changed with that part is including numbers on each swirl. I had no idea if I was hovering over the right swirls in the right order because they are all over the page with no obvious sequence. This caused confusing for me when reading the story because I was never sure if I was reading it in the right order. I did like that once I hovered over every swirl, a blue one would pop up in the middle to allow me to continue with the storyline.

There was a lot of imagery going on with this story. A few things I remember while going on this electronic literature adventure are: airplanes, the old phones you have to put your finger in to dial numbers, hearing aids, burning fires, war, dud ear, birds, etc. I noticed that the mom was the nicer one of the two parents. I kind of got the feeling that with the two parents there is sort of a "good cop bad cop" action going on and the mom would be considered the good cop while the dad is the bad cop.
I also got the feeling that maybe he is a veteran who suffers from depression from being in the war? I got that idea just from hearing how angry he is and how he yells at the children and how he, "never listens". But then it is mentioned that the child thought that he was always a war pilot when in reality he later found out that the dad lied and he was just an aircraft fitter. Although he was just an aircraft fitter, his children seem to believe he is a hero anyway.

Tailspin Reaction

I enjoyed the layout of Tailspin by Christine Wilks. There are many things I can say about this piece on not only the story line but the layout as well.  There were several characters that were mentioned throughout the story. Such as; Daddy, Moma, Edna, Karen, Lauren and Chloe. I could not tell who the narrator of the story was. Sometimes it felt like it was a girl telling the story but then at times I felt a boy was talking. That was one part that confused me along with other things.

I liked how I had to click on the different spinny things to continue the readings. One thing I would have changed with that part is including numbers on each swirl. I had no idea if I was hovering over the right swirls in the right order because they are all over the page with no obvious sequence. This caused confusing for me when reading the story because I was never sure if I was reading it in the right order. I did like that once I hovered over every swirl, a blue one would pop up in the middle to allow me to continue with the storyline.

There was a lot of imagery going on with this story. A few things I remember while going on this electronic literature adventure are: airplanes, the old phones you have to put your finger in to dial numbers, hearing aids, burning fires, war, dud ear, birds, etc. I noticed that the mom was the nicer one of the two parents. I kind of got the feeling that with the two parents there is sort of a "good cop bad cop" action going on and the mom would be considered the good cop while the dad is the bad cop.
I also got the feeling that maybe he is a veteran who suffers from depression from being in the war? I got that idea just from hearing how angry he is and how he yells at the children and how he, "never listens". But then it is mentioned that the child thought that he was always a war pilot when in reality he later found out that the dad lied and he was just an aircraft fitter. Although he was just an aircraft fitter, his children seem to believe he is a hero anyway.

Our first walkthroughs….

 

New Red smI enjoyed our discussion of Donna Leishman’s RedRidinghood to kick off our tour of elit last class.  This interactive narrative is a provocative re-interpretation of the well known French fairytale, and it invokes an ominous, dark, mysterious, and decidedly adult tone.  With jazzy, contemporary background music, an urban setting, the highly stylized comic imagery of this piece announces itself as a clear “re-working” of a classic.  It challenges the assumptions which stem from reading/knowing this age-old children’s tale.  This version seems to unfold in three parts, beginning with a city highrise location.  The second part of the text covers the forest/meadow interlude. Finally the third section of this narrative takes place upon arrival at “Grandma’s house”.  The text is interactive throughout, the reader is choosing outcomes through a variety of link options.  The reader is forced to seek for hard-to-come-by links which are for the most part hidden.  There are definitely elements to discover that are not easily noticed (including a revealing and dark diary which provides insight into Redridinghood’s psyche).  The necessary “active search” for links (that are veiled from reader’s immediate access) seems to suggest an emphasis on all things “hidden”.  Things are not what they seem.  There is more than meets the eye.  There are dark realities that exist beyond the surface.  This is most definitely a psychological piece, charged with frightening twists and uncanny discoveries.  Was Redridinghood violated?  Or was she a complicit agent in her own adulteration?  The text provides complicated layers which render this question difficult to answer.  This story seems to insist that there is indeed more than meets the eye at first.  I hope that as we walked through this text together, it was also useful to refer to the Elit Review Assignment to gather a sense of how to proceed in a close reading of an elit text.

