Category Archives: student blogs

My elit project

At first I thought I wanted to make a Elit piece of my family, I just didn’t know what I was going to focus on. After I have thought about this for a while, I decided that I want to make a piece about my grandma. My grandma is 88 years old and she lives in Bergen. It just takes me 15 minutes to walk to her apartment. I therefore try to visit her as often as I can. When I´m visiting, she always have a lot of stories to tell. Stories from her childhood, stories of where she used to work, where she used to live, stories from my childhood and a lot more. She lived during the war, and that is also very exiting to hear about! She also likes to show old pictures and letters, which I think will be too cool to use in the piece. I also think that the pictures and letters is going to be some of the most interesting parts of my piece.  I gathered some photos from Google, just to show some of the kind of photos I was thinking of using:

Creepy-old-picture-1 f79455950e848423f6e1e0209099a8e3--old-letters-vintage-letters.jpg imagesphylis and adele 1940s orig.jpg

She has a lot of letters and photos, so that would be fun to look thru and use.

My grandma also writes in her journal every day, and she never forgets to write. I can therefore also use some journal entries in my piece!

So my idea so far is to write about her life and some of her life with me. I want to share her story! And it would be interesting to write about how she experienced the war etc…

I dont have everything planned yet, but I am thinking of using wordpress to make blogposts and links (like this for example; My grandma was born in 1929  …….). And then link them to each other. I dont know any other way I can do it…

I think this is going to be interesting for others to read about, and see real letters and pictures from her past. She has lived a very fascinating life, and I am very exited to make a piece about it! I hope you think this is a good idea too!


Galatea + update on my own elit

Galatea


Galatea by Emily Short is a piece of elit consisting of text only. The piece looks like a word document of some sort, where you type in commands for the main character to decide what he should do. There are many possible commands, and there is possible to see a list of them all if you are in doubt of what to do.

The story consists of our main character, a man who is reviewing an exhibition of statues. It appears one of the statues breathe, move and is able to speak. 

In Galatea the conversation between the man and the statue is explored. Trough the commands, the reader decides what the man should think about or say to the statue. There are many conversation topics to choose from, but many of them seem to be about the statue and how it came alive, the man who carved it, or mythology. In a way, the topics seem connected to each other. Every conversation topic is also possible to just think about. The third thing we can do is to ask her to turn towards the man or for the man to touch the statue (for example her hair or shoulder). There is also the option of walking away from her, particularly in the beginning before they get to talk much to each other, but this ends the story. If one starts over, the statue will remember you walked away the last time (and thank you for not doing it again if you choose to stay and talk to it).

Every command seems to have a preset response or outcome. Nothing seems to be at random here. This means that though there are a long list of available commands, the outcome is limited. The whole elit is also centered around the man’s conversation with the statue, so when the conversation ends the elit also ends.

I really like the concept of Galatea, and it does feel like a text-based game in some ways – which I liked. However, everything feels very limited because of how the whole story consists of one conversation, you have a pre-made list of possible actions which all only seem to have one response.

The way the elit is made out I think only makes it more clear how limited the story and its outcomes are. And although I really, really like the way it looks and how the reader interacts with it almost like it is a text-based game… I am unsure of how much I actually liked the elit itself. All in all though, it is worth checking out.

 

 

Update on the development of my own elit


The second half of my blogpost will be an update on how I am progressing with my own elit. The last week I have been working on expanding the story and putting it into inklewriter, as well as mapping out the last part of the story – which I will soon start putting into inklewriter.

When I first started making my own elit I was going for the same story, but with poems only – where random words where clickable instead of giving the reader choices. This would have been much easier for me to create, but would not make as much sense for the reader. This would also have made the piece feel less interactive. Therefore the reader now gets to make choices throughout the story. For every choice made the reader first gets a consequence or event that happens, then a poem that kind of explains the event more in depth before a new choice. If this is the best way of doing it I am not sure, but I have grown to like it.

As this elit describes someone’s life, and lets the reader make choices for the person’s life, I had to start coming up with the actual choices (and what they would lead to). Before even beginning to map out the story I had over 20 little poems written with this elit in mind. Doing it in this order was a bit difficult because I had the poems and partly the order they would go in partly figured out – but not the choices. Some people would say the choices should have been made first because they are the leading element of the story – and I partly agree. But in my elit the poems are almost more important than the choices – and therefore it is fine by me that they were created first.

