Tag Archives: Electronic Literature

Icarus Needs and The Hero’s Journey

I would first like to point to the appreciation of the simplest navigation that is this game. This genre of literature for this Hypercomics, where the road goes through a narration of webcomics that solely relies on the reader’s navigation. This game took me approximately 27 minutes to finish. After 10 minutes of playing around with moving Icarus, I started to understand the navigation and goal of the game. The up, down, left, and right arrows act as the controls to move Icarus. The piece is set as a narration quest to find Icar’s love Kit. The navigation is pretty simple after playing around with it. 

Outside of the interface of navigation, I would like to go into further depth of discussing the content of the piece. Interestingly enough, while I was experiencing Icarus’ tale, I could not help thinking of The Hero’s Journey. I learned about The Hero’s Journey as an undergrad student, but I was reintroduced back to it just recently by one of the college students I tutor I work with. Since Icarus is on a journey/adventure to find his love, I thought it would be cool to break this piece down within the steps of The Hero’s Journey!

Breaking It Down

Every story has a beginning, a middle and an end. In the beginning you set up your hero (or heroine) and his story, then you throw something at him that is a great source of conflict and takes him into a whole heap of trouble. After facing many foes and overcoming various obstacles the hero saves the day and wins the girl.

If only writing a movie was that easy…

Below you can find the 12 steps that make up the Hero’s Journey.

The Ordinary World 

We are first introduced to Icarus as his awakening from the floor of the house is on. He wakes up and realizes that he fell asleep playing the game again. From this, we know the Ordinary World for Icarus is house, and the coach (he fell asleep on).

The Call of Adventure

From playing the game, I realize that Call of adventure seemed more apprean than The Ordinary World (since we first introduced our protagonist on the floor). But nethertheless, The Call of Adventure for Icarus is when he realizes he must find his girlfriend, Kit. 

Refusal of the Call 

I would not necessarily say Icarus refused the call to the adventure (I believe he wanted to find Kit very badly!). I would say he was more so surprised where he ended up and that he had to save Kit.

Meeting the Mentor 

Does the little narration voice guiding Icarus count as a mentor? In my perspective, the narration voice asks as a guide for Icarus (in player mood, the voice kind of gives subtle directions on what to do next.). I found the voice very useful!

Crossing the First Threshold 

Icarus is navigated through a common household, outside, under water, in a blimp … I think the threshold was crossed numerous times.

Tests, Allies, Enemies 

I think this attribution of The Hero’s Journey is what made this piece so engaging. Icarus is put against many obstacles and foes, and it’s our job as the readers to help Icarus! The special literary part of this piece is the literature is found through conversation with the: narrating voice, enemies who after Icarus, items that must be achieved, and the search to find Kit. Who said video games can’t teach reading?

Approach to the Inmost Cave 

This portion of The Hero’s Journey is displayed when we are being chased towards the cliff by the angry mob (he stole the mud ball). This where he finally finds Kit.

The Ordeal 

I would say the biggest ordeal at this point in Icarus is when he is falling out of a hot air balloon.

Reward 

Icarus’ end reward was finding Kit (even though it seems as if she is saving him in the end).

The Road Back/Resurrection 

There was not too much of these two portion of the journey that was evident in Icarus.

Return with the Elixir

Icarus finally awakes from his dream and learns… to never sleep while playing the game!

Overall Experience

I enjoyed the entire experience of this piece! I would arguably say that this is my favorite one!

