Redshift and Portalmetal/

Redshift and Portalmetal was a really fun piece.  I think what I enjoyed the most about it was that there seemed to be a real concrete story that I found fairly easy to follow, which I have not always found in some of the other things that we have read this semester.  I love how this story is so mysterious in a way, meaning that in the transitions from one part to another, you truly do not know what to expect.  When I got to the juncture where there seemed to be an issue with our protagonists (we’ll call her that) passport when being checked at the border was some anxiety inducing stuff.  I felt my heart begin to beat just a little faster as she was trying to make it through, and I frankly was not entirely sure why she would be so worried, so I found this to be really cool.  The visuals and the audio in this piece also played a pivotal role in the way my feelings were taken for a ride.  Jumping from this almost dystopian kind of red background to a cloudy terrain with the waves crashing coupled with the woman who seemed to be in a place where she was uneasy or even in danger added to these effects.  This may have been my favorite piece that we have examined to this point if I am being completely honest.  

Unfortunately, my tech limitations have stopped me from being able to go over the Redridinghood piece, so I will be paying extra attention to Karel’s presentation in our class this week.  

With all that being said, I have had a very difficult couple of weeks trying to manage everything going on and I imagine that I am not alone.  Hang in there guys, the home stretch is upon us.  I know we got this!

Now here is a song I cannot seem to get out of my head!

The Beauty in Change: Redshift and Portlalmetal

This week’s elit piece I will be diving into is Redshift and Portlalmetal. I truly enjoyed the concept and navigation of Redshift! Through the use of a working website, we explore through the eyes of narrating character, Roja, as she escapes her dying planet. Through beautiful sounds, videography, and interactive text, we share Roja’s story and adventure as she explores life on other planets.

Navigation

Due to me being extremely tired at this point in the semester, I decide to go the video route first. It was easier to have the video navigate the piece as I view and read, compared to the working site (I ended up going through the working site to fully experience the piece). From the working site, it was pretty simple to navigate by clicking the text that would appear at the bottom of each part of Roja’s narration. 

Deeper Reflection

This piece had so many elements that you can go into a lot of detail that it was really hard to narrow down. So I will try to bring up the most apparent and interesting ones to me:

Roja’s Character:

I find it really interesting in the choice of name. I looked up the meaning of Roja which can be translated to Rojo, and both terms mean the color red (which is the theme color of the piece!).  Both words mean the same, the colour red. When used to describe a masculine object, you use the ‘rojo’ form of the adjective, and ‘roja’ for any feminine object. And just like any other adjective, I believe numbers must be matched too. I thought this explanation was really fighting for the character herself due to Roja being a transgendered woman of color. The idea of one word meaning the same thing but put into a different context makes me put Roja’s character scheme in a different perspective. Through her doule we are presented multiple times with the necessary of packing her hermons (whcih virtual to transgender indviduals). Since I was so obsessed with her name and the color association of it matching her personality, I decide to do a deeper dive into understanding the mean of red: 

Red is the color of fire and blood, so it is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination as well as passion, desire, and love.

Contemporary theme of climate change:

This piece cleverly put together to discuss the current issue of climate change. Roja puts her feelings of sympathy, empathy, and disappointment of what is going on with Earth (I believe she is addressing Earth). Also, I am a little curious about the time period this is taking place in. Even though this issue is contemporary, the idea of boarding space shuttles to leave for another planet makes me question what Earth are we on with Roja?

I also find it interesting who the Earth is transitioning into what Roja sees as a waste, does she reflect this on her transitioning as a person. Through be a transgender woman and deciding to make a drastic change in scenary and life, how she handing it all?

Who is Cora’s girlfriend Cora?

I am not sure if anyone was wondering the same question (or I am bad at picking up on things), but what is the significance of Roja’s girlfriend? Does she symbolize something within the piece? I just was a bit curious and wanted to get it off of my mind.

