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Selfies

This week there was some conflict in the scheduling for our classes. Thursday, Mia was leaving for Oslo to present her experience as a Fulbright Scholar in the Department of Digital Culture at the University of Bergen.

For the next week we will have Tuesday off, which gives us a great opportunity to do browse and search the numerous tools that Mia have shared with us, such as; https://www.net-art.org/, http://rhizome.org/about/, and http://www.adaweb.com/context/stir-fry/.

Personally, I am really stoked for Mia’s chance at presenting her #SelfieUnselfie installation project, I think that she is on to a great idea and I think it will go over well. But I am not so stoked for the same reason that most people in my generation probably would be. Although I am very accustomed to smartphone apps, I do have my own grievances with apps like Instagram, Twitter, and *. I’ve never been a fan of selfies or the culture surrounding it. Fairly often are selfies—like Mia pointed out in class—a distortion of reality.

Selfies serve as the next level to Facebook statuses—they serve to portray a certain contained message, or cypher, to the surrounding world and are framed in a particular way to lead the reader/viewer to arrive at a predestined goal. Someone in class pointed out how the only selfies they take are “ironic” or “sarcastic” selfies, and Snapchat happens to have a very serviceable application for exactly this—as you are encouraged to forward selfies to friends and close ones. (Except for in the case where you can publish your snaps to the public, but we’re not talking about that right now, shush)

Twitter on the other hand is an app I just never got into. And it’s a shame too since a great deal of participation in this class is directed towards Twitter. But my grievance with Twitter is pretty similar to my points above. There isn’t much diversity in the usage of twitter, than just to forward your—is 250 characters the limit?—character limited message, be it self-promotion in a professional way, promotion of your personal business, or simply just the act of spreading messages by a digital form of word of mouth.

In summary of my points above, it is really hard to be part of these things when you’re vehemently against them. Which poses several questions for one self and others.

Digital Art and Net-Art

This week we took a close look at “Sky Magic Live at Mt. Fuji: Drone Ballet Show” and “Lisa park’s Eunoia II” and brought the discussion of the pieces to our twitter accounts—which I think is progressing nicely, but I agree with Mia that it probably takes a while to get everyone situated and willing to participate. I personally have never been involved with Twitter before I started doing my digital culture subjects, so I can relate to that feeling of hesitation.

As far as Net-Art goes, I followed Mia’s advice of starting with a piece by choosing a page number that corresponds with my month of birth and then scroll down to the piece that correlates with my day of birth—so I choose the third page for March and the ninth piece scrolling downwards. What I landed on was “Asco-o”. (http://www.o-o.lt/asco-o/) Mt first impression of the website was that someone posted the wrong link and sent me on my way to a chaotic website form the early 90’s, but it was actually the correct link. Next, I wondered how I—or anyone for that matter—would go about explaining this net-art.

The design is cryptic, at best. The base color used for the entire background is a heavy green, which looks like it’s imported straight from a malfunctioning computer screen from some 80’s action movie. Although I am extremely puzzled by the piece in its entirety, I am intrigued as well—because if there in fact is a message hidden in here, it’s hidden extremely well. The screen is mostly made up of numbers and symbols which are used to create larger pictures, pictures in which the meaning is completely lost on me. One moment it’s a straight quote from some inspirational speech of the past, then it’s a playlist from some album I didn’t catch the name of, and then it goes on to change into the Pokemon ‘Sandslash’—except it’s body is completely made up of symbols. And mixed into this whole thing is the fact that the entire screen completely changes about every four seconds and shows you a new and entirely different screen with it.

Like I said earlier, if there is a distinct message to this piece then went completely over my head.

My own neat little box

This week we were lucky enough to be guests to the lecture of Leonardo Flores who showed us a multitude of different ways that electronic literature has evolved over the years—and the subsequent categories of generations that we can place the different pieces of work within. The lecture prompted me to think a bit outside the preconceived box that I’ve personally put electronic literature within. For our exam last semester, I created a piece of electronic literature in Inklewriter (which is still in its beta form) and, at the time and admittedly up until this lecture with Leonardo Flores, I kept my idea of electronic literature in a neat little box of my own.

