All posts by renehua

Like stars in a clear night sky

“Like stars in a clear night sky” is a hypertext piece by  Sharif Ezzat. Stories manifest as stars in the dark sky. Every story is displayed as a poem. When I open the work website, there is a voice spoken in Arabic that gives the introduction. By clicking the blue stars, I can see every stories in the form of a poem. Stories of a boy, “his” love, “his” cousin, “his” uncle, “his” sister, the stars, the land, the water, and the whole world. Ezzat uses the night sky to make connection with the readers. Readers can imagine that they are watching the stars in sky. They can access the story by exploring a group of the brightest stars.

I like the design. It is purely aesthetic. The background is dreamy and peaceful. Even though it is has a traditional pattern of E-lit in my mind, but it still catches me. The whole atmosphere and environment make those poems have more beautiful and gentle tones. It is elegant presented. The voice in Arabic and the texts in English match well.

Most of the stories seem to related with families. Some others are concerned with nature. Those poems seem to be passed from parents to children. I like the poem about the world. “The whole world is determined to become my family.” It seems like the closure. Other poems break everything apart, but this one talks about a more broad theme.

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Sharif Ezzat. Like Stars in a Clear Night Sky. https://collection.eliterature.org/1/works/ezzat__like_stars_in_a_clear_night_sky/stars.html

Separation/Update

Separation by Anne Abrahams is an interactive Elit piece that discuss the relationship between people and computers. It is very relatable to the current modern society as it mentions technology. The text looks like a poem. As I click, the poem appears word by word. The first time I played, I tried to click quickly in order to see the whole text. However, a warning appeared which said: “you don’t have the right attitude in front of your computer”. There lists four improper behaviors that are concerned with wrong attitude towards the computer. If the readers offend those regulations, they need to start the text all over again.
QQ截图20181126204126The interactive part of the piece is the exercises. “Show the pain”, “Shrug the shoulders”, “Rest”, “Caress your back”, “Take courage”, and “Pray the sky”. These six parts includes some exercises that help people who sit in front of the computer for a long time to get moved and stretched. I found the physical interaction an interesting element of this piece. After doing all the exercises, I can really feel the “separation” between me and the computer. For me, the warning shows the collaboration between human beings and computers (it tells human beings how to use the computer correctly), and the exercises present the separation relationship.

As for my own work update, I have inserted some regular images and background images to my piece in Twine. I am in the process of putting everything together and making the piece more interactive. Next week I plan to collect some audio files that fit the story and put them in Twine.

Cruising & Elit Update

“Cruising” by Ingrid Ankerson and Megan Sapnar is an archive of digital poetry and its slide is controlled by the mouse. By moving the mouse up and down, readers can control the size of the text and image. By moving the mouse left and right, readers can control the speed of them. This piece documents the time when a teenager in a small town Wisconsin aimlessly drove down the street, going nowhere, and wanting something to happen. With black-and-white pictures as a background, the flashing texts creates a dynamic flow, like “cruising” on the dark street. When I read this piece, I have a feeling of nihility actually. The narrative voice and the background music provide a stronger sense of nihility and create the exactly atmosphere. Those visual and auditory devices can really make me there. 

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This piece provides me with relatable feelings. When I was a child, I also had that kind of experience before. After school, I would hang out on the street with no destination, just looking around and yearning. A not purposeful sidewalk. Those things always happened in early years for people. Teenagers are more likely to imagine, desire, and want to grow up. By the way, I still think this piece has some potential to release all the effects. The speed of the texts is hard to control, so the texts are sometimes out-of-sync with the audio narration.
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Project Update

In terms of my own Elit piece process, I have explored many digital tools and finally decided on Twine. Twine is a good platform for building a story. I found a useful tutorial session for Twine 2 beginners on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKFZhIHD7Xk&list=PLklITFhXtPCCKadv-0Gcbqoj3OCev695D

If anyone else need to use Twine, there is a good guidance on YouTube.

