Finishing up our reviews & making elit

To complete our review tour of selected elit, we spent some time with Tom’s selection of Anna Anthropy’s The Hunt for the Gay Planet.  The Hunt for the Gay Planet is a text-based Twine game that comments more broadly (and bitingly) on the status of queer representation in videogames. This hypertext fiction spoof is a playful and parodic response to the problematic limits of identity (and identity politics) in the gaming industry. Anthropy satirizes Bioware’s Star Wars: The Old Republic with this retro-style story in which the player is invited to gradually explore the galaxy (looking under rocks and in caves) in search of a lesbian romance. The reader explores five planets, fighting off both sea monsters with gossamer wings, and the ever-present-question “Do you have a boyfriend?”

The search is essentially for a place of community and acceptance unique to the character’s queer identity. The Hunt For The Gay Planet ultimately criticizes the videogame world for not creating an equitable space for queer players, and even more specifically, female queer players. But does this text do a disservice to the LGBT community despite the fact that it means to address offensive stereotyping?  Lesbian identity here (in this campy world) is certainly oversexualized and underdeveloped. While the technical execution of this game text was successful and engaging, the heavy reliance on stereotypes implies that in order to experience anything beyond The Hunt For The Gay Planet, queer videogamers must assimilate themselves to a straight, male vision. Is the satirical lens successful? Or does this campy interactive story reify the very stereotypes it sets out to dismantle? Does this twine game actually complicate gay identity in a positive and productive sense?  

Time to turn to you final project!

With the second half of class, we kicked off the plans for your final project with a workshop to “get started with making your own #elit piece“.

The following steps for creating your #elit piece will be iterative (that means you will be on one step, and then you will discover that you might have to loop back and forth between the steps as you proceed in designing and implementing your creative vision).  The creative process is rarely linear.  That said, here are some basic steps you will take:

  1. Research the topic so you are clear on presentation and concept.
  2. Write a script, a storyboard/map/outline, as well as a timeline of activities necessary to complete the story.
  3. Collect and curate the required multimedia parts — text, images, audio, video, oral history, interviews, selfies, and digital tools applications.
  4. Start to construct the narrative using selected digital tools.  This construction effort will be guided by your storyboard concepts, outline, and/or timeline of necessary activities.
  5. Share and reflect on the completed story.

We did some free writing and spent time in small groups (breakout rooms) to further refine an early elit story concept. You should have all submitted your initial elit concept (with a short description of what you imagine making) here.

Your to do list

You should look ahead to mapping, storyboarding and/or outlining your concept as well as considering how to implement or execute this vision. Please look at these links to help you with these next steps, and how you will further develop your work:

Storyboarding

List of Digital Tools

Remember to add any crowdsourced digital tools (found under the “Course Material & Assignments” page of this course website).  Add your tools that you have thought of or that you might use here: More digital tools (crowdsourced by us!)

**Your 12th blog post is due which is an early progress report on your #elit final project concept and planning. We will continue with our workshopping next Wednesday!

La Bella Figura: I’ve Got the Sauce but I Need the Spoon!

La Bella Figura: Putting Your Best Foot Forward - Donna DeRosa
Strike a Pose!

After much deliberation and further free-writing, I have decided to focus my project on the issue of “la bella figura,” which literally translates into the “beautiful figure.” It means that Old World Italians find it very important to make a good impression, no matter how they are feeling emotionally. One is always expected to put his or her best face forward. When I was a child, my father communicated to me that when one steps outside, one has to put his or her problems in a suitcase and store them away until he or she comes back home. This is the tradition in which I was raised. Never break a sweat (or shed a tear) in public.

This cultural phenomenon is something that I would like to explore in my final elit piece though the medium of presentation and makeup. I’ve already created a separate wordpress site and I have written a poem with hypertext links to relevant documents, photos and songs. I have also taken photos and made two GIFs out of two short videos I took. I am incorporating humor, but I am also being thoughtful about the struggles of keeping up appearances. Authenticity is always of primary importance to me.

I’d like to create a clickable, perfectly made-up face in which I point to each individual feature (eyes, nose, mouth, etc). When the hyperlinks are clicked upon, a corresponding poem will appear. For example, when clicking on the ears, I’d create a poem in which my made-up woman ruminates about all the interior thoughts she hears in her mind regarding her insecurities. I’m thinking about perhaps drawing the face myself and using real makeup products. That could be fun. I would also like to experiment with kinetic text. I don’t know how though and the options shown on the Internet involve extensive coding.

Here is the rub! I do not know how to create such a clickable figure (and I’ve searched). I know several of us would like to use this type of feature and it is important for us to find out what tool we can use. So the sauce is cooking, but I need a spoon to help the process! If anyone makes any discoveries or knows how to do this already (as well as making kinetic poetry/text, please let me know. It’s only fair to share!

Is Makeup Bad For Our Eyes? – Raleigh NC | Stonehenge Vision Source
I See You Seeing Me