Wow. Brainstrips definitely “stripped” my brain. Felt as though a lot was going on without the first section and i couldn’t really grasp the story at first without reading it again and again so that wasn’t my favorite section. The sound was so incredibly distracting that I wasn’t able to focus directly on the story. It definitely tests your mind in a way however, and try to make you to focus and make it more fun. Never been a fan of comic books or anime and things of that nature so I had a difficult time staying in order. Before even opening the questions being asked and I was automatically intrigued because these are valid questions in a sense.
The next part “Brain” was my favorite section because it talked about situations dear to my heart such as global warming, and animals and the entire idea of evolution. That section certainly WOW’d me in the sense when it stated… how apes are kept in a cage the size of an office and how those cages existed before offices. I mean we are very similar, the way they explained how apes draw, write, take anti-depressants from being in a small area. So similar to humans, it makes you go hmmm..
the informative part was also something that intrigue me because though these are simple facts some of it definitely surprises you about how we live and everything around us. Oh then you find out your an idiot after taking the idiot test
The structure of Alan Bigelow’s work “Brainstrips” is really interesting. It is made up of three separate parts: “Strip”, “Brain”, and “S”. I really love the part entitled “Is color real?” in the first part “STRIP”, which is about some “Deep Philosophical Questions”. In this part, there are three characters in a comic strip. One character said that he senses a blackness around them, which is actually the frame in dark color of the comic strip. Then, the other two characters’ dialogues indicate that they knew they are characters in the strips. Which attracted my attention is that in the second strip, outside of the two windows of the boats, there are a pair of human’s eyes actually. I think it reveals the fact that they are in the comic strips, rather than the reality. However, the eyes are actually a part of the comic strip, too. That kind of makes me questioned that “am I a part of comic strip or reality?” or “how can we make sure that we are not just comic characters?” I feel that comic strip questioned and challenged the boundary between reality and fiction or imaginary world.
It really reminds me a lot of a South Korean television series, which is called “W”. In the teleplay, the hero is the hero in an alternate universe written by the heroine’s father in his comic book. The heroine goes back and forth between the two worlds. And at last, the hero comes to the real world and realizes that he is only a character created by a comic book creator. Both of the teleplay and the Elit make me confused about my exact identity and the world I live in (hhh)… Like… Am I real? How could I know? Maybe I am just a character created by someone in the other world…But anyway, I feel like I can never figure out the answer. So, just live the way I want and do whatever I like hhh…
By the way, I really do not like the dialog bubbles which are kind of vibrating and quivering. They make me feel weird and make my eyes tired reading them. But I can kind of get it, like the author is trying to convey the message that trying to query and overthrow some of the stereotypes.
Of both the articles for this week, my favorite one was the Brainstrips piece by Alan Bieglow. This piece was very engaging and even humorous at times, I enjoyed every section of it.
I noticed that the word brain strips in the main page lead to a category for different lessons.
In the first word brain, the two characters in the comic discuss deep philosophical topics of existential theory. The questions were “what is art’, “are men more sensitive than women, “does God exist”, “how do we know we are human,” “do trees have rights” and “is color real”. All of these questions forces the reader to think outside the box and formulate reasons that are neither right or wrong. For each of these question, I enjoyed the artistic and narrative process of creating my own story. I also enjoyed the visual and audio experiences that Bieglow provided while reading. Everything felt like a real-life comic movie.
In the second section, the word strips were “Science for Idiots”. You would probably expect that the section was like the dummy book of science, however, it was unlike that. Science for Idiots discussed the politics of science in everyday life and how some things just don’t make any sense. For example, in the evolution category, Bieglow writes that “minimum cage size recommended by the zoo industry for an ape is 14 by 14 by 10 feet, slightly larger than a standard office cubicle” Well this statement raises that question of ethics because that size is not large enough to accommodate an ape. So the question remains, who are the real idiots in science?
Lastly, just the letter S in that word lead me to another page with math lessons and concepts. Each word in that section was interactive and hilarious! I felt like I was learning a classroom lesson, however, it was more enjoyable because at random parts there would be a tangent that made it not so serious. The storyline was intelligible and tasty to follow along. I loved that the visuals in the background were consistent and moved while reading. Overall, this was a fun read for today’s blog.