This unfortunately resulted in me thinking and viewing electronic literature in a single way, which upon further evaluation goes against a large picture of what this subject is all about—the fact that electronic literature has the extremely unique opportunity of being a piece of literature that transcends traditional means of absorption. I feel bad for catching myself in the act of limiting my own view of exactly what electronic literature is supposed to be, and realizing that I narrowed its definition down to a certain idea or being.

That’s why I’m even more excited now to try and figure out a way to make a piece of electronic literature this time around that is the opposite of what I created the past semester. I’ll try to steer as far away as I can from a “traditional” hypertext interactive fiction and make something that stands as far away from that category as possible—I’m thinking of maybe creating a generative poem, or a piece of digital art similar to ‘Like Stars in a Clear Night Sky’  ( http://collection.eliterature.org/1/works/ezzat__like_stars_in_a_clear_night_sky/index.html ) which happened to be one of my favorite electronic literature pieces last semester.

Going forward in our lectures, I’m looking forward to what we will be discussing and considering in the subjects of ‘digital art’ and ‘video games’—and to a certain degree I am very curious to see how many people in our class is starting to make plans for creating a piece of video game for their exam. We only had one person in our class last semester who wanted to try out for making a video game and he happened to have a very interesting concept for what he imagined that he could create.

I would love to be able to make a website that encourages the user/reader to explore and choose their own path through the piece to uncover the “secrets” within it. On second thought, that’s vaguely similar to what I created in Inklewriter—at least on the face of it. Although the way I would go about creating this one would stand out from my previous work. Maybe that’s it though, what if I made two different mediums that both built on the idea of having the reader explore and discover bits and pieces of story that they eventually could bring together to form the bigger picture of the overarching story. This is starting to look like something. I could even present both of the individual works next to each other, side by side, as an example of how one idea could be worked out and presented on two completely different ways.

I will have to ask Mia for some guidance on this however. There hapens to be a lot of different ideas and suggestions on how to move forward with this that I could possibly gather from the different volumes of electronic literature collections—I think I’ll be using both ‘Like Stars in a Clear Night Sky’ and ‘Queerskins’ ( http://www.queerskins.com/ ) as my base for how I want this piece to look and function. Also, shoutout to ‘Queerskins’ for those who haven’t read it yet. The way it deals with its presentation and layout is amazing.

Back at it again

So here we are again, sharing our contributions to the weekly blogs in Mia’s class. About a month ago I wouldn’t have thought that I would be back to doing weekly blogs as I sort of figured Mia was lecturing an entirely different subject which turned out to just be a silly mistake on my part and so lo and behold, here I am, back at it again!

Now that I’m sitting down and writing this, I’m left with a duality of impressions going into this subject. On one hand I’m absolutely thrilled about the idea of being back in Mia’s class since we had such a fun and rewarding time in class the last time around. Spending our time in class discussing various forms of electronic literature and listening to each other’s presentations on selected pieces of work. On the other hand, another (small and weary) part of me wasn’t expecting that I would be going back to writing blogs at all, so while I am excited, I also sort of feel like I have done my time and I’m like:

HeyThereDemons

So far (to no one’s surprise) it seems like this subject will be just as fun and intriguing as the last time around. The subject is both quite similar to Dikult203—which was all about the various forms of electronic literature—while it also has it’s own distinct feel to it. Compared to Dikult203, we’re doing three different categories; digital art, video games, and electronic literature. While we didn’t explicitly discuss video games itself in Dikult203, we were encouraged to think of ways in which different pieces of electronic literature could potentially be considered video games, and electronic literature at the same time, due to their inherent nature and the way the spectator could approach it.

Digital art and video games are both intriguing subject to tackle in an academic setting—as they are often thought of as very niche subjects in the public sphere—and I am excited to see where these subjects may take us going forward.

My own e-lit project — my final blog

I’ll admit straight away to my own mistake; I have a habit of being too ambitious about my own projects. This might not seem like such a big issue on the face of it, but a huge drawback from this is that your project never lives up to your expectations — and unfortunately you start feeling inadequate about the worthy of your work, and in some cases even about your own abilities as well. At one point, I had to tell myself that I need to make some cuts to my e-lit in hopes of ever churning out anything resembling a final product — and I did, and I’ve come to think that it was for the better.