I asked all of you to read read both Like Stars in A Clear Night Sky and Soliloquy from Vol.  1.  as well.  I thought that by reading these e-lit texts they would further deepen our initial familiarity with the potential of Electronic Literature.  I also felt that by considering these texts together in a comparative light, we would be able to further hone our analytical skills regarding Electronic Literature.  Unfortunately, our time did not permit a comparative discussion of these other two intriguing pieces.  I am including here my own brief analysis of these two texts.  ***Please feel free to comment on my own writing here via your own blog posts if you have not yet written a response to these readings:

Subjectivity and Language in Sharif Ezzat’s “Like Stars in A Clear Night Sky” & Kenneth Goldsmith’s “Soliloquy”

By Mia Zamora, PhD

images“Like Stars in A Clear Night Sky” is a flash-hypertext poem.  Elegant and ethereal, the screen is a dark night sky with a constellation of stars that become the access point for further poetic lexia.  Readers can explore the sky of interconnected poems at random.  There is an introductory voice-over poem in Arabic (with translation on screen in English).  The text is laced with ambient sounds of wind-chimes, offering the effect of a recollection of a distant place, a place of purity/simplicity, perhaps the “village” of one’s origin.  The tone of the text is soothing, calming, and dreamlike.  This lovely piece includes a reflective narrative voice who repeats “I am full of stories”, perhaps reminding the reader of that universal aspect of our human condition: that we are all “full of stories” – we are all a small universe within the larger universe.  In this piece, subjectivity through words is achieved in the most traditional sense.  There is a clear and stable “I” that is full of stories.  That subject is established through his many stories which manifest in centered verse in the middle of the screen when clicking on a glimmering constellation.  The reader wanders through the cosmos with the mouse, hovering on certain stars to reveal a variety of poetic verse which represent the texture of certain lives. “Like Stars in A Clear Night Sky” reminds us that our subjectivity is only apprehendable through narration, through words, through stories past on through time.  In a subtle and wistful way, this text traverses an essential tension that is a part of the human experience.  It prompts us to think about the ways in which we are inherently connected in both time and space, as well as the sting of our profound singularity.

Subjectivity is grappled with in different but equally poignant ways in the Kenneth Goldmith’s “Soliloquy”.  Goldsmith is reflective of his “bound” subjectivity through expendable words.  In exploring this idea, he documents of every word he utters during the week of April 15-21, 1996, from the moment he woke up that Monday morning to the moment he went to sleep on Sunday night.  “Soliloquy” is a clever kind of provocation, as it is a web version-of a book edition-of a gallery installation. It is a week’s worth of the artist’s spoken language captured in a veiled database.  The reader opens the text by clicking on the prologue quote from Ludwig Wittgenstein: “Don’t, for heaven’s sake be afraid of talking nonsense!  But you must pay attention to your nonsense.”  By clicking on the quote you gain access to his web catalogue of a week’s worth of spoken words, all in chronological order, but what is striking upon entering the text is the encounter of the blank screen of white.  In order to reveal his lost words, you must mouse over the screen and a sentence of the carefully transcribed lexia appears (and disappears) as soon as the mouse moves on.  The provocation is in the transient disposal of our words, as well as the utter banality of so much of what we say. Words are lost to the world as quickly as they are uttered, and what is left is like an empty canvas with a haunting afterlife.  Words are rendered in “Soliloquy” like fleeting ghosts or traces that can be glimpsed but not captured.   The title of the piece lends further comment, with it’s dramatic allusion to the inner life as a kind of performance.

Both of these significant Electronic Literature texts offer us a glimpse of the way that words shape our sense of selves and our place in the world.  The affordances of the digital medium pay particular homage to the thematic concerns and poetics of these two works of art.  While Ezzat employs traditional storytelling constructs to assert a timeless connection to narrative and memory, Goldsmith provokes us to consider the self consumed and disposal aspects of the words we use.  Although the tone of these two elit texts are very different, they each elicit a deeper reflection about the dynamic world of words that shapes our human subjectivity. ______________

We were able to settle the Course Calendar for the most part.  I still need an elit selection for review from Megan, Alicia-Rae, and Jessica.  We also have a few more nights to settle in terms of the presentation schedule.

What is up for next week?

Please read/navigate Tailspin by Christine Wilks Vol. 2.  I am grateful to Andaiye for her willingness to kick off our presentation/reviews with her selection of this important elit work.  She will direct the first half of class with her walkthrough and presentation, and for the second half of class, we will start a discussion of your own venture into making elit.

-After reading Wilks’ Tailspin, please blog about the piece before class.

-Remember to keep up with the #elitclass twitter feed and tweet with our hashtag.