Overall Reflection

 My overall reflection of this piece was that I was not actually left too stuck (hooray!). Not that I can speak on the experience of be a transgender female, it was interesting to compare to current topic into one space. 

All About RedRidinghood

Just to set the record straight, I’ve never done any hallucinogenic drugs but navigating RedRidinghood by Donna Leishman felt exactly like what I imagine a bad acid trip to be like. The piece starts off with simply drawn characters and an easily navigated homepage. However, once the piece began, I found myself very confused about what was going on.

The description of RedRidinghood describes the piece as “‘Little Red Riding Hood’ from a feminist perspective”. The piece begins similar to the original tale. Red is sent by her mother to her grandmother’s home. On her way there, Red is confronted by a wolf-boy on a scooter. He seems to be bothering her so she shrugs him off and walks to a of field flowers. After she picks a bouquet of flowers, she falls asleep. This is where things got a bit strange for me.

As I watched Red sleep in the field of flowers, I kept asking myself “who falls asleep in a field of flowers?” In the original tale, Red lives in a village and has to travel to another village to visit her grandmother. However, in this take of the classic fairy tale, Red lives in an apartment building with her mother. Which means that this story is taking place in modern times. With that being said, who in the 21st century, stops to take a nap in a field of flowers?

While Red naps, users are given the option to wake up or continue to sleep. I actually navigated this piece twice so I was able to both wake up and sleep. The navigation of the piece ended more quickly when I chose to wake up from the nap. However, when I chose to keep dreaming, I was taken on a lucid trip. In the dream there was a naked person, an angel, and boom boxes. I kept wondering how exactly this related to the theme of the piece. I still don’t know.

The piece ends by Red eating the wolf-boy that kills her grandmother. However, the story does not end there. Someone in a hoodie with a gun approaches Red while she sleeps, she opens one eye and smirks. Then the piece ends. I felt confused and also empty. I am very curious to see how this piece relates to feminism and also the meaning of the ending.

My Feminist Reflections & Ramblings on Red Riding Hood.

See the source image

I must say this was one of my favorite electronic literature works so far. I don’t know if it was the comic book come to life feel of it, or possibly the modern play off of a children’s creepy fairytale that intrigued me, but I thoroughly enjoyed this piece. It was user friendly and easy to navigate. The menu options were clear and concise. As the reader we had to do some exploring to find ways to interact with this piece. At times unsure of what images we were supposed to click on to advance the story. But again, as I’ve said in previous blog posts, that the more hands on interaction makes the piece come alive for me. I feel like I’m an integral part of the story and plot, which makes me come alive. I feel alive in a way that’s much different than with regular literature. I become more engaged when I need to take physical action in where the character goes and what choices said character makes. Which most times, ultimately effects their destiny. That’s some serious pressure right there. In this case we had two options. To wake red riding hood up, or to let her continue to sleep and dream. It’s important to note that as far as actual text goes, that was really it, besides some signage we see throughout. I believe in the power of dreams so my first inclination was to let her continue on dreaming and see where this leads her. Would it be to the big, bad wolf? Or to something even more sinister, like a actual man?

See the source image

I loved the imagery throughout, again it was like a colorful comic book come to life. You know it’s not a Nives blog post without a good throwback story included. So, here it goes. As I clicked through each colorful and vibrant scene within this piece, it reminded me of reading my older brother’s M.A.D magazines from the 80’s, which contained different comic book strips and various illustrated stories. Some in black and white, some in color. There was text within those old comic strips unlike in this piece. But I personally liked the idea of having limited text throughout. It made it a more complex piece of storytelling, forcing us to focus in on the imagery in order to create our own unique interpretation. With the limited text I also found that it evoked emotions within me, it also stirred my imagination. Red riding hood herself had a very androgynous look to her. Some of the other female characters did as well. Unlike the actual fairy tale where she was very feminine and pretty. I liked how this piece contrasted with the classic fairy tale. I always found fairy tales, fables and folklore to be kind of creepy. The stories always had very sinister undertones and ominous vibes. So, navigating through this piece made me feel like it modernized the old fairy tale. But also brought to light the darker elements that are found throughout the classic ones we read as children. Sometimes the hidden meanings in these classic tales are more obscure while others are more blatant.

