Taroko Gorge was interesting, to say the least. Truthfully it was hard to stay focused with the poem because it moved. Then I started to pay attention to the literary devices being used and try to pick up on a pattern to keep with the flow of the poem. Which made it easier. Then I tried to figure out what the poem was about. Words like forest, stone, and crags came up in several lines in different stanzas. Other words like veins and dwell appeared often as well and yet, it was still hard for me to make sense. In order for me to try and make sense of this piece, I had to look up the word crag. Because after ten minutes of watching the poem scroll by, I still couldn't figure out the meaning. So, according to dictionary.com, crag means a steep rugged rock a projecting part of the rock. Okay, that makes a little more sense so this is a poem about the outdoors and nature. I didn't get a clear sense of what the theme of the poem. Even though I didn't really connect with it I did get a sense of calming after about five minutes of reading. I went back and read through the editorial and author's statement. It was then that I was able to get a better sense of what the piece is supposed to be about. And I did get a big sense of nature and serenity but I didn't pick up on the historical context or the significance of the location until I read the statement. Then I was able to go back and look at things again. This time some of the lines and stanzas were put into perspective.
Next, I took a look at Alan Bigelow's Brain Strips. And right away I was intrigued. One reason being is that I love comic books. And I thought it was cool to have an older looking drawing for the images. It made me feel that this philosophical piece was going to have a lot of satire and humor. For the most part, it did. I didn't care too much for the sound. But I did love the questions and the comic strip style responses written to each of them, I found the Is God real especially funny with the way it ended. The colors and the effects enhanced the reading to me. It made the stories jump off of the page. It also made me think that there were more elements than the words and images on the screen telling the story. The sound effects played another part. It added to the sensational appeal of the piece. I enjoyed this reading more than the other it felt very engaging and interactive. And the concept was much more straightforward and easier for me to grasp. If I were to do an e-lit piece I would like the navigation of the work to be similar to this. I would have the sound bites be a little less jarring though.
First, I'd like to say how proud of myself I am. If you would've asked me to present on bots a year ago I would've run away. But now, after two Net Narr class. I'm kind of a bot master. Not, really a master but I am no longer a novice. I'm somewhere in the middle.
Okay, when I started down the rabbit hole learning about bots for E-Lit, I see this is slightly different than the purposes of bots for a networked narrative class. So, let's get down to the nuts and bolts of this whole bot-uation. That's my last bot pun I swear. Taken from the word robot, bots are, "computer programs designed to operate autonomously."
In the world of e-lit it becomes a really cool, sometimes random way to generate literature. Or is it? There are debates that happen that online bots are nonsense and it doesn't amount to anything sensical let alone literature. Bots like Tiny Crossword don't seem to serve a purpose. But if you follow through the feed it begins to make its own form of poetic rhythm.
One could argue that the person who programs the bot intended for it to appear that it doesn't make any sense and therein lies the beauty of it. So how do we detect a bot from an actual writer? Well, there's a game you can play to see if you can pick out true literature.http://botpoet.com
The best part about bots is making your own. It is cool to play around with already created bots. Creating your own allows you to play the author and create your own character. However, even though you are writing a script perse you still don't get to control the outcome much like other e-literature.
Professor Alan Levine explored the world of bots with us in my Networked Narrative class. The best part about bots is getting the chance to play around with them. Here's a link to some really cool bot stuff Alan shared with us last year.
If you're like me, then after the first class you thought the following about e-lit:
If you didn't leave class feeling like that, then you probably felt like this:
Point is, I'm sure you left the class feeling some kind of way. No matter how you felt after the initial breakdown of electronic literature hopefully this week's readings pulled everything together to make things make more sense. This week we had to read Navigating Electronic Literature by Jessica Pressman and Twelve Blue by Michael Joyce.
In the Pressman piece, she talks about how e-lit is used. Something that stood out to me was when Pressman said, "...electronic literature does not consist of stable, inscribed marks on a print page; rather, it emerges as a processural performance across codes and circuitry within the computer and in response to interactions from the reader." The idea that the reading emerges from the computer screens into a new experience every time the reader interacts with it, takes reading literature to a whole new level. It is possible for you to have a deeper appreciation or a deeper understanding of a literary piece the more you read it. However, when you read a traditional text the experience never changes. How you engage with the text may reveal another meaning or make the purpose clearer but your experience with the text doesn't change.
Another part of the reading that made me pause and reflect was when I came across David Bolter saying, "We could say that there is no story at all; there are only readings.” It made me wonder what the difference is between a story and reading. I think it could still be a story because the author put those words and scenarios there for the reader to discover. I believe that it's definitely a story because all of the different rabbit holes were created for a reader to experience.
So I wanted to experience it myself so I clicked on the Michael Joyce piece to engage in the hypertext for myself.
It is very obvious that this is not an e-lit piece created in the last decade. Nevertheless, I engaged in the text. I clicked on number 6 to start my story. And I was taken into a scenario where I met the viralologist, Javier and I was transported back to a time when folks wore beepers. But the main thing I noticed was that there was no hypertext for me to click. I was a little disappointed that my story was at its end. The colorful squiggly lines that are in the photo above were now placed in the margins to the left. I clicked on one of the lines and then I was taken to more text. And this part of the text included a hyperlink that took me to another part of the text that didn't include a hyperlink.
Every time I came to a page without a hyperlink I was saddened that my story ended and it didn't take me anywhere else. I also, expected to see photos that could've been hyperlinked as well. I have to admit that the plain text and the blue background did make it hard for me the stay engaged in the story. Even though I thought it was interesting. I wonder if my low attention span had anything to do with the fact that technology in which created this e-lit piece is a bit dated. And if it were to be republished using some of the software we have available now, if I would feel differently. For the most part, I was engaged and excited to see where I would go next. But I think when I didn't actually go anywhere different or surprising the clicking of the hyperlinks started to bore me and I just wanted to a read a story straight through.