For some time, during my research for the right medium to use, I looked at “Quing’s Quest VII” for inspiration and guidance, at least as far as it could teach me something about hypertext. Some parts of the piece proved useful in the process of planning, but I looked elsewhere as well. I chose to do my class presentation on “Inanimate Alice”, a point and click adventure that tells the story of a young girl growing up on the road as her parents work forces her to move in-between different town throughout her life. Inanimate Alice depicts a more serious tone than Quing’s Quest VII, and while Inanimate Alice is not not a hypertext, it still conveys an interesting feel through the combination of eerie music, pictures with distorted effects and shot in awkward angles, and the sense of something being wrong or amiss — usually this turns out to not be the case and everything in the piece works out for the best despite the false impressions earlier on.

I chose Inklewriter for the appropriate medium to present my project. I already knew quite early on throughout our lectures that I wanted to make a hypertext fiction as the medium speaks to my nostalgia for early video games. I think, as far as hypertext fiction goes, that Inklewriter offers some interesting options for an interactive fiction. The “if”-system, or more commonly considered as a “condition”-system, allows you to manage exactly just how much information and options your reader is granted based on what they’ve already read of the piece. The if-system works like this; you pick a paragraph within your story that relates to something of your own choosing, you attach a marker to that paragraph, and once the reader reaches the paragraph with the attached marker, it signals for the Inklewriter text to allow the reader to view the paragraph further down the line that is connected to the marked paragraph.

This sort of customization allows for quite the intricate design, as you are able to decide exactly how you want your reader to go about exploring your work. In my project for instance, the Lord of Light, I’ve purposefully designed the condition system to prevent the reader for having free access to all of the available information until he or she stops by certain parts of the story. The idea is that the reader isn’t necessarily supposed to know who “character A” is, and only once they’ve read a passage about “character A” will the pathway to learning everything one could want to know about “character A” open up to them. This is a simplistic design at its face value, but once you’ve passed the 8000 wordcount it becomes quite complicated and convoluted — which is exactly what I aimed to create. And I had a lot of fun with creating my final project for electronic literature.

The story of the Lord of Light went through a few revisions. It started out as your basic fantasy based political warfare between different noble families. The aim of the text was for the reader to eventually be part of the voting component of the text where you cast your vote for who your choice of the next ruling family of the fantasy kingdom. It was a neat idea, and I still think I might go through with developing that project following the conclusion of this course. But the final result of the Lord of Light was something quite different. The Lord of Light morphed into a blend between a ‘choose your own adventure’ and a detective fiction. The plot weighed more in the direction of finding and discovering clues regarding the overarching plot and history of the fantasy world, as compared to the previous idea of creating a conflict between different monarchs that solely focuses on the reader’s own morales and values to decide the eventual king. All in all, I’ve created something very different form what I started out trying to create, yet it still resembles the original design idea enough that I didn’t have to switch from Inklewriter to somethign else.


On “One-Star Reviews” and on #elit

When I first heard about the One-Star Reviews movement, I immediately began to think of bad things that I found merit in. This wasn’t a hard task — my favorite “getting to know someone” question is “what do your friends with ‘good taste’ hate that you like?” My answer is frozen vegetables straight from the bag.

So I began to make a list. I thought of chip crumbs and the kind of signature you get when your pen runs out of ink. The “buffering” symbol and mint flavored toothpicks. Finally I settled on something: these gloves that they sell in bins at Target. I began to write my post, constructing a persona that was a little bit like me but more so not. She was … more gregarious I’d say? I guess she’s still being built. But then I stopped — the words were flowing and I was having a blast, but I couldn’t finish; I still haven’t posted my response in the subreddit. Every day I think maybe I’ll do it, and then find an excuse to put it off a little longer as I read through new posts. I think maybe I’m saving it for a really rainy day because it’ll give me an excuse to do something creative. Since I began to understand the implications that starting on social media and the internet so early will have on the rest of my life (helllooooo Instagram addiction), I’ve been worried I’ve been losing creative parts of myself that are now taken up with scrolling through feeds and reading celebrity gossip as it happens. E-Lit has — and is — showing me a way to still hone my creativity while not sacrificing involvement in these platforms. I really cherish it. There’s also the possibility that I’m nervous to publish on a platform that I’m new to. I respect the authors and their creativity and am not quite sure how to jump in.52216908.jpg

When I first read through the posts already uploaded on the One-Star Reviews subreddit I laughed, and I became a little more convinced of value in the often un-loveable. When someone next to me in class also started to laugh while reading the reviews and we began to chat about them I was even more convinced. Basically, we’re using the internet to find possibly-fake value in real life things. And that’s so neat.