I still have a few issues with the design of inklewriter and how it works. Though, to be honest, I have not been googling or watching tutorials that could be helpful yet. This is because I at first thought it would be best to finish the story, mapping and choices first and then go back to “polish” everything. Now, on the other hand, as the story has so many branches and paths I kind of wish I would have looked into these issues a bit earlier. The main problem is that I cannot get the four lines of the poem to be on a line of their own without being a paragraph of their own, and as most of the text consists of poems… Let’s just say I need to find a solution as soon as possible.

Aside from the smaller issues, I think I am on schedule and will done with my elit in time. Right now I just need to finish mapping out and make sure I have the poems I need to finish all the paths – and find choices that make sense along with their consequences. I would say that at least half of the story is already in inklewriter though, but we will just have to wait and see where it feels right to end the different paths. A few paths are already done, but most still need more work.

All in all, I am on schedule with my elit piece and enjoy working on it – I feel motivated and inspired. Due to all the paths, working on it now takes more time since I have to go back and see which choices were made for the reader to end up at a certain place for each addition, but I think I can manage.

 

Stay tuned for my next blogpost!

 


Galatea

I can’t remember who it was, but someone (possibly multiple people) in class mentioned that the piece of Galatea was creepy, and I wholeheartedly agree. During the presentation of it I kept being reminded of a similar feeling I got while watching a movie in the past, of course I can’t remember which movie this was, but the point is that the main character was conversing with a being that was equal to God/a God and the conversation was very eerie because the deity was very detached from the troubles and suffering of the main character. This is how I felt throughout the piece of Galatea, the female “entity” that we’re communicating with—the sculpture—seemed disconnected and detached from whatever was happening around her. Sort of as if she thought herself above the topics and conversation we were trying to communicate with her. I was also reminded about another character from a different story—a comic this time around, named “Gantz”. The being in question is sort of all-knowing while at the same time very much mortal as human beings, but although it faces the exact same threat of mass extinction, it is unable to relate to human despair in the face of death. I’m sort of rambling here, but my point is that the being implies that because of its lack of human characteristics, it is by definition godlike. Which is the exact same eerie feeling that this piece gave me as we walked through it. Galatea’s answers struck me as coming from a place of all-knowing, while at the same time indifferent.

With that part out of the way, let’s talk about the design—minimalistic. The piece is basically just text that somewhat scrolls down as you progress through the story. Both different and yet similar to the various hypertexts we’ve walked through in class, it focuses on the content more so than the visual design. The design isn’t nonexistent however, the design of Galatea is sort of in the same vein as the design of a novel with the intricate work of making text flow naturally and effortlessly—but that’s as far as it goes for the design aspect of the piece.

The “condition” system of the piece is interesting as I’ve played around with Inklewriter for my own piece. Apparently, from what I could gather during the presentation of Galatea, there are different endings wholly dependent of what sort of mood one establishes and which choices one makes throughout the piece—and some ending are only obtainable by following a set of exact actions and conversations. Just from my very limited knowledge about condition systems, I can tell that there is an enormous amount of work and time put into this piece for all of the different parts to function just as intended. Something that hit me as interesting was the idea that if you just continue the conversation and you don’t trigger any red flags that lead you towards an ending in any direction, you could potentially just keep the story going on forever.

This piece made me consider making something similar, but apparently you need to download a specific software to be able to run this system. Which is unfortunately, in every instance where you need to download a software, because it is automatically going to limit the people who invest any time into this piece. If this could be run from a website, the reach to grab the attention of more viewers would expand exponentially—but in a way it is sort of appropriate that only a certain number of people get to invest their time in Galatea, as both the e-lit and as the distinguished sculpture art.


Galatea by Emily Short.

This week we looked at Galatea, it’s a text based piece, where you, the player is introduced to Galatea and then its all up to you where the story goes from there. The player has different command words to use; ask, think, look, listen, tell. The list goes on, now the interesting things about this will be discussed after I have introduced Façade.

Now I am going to compare galatea to Façade, that I wrote about earlier, if you haven’t looked at my post or know about Façade; it’s a game where the player can input text as they want, and the game interprets the commands and tries to make the interaction as seamless at possible, Façade is a voiced game, and it is probably not a as smoot transition as I would like.

galatea

Now galatea and Façade have to different approaches to make the player interact with the game, but they are different takes on the same concept, how to let the player feel like a part of the story and not just the player experiencing a made to experience.