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I begin to build the story through Twine now. The screenshot above shows parts of my storylines. I believe that as I write further, I will get more and more inspirations. I have create some dialogues and options within the story. Thus far,  I only wrote texts to move the story forward. I start to gather some relevant pictures and audio files, if appropriate, I would add them later.

I am also in the process of exploring and learning how to use Twine more proficiently and wisely to display my story and ideas.

 

 

Icarus Needs

Icarus Needs is a game in which Icarus is falling asleep and experiencing everything in his dream. His girlfriend, Kit, is also in the same dream. They are both trapped in the command of the King of Squirrels. The most important thing for him is to wake up. In order to get out of the dream, Icarus needs to do some tasks. Icarus needs a key, some rope, five apples, a crown, and he needs to find Kit and jump in order to finally wake up. When I played this game, I felt that I struggled and twisted in those geometric squares. I need to collect things and accomplish tasks by adventure in those squares.
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I love the design of this game. I like the color block artwork. Different colors of the squares represent for different locations like corridors, the sewer, outdoors, the well, the castle, falling, etc. Different locations are accompanied by different kinds of background music. The arrows help to navigate the player’s path. The image inside the squares are concise, geometric, and aesthetic. I like the process of exploring things rather than going directly to the final square.

QQ截图20181112210214The ending of the game is a comic. After escaping from the virtual world and waking up, we player, as Icarus, can get romantic feelings. This game is a sweet little one.

 

Daniel Merlin Goodbrey. Icarus Needs. http://e-merl.com/icneeds.html

Rough Idea about my E-lit Piece

I have an idea of creating some stories about the old people who live alone. The reader can engaged in the story. For example, the reader is the only one that cares and accompanies the old man. You do things for him. But he does not know. Like an invisible man. Through the process, the readers can gradually know the story of the old man’s life.

I plan to set the background in a small cabin with some basic decoration. The outside weather is rainy. I would like to use sounds from the rainymood website to create the atmosphere. Hence, the home page goes like this: the left is a cabin with one old man, the right is a rainy environment.

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Actually, I do not know how to make the animation and strengthen the interaction with readers. It is just a rough idea. I will mainly use hyper-text links to move forward the plot. Through this piece, a sense of isolation must be created. The readers can involved in the story, but what the readers do are unnoticed. The old man is still alone.

However, I think it is too easily-organized. I am thinking to put more content and more interaction methods into the story. (Maybe one rain drop is going to represent one section?)

 

 

With Those We Love Alive: A Dream of Trauma

“With Those We Love Alive” is a hypertext E-lit piece and Twine game by Porpentine. The title is derived from the Bhagavad Gita:

“Better to live on beggar’s bread with those we love alive, than taste their blood in rich feasts spread, and guiltily survive.”

It is a nightmarish experience in an unknown world. You are given a name. You are living a life in the game.  In a world that is full of self-harm, abuse, and violence. You were asked to get works for a monstrous empress. Her abdomen is swollen, and she smells like dead candy. Like a monster. You had a chance to explore into the field. In the palace, there are balcony, chambers, garden, workshop, and city. You could explore into those places, but you would find you are returned to the palace again and again. You are isolated, waiting to be noticed, waiting for something to happen. Then you had to sleep in your chambers to advance the process. You got messages. You get works to do. You were employed by the empress to do works for her, such as making a gift for the ceremony or designing a weapon for her, although these tasks seemed to make no sense. The empress hunted people. Everyone was fearful to be the victims so they did not dare to question the custom. It is a dream of trauma. You went through it.

During the adventure, I was asked to draw sigils on my skin of: New beginnings, Relationship with the chasm, Shame, Insight, Influencing this outcome, Pain, Severing, A thought loop, and what I feel. Those sigils are like imprinting about what I suffered and experienced. Tangible and compelling. This interaction process really is a distinct feature of this E-lit piece. Drawing sigils as a part of the gameplay is an impressive interaction for me. Physically. The influence is really profound. Sigils that readers draw on their skin represent their emotional symbols. Check out here for sigils. You will see various kinds of sigils that people draw. Like a exposure of what inner traumas they have. They are physical remarks of what violence and trauma bring to us.