We often utilize e-lit to tackle tough subjects traditional literature wouldn’t allow an ideal platform for (i.e. the problem with celebrity, filter bubbles, growing up on a computer), here I see it working in a new light for the first time, bringing people together in real time and making them (literally) laugh out loud.

I love #e-lit, catch me on the next Netprov.


#8 The Grand Finale

For my final elit project I want to explore self-representation on Instagram. Not only the visuals, but also how cultural capital is valuable, but sometimes very hard to obtain.

My initial plan was to create an Instagram-persona, who “read” a lot of elit, but every time she wrote anything about it, what she wrote didn’t quite fit the piece. I wanted it to seem pretentious, but it turns out, I don’t really now what to write. The new plan is still “reviewing” elit, but I am trying a more fun approach now, where she barely read the cover sheet, but just scrolled through each piece. She might for example describe Soliloquy as “very minimalistic, and not having a lot of text” or Queerskins as “good that someone focuses on the issues with AIDS in Africa”.

The pictures will be a distraction from what is written in the caption. This is something I often see on Instagram. The more nudity, the less thoughtful content. My character could be anyone who wants a few extra virtual pats on the back, therefore she doesn’t have a face, or her face is never showed.

My elit piece might not get very text heavy, but I think of it more as a comic strip. I want people to think about those people they see, that read a new book every other day, while going to the theater several times a week, where they will have a glass of rosé, and all at the same time they have a full-time job. It seems too good to be true, right?

I think my difficulties throughout this project will be that I have to post something at least once a day for the next three weeks, and I’m not usually one that post a lot. I still need to figure out how or if there will be a story line. I think she might become aware that she seems very stupid, but then become more and more desperate to seem clever, but she doesn’t have the skill to do so, which just makes her seem more and more pretentious. But I am not really sure how to do this. I think I just need to jump into it head first and then I will make it up as go.

Follow me on @constance_lit (but like wait till tomorrow, then stuff should be happening).

 


VIII. One-Star-Reviews

Yes, I can’t believe it either: this is my final blog post for this class. My time in Bergen has flown by – nostalgia, here I come! But first, let’s take on one more topic. This week’s E-Lit brings me into a forum I have managed to avoid so far: Reddit. It is a whole new world that opens up the depths of the internet – but doesn’t that make it perfect for a netprov? Okay then, sign me up, I guess… Having never navigated the site, I did not find everything as obvious at first. The thing I struggled with the most was that I did not understand at first whether this was the only place to post, or whether the actual netproving would take place on the product sites themselves. But once I had a basic understanding, I did find some very funny reviews. So, I left my own review to this great product in the role of Dolly Fletcher, a middle-aged gadget lover with 2 kids:

“I love gadgets. Everything that makes my life a little easier is very welcome in my house. So, when I stumbled upon this little helper here, naturally I had to have it! I must say that I was not sure at first what to make of this amazing product – is it for cheese? For butter? For very buttery cheese? But now I can assure you – it is everything your heart desires. With one firm grip you can slice up whatever you can fit in there (being a little engineer myself, I had a lot of fun with bananas, very soft bread in small quantities and even soap). And the description does not lie – you really can cut an entire stick of butter in less than one minute! In fact, with a little practice I managed in only 43 seconds. Try that with an ordinary butter knife! All in all, this is a nice addition for my kitchen. Thumbs up!”

I feel like the basic idea of this netprov is great – it just might lack the right forum. The fact that it is based on reddit removes the illusion and makes it a sort of inside-joke among experienced netprovers. However, I should still put a disclaimer here: I might just have missed the point! Some of the interactions under the reviews make it clear that there are some very witty people behind the posts. I will keep an eye on how this develops.