See the source image

In the opening scene it looked to me as red riding hoods Mother demands her to go pick flowers off in the forest. Her Mother looked mean, the music throughout helped with setting the mood and the overall tone throughout the piece. The music within all the elit pieces we have studied so far has been amazing, in my opinion. At times it could be a bit intense and overbearing but I think that’s the point. It just goes to show the power of music and what it can do to alter our experiences and perceptions. I had to stop and think whether red riding hoods Mother intentionally sent her off into the woods knowing the dangers it posed, or was it innocent enough? Again, up for interpretation. As she made her way into the woods and began to pick the flowers, she was being followed by what looked to be a racoon. When I think of a racoon I think of a pesky bandit, up to no good. As she continues down the path into the woods, a boy rolls up on a scooter. At first glance he seemed innocent enough, a normal looking boy. But when I looked closer his arms were covered in what looked like werewolf hair. Hmm. Not so innocent after all. Is this where the feminist themes come into play? As women we are taught whether by society or by our own Mother’s that men can be evil, and dangerous. We subconsciously digest this warning. Beware of men and what their capable of doing to you. No need to fear the big bad wolf, take a closer look at the man sleeping beside you. She soon finds herself picking flowers in an open field. Suddenly she’s looks to have fainted and begins to dream. I began to think of The Wizard of Oz. It reminded me of the scene where Dorothy fell asleep in the poppy fields. The flowers looked so delicate and fragrant, but once the scent reached her as she was joyfully running among the potent flowers she became intoxicated by it.

Image result for Gothic Red Riding Hood fairytale

When I chose the option of waking her up, it shows the young boy on his scooter heading in the direction of a house in the woods. When he enters we see an older woman in bed. The scene quickly flashes back to red riding hood as she enters the house with the basket of flowers in hand. As she slowly pulls the curtain back, she steps closer and instead of the woman, she sees the young boy in the bed. Ah ha! The big bad wolf! Again, this more modern re telling is warning us of the dangers this young man poses to the innocent riding hood. They lock eyes and it zooms in to his dark, blood filled eyes. Is this passion or violence? Sometimes there is a thin line between the two. To me the reoccurring feminist themes here is the threat we as women face, whenever we engage with men. Or I should say the potential threat we may sometimes face. Here is this seemingly innocent boy, riding along on a scooter, but soon enough he takes advantage of red riding hood. From the looks of the bedroom scene and when we get a zoomed in look into his red, bloody eyes, I imagined them to have had passionate sex at the moment, or was it rape? Now we see red riding hood in bed and impregnated. You click her belly and see the very much alive fetus. Sometimes sex can be a mix of both passion and violence. Sometimes willingly and sadly sometimes not. If you look closer you see the bedspread is adorned with scissors. Does this symbolize an abortion? As women we must face the aftermath that comes with our decision to have sex, we open ourselves up to potential dangers. Again, many females can relate to this situation. We see love and affection, we yearn for attention. Yet, some men see sex, violence and control.

See the source image

The shall red dream option was a roller coaster ride to say the least. I had to hang on for dear life to get through it. I’m interested to see Karel’s interpretation of this during his presentation. I must say even after watching it several times I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it exactly. I will say as I continue on in my feminist rants or musings, that the part where we click on the eyes of yet more androgynous looking characters, I began to see some symbolism about our eyes. We now see red riding hood crying, naked from the waist up. We also see a man with black eyes and hair, as old school cassette tapes begin to fall behind him. We click on his eyes to progress in the story. As far as how the eye itself plays out within this twisted tale, I mean hey, they do say that the eyes are the windows to our souls. We now find red riding hood still naked and crying standing in the dark woods. A scary looking, intimidating man with long, weird hair, is running towards her. In one scene we finally get some short text and dialogue where he asks then states: Is she looking at me? She’s strange!? Again, to me I felt the aggression in that statement. Why is she crying? Why is she naked? What did he do to her!?

