All posts by Kathryn Birchfield

The Crunch Continues

This week I am focusing on polishing my pages, making sure that they are cohesive, and fleshing out my Lit Review.

I hope to have the pages polished and finished by this time next week so I can really focus on my Lit Review. I have one more source I want to finish reviewing that I think will be added so that is what I plan to do for the next week and half.

Thinking ahead, I will be working on college applications over the break and that will be my main focus. I do plan to plot and continue building out my thesis as well we compiling more sources for my research.

Dial and C ya Laterrrr

Extremely different pieces, yet, both are centered around distance and communication.

C ya laterrrr is heartbreaking and walking through the interactive game was a lot. I got pretty far into it before I couldn’t take it anymore. The detail, the way it is just life in the midst of what should never be, the real and rawness of it. What a moving work.

Dial, on the other hand, was a calming piece. If you analyze this piece with c ya laterrrr it could be really touching. Thinking about distance and time zones, etc. On it is own, it was hard to understand and navigate at first. It took a few minutes and I had to look at the author notes to really understand and that was helpful.

Retratos Vivos de Mama and How to Rob a Bank

Two very different pieces in a myriad of ways. Retratos Vivos de Mama is a beautiful piece that is so intimate through not just the words and thoughts within, but the way it is presented. I read what I could in Spanish and translated where needed.

There is something so powerful in the ways emotions flow between languages and the differences. I remember a friend whose second language is French said that reading French authors in their mother tongue , reading words meant to be in French, is a different experience than reading it translated. There is power in words, something we have all echoed throughout this semester. I think we have seen this sentiment of the power in language with Melanie and Xinyu’s works, but I think it is very prevalent here as well in a different way.

How to Rob a Bank is such a fun piece. It is really ambiguous and there is a lot of reading between the lines. It is extremely interesting to think about Electronic Literature that is heavily influenced by technology in a way we haven’t quite seen yet. In a way that is a reflection of where ELit will progress.

A Kiss and The Infinite Woman

It is really interesting how the projects have lined up. So far, all of the presentations that happen on the same night appear to go together and I would say the same for these.

There is a form of erasure in both, things left unsaid, unheard. The works show this and tackle this in very different ways, but still seem to connect here.

I really enjoyed the way the author interacts with the reader of “A Kiss,” it is not just a story but a conversation which is very interesting and makes it in engaging in a completely different way than we have seen with the other hypertext pieces that have been shared. It adds interaction on a mental level layering that on top of the physical interaction of the piece.

“The Infinite Woman” is extremely intriguing to me on a feministic level and thinking about gender roles and the way women “perform” in society. Adding the fact that all of that is wrapped up into a creation of your own poem and the erasure effect…wow. A lot to unpack and I am really excited to see the conversation that flows from that.

Both pieces are incredibly beautiful in a myriad of ways and in very complex and different ways. I look forward to seeing the presentations and conversations that will be conducted.

Nights of Forgotten Letters

Wow. Two very powerful pieces of Elit. I am excited to look closer at both during class this evening.

My first impression of Letters to X was honestly a little anxiety filled. After a rough and busy week focused on outward performance, I felt pressure when looking at the empty spaces to fill. I felt there was a “right” answer I “had” to find.

I perused the site and looked at a few of the letters allowing myself to just be present with the piece and lean on my creativity over performance. Below is one of the pieces I created that is 100% fictional. (I had to upload it as a pdf so hopefully it is viewable).

It is clear how thoughtful the artist was in what spaces were left blank and how they shape the story around those spaces.

And then forgotten nights.

I loved this piece. the moon and stars, the cadence of the speaker, the words. The nature of the work is all encompassing and even though there is interaction and get to control the narrative in a way, it is a piece that is so easy to get swept into. I could have spent hours and hours here.

I think it is extremely calming as well and can see myself coming back to the piece when I need to re-center and/or grapple with memory, the past, and life in general.

Beautiful choices by Chelsea and Kefah.

High Muck a Muck and the Root of Literature

My first impression of High Muck a Muck is that the description of “interactive” paired with the soundscape immediately made me think of website video games I have played in the past. This gave me a little comfort and at this very beginning point I felt better about it than Twelve Blue.

Looking at the entrance and the first few pages, I really enjoy this piece. The soundscape with the pace of the words and art appearing. The interaction is great, but the method of interaction (rolling the mouse over the box in the corner and the titles appear, the dots glowing if looking at the map) is really lovely.

The entire page has been purposely crafted to give you a calming and peaceful feel as you peruse incredibly complex and thoughtful work. It is so hard to not keep saying that this piece is lovely.

I think the question of “what is literature” is really present here in a way simply because the method of interaction is so similar to website video games that have been produced; however, the words, the entire piece is so obviously, in my opinion, literature. Even the art and the way the language interacts with the art is literature, even adding sound to a piece just reminds me of gallery, but then you add this very specific type of interactive-ness and all of the sudden I can understand the question being asked. I think this is very much shows the root of privilege and “prestige” and frankly, snootiness, that is associated with literature.

First Readings

Growing up I was a big fan of the “Choose your own adventure” books, games, stories, etc. I was excited to try something similar with “Twelve Blue.” I browsed around, read the instructions (after reading for a while, and realized I am not a huge fan of this story. I shouldn’t say story, but I don’t feel like I have explored enough to say genre.

Craft wise, I enjoyed the writing, the style, the beauty of the language, but it didn’t feel “choose your own adventure” because for most of the pages I landed on their was only one link to click. At one point I ended on a page that couldn’t be clicked. And it also didn’t feel streamlined. It felt like ease-dropping on multiple conversations in a subway and then getting off and realizing that everyone was talking about each other. It felt jumbled and confusing and then only being able to piece some things together after looking at my notes.

I won’t say anymore on “Twelve Blue” and leave it for class discussion. On to the next reading. I read this before going to “Twelve Blue” and found it helpful in thinking about what I was participating in. Whether I see the story as “Choose your own adventure” or not, it is apparent that navigation is at the center of the story.

I love the idea of navigation being the indicator of how the story is told and allowing the reader to be the key to the lock of the story.

I remember hearing about an interview with a musical artist who was asked about the meaning behind a song and they said something along the lines of, “Of course I have a specific thing I am singing about, but that doesn’t really matter anymore. Now that it is out in the world it isn’t just mine, it is every person’s who listens to it and the meaning they feel behind it.” This is a sentiment I think about constantly in everything I do, but especially my writing.

E-Lit takes this concept and amps it up. Every piece is thoughtfully written and structure and created with very specific meaning and intention. However, once it is out there that meaning that created it means a lot less than the meaning placed upon it by the interactive reader, the second creator of the piece.