All posts by haileyjcarone

"the cape" + "with those we love alive"

For this week, while both pieces are more simple than others we have seen, I think they are just as valid and prove that electronic literature does not need to be technologically "flashy" and "advanced" for it to impress its digital reader. I like that with "With Those We Love Alive," it had gamelike elements to it, such as giving the reader an experience of customization and control in their adventure with the piece. I liked the hypertextual navigation and different options, and it felt, while there were no impressive or changing graphics, that I was moving along the city and palace and exploring the world of the story. I think it really is something special if an elit piece, like literature, can make you feel like you are inside the realm of the narrative without any visuals to guide you. The story itself was very fantastical and interesting, but I think I liked the title on the bar of the website the most, and that relationship to "writing on yourself" throughout the story and eczema.

Meanwhile, in "The Cape," it was very straightforward in its navigation. I liked that the black and white images, because it was "as old as the story"; however, even though it used simpler methods, it had a few elements I was not expecting. I just thought I would click through, and it be over. However, they added that news audio excerpt about whistling, which I thought was clever and set that "old" mood to the piece. Additionally, I liked the option to click to see more details about the glacier, as if it took us behind the rock itself where the author and her uncle were trying to whistle. It was a short story, as the author points out at the end, but the topographical images and monochromatic scheme added life to this supposedly "pointless" anecdote. It gave more personality and empathy to the story, as we dipped into a brief moment in this person's life; however, we experienced more than just a story, and I love that about the multimodal elements of electronic literature.

Again, both pieces used elements of sound, which has been a significant and reoccurring theme throughout a lot of the pieces we have experienced in class. I think it's important to note the depth, again, that these different mediums can add to the story. Sound bytes, graphics, music, videos, and a spectrum of other media help flesh out the narrative we find in literature. It creates a more empathetic experience for the reader, which is something regular text can be limited to.

Additionally, my contribution for the TiL curation title is something along the lines of "Finding Our Quad (and Ourselves): An Analysis of the Netprov Experience for Thermophiles in Love"

"separation" and "sooth"

While I can appreciate the concept that "Separation" was getting at, in terms of inducing empathy in the reader for people who have experienced RSI, the piece was incredibly frustrating. While the poem forced the reader to click away slowly, as people with RSI are instructed to do, it felt like torture - not just because of the purposeful pace, but because of the quality of the poem. Personally, I felt like the words were empty, meaningless, and were terribly confessional - if the words had been more interesting or significant, I felt like that would have balanced out having to wait awhile between clicks to progress in the piece. Also, while the last two lines definitely made the piece more intriguing, I still feel like it didn't do it for me; overall, I just really wasn't a fan of this piece, and I hope we can discuss its meaning further in class.

In terms of the piece "Sooth," I was excited with the idea of it. I liked the concept of each video correlating with interactive lines of poetry; however, after a few minutes of experiencing the piece, I felt just as uncomfortable as when we had read "Tailspin," but maybe even more so. While I think distorted sounds and creepy music are effective in shaping specific atmospheres, I wasn't sure how it was supposed to coincide with the poet's point in "Sooth." By the end of the poems, I wasn't too sure what it was about, and I think it would've been better if there was a more central idea and corresponding videos to go along with it. I think the author just went with videos that were easiest to loop for the effect that he wanted. 

hobo lobo of hamelin

Initially, I was not expecting that I would enjoy this piece - I think something about the title suggested it was "medieval" sounding, and if I'm being honest, that's not really my style. However, one of the first things the piece does is poke fun at its "medieval" origins by saying, "Once upon a time, where someone probably doesn't care about because of this old-sounding time period," or something akin to that. That's what started to grab my attention that I had pegged this piece as something completely different.

Additionally, the three-dimensional aspect of the art is incredible. I love the take of this fairytale pop-up style that turns into like an almost animated movie: I think it's aesthetically beautiful and creatively brilliant. Not to mention, the narrative itself is incredibly smart. Even though it takes place in a "medieval" setting, supposedly, the political crux of the whole story is completely relevant to what is happening today.

To add, it's presented in a way that could still be read to children; consequently, it's important to remember that fairytales themselves, while family-friendly, often have deep, underlying meanings behind them that are often a lot uglier and adult-oriented, rather than just being explicitly created for children. Hobo Lobo combines the fairytale elements to create a continuing visually appealing, entertaining, and intellectual narrative, and I wish that this piece of electronic lit had more for us to explore.

first draft of the revolution

Once I realized what this piece of electronic literature was doing, I was delighted! I loved this concept of rewriting and watching the draft in process - I think that's genius.