The main difference is that Façade lets the player type whatever they want, and as long as it is grammatically correct, the game will interact with it. Contrasting to this is the command list and topic list of Galatea, but Galatea has several things that Façade does not. Mainly the “think about” and the “tell about” command, now this makes it possible for the player to know more about the players character. In Façade there is no such option, there is times where the player may get a tidbit about the story of their character before the game, but there is very hard to follow a route that leads there, in contrast you can type “think about galatea” and get “your” thoughts about her.

galatea2

Before I move on to the preservation of digital media, I would like to talk about why I think Galatea holds up to time more than Façade, even though Façade has the better/more exiting tech. the graphic of a game or the like, will always age, some better than others, depending on style and tech choices but there is also the way Façade implements the voice acting with player input, its bound to feel older and more jagged, while Galatea’s tech is still used today, and is not that far away in what text games are today. Yeah, the “few” choices compared to the endless in Façade is something to gripe about (not really) the simple design holds up better.

 

This leads me into the next section of this comparison: aging and preservation.

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From videogames to electronic literature to webgames it is a known problem that they get outdated, and not only do they become outdated in the graphic, engine, or the scope sense, but they get outdated in the way we can experience and host them. If you look at galatea it’s a piece that you need special tools to work on your computer, now how long until that tool is no longer supported on new computers, how long until no one can experience galatea?

There are several different organizations that try to preserve different parts of our digital history. The difficulty of preserving the different types of digital media, biggest of all problems is copyright law, especially in America, even modding machines or using emulators is not legal in many countries.

There is a lot of work being done to preserve the digital history, but it’s very difficult to do, the digital world is so large and ever expanding, making digital preservation an almost impossible job.

 

 

Here are some of the different organizations that try to preserve digital works, games, websites and other.

Here is games history and they try to preserve games media and different publications of games magazines  

Here is a Japanese organization that preserves games and games media, they have over 40,000 games

Here is the Wikipedia article on digital preservation.


Queerskins

The first thing I want to point out with this piece that weren’t talked much about in class is the fact that its sophisticated simplicity makes up what I believe to be the very essence of what “traditional literature-meets the digital” should be. The way the text is presented in a skewmorphic way, meaning it’s presented as “text on paper”, accompanied by audio and video, to me, is Electronic Literature in its purest and most undisputed form. The multimodality, which only can be achieved through digital platform enriches this text in a way no traditional literature would be able to. The navigation is also pleasant due to use of javascript instead of traditional HTML and CSS, which gives it a much smoother and non-website feel. Having said this, it’s definitely worth mentioning that this is a heartbreaking, yet beautifully told  story about how it is living with a terminal disease and asexual orientation in a time where neither is socially accepted. We sort of get the feeling of having discovered this persons inner most private thoughts and feelings through his diary and letters, which gives the reader insight into different, and more often than not, more or less incoherent bits and pieces of his life, which after just a little while makes up the story of a man living in a world that does not accept him, or people like him, for who he is, and if that weren’t enough his lifestyle is also indirectly what kills him. Even though we only see this from his perspective, the theme of this piece also paints a picture of how gay people were treated in this time in history, and the fact that AIDS spread like wildfire in the gay community added to the hate and stigmatization of these people. The multimodal elements sort of put an augmented reality layer to it, when a part of the text for instance could be accompanied by a a news report, either directly related to the content, or just touching upon the subject, but through the view of that point of times attitude toward the subject. Living in our modern time where these lifestyles are perfectly normal and accepted, at least by the norm, these elements of time-travelling REALLY helps us grasp the situation, something that would be much harder to do through conventional literature, then we would only have the author’s word for it, but here we can actually see it for ourselves. I love the way this story was told, even though it was a sad one, and to make a call-back to my blogpost on The Hunt For The Gay Planet, which i slaughtered for not giving justice to a really important cause, this one really, truly does.

For my own piece, I’m really thinking of shifting my focus due to the fact that what I want to do seems a bit harder than I first thought. I don’t just want to do it, I want it to have some quality to it as well. I still want to do something in 360, but I’m not sure the Blindfullness is going to happen. I have no idea of what theme to focus on yet, but know that when it’s decided that much of my time will be spent on it.

Until next time, Dannyboy out!


Taroko gorge remixes and own work

New blog post and this time it’s about Taroko gorge remixes. This blog post will look at two different remixes of this populear e-lit, “snowball” and “along the Briny beach” to see what new they bring to the table

Taroko Gorge,” Nick Montfort’s 2009 nature poem has been the inspiration for many remixes. The original and simpel nature of the piece have inspiret many to make fun and interesting remixes of the piece like “tokyo garage”by Scott Rettberg and “snowball” by Alireza Mahzoon.

Snowball is in my opinion a fun and good remix of the e-litt. Instead just a green backgrou and and text. The e-lit have white-grey background with white text plus the text move atleast twise as fast and in a more poetick pattern inspired by the snowball style of poems. The reason I maybe like this more is that I like the winter and snow themes. The text generates faster is a good thing becouse thats meens you dobt need to wait and its more straith forward.  So In my opinionI like this remix becouse Its faster and the winter/snow theme make it apeall better to me.