Motions

We have seen some interesting kinds of electronic literature through this first part of our journey together, but I must admit, “Motions” to this point has been the most interesting one for me.  It is unfortunate in a way that the subject matter is about people who find themselves in the middle of sex reade exho systems.  With that being said, I think those who created this piece created a powerful tool for people to look at for some kind of  understanding of their stories.  The way the interface begins is telling the reader that you are on a train where you do not know the destination.  From a literary and artistic perspective, I found this to be a key element that made this piece what it is.  From the vantage point of the heavy subject matter that is sex trafficking and abuse, it was an imperative addition to create a steady uneasy feeling for the reader, as to kind of recreate some of the anxiety that might be coupled with going through a trauma like sex trafficking or slavery.  As the reader continues through, the eerie music in the background really sets the scene.  While navigating through these stories, the music adds the right noises to keep the reader on edge to really drive the effect home.  I would say the same thing about the visuals in this piece.  The intense imagery coupled with the uneasy music creates an effect that makes you feel as though you want to find your way out, but you know that the only way out is to continue through the rest of the reading.  The substance of the reading itself was heartbreaking at times to hear some of these stories.  In those moments with the music in the back, I could truly feel my heart begin to beat faster and faster.  It is in these moments I think elit truly began to make sense to me.  Not the the other literature we have explored were not good looks into it, nor were those who presented on them falling short, but this experience for I think drove home what the purpose of elit is and how the experience is far more than just the words on the screen.  Some of the anecdotes themselves are eye opening and leave the reader reluctantly wanting to move forward.  It also felt very fast paced as we were not being told one story necessarily, but rather we began this journey where we are hearing multiple stories in short order to create this tension that lasts the entire experience.  To me, the fact that readings like this can illicit those kind of feelings in you as you read illustrates to me the power of elit and makes my mind wonder how else can we use this technology?  This new way of reading touches the reader in a way normal literature cannot, and it is frankly a fun experience. 

Motions & Connected with Pieces of Herself

The Emotions Experiencing Motions

For this week’s blog post, I am going to share my experiences of the elit piece: Motions. I will first talk about the navigation of the site:

Navigation

This elit piece was pretty easy to navigate through. I used my laptop to navigate through the piece, so I only needed your arrow keys to go back and forth through each page. The audio was a great concept in putting sound to setting. The audio was uncomfortable and kind of weird (alongside the images). The text itself was pretty easy to read and follow along, like a narrative. The way the images would appear in an order then in the next page with no order, puzzled me at first. But as I navigated through the rest of the site, I began to understand its purpose. The story is portraying the “journey” into child sex trafficing, the unknowning of where it will lead the children to.  

Emotions felt throughout the experience

Even though the multimodal were great to experience, the general message of the piece is a sad reality. Throughout the piece we are given snippets of different ways on how human trafficking circles, internatioanlly. Sadly, many people are given false hopes and dreams that by living in that lifestyle, you will be able to survive. The image below snapped for the elit piece really hit home because I truly enjoy getting my nails done. Obviously this does not apply to every person of asian descent that does nails.. But this short passage makes you take it into consideration:

Connected with Pieces of Herself

Navigation

The navigation of this site was really cool and interesting to mess around with! The drag and drop option of the pinup doll reminds me of the online game dress up I would play as a 10 year old (I can’t quite remember the name of the game)! But nonetheless, it was really fun to go through the day-to-day routine of feminism. It took me about four pass-throughs of the site to completely understand the navigation of the click and drag option (oh the fun of discovering/experiencing elit!). The navigation takes you to several day-to-day settings of the average person (but with a fminism/female perspective). 

Emotions felt throughout the experience

I was able to personally connect with this elit piece, as sharing the commonality of identifying as a female. The most interesting aspect that took to me was during the scene of the church. The music that played in the background alongside the baby fetus (that was a bit creepy). But the song that was playing is a song I would sing to my residents at the nursing home! Interestingly enough, I am just realizing this song is addressing the aspirations of a girl dreaming to be a beautiful housewife. Below is a youtube video of the song:

Overall Experience

My overall experience of this piece is that it was great to interact with this piece; audio, click and drag, multimodal. It was also interesting to experience as a female and comparing/contrasting my day-to-day life of what the interactive piece presents.

Window

Here we go!  Another week, another glimpse into the ever evolving world of electronic literature.  Each time we read one of these pieces, I find myself learning new approaches to the technical application as well as different ways to view this kind of work.  I would not go as far as to say that I am comfortable with it by any means, but at this point, I think the uneasy feeling that accompanies that kind of discomfort is not only normal, but a major part of this experience.  First, I have to admit, I did have some technical issues when it came to accessing some of this work, but I was able to find ways to make it work.  First off, I want to talk about “Windows.”  Visually, this work was calming to me for some reason.  I think it is because the way that we as the reader are able to move around between different backdrops as we journey through, and I found that you felt as if you were home.  I can’t really explain it other than I know I felt a particular feeling of calmness while navigating (even if the experience as a whole may be “uncomfortable” does not mean that the individual elements are.)  As far as what was actually being said, the poetry added to this calming effect.  Honestly, my eyes began to waiver on me just a bif because I found this piece in its entirety to be that soothing.  The descriptive imagery in conjunction with the simple, understated background, as well as the way that we navigated that scene all came together to create that calm feeling, which I think is important to find in times such as the ones we are currently living in.  For me, I can honestly say this was particularly enjoyable and I look forward to hearing from Nieves lead our class in talking about this as I am curious to see what everyone else’s experience was.