See you next week.  Sincerely,

Dr. Zamora

 

Ally’s Elit World 2016-09-20 19:59:00

With my first Elit blog assignment, I have discovered that there can be some technical difficulties. When working with regular, non electronic literature, all a writer needs is his or her pen and paper and they are good to go. When working with Elit, there are more challenges a writer will face. For example, my first assignment was to read a hyper text and then blog about it. I could not read any of the readings assigned because apparently my Adobe Flash Player is out of date. Why wouldn't it be? Why wouldn't my mom's laptop be missing the ONE thing needed to complete this assignement?! So with that incident, I have learned that Elit might not work 100% of the time. There will be obstacles I'll have to face and work around. My current obstacle is this Adobe Flash Player. Even after downloading it, I am still unable to open the readings. The way I can work around my obstacle is to use the computers at school (I'm sure adobe flash player is up to date) so that I can complete my assignments. Eliterature involves a whole different world of electronics where programs need to be downloaded and computers need to be running and keyboards need to be working. Without just one of those things, the literature can't be completed! This is something I am going to have to learn to work with.

Ally’s Elit World 2016-09-20 19:59:00

With my first Elit blog assignment, I have discovered that there can be some technical difficulties. When working with regular, non electronic literature, all a writer needs is his or her pen and paper and they are good to go. When working with Elit, there are more challenges a writer will face. For example, my first assignment was to read a hyper text and then blog about it. I could not read any of the readings assigned because apparently my Adobe Flash Player is out of date. Why wouldn't it be? Why wouldn't my mom's laptop be missing the ONE thing needed to complete this assignement?! So with that incident, I have learned that Elit might not work 100% of the time. There will be obstacles I'll have to face and work around. My current obstacle is this Adobe Flash Player. Even after downloading it, I am still unable to open the readings. The way I can work around my obstacle is to use the computers at school (I'm sure adobe flash player is up to date) so that I can complete my assignments. Eliterature involves a whole different world of electronics where programs need to be downloaded and computers need to be running and keyboards need to be working. Without just one of those things, the literature can't be completed! This is something I am going to have to learn to work with.

The Aftermath of Confusion

Endless stairs of future

Just from reading the description before I began and entered Sharif Ezzat’s world, I was interested in how the idea was going to be executed. I really liked the idea of traditions between parent and child, and it sounded as though I wasn’t going to really know where I would end up or what I would be reading at any given moment. I really love how the sky became even more filled with stars as the narrator spoke in Arabic, asking questions about what the reader wanted to read. The music created an ambiance that is very calming and set the tone for the entire experience. The world is very dream like. Maybe it is just me, but the poems did not read like poems, but rather personal journals or just individual stories at times. There is no real vivid imagery in the poems. For example, I would like to know how the landscape that his uncle’s wife hated looked. The language is intriguing, but sometimes empty and I am not sure what to make of it.

The concept for Soliloquy by Kenneth Goldsmith is very unique and different. I don’t think I have seen anything like it before. I remember coming across this one as I was looking through the volumes. I remember my eyes widening as I realized how many words were possibly going to appear on the page, and then I became anxious as if I had to find them all and go through them all. I am not sure why those feelings came over me, but they did. It is interesting to see the choppiness of the entire piece and to read different blurbs of speech at different parts of the day. I never knew what my mouse was going to roll over and how much would appear. On one hand, I wanted to keep rolling my mouse around the page just out of curiosity, and on the other hand I felt as though the set up of the piece was a burden. I do, however, love the fact that once the mouse moves from one place the text fades away. On the web, we can get get back to it and just roll our mouse over it again, but during the day we can’t really say something exactly how we said it before unless we are paying close attention to ourselves in that way.

Red Riding Hood was the most interesting of the three, but also the most uncomfortable to me. I was excited for it because I am very familiar with the story, and also did a project on it in Writing for Cyberspace where my group collaborated to create a modern version honed in on today’s technology and how it can be dangerous. In this piece, though, I did not understand the twists and turn that the author was taking. I jumped into all three of these worlds without any previous knowledge of anything associated with it and I felt like this had something to do with how I reacted. I felt that Red Riding Hood had this really storyline-like interactive format, but didn’t really allow you to do much. There was one point where I wanted to click to make her dream, but I couldn’t and I had to choose to wake her up. The option, that turned out not to be an option, made me mad because I kept thinking about all of the things that I wouldn’t know about now. I couldn’t understand what happened at the end of the piece either. To me, it looked as though Red was just laying on the bed and then someone (I’m guessing the wolf) comes to stand beside her and that is it. It had a dark and menacing quality to it and the music really helped to drive the story forward, but I still felt confused throughout the entire piece. I feel like once I know more about it and look up more on the piece I will begin to be able to understand it better and appreciate the decisions the author made.

Overall, I liked surfing through the three pieces. I even went back and forth through them simultaneously, after I surfed them individually, to get a feel of coming in and out of the different worlds. I must say It would be a very hard decision if I had to choose one that I liked the best because I honestly have my reservations about all of them and maybe it was because of the time of day that I looked at them; I may not have been at my most receptive. I definitely want to go back to each world and experience again in a different space and at a different time and see if it makes  a difference to how I respond to it.