However, I got stuck very quickly, I feel. Maybe the piece is short, or maybe I just don't know what I'm doing, but I cannot get passed changing the last part of page four. It keeps telling me to change the last bit before she signs her name, and I keep doing it- it keeps cycling between three phrases, and there is no where else for me to click. I wish there was a help / guide button or something to tell me what to do in case I get stuck like this, because I feel like I'm not thoroughly experiencing the piece. Or, if it really is that short, I wished the author expanded more (however, I don't think that's the case.) I hope we can go through this more for class, as I want to know about this feminist revolution that we are helping our narrator draft.

thermophiles in love

This past week of the netprov has definitely been interesting! I enjoyed the concept of Thermophiles in Love, specifically the idea of have five different genders; in particular, it made you think outside the box of gender performance, and therefore embody and become something entirely new and different. I think the idea definitely points us in the direction to be more accepting in real life, and be open to various gender identities, or having more than one of them (or none at all). The gender Regardless of the gender you do end up performing, you're still just a person searching for love, which is significant to note after playing TiL.

Admittedly, though, I was actually out of my comfort zone throughout the whole process. To begin with, I know virtually nothing of any cellular biological vocabulary / terminology - the context and language itself is pretty confusing for me and makes me eyes glaze over from traumatic flashbacks from high school science lab. Because of that, I felt hindered when I tried to make posts. I felt jealous of everyone whose posts seemed perfect and fitting, as their use of the language was so eloquent and fluent that they could even make hilarious and scientifically sound puns. On occasion, I tried to do the same, but it either elicited no response or was just weak in comparison. Additionally, I felt parts of my own personality stopping me from truly being involved in the experience, because I don't know how to sell myself / flirt with other people! Even though it was a netprov, I think we all still had a bit of a personal investment in our cell characters. As a fac, which seems the opposite of what I would have identified with in real life, it made it twice as hard to come off as confident, or even deceitful.

However, I enjoyed the narratives going on around me, even if I couldn't make myself into a more prominent role as a fac. Like I said, the idea itself was very cool, but I wish the context of it would have been something less sciencey!

"Pieces of Herself"

Before experiencing this piece of electronic literature, I thought that the premise of the narrative was going to be much darker, so to say. I loved that it still touched on concepts of gender identity and social construction of what a woman is "seen as," and I think that the paper doll idea was very creative and effective in showing these "tangible" pieces. However, I thought that the "pieces" of this woman were going to be picked up after possibly having a traumatic event, namely something sexual, and putting herself slowly together in order to reclaim her own identity.

While I enjoyed the piece, I wish Juliet Davis would have done more. I think she could have inherently gone further with the idea. For example, I thought that biblical verse about the "job of women" was particularly chilling and effective, and I wish there were more glimpses of dark societal moments and presumptions about what it is to be female throughout. I felt like she held something back. Still, the sound bytes of the different interviews with women, especially in the office, were effective in adding to the tone of the piece; again, though, I wish we would have seen more of that.

For my own project for Elit, I tried to experiment with inklewriter, thinglink, and popcorn maker, but none of those programs were what I wanted to convey my story. Instead, I have decided to do it all through wix, since I think I will be able to actually imagine my ideas through the website, even if I have to implement coding to get certain effects for my navigational elements.


Wix allows me to create icons and have lightboxes and different elements pop up without necessarily leaving the page. I want it to look like a desktop background, and have icons the reader is able to explore to "experience" this romance I am writing. Additionally, I have done further storyboarding for the story, and I'm excited to develop it more. I don't want to give too much away, but it will definitely have a darker twist to it - nothing will appear as it is on the surface, and the reader will have to click on things to really uncover the true narrative going on. I know that sounds vague, but I promise! It'll be great. 

Response to "Inanimate Alice" Episode 4

By far, this has been the most game-based piece of electronic literature in class that we have read so far. Ultimately, this episode of "Inanimate Alice" is highly visual and has a lot of emphasis on using first person POV through out its video game-esque narrative. The author uses a lot of real life photographs to build up the setting that is essentially all around you, and even incorporates an element of self-exploration to navigate the end of the story. It's a choose-your-own-adventure without words, and acts as if you're exploring the world inside of a video game, which is definitely a neat element to add to the multidimensional feel that elit allows the reader.

However, the question of electronic literature truly being "literally" can truly be contested here. Since it relies so much of techniques associated with gaming, as well as visuals (pictures, ect.,) does it stay consistent with what classifies something as literature?

In my opinion, yes, I do find this piece literary, but I don't think I would have if I did not make a mistake first.

Originally, I was under the impression we were reading "Inanimate Alice" from the beginning; thus, I started with episode one, which I felt was less like a video game and more like a story. The plot was simple: Alice's dad gets lost, and she and her mom, Ming, get into their jeep to search for them... Does that sound familiar? What struck me most about "Episode 4" was that it shows its complexity as a piece of literature by introducing intertextuality. When in England, Alice's friends ask her to make stories of them, and she shows them how easy "storytelling" and making them can be. As an example, she subtly references the plot of the first episode, but the way she does it makes seem as if, maybe, it had never really happened to her...