The other remix is along the “Briny beach” by J.R Carpenter. In this remix J.R. Carpenter infused the original source code with coastal language, and used jacescript  to insert  beach themed texts and images into the generated page. This make the e-lit more interesting and change it personality alot. Personal I understand why the remix do it this way becoyse beach is fun with alot of things, but i think its to messy and all the pictures and text that scrolls on from the sides take awy from the real poem. This is personal and from a designer point of view the e-lit is great, but perdonaly its messy. Alot is going on and you constantly need to change focus on the screen.

A big question that comes up with this remixes is are fow creative are they and are they just copies of an already popular e-lit. My anwer to this is if the remix are true to the original (you can see what the inspiratoion are and how the original piece worked) and you give the remix an own personality the remix is something new. Whats cool about all the taroko georges remixes is that they gave the same look and work i  the same way, but they all have different personality thanks to what text generates and the color schemes on the page.

 

For my own e-lit project uppdate, I will talk about how I will talk about mapping ideas and how the project may interact with the reader.

The way I plan to have the mapoin on the project is that the reader star wiht 5-6 differents titles on the screen and they lead tho different stories. The plan right now is that If you press rhe title you will be exploring a song lyric that is important to a person and see different way you can interact with it. After a while the reader will come to the end screen of that lyric and the end screen will be a personal story from a person that have/had problem with deppresion and how the song helped them battle it.

The different song lyrics have all different tone and I will try to make the different ways fell unik and personal, but I will also try to make them have the same similaritys so its not 5 different e-lit in one

 

See you next week


VI. Queerskins

This is a piece that really got to me. On one hand, regarding the aesthetics and the design, on the other, the topic and the emotional value. Queerskins tells the story of a young gay man who has passed away. Layer by layer, we uncover his story. And that was exactly what this reading experience felt like: peeling away the facades to go deeper and deeper into the life of a fictional character – except the fictionality seemed to become less and less obvious. It reminded me of the feeling when a very good novel is finished and you go online, trying to make the story continue as long as you can. The facettes of the story are lain out beautifully in an installment of videos and text. There is really not much more to say about it, except that this is how you should tell a multimedia story – incorporating all the bits in equal weighing, making them seem like homogenic parts of one big impression.

For my own E-Lit piece, I realize now that I failed to elaborate on it in my last post. Therefore, that is what I am going to do now. I have already mentioned that I want to write about filter bubbles, but failed to say how. I would really like to experiment with storytelling while exploring this multi-dimensional topic. Since my coding skills are limited, I would actually like to focus on the content first and then consider how to make the story accessible in the best way. That is why the next week will be dedicated to finding a story I want to tell. The basic premise is: at the beginning of the piece, there will be a choice of who the reader is – either, I want to ask about gender and age and go from there, or I will create a few characters with specific features. Either way, the choice at the beginning will determine which side of the story will be presented to the reader. I realize that this topic is incredibly broad. The big challenge will be to find the balance between conveying a bigger message and telling an interesting story. However, I am very excited to get started.


#6 Why should God care who I love? | Queerskins

The piece Mette chose for her upcoming presentation is Queerskins,  a web-based novel. It is about a young, gay HIV physician named Sebastian, who grew up in rural Missouri and with Catholic parents. Apparently, he died at the beginning of the HIV epidemic. The piece deals with a modern and important topic and I will try to briefly point it out in the following post. 

But let’s start with the first impression 

I have to admit, I was already impressed by the design of the homepage, before I even thought about clicking anything – I loved the fond ( yes, I have a thing with fonds) and I really liked how the page is divided into two parts. On the left side, the reader can explore „Queerskins: A Love Story) (a VR experience and interactive installation) on the right one can find „Queerskins: A Novel“. I looked at both, but as it is more interesting to me, I’m just gonna talk about the novel part.
When I opened the novel. I got confronted with a bunch of pictures and videos, as well as classical music playing. I tried clicking on all of the images and videos, but nothing happened.
The bottom page presents you with the names of the different chapters: Missouri, Mother, Alex, Carlos, End, Bathilde, Jean-Marie and Return. These chapters are divided into numbered parts so in the end one has maneuvered himself through 62 slides (or maybe pages?).


Starting with Missouri, every new page offers different audio files, videos and pictures, as well as „handwritten“ notes/diary entries and (flash-)cards. They all overlap each other which made it quite confusing for the first few seconds. But soon I realized that I could move and drag-and-drop everything on the screen. As I tried to „find everything“ I decided to move everything I had already seen to the left sie of the screen and maneuver my way through the different slides. After Missouri I made my way through all the other chapters and was impressed – I really really liked the story and the way Illya Szilak created this piece of ELit.