Now, a few words on my personal E-Lit project. As always, I keep running into the same problem here: in my mind, everything works out perfectly – on my screen however, everything is a mess. Over the weekend, I have tried my luck with wordpress, but I must admit that I find it rather difficult. Finally, I got so frustrated that i went back to hand-coding everything with HTML and CSS. That also means that I haven’t got much to show in class… I just hope that I will have an epiphany in the next couple of days, because I’d really love to continue on my idea the way it is now.

To end this post (and this blog), I want to say that I really enjoyed this class. There was a great vibe in the room all semester long and I really appreciate how many creative people are working on awesome things right now. I am so sad that I cannot be there for the final exhibition, but hey – who if not a class of DIKULT-experts could come up with a way to show us around digitally? 🙂


Last blog post for the semester

Hello, this will be my last blogg this semester and i will say thank you to all the readers that have followed my journey trough e-lit class

This blogg post was original about the e-lit project “one star review” but for some reason the links tjat I have recived will not work. Ibthink maybe is because its some strange protection on the wi -fi i use, And I sadly didn’t had the time to go to a place there I got free wi-fi. For this i’m deeply sorry.

Instead I will write about my semester with e-lit class and my own e-lit project.

The e-lit class was alot of of fun I learned a lot of new stuff that I didn’t know about the world of e-lit. One of the best part of the class was the many different prenstations about all the different e-lit projects. I think this was a hreat way to let students learn and debate the different meanings of e-lit. Also to have the opportunity to make our own e-lit is a lot of fun. I’m really looking forward to se what all the different creative studens of the class will cook up. To day it short: this class is the most fun I had at the university so far

 

My own e-lit project is going good.  I have showed what I have so far to some of the other students and the feedback has been positive.

So far I have done the front page and 3 of the 4 lyrics page are done and the 4th is halfway done. For the own story pages tje layout for each page is done, but I need to put in the story.

If you are curious about whats song will be used. I can spoil that one of the songs are Pet shops boy “west end girl” and the personal story is connected to the lyrics and the song itself.

So sum it up, this semester have been a blast and the elit prject is going forward. See you soon


#8 Getting Personal – about my own Elit

I can not believe this semester is heading towards its end already. And with that comes the fun part of being a student: term papers, exams, projects and deadlines.
For our Elit class, we are supposed to create our own piece of Elit . From what I have heard so far my classmates are planning some really amazing stuff and I can not wait to see the final results. And who knows – maybe we are even planning to release something at the end of it all?

Finding Ideas 
As I mentioned before, my classmates planned some incredible stuff – games, poems, netprovs … you name it.
My own project is going to include short stories and poems (and even some pictures if I can include them the way I want them to be included in this). I always loved to write and even though I usually write for myself and never showed it to anybody, I think its nice to put something out there. At first I struggled to find a theme/topic that fit, but after reading through some old notes and walking around Bergen I decided that I wanted one of the main topics to be nature and how we connect with it in today’s society. Nature is one of the most important things in our lives – whether we realize it or not – and I think we sometimes need to make ourselves aware that its resources are limited and can not be replaced. As I’m still working on the works I don’t know what I really gonna end up with – to me writing is a lot about change and I can’t even tell how many times I changed the stuff I’ve written so far. But I’m pretty sure there will be other themes coming up – but I don’t want to give away too much just yet.

About the technical stuff
I have to admit – I don’t know anything about computer games, coding, or any other technical stuff (in fact, I don’t even know what I don’t know). I know about printing books and how you can make a text look pretty in a it but that’s all I can do with a computer and the right software (not really helpful for Elit though).
One of the most important things (or let’s just call it one of our assignments) for our project was to make it interactive. So I had to face two problems: 1. How can I make/write/create something that is interactive or has interactive elements? And 2. How can I achieve this with my non-existing knowledge of coding/it-stuff/anything technical?
I think I found a satisfactory solution for problem number 1 – not I just have to find a way to solve number 2.

Due to some other project that I have to hand in in three days (well no I just checked – two days) I have not worked as much on this project as I would have liked. But after handing in this term paper in my whole life (which, fun fact, is the last term paper in my whole life) I will finally have enough time to focus on this project and I am sure I will come up wit solutions to all problems that go along with its development.