This is going to be a last minute review of Brainstrips by Alan Bigelow.
The first section is titled ‘Deep Philosophical Questions…’ and it is a comic book with some deep philosophical questions. For example, is color real? I never believed colors were real. They always look fake. I think the rumors about the colors being products created secretly by the government to make us forget black and white is true. I am totally fine inside my box, thank you very much. I do not need to see the fake things outside of it. I pay my taxes and that should be enough. Another question is ‘Do trees have rights?’ and it is a good question. Some people believe they do have rights but I watched a YouTube video of a guy in his basement talking about those trees and he said trees are overrated and I think it may be true. Trees clean the air but I prefer animals because you are not allowed to have a tree as a pet.
The second section is titled ‘Science for Idiots’ which I do not need because I am smarter than everyone else. Especially my neighbor, George. He is a curious one. I do not understand why he never bothers to leave his trash on his side of the sidewalk on Mondays. I always find banana peels on the ground as I leave for the office and I just want to scream and throw a rock at his house. Perhaps I should ask him to look at Brainstrips. The part called ‘Evolution’ might teach him something. Maybe he could become as smart as I am and work in a nice cubical office just like me and earn more money. There is also a part called ‘Gravity and You’ and it is about gravity. It shows a person digging into the core of the world. I do not think this is real. I have never tried it myself but I do not believe you can actually dig that deep. There are some videos online about digging that deep but I think they are fake.
The third section is titled ‘Higher Math’ and I do not like this section. It is stupid. The part called ‘Subtraction’ shows a guy winning one million dollars by gambling. He only tries three times and wins big and it is not believable. I buy instant tickets all the time and I never win big. I only manage to win ten or twenty dollars after three tries, so the guy in the story should win only that much to make it more believable. I write stuff on Reddit all the time. Storytellers should be more careful with their stories. Another stupid part is ‘The Googolplex’ and I thought it was about Google search but it is not. It is about a girl and numbers of 1 and 0. In the end of the story, the girl discards all the zeroes for some reason and make the number small. I do not understand this at all. The more zeroes mean the number is higher and I think everybody knows this. The guy in the part ‘Subtraction’ is smarter than this girl, I think.
My overall score for this particular piece of literary work is: “I’m late!” out of 10.
(In case there is some confusion, this was a satirical post.)
I enjoy reading the piece. It is intriguing. I went through an emotional reverse when I read it. I held a high expectation to it, but the “nonsense” shown later astonished me. But it also excited me that I feel a strong intention of the author.
The author Alan Bigelow is a professor in the Interdisciplinary Studies. “Interdisciplinary” would be the theme through the whole piece. Here to learn more about Bigelow: https://www.medaille.edu/alan-bigelow-phd
Walkthrough & Analysis
The first part is “strip”.
It uses comic strips to answer “deep philosophical questions”.
The opening comic is quite interpretative. A woman or man always says, “I am leaving you and finding the real meaning of life.” THEN they runs away with the other man or woman and falls in a new loop. “What is the right answer of life?” that is a philosophical question that has never ever been answered. The starting page reveals the theme of ” strip” part. It speaks of those” nonsense” and tricky questions that we try to but fail to answer in the life.
When we read those questions in advance, we would really think of those philosophically. Whereas, the author gives us a “… “. It is really creepy that we might feel ” a load of bull”, but they are so true that we cannot say they are wrong. The author gives us an interdisciplinary perspectives. He questions what real philosophy is. Should it really base on Aristotle, Schopenhauer or Kant? His answer is NO. Philosophy is about life. We saw things from angles, we got disparate interpretations. Those questions have never ever had “right” answers.
Those strips from the Gloden Age of American Comics are recreated and be given different understandings. #Reconstructing Mayakovsky. It breaks a regular cognitive in literacies and constructs old literature in a new way.
The next part is “Brain”. This part is ” science of idiot”.
The title is a paradox. As the reader asked above:” Who is the idiot?” Who is the author addressing? The idiots could be science itself or the one who believes the “science” is the science. If those scientifical elements have no meanings when they get together, what does the fact really do to us? The author reminds of us reading what behind the “facts” and do not be fooled by “idiots”.