WeChat Image_20181022203011 Here are my sigils 

A question is asked if we are part of the world or alone. Does being part of the world with others mean conniving the society full of abusing? I am not sure, but in this world I think it does. If we choose to be part of the world, we would participate in the eradication of the princess-spores, put them to death. We would be merciful if we choose to be alone and separated from others. In this mundanely monstrous world, You work for the cruel empress. She has supreme power in her field. “Power is wounded by anything that refuses to be destroyed by it”.  If we choose to be apart, we are the ones that were not destroyed by power.

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In the note of this piece, the author writes: “Punishment isn’t for people who do bad things. Punishment is an energy that flows toward the weak, predictable as water. Punishment happens to those who cannot stop it from happening.” Then the result would be that those who fail to question the bad things get the punishment. Like the following picture shows.

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She comes. Sedina, with whom You hate the world together. You have most of the conversations with her in this game. She is considered as the representative of hope in some ways, but it is she that told you that “hope is a shameful thing”. I have a personal estimation that maybe she is another me. She came to remind me of hope in this dark world. She reminds me of my bravery to get over my trauma. Recover. And get energized.

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Sedina, so as “I”, see this place clearly. We are not what we choose to be. We are trapped and we have no power. This point also is conveyed in the playing procedure. With many only one-choice hypertexts, we seemed to follow a fixed path of life. We are pushed to move forward. We have no choice.

Sedina has scars on her appearance. She said: “What they did to me on the outside, they did to you on inside”. It sounds like the trauma that they did to “me” is inner and spiritual. The trauma is very deep. Porpentine states: “In most media there’s an unspoken belief that feminine lifeforms can’t survive on their own, can’t have spaces of their own, can’t have relationships of their own. I try to go against this with basically everything I make.” We can survive through those traumas. 

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My favorite part of the game (also the most confusing part) is about distilling the dreams of children. “My” (the character’s) mother gave “me” a cup to drink and “I” will no long dream. Is it another type of adult abuse? When children lose their ability to dream, they lose innocence. They are forced to grow. I kind of feel that way. It is vague to tell but also have connections with previous contents. It is a ritual, at least to my estimation. Like the ceremony of empress, like the re-applying process of hormone. “She gave you the cup. You drank it, because she was your mother.” Very customary like a routine in your life.

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Living in a world full of abuse, violence, and harms, “every day is damage”. That is the main theme in the world of “With Those We Love Alive”. It calls back some dark old days of the players. Anyway, a very impressive game.

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BTW, I strongly recommended you to read Kelli’s blog posts about this piece. Her first blog post is mentioned by the Porpentine in Tumblr. It is a an abuse-centered analysis of this piece. https://helterskelliter.wordpress.com/2016/12/03/because-i-am-alive/

Porpentine’s Tumblr: http://porpentine.tumblr.com/

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Works Cited:

Porpentine. With Those We Love Alive. http://slimedaughter.com/games/twine/wtwla/

 

 

Pieces of Herself

When I first entered the game, I felt a sense of crime and darkness, honestly. : ) The background was black and white, the atmosphere was full of mystery for me.  The rule of the game was clearly identified in the page. She had her pieces everywhere: shower, bedroom, outside, kitchen, living room, office, and main street. When you found the pieces of her, you can drag the icons onto any part of her body. Sometimes there are audio clips of interview with women, sometimes sound effect or songs. Besides the audio and icon found in those different spaces, I noticed there were sentences in the top right corner for each places.

“In the shower room, where women slip behind curtains, in perfect synchronicity, to remain invisible to each other.” It talks about privacy of women’s body. Some kind of physical restriction, I think.

“In the bedroom, where her mind would sometimes float to the ceiling.” Bedroom may be the only place that she can dream a little. Clear her mind and rest. No answering of any phone calls.

“OUTSIDE: As if she could ever really go outside.” It is lamentable. She could never really go outside, mentally and spiritually.

“In the kitchen, where she was forever looking for the right ingredients.” Women are trapped in the kitchen, they are housewives, as always. The world lets them do.