Moving on to “Ask me for the Moon.”  Unfortunately, I was not able to look at this one really at all as my computer does not have adobe flash player and downloading it became a much larger hassle than anticipated, so in regards to this one, I am going to have to rely on Edward and the rest of your blogs to get a sense of what the experience was like first hand.  I was, however, able to watch the video that was included that acts as a short guide to approaching it, and I certainly found it to be unique and aesthetically awesome.  The writing itself seemed to be well done, but I am sure I will be able to vicariously experience it for myself through all of you and your blogs!  Sorry, I wish I could say more, see you all in class! 

P.S.  This song is probably my favorite cover of a song I have ever heard and it is stuck in my head so I am including it!

Breaking Down Bots

Hi fellow lit scholars! In today’s post, I will be targeting Kevin’s assigned text  “Bots”. This electronic literature is from Volume 3 in the Electronic Literature Collection and is primarily made up of a mini collection of pieces centered around setting of Twitter. With that, I decided to break down my blog in the format of a series of questions presented in Dr. Zamora’s last class blog post. Below you can see the break down of how I answered the questions:

What are some of the significant textual elements?  

Some significant textual elements from BOTS is the use of the social media handle twitter. Even though each mini collections has its own theme that makes it unique, 

How did you choose to navigate these texts?  

I choose to navigate through each piece in the mini collection by opening up the live twitter action made by each BOT. I did not go in any particular order, I just clicked and looked most interesting to venture into.

What visual, sound, interactive elements left an impression?  

Since there are 12 different parts of the mini collection, I am going to do a quick breakdown of the ones that were most intriguing to me!

@TinyCrossword: The visuals that left an impression on me was the crossword images. The main aspect of the crossword puzzles tweeted is that the answers are simple and easy to find. This is a great interactive tactic to connect people (I actually started following the account!)

@everyword: This one is particularly my favorite due to it be something like the “twitter encyclopedia”. The project is done between 2007 – 2014 and has a book that you can buy a alongside the tweets! http://www.instarbooks.com/books/everyword.html. The imagery within the site the host book is very playful and bright (two things I really like).

What overall effect do these texts create?  

Twitter in itself is such an engaging communication application, so seeing it being used in this manner is pretty easy to navigate. The tweets within each mini collection has their own theme of the text (bots being the main controller of the tweets).

What themes and symbolic language emerge in navigating the text? 

The themes I see in the emerging language is the use of bots in twitter feeds. As I said before, the navigation was pretty simple, due to twitter being one of the main mediums being used within my MA program.

What is literary about the text?

I am not sure exactly how to answer this (seems like this my theme for every #elit blog post), but isn’t that what electronic lit is all about? The literary aspect I see in this Elit is the language being used to distinigsh each account from one another. Again, I am not to confident in my answer.

High Muck A Muck

The Elit that we have read for this week is really interesting and is a great way for us to build upon what we have learned about this genre since the beginning of the semester.  “Queer Skins” was an interesting read, but just like with some of the other Elit we have done, this reading certainly had its challenges while I read it, so I am looking forward to Patricia’s analysis in her presentation, as she always does an excellent job of understanding content, and presenting it in such a way that helps others (myself in this case) understand it better.

I do want to take some time and talk about “High MuckA Muck.”  This was not only easier for me to follow I felt, but also, some of the tangents that we go down are truly interesting and I will talk about one or two that really stood out to me.  The first one is the “Everywhere” video.  I found this clip to be profound.  From the choice of the music to the black and white imagery, this one definitely is a fun, thought provoking clip within the greater scheme of this work.  I know we are talking about literature, so a video in this instance seems to be an odd place to begin analyzing this work, however, Elit seems to be a bit odd intentionally as one could argue it’s intention and purpose are to push boundaries and make the reader or the person consuming content to think in ways that they have not before.  I particularly enjoyed the Asian theme of this piece, as the visuals and the music really helped to set the mood for what it is that the reader is about to consume, and in the “Everywhere” clip, we see a powerful reflection.