The other scene that sticks out to me within this option of letting red riding hood continue to dream on is the meat market scene. Here, again as women. most of us can relate to this scene. To me it represented us walking into a night club or even innocently walking down the street. Being approached by creepy men, taunted because of what we wear, unwanted advances that we are forced to face. Sometimes we get the aggressive drunks, who feel powerful. We get the demeaning cat calls or touching of our precious bodies when we wish not to be touched. These type of real life scenes, that I’ve experienced personally played out in my mind as I watched this. I felt vulnerable, suddenly a bit shaken. At this point, I began to run out of steam. I wasn’t expecting this piece to take me on such an emotional ride. This modernized take on the little red riding hood captivated me. Also, this feminist twist to the classic tale in particular, left me feeling drained. I hope my interpretations make sense. Again, you’re all so brilliant and I can’t wait to read your blogs to gain even more insight! See ya tomorrow guys! Good luck to Amber and Karel! Xo

Red Riding Hood

Electronic Literature never fails to fascinate me; the lengths of its reach is unmeasurable. Every week, with each reading, I learn a new way of utilizing electronic literature. This week is by far my favorite, though I think I say that every week. However, this week was different. I was taken back to my childhood, to one of the most popular stories of all time, the one my mom read to me infinite times, the story of Little Red Riding Hood, but this time with a twist!

Donna Leishman brings a modern twist to our beloved traditional tale, and I’m here for it! Upon entering, let me quickly say the background is once again black (it’s just not my blog if I don’t mention the background color). Then a red box appears, with a couple of options on the left side from a launch button, portfolio, enquiring minds, thesis, and lastly, a research tab. Each of these little sections contains information from Leishman herself. After skimming through each section, I finally began my journey by clicking on the evident object we were meant to click on, the book.

A woman appears, and I couldn’t tell who that was supposed to be, perhaps our narrator. Then a sentence surfaces, stating “once upon, not so far away,” and immediately, we are taken to a view of multiple buildings. One of the buildings has a glowing orange square calling our names, and as we click on the glistening object, we enter Red’s home, where her mother, whose face we couldn’t see, was handing her a basket. From here, I was at a dead end. I desperately clicked on every object in the room, hoping something would happen, and then finally, the painting of the trees in the background took me on a stroll with Red. We see her running through a forest, then the wolf is following her, and finally, she’s found plucking flowers that were in the shape of the letter X, perhaps foreshadowing the danger that is up ahead. As she picks flowers, she suddenly falls asleep, and for once, the reader has a choice, to either let her dream or wake her up.

I went through the story multiple times, and each time the dream sequence was different and quite unusual. She’s at a meat market in the first dream, where she changed into a rebellious black outfit, and then the alarm goes off. There is a strange boy in the second dream, images of old-school radios falling like rain in the backdrop, and then an angel appears; Red seems to be crying, but the angel does nothing to help, and then the alarm goes off once again. I correlated these images to a rebellious and strong girl but also a little helpless under the circumstances.

I went back one more time, and this time, while Red is running through the fields before falling asleep, I came across her diary. The diary was telling; she had an image of the wolf boy with hearts all over it. The following pages confessed her love for the wolf boy. So then she wasn’t helpless then? She knew the boy was a wolf; this screams unconventional love!

I finally chose to wake Red up, and the story continues to progress. We follow the wolf boy into Red’s grandmother’s house. When Red arrives, she finds that the wolf boy has already eaten her grandmother. Then the screen turns black, and we find Red lying on her grandmother’s bed and is pregnant with a wolf child. MIND-BOGGLING. She took the sinister route and got into bed with the big bad wolf! This story reminded me of Stephanie Meyer’s novel Twilight, where Bella falls in love with a vampire and, knowing the circumstance, still pursues her darkest desires.