Alice, then, becomes this unreliable narrator, and now the reader is more closely reading the text of this fluctuating storyline. We are analyzing her words and trying to make connections and critical analyses of the narrative. Additionally, her friend "Brad" follows her to the fourth episode, the imaginary one she drew back in episode one, and acts as an imaginary friend and "guardian" of sorts. It adds more depth and complexity then just being a shallowly visual experience - for me, it makes me question who Alice is, why she is "inanimate"; ultimately, the question of what is real and what isn't within the story keeps the audience on their toes, and becomes a driving motivation to read the piece of electronic literature.

A Reaction to "Tailspin"’s Visual Vertigo

Undoubtedly, Christine Wilks captures the breeding tension of an uncomfortable family dinner between three generations of people in her piece of electronic literature, "Tailspin." What I especially liked about this piece was how it still functioned as what we would consider a "normal" narrative, in that I still got a feel for a "structured" plot, characters, setting, and meaning, in comparison to the works we read last week. Even though it was broken up and the reader could read the paragraphs in different order, you are still able to arrive to the same conclusion of the piece at the end. Additionally, I liked the fact that you could hover over the spirals and have the text, sound, and visuals, which helps to immerse the reader in that bubbling tension of the family. From the video game noises and characters, piercing sharp noises of the hearing aid, loudness of the plane, and the scraping of utensils against plates, it partly echoes the last iteration of the work, which warns the reader to cling on to the deafness of it all.

Again, I found the use of sound to be particularly effective in utilizing the potential of elit again. More specifically, I liked that Wilks used the video game Animal Crossing without ever explicitly mentioning it; however, she used the character art, as well as various sounds from the game, to add to what the grandfather was confusedly and angrily seeing and hearing. For an outsider of the video game, I can imagine it also gives off a weird, unsettling feeling too, with the noises so distinct to the game; I know if I didn't know the reference, it would come off as a nightmarish, twisted cartoon. It definitely added to the overall feeling Wilks was getting at, too.

Ultimately, I really liked this specific piece of elit, and that it drew from the interesting parallel between deafness and ignorance, or at the very least, wishing to forget. With its complex meaning, a narrative that you could follow, and effective computational elements, it helped pull the whole piece of electronic literature together to make it very compelling and satisfying.

A Postmodern Fairytale: Leishman’s RedRidinghood

Out of all the works we were to look at this week, Donna Leishman's RedRidinghood grabbed my attention the most. I think what intrigued me was in the dark, distorted, and underlying sexual atmosphere within the piece, as opposed to the overall animated interactive narrative. While navigating the living digital story was an adventure in itself and added another dimension to reading and analyzing the fairytale, I think what worked for this piece was the fact it was so crudely drawn and animated, as well as the grotesque music and images we receive from RedRidinghood. Additionally, Leishman manages to achieve this effect because of the inspiration behind it; while experiencing the piece, I stuck around for the credits, and noticed that the author could not have done it without Angela Carter, because it would have been "impossible."

I was familiar with Carter's name because of having the pleasure of reading Wise Children, as well as reading some excerpts from her notable twisted take on fairytales.  When I saw her name at the end of the credits, Leishman's digital piece made a lot more sense to me. Of course, I immediately went to find the specific twist on Red Riding Hood that Leishman was inspired by, where I found the excerpt from In The Company of Wolves. In that specific narrative, Carter subverts the traditional ending of the story of inevitable death into a "happy," sexual one. Instead of either Little Red or the Wolf ending up dead, depending on what tales you read, it ends with them becoming lustful, taboo, and contented lovers.

I went back to Leishman's piece and explored it again, and definitely appreciated it more. Ultimately, her twist on Carter's own twist shows the new dimension in which literature can continue to exist and thrive in; through this element, Leishman demonstrates the thrill of tackling the computational narrative. Like Carter's story, it brings the same, if not more, perverse feelings, which we can see exemplified through the art itself. Leishman shows us the grotesque images of the child Little Red pregnant at the end of the story with the gun to her head, she shows us the lucid, weird montage that Little Red dreams in the field of cross-like flowers that make it nightmarish, and she shows us the suggestion of her impregnation with the cells splitting (which additionally insinuates The Wolf raping her while she sleeps). Additionally, the industrialized setting of her journey also adds to the feeling of postmodern unrest with the fairy tale. However, most unsettling of all, as I said before, is the background music. Again, it adds to that "lucid" and "nightmarish" vibe that the story is striving for; while Carter achieves the same thing with her words, Leishman takes it to another level through the different facets elit creates for the reader. In the end, I think that is what is most important as we start our journey in the class to understanding electronic literature; for me, this story illustrated the potential of the narrative world it can electronically create and exploit for the reader's own interdisciplinary pleasure.