Interestingly, you cannot go back after finishing a topic. I feel like it is a deliberate design. We do not look back what we read as they are nothing. We should feel what we read and remember the astonishing moment. It is a sensation that let us ask WHY? What is the author want to tell us? When science is not presented traditionally, should we accept it traditionally? When things go out of expectation, can we fit in immediately? Can we turn our mind to identify what it is?
That is also a rule in reading elit. We cannot predict what will happen next but we should keep going and exploring.
The last part is “S“. It speaks of ” Higher Math.”
Those ” Googleplex”, “Geometry”, “Irrational Numbers”, ” Addition”, and “Subtraction” are not talk about mathematics. Rather, they applied to explain “values” things. But is it really “valueless”? or how do we define the “value”? Bigelow plays a tricky game with us. He let us hold a high expectation to that stuff. But he fails us. “If you are too serious with them, you are out.” He intends to involve us in playing and enjoy the electronic tour. Science and math should belong to everyone.
Bigelow is not the first one who jokes the science. It reminds me of the Ig Nobel Prize.
According to Improbable Research, Ig Noble Prize awards unusual and imaginative achievements in science, medicine, and technology. Click to know more: https://www.improbable.com/ig/.
Let us learn more about Ig Nobel Prize 2018:
Finally, here is a math test for you.
Again, DO BE SERIOUS. Whatever you choose, the result would be the same.
All in all. Bigelow shows us the possibility of playing knowledge and language. The philosophy, science and math are humorous but satirical. They are connected with politics, ethics and social problems. They are thought-provoking and let us ponder what the real issues behind. They are presented as the powerful language that raises new awareness. The interdisciplinary reconstructing demonstrates more possibilities of elit.
Brainstrips is an interesting take on an old concept. In fact, it’s a few old concepts mashed together in an intriguing way. The textual elements of the comic are thought-provoking, in the way that philosophical questions are. For example, even on the cover, the man in the army uniform says, “So this is how you found the Meaning of Life…?” Then girl replies, “I’m sorry, but Richard has the right answers for me!” However, philosophical questions are not necessarily meant to have “right” and “wrong” answers, so where does her response come from? Are Mr. Suit’s answers simply what she wants to hear? Has no one ever told this woman that a healthy debate is good for the heart? (JK, I am not a doctor).
Another textual element that I really enjoyed was the the lines in “Is Color Real?” One character seems to now know that he is in a comic, and the other two are aware. The first character says, “I sense a blackness all around us…” Then the other two point out that it’s the black border on the page of the comic. The first mate point’s out that the captain’s left hand is “breaking the frame.” The comic declares, “Suddenly, a shift in foreground perspective!” as a too-big bird passes by the boat, the oblivious character not realizing that it’s in the foreground. The very last quote is a cute sentiment about thinking outside the box, obviously referring to the panels of the comic.
I honestly was not very fond of the visual effects in the first part of the comic. The shaking of the speech bubbles felt… cheep. That movement did not need to be there in order to advance or enhance the story. It was as if the comic was screaming, “Look, I’m eLit, I promise!” The flashing lights on the boat were cute, but it was a very small part of what the comic was actually about. The sound was essentially just background noise that I muted after the first two panels. I am honestly not even sure if I missed anything in the 2nd and 3rd parts of the comic because I forgot to turn it back on again.
The theme of Brainstrips was consistent thoughout, discussing philosophical questions that aren’t really meant to be answered. If I had more time I would go through the comic a number of times and see if different answers effects the outcome of the quiz, but I have a suspicion that it’s all the same.
Overall I enjoyed this piece of eLit, but mostly for the content and quality of pictures. For me, I probably would have enjoyed it no more and no less if it had been a comic in a physical comic book.
I hecked up, friends. Y’know how you have a thing to do sometimes, but you’re like “mehhh I can wait a bit; I need to rest right now, but I’ll get to it” and then you just… fall asleep?
Case in point: this blog post.
But that’s okay! Because I got to read Brainstrips just after I woke up. And what a wild ride that was.
It’s interesting reading something so offhandedly deep and philosophical so early in the morning, because in that still-tired state, you both miss things and catch things and basically get a whole different story than you would while reading it when you’re fully awake.
Maybe that doesn’t make much sense.