BTW, what I felt about this piece is that, a woman’s body is like a trash can, full of filthy things that the stereotypes of society imposed on them. During the game, there were too many pieces of her. When I dragged the icon to the body, it could not avoid superposition. In order to get rid of some continuously annoying sounds, I had to clear all and restart another scene. The cleaning process worked like a dumping. However, in reality, she can not clear those pieces. She had to bear.

Like different pieces of memory, imprints in the body are like spells. They are footprints of her life. “As if she could ever really go ‘outside’.” Can she really get free? Are those pieces constitute her or break herself up?

Then I wonder what my pieces are.

 

Juliet Davis. http://collection.eliterature.org/2/works/davis_pieces/index.html

 

Blog#4 Brainstrips by Alan Bigelow 

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.

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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.

deep philosophical questions1. 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.

science for idiots 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.

higher math      3. “Higher Math” QQ截图20181008204002“Addition”

Yeah, the exact prinple of life is called “higher math”.

 

Works Cited:

Alan Bigelow. “Brainstrips”. http://collection.eliterature.org/2/works/bigelow_brainstrips.html

 

Blog#3 Hobo Lobo of Hamelin

Hobo Lobo of Hamelin is an Elit that mixtures several forms. The combination of texts, images, and sounds facilitates its effect on readers. The natigation design is quite understandable for me. There are totally seven pages. Every page has several sections. When read it, you can just go over page by page. Below the texts are animations. The animations are like long stroll painting. You can look through the painting from the left side to the right side when you go over the sections inside pages. Almost all the pages have texts except for two of them. The page three has sound insteand of texts. Listening to the sound, I heard some sharp screams in the silent night. The page seven also has the sound. There was a piece of music played in the background. The tempo was lively but it seems inronic for me.

The webcomic brings me into that situation further. I felt like I fell in to a movie world. I believe that it can give the readers that illusion. The town of Hamelin was once peaceful and picturesque. However, currently it was occupied with turbulent rats, which threaten the election of Mayor of the Fascist-Calvinist coalition government. A talented vagrant – Hobo Lobo, entered the town. He was hired by the mayor to help Hamelin with its rat infestation.

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Screenshot of Hobo Lobo of Hamelin (Page1, 4)

The reading experience of Hobo Lobo of Hamelin reminds me of a childhood memory of reading cartoon books. More dynamic, Hobo Lobo of Hamelin is a webcomic Elit that includes digital sound, animation, and texts. The story itself is contexualized in a small town, which is a common background setting for most of the fairy tales and fables that I read in early years. When read it, readers will devote their sensory immersion from both auditory and visual perspectives to the story. It was definately a delightful and enjoyable reading experience.

 

Works Cited:

STEVAN ŽIVADINOVIĆ. http://hobolobo.net/

 

 

Bots/ Reconstructing Mayakovsky

I really enjoy walking through the bots collection. Glancing the Twitter accounts was so different from reading printed literature. The pattern, form, the way to display the texts, are unique. Everyword is like an E-dictionary that collects every English words. Real human Praise looks like a joke as it is ironic, but provides so much space for readers to think. I love the space created in every bot. All bots are not directly convey stories and plots. They are pieces of thoughts. These bots remind me of a similar kind of form of text in China. In the social media “Weibo” platform, there are also many accounts that were established for some particular and specific purposes and themes. Like a clock account, a forest account, or an account that only reports fake news.

Reconstructing Mayakovsky is a novel of future. The design of the visual effect gives me a sense of virtuality. Every text is gained through a innovative method. By clicking a cloud of keywords, I can enter different mechanisms. The author divides the narrative texts into several mechanisms such as “texts, audio podcasts, video and a live Google image search based on intangible keywords” (Michael Stevens, 2013). This exploration makes me feel surreal to some extent, but the postmodern attitude of this work is seen by this way.

The second experience in Elit improved my understanding of it further. There are much more innovative elements in Elit.

 

Works Cited:

Michael Stevens. http://scalar.usc.edu/maker/english-507/stevens-granulations-page1

Illya Szilak. http://www.reconstructingmayakovsky.com/

Bots. http://collection.eliterature.org/3/collection-bots.html