My interpretation of this particular video is kind of the cycle of life.  How we are born, grow, become wise, but in the end we circle all the way back and are “reborn” to once again begin an exploration looking for new knowledge.  Another way that I can see this is by looking at the message as one telling us that we are always growing as people, no matter how old we are, which explains the transition to being a baby from an elderly individual.  I think it is important in every aspect of life to always be growing and always be learning, and I took that form this part of the Elit.  One more aspect of this piece I will briefly talk about is how the videos that you are brought to do not have a lot of audio outside of the music.  The lack of dialogue creates this feeling of intensity, I feel, that allows the reader to get so involved with the piece and to feel a sense of calm urgency while navigating through the piece.  

I look forward to going over all of this in class.  See you all later! 

Twelve Blue and Reading Elit

So here we are, finally getting a chance to jump into the meat and potatoes of the content we will be studying this semester, and it feels so good to be back at it.  First, I am going to briefly go over the Pressman article on Electronic Literature.  Coming into this class, I was excited to learn more about this since being in #netnarr last semester.  The article by Pressman gives a good general and broad overview of this kind of literature and almost acts as a guide or map to assist the reader in their pursuit of reading it.  First, we get introduced to hypertext, and how it bounces you around the story in a nonlinear fashion.  “How one navigates a hypertext determines what one reads and in which order.”  This statement from the article encapsulates what I imagine electronic literature to be; literature reimagined.  I personally do not know how I feel about a structure that could permeate different timelines and subsequent story lines in such a way that could possibly hinder classroom discussions.  I’m sure as we continue on our elit journey, I will garner an appreciation for such a thing, but as for right now, I am definitely a tad bit skeptical as far as reading with hyperlinks go.

Moving on in the article, the author began discussing something that I definitely need some help to understand.  When Pressman begins to explain “stir fry texts” I am honestly kind of lost.  I do not necessarily understand how this differs from the hypertext that was being discussed earlier in the article.  I understand how it has to do with hovering the mouse over the text which brings up more text and parts for the reader, I just have a disconnect as far as understanding how and why this is the case.  What is the purpose?  Is it effective?  These are all questions I have and hope our class can clarify a few of these things for me.

Using these new found principals as a guiding light, I jumped into the hypertext “Twelve Blue” by Michael Joyce.  I wish I had more to say or add than “What did I just read?”  I say that to mean the content and the story from what I read is not bad at all.  Rather, the manner in which we are reading it is foreign enough to me that it really does change the whole experience of it.  Even just the optics, this blue on blue thing they got going on is difficult for me to sit there and read through to say the least.  I know that these things will (hopefully) become clearer as time goes on and we get more time to play around with it in this course, but my first impression is definitely one of intimidation and fear of change.  See you all tonight!

Getting into Elit!

Overview of the readings

When reading Pressman’s article Navigating Electronic Literature, we are introduced to the breakdown of electronic literature. The main aspect that I got from this article is the way electronic literature can be interpreted and read in different ways, by different readers. As stated in the article: Regardless of your view, however, navigating a hypertext not only promotes questions about the role of the reader and the reading practice but also about the structure and significance of literature itself.” 

From this point, this is where I tie it to the first piece of electronic literature of the semester: 

This piece of electronic literature was a very interesting introduction into the world of electronic literature. I am going to be completely honest, I was a bit intimidated by the use of hyperlinks to jump from different parts of the story (I see why we were instructed to read for 1 hour). There are so many different directions and patches you can go in the reading that the reader has the chance to see it both in a consent order/theme or in random order (or maybe this was just my experience. Nevertheless, this piece of literature uses hypertext to guide readers through the stories of each character

Deeper Reflection on Twelve Blue

When applying the knowledge from Pressman’s article to Twelve Blue, I mainly focused on how hypexted and hyperlinked embed images served as a guide through the story. After 15 minutes into the reading, I realized that this type of storytelling needed to be spoken aloud, rather than in the head. Again, I was pretty confused when trying to read Twelve Blue as an ordinary piece of literature. 

I was not necessarily confused by the content, but by the order in way the text would appear or navigate me to. Once I let go of trying to read the text as “normal”, the story began to flow. As I read this blue text, with blue background, with Blue essentially being within the title.. I decided to do a little research of what blue might represent for the reading. Calm, cool, water.. These themes surrounding blue are evident in each piece of hypertext present in this piece of literature. This idea of mother/daughter relationship, to father/daughter discussion of reproduction, the sea being compared to sperm… this reading is definitely one that needs to be read 4 or more times.