Anyway. I got to experience both Brainstrips and the Taroko Gorge remixes, but I’ll be chatting here about the former just based on the bigger impact it had on me. (Sorry, Vee ;u; )
The “comic” / e-lit piece had what seemed like 2 layers to me (probably more to be honest, but I’m capping it at 2): the ridiculous humor layer, and the serious layer. I considered calling the second layer the “Things We Don’t Want To Talk About Because They’re Too Off-puttingly Serious” layer but the title seems too long to keep typing.
The humor of that first layer is one I’ve seen around the internet a lot, particularly in nihilistic games/posts/etc. A kind of “hahahahah this makes no sense but it’s okay we’re all dying inside” kind of millennial humor.
Regardless of if that makes sense or not, Brainstrips was intriguing in that it explored deep matters–philosophy, morality, environmental awareness–in a sort of flippant way.
Like this. Peak internet humor. Blatant use of wordart. Stock image of a button I could swear I’ve seen floating around the internet in other games/game-type things like this.
In the first section (and the other two, but I’m just focusing on the first right now) we have that comic-style lightheartedness, but with questions in the corner that would stop a person short and either a) make them squirm, or b) start a whole existential discussion that may or may not end in tears and an awkward but good-natured and consoling pat on the back.
Anyway is it just me… or does it give off that feeling like from Back to the Future 2… in a very materialistic future where Everything’s Great but really Everything’s Terrible? Maybe BttF2 is a bad example. I dunno. But do you get what I mean? Like some kind of false-utopian/actually-dystopian genre vibe?
Maybe I’m looking too much into it.
Regarding the questions, Brainstrips is absolutely literary. Comics on their own are a form of literature–a stance which I will defend to my dying breath–and Brainstrips is no different based on formatting alone.
When navigating through the text, I tried changing up what I thought would be The Correct Order of the story by clicking on questions lower on the list before the higher ones on the first page. Turns out the order didn’t matter, but just that small bit of ability to choose was… nice. And frustrating once I realized the choice didn’t matter but hey, that’s life ain’t it.
One more thing before I sign off and finally post this thing. The sounds were a crucial aspect of the piece. Ambient and creepy sometimes, loud and garish at other times, all-around off-putting and perfect the entire time. Sound in a story can make a story. Just look at horror movies/horror games. Watch them/play them with the sound off and you have a whole different experience. There are probably articles on it that’ll get all psychological and such which I’d love to look into, but! That’s for another time!
As for now, I will bid thee adieu with a final screencap from Brainstrips:
Brainstrips is a quite interesting E-lit piece as it combines both visual and auditory approaches. In a nutshell, it is a three-part knowledge series as it says on the first page. When I read this piece, I felt like I was thinking all the way along my walk through. It really envoked my inspiration and awareness.
The first part of knowledge is titled “deep philosophical questions”. It presents when I click the letters “STRIP”. It is a philosophical section. There are five questions: “What is art?” , “Are men more sensitive than women?” , “Does God exist?” , “How do we know we are human?”, “Do trees have rights?” , and “Is color real?”. Hence, this part addresses totally five philosophical questions by using comic pictures.
1. “Deep Philosophical Questions”
The second part of knowledge is titled “science for idiots”. It presents when I click the letters “BRAIN”. This part is in charge of six scientific issues which are global warming, evolution, gravity and you, relativity, elementary particles, and nuclear fission. The animated images and texts inside each issues are vivid illustrations for each point. For example, in global warming, the images and texts sequencely tell the readers the origion of the phrase “global warming”. Wally, an earth science professor, once lived in Oak Park before he arrived in Columbia. Oak park is a suburb of Chicago with a large population and it suffers from global warming.
2. “Science for Idiots”
The third part of knowledge is “higher math”. There are six categories: the googolplex, geometry, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and irrational numbers. However, the content is not about the superficial mathematics. It applys the mathmatical formula into life. Like the addition, it tells a story of a pegnant woman and addition is indicated in the sum of her experience. The addition formula is applied into adding her experience of life. I love the way of connecting mathematics with life. They are different fields of theory and practice, but sometimes have several subtle association. The formula has no emotion and sense, but life has temperature. It has a neutral effect when these two things connect.
3. “Higher Math” “Addition”
Yeah, the exact prinple of life is called “higher math”.