Let’s talk about the topic…

Digging through the different notes/diary entries, I felt like I was invading someone’s privacy – but the audio files reminded me more of a documentary (so not really as personal as a diary) – I could even picture everyone in these audio files sitting there and talking into a camera (someone wants to have a guess who might have spent a little too much time watching documentaries on Netflix the last couple of days?)
By talking about Sebastian, we do not only get to know him and his story, we also learn about the other characters.
We meet the mother, who loves her son but her religiousness makes it heard for her to accept her son’s homosexuality; the father who seems to be unhappy and unaccepting of his son and his life, we get to know Sebastian’s first love and his longtime boyfriend as well as others.

Everything they say about Sebastian and all the personal notes we discover during the different chapters makes it possible for us to piece together our own picture of him. To me, Sebastian seemed to feel guilty, somehow torn between his religious upbringing and his homosexuality, which is considered a sin in the Catholic Church. He seemed very caring of others (his time in Africa)  and yet it seems like he does not really fit into the society he lives in.
I am really excited to discuss this piece of ELit in class because I think there is way more to this story than the conflict of religion vs homosexuality.

About my personal project

I started to work on my own project over the last couple of days. My initial idea was to create a small collection of poetry and/or short stories considering a certain topic. I started writing and re-worked some of my already existing pieces, but I haven’t fully decided on the main topic yet. I did some free writing and came up with several ideas, I just need to finally make a decision. As I grew up speaking German as well as French I thought about writing the same poem/story in both languages and creating different shapes with them, making it look like they mirror each other.  French is not the only possible option, I thought about the combination of German-English too. I think I just need to see what makes the most sense to me and how it looks.
Considering the technical implementation of everything I looked at several tools from our list. I tried Storybird, looked at Canva and Notegraphy. But I think I will end up using Adobe Spark – basically just because I have never worked with it before and I’m really curious how things will turn out with it – even though my project might not end up looking like I am imagining it right now.


On “Taroko Gorge”

Taroko Gorge is a national park in Taiwan.

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“Taroko Gorge” is a piece of generative poetry written and programmed by Nick Montfort in 2009. It’s supposed to invoke the feeling of walking through a forest, offering it’s own strict movement and rhythm by which we must take it in. I get the gist, but I’d rather walk through a real forest where I can move at my own pace.

Traditionally, one who reads poetry has had to take it upon him or herself to slow down and read at a tempo that allows for true enjoyment and appreciation. As someone who like to read fast fast fast “Taroko Gorge” felt a little glacial. Then came Snowball, with a pace that stressed me out — I think I just like choosing when the next words appear to me no matter the situation.

In all honesty, I enjoyed the idea of the pieces more than the pieces themselves. It was fun to click through and see how far a re-creation could go and the titles/ideas behind them (Fred and George!!!). I even tried to think of some that hadn’t been done (I won’t share them — they haven’t been done for a reason and that reason is that they’re bad).

In class we talked about the idea of “remix” and if a remix is a form of creativity. This is something I’ve gone on about before, and will tackle again now: OF COURSE IT IS! I’m a strong believer that no story is truly “original.” As Nora Ephron famously said: “Everything is copy.” Copy as in imitation and copy as in a piece of writing; this works two ways.

Why is it we have the same general fairy tale plot in a bunch of different countries under a bunch of different names? “Clueless” and “Bridget Jones’ Diary” are both re-workings of Jane Austen. “10 Things I Hate About You” is Shakespeare and who knows where these writers got their ideas from in the first place. We could argue the ideas of remixing vs paying tribute vs stealing vs copying vs being inspired by forever, but I see absolutely nothing wrong with taking a set idea and expanding on it.

So often I’ll see something and enjoy it only to later realize it’s based off of something else. I probably would’ve enjoyed “Fred and George’ if I saw it first, but seeing it’s roots makes it even more fun and smart to me.

So yes, I think remix is a form of creativity. And I liked the remixes (or the idea behind them) better than the original.


The “discovery and invention stage” should be constant in all of our lives, right? I want it to be for me at least. In terms of my final project I’m set on my “Instagram Curator” idea and I’ve already started writing the text that will accompany it. Tools that I’ll use will include Instagram as main platform, a webpage that showcases my photos and the text in a way that appears like a normal instagram feed (I need to figure out the logistics behind this), and Google Calendar/email/photo editing apps. I’m having so much fun already, and can not wait to see how it all turns out!

Finally: I don’t think we dived into the idea of memes as e-lit enough last week. Let’s talk more about this everyone. Please?