I will begin by reflecting on the piece I would have to say I enjoyed more so out of the two for this week. Honestly, and wholeheartedly, I did not enjoy either one in the way that I might have with other pieces this semester. In a brief discussion last night with a few fellow class members, there was talk of the pieces being quite boring and simple. I alluded to the fact that our progression with navigating electronic literature in the class has gone from such simple and classic pieces like Twelve Blue to more multimodal and even more intellectually challenging pieces. I brought up the question of whether readers of e lit, after a while, form a sort of preconceived idea about what a piece of e lit contains because many can have varying forms of interactivity and multimodality, while others are meant to be a single click until he end of the piece. Can we not enjoy simplistic pieces for what they are anymore, and does interpretations of what e lit should be in an individual’s own biased option then affect the way that one is able to appreciate it?
To retreat from the tangent that I just partook in, Sooth (a noun meaning truth) by David Jhave Johnston was my preferred piece of the two pieces being presented tonight. The fact that the author intended for the images and music within the piece to be purposefully different from what a love poem might be associated with only added tot he intrigue. To me, the animated poems coupled with the looping videos and sounds only brought more… well… truth to what love really is or can be instead of the fairytale versions many people tend to associate with it. Like in the description, one is left to contemplate more deeply about the body, soul, and subconscious in ways that they might not have if they were to look at love on only a surface level. The poem “snow” in itself brought to question many concepts from biochemistry, interestingly, and ideas of looking at the self as an osmotic being (able to gradually process and take in information).
In terms of navigating through the poem, it took me a while to figure out that some of the separate pages lets you click on an open space in the box where the video place and the next line will appear in that area. However, sometimes you can click anywhere and the lines will only appear in a certain area and then zip and zoom to a different area within the box constantly moving. At first, I was frustrated and distracted by this because I couldn’t really get a good sense of what was being communicated if the words were moving and fading too fast, but I came across some scholarly commentary that put things into perspective. Jonathan Baillehache from the University of Georgia in his review of the piece states, “Clicking on the videos does not simple display the text, as in the turning of a page; it disturbs it, it shuffles the lines and complicates the reading experience with he intrusion of more sound, movement and color. Clicking is an act of destruction and disturbance of the text as much as it is a necessary operation to build it and proceed with the reading” (Baillehache, par. 3). This idea really brought things into a new light for me and the way that I looked at the piece.
As for the second piece Separation, it was written in the hospital under the effects of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) where one cannot work without the computer, but working with a computer is as much of a challenge as not working with it. I can understand the intended purpose of trying to get the reader or navigator to feel what someone else feels who has RSI, but in agreement with a fellow graduate student, Hailey, it reminded me of Tailspin by (author) in Volume 2 which emphasized the effects of Tinnitus in an old man and the repercussions it has on his life and his family’s lives. I am not sure, though, what to make of it and I want to do some more exploring and navigating through the piece a few more times.