The finish line is in sight….

Well, the wifi was a real problem in CAS last night, reminding us of the contingencies of network-dependent work and disrupting our flow.  Still, we were able to pull off two presentations despite the intermittent signal and the ELC being temporarily “down”.  One presentation focused on an early elit classic, while the other was based a digital poem that made us think further about our body’s relationship to the machine.

Uncle Roger

Thank you Darline for an excellent and thorough presentation of Judy Malloy’s classic Uncle Roger.
Written in 1986 in the very early moments of networked community formation, the story is set in Silicon Valley, California.  Intertwining poetic lexia with Silicon Valley culture and semiconductor industry lore, Uncle Roger is an early work of hypertext narrative.  It debuted as -an online serialized story on the Art Com Electronic Network (ACEN) conferencing system called The WELL; -as an interactive UNIX Shell Script-authored “narrabase” published online on ACEN; and, using the historic programming language BASIC, as -a disk-based hypertext that was packaged as artist’s software.  The work is part of some of the first discussions of the potential for “software as art” and draws on Judy Malloy’s experience in database programming. It makes use of a node-based model of molecular narrative units that, when combined, allow for non-sequential storytelling. Written and programmed by a woman and featuring a female narrator, this early example of electronic literature is groundbreaking for numerous reasons.  In pursuing a close reading of Uncle Roger and sharing with us footage of Judy speaking about the origins of the piece, Darline highlighted the Pathfinder’s Project.  What happens to literary works meant to be experienced on a computing device when the software and computer systems with and for which they are created update, change or become obsolete?  Do we allow these works also to become obsolete, or do we find ways to preserve them since they are important literary and cultural artifacts?  Pathfinders:  Documenting the Experience of Early Digital Literature, led by Dene Grigar (Washington State University Vancouver) and Stuart Moulthrop (University of Wisconsin––Milwaukee), is a digital preservation project that captures an important moment in literary history:  the development of early digital literature.

Separation

Thanks Angelique for choosing and presenting on the digital poem Unknowncalled Separation by Annie Abrahams. With Abrahams linear yet interactive poem Separation, we are prompted to think about our relationship to machines (computers).  What is the relationship between the human body and the computer?   Are we joined to our computers as much as we think?  With each click, we receive one more word of a poem written expressly to/for the computer.  The pace forces you slow down, and the exercise supports a kind of “restoration” of your body.  We agreed that the interactivity presented here takes on a new tenor – it is simple, linear, and yet it forces not just your mind but your body to engage in the interaction, drawing attention to how much our physical embodiment is strained under the sway of one’s personal computer.  An important reminder as we continue to think about all the ways technology continues to shape and contour the very way we live our lives.

Continuing Your Creative Work…

Most of you (at this point) are in “full production mode”.  What I mean is that beyond building out a story concept (through outlining, storyboarding, and collecting/curating digital materials), you are now putting the story together (and using certain digital tools to do this).  Remember that there are a wealth of tools out there to tinker with, and you can use different tools for different parts of your final composition.  Many of you have decided to work in Twine which is fantastic.  There are many other digital tools to create interactive fiction that you might check out as well.  In class I mentioned -Quest, -Storybird, -Squiffy, Inform, StoryStylus, BookCreator, StoryMaker.  You can also work with more familiar or widespread tools like Prezi, Wix, and WordPress (you can use these tools in new and creative ways to tell a compelling interactive story).  Please realize that if you are not composing your work yet, then I urge you to jump in this week, as we are nearing the close of our time together.  Warning: this kind of creative composition work takes a certain amount of time, and you cannot leave it to the last minute.  This is why I have devoted a certain amount of time to it since October.

On the evening of Tuesday, Dec. 11th we will have our last class together.  That evening we will have some food (we will plan a potluck with a sign up) and that night you are all invited to share a walkthrough of your elit work.  You are also welcome to bring along friends and family to class.  The absolute FINAL deadline for formal submission of your elit work will be on Monday, December 17th.   That submission will be an electronic submission (rather than an in-person hand in).  More details on the plan and place for submission to come next week in class.

For Next Class…

Next class is our final day for some elit reviews and some workshop time!

  1. Please read Quing’s Quest. Jordan will present/walk us through this elit Twine game.

2.  Please read Like Stars in A Clear Night Sky.  Karina will share her reflection on this digital poem.

Your blog for the week:

By now you are supposed to have already completed ten blog posts.  In short, you have reviewed ten different elit works (over the course of weekly reflections throughout the semester).  Many of you are all caught up and have done a great job at this consistent work.  Your final portfolio is almost complete.  (There is only one more “final self-assessment narrative”.  But it is not due until December 17th.  I will speak about that next week in class.). If you are all caught up and have already written your ten blog posts, then you can take the week off from blogging this week and just work on your elit piece.  But if you have missed a week of posting (…or several weeks), then this final week is designated a “catch up” blog week.  That means, if you are under the ten-post-blog-total currently, you should blog on one of the two above pieces.   I look forward to reading your thoughts about one of these texts.

Hang in there at this busy time in the semester!  I know it can be stressful.  Just remember – step by step – and you will eventually get there.

See you on Tuesday…

Dr. Zamora

 

 

A Series of Unfortunate Events

I should be ashamed of myself for being a procrastinator. It is all my fault. However, if I am being totally honest, life got in my way-- seriously. It was a series of unfortunate events. I swear.

Let me start with last week's class. While sitting in class my computer decides this was the "later" time that it should update to the newest setting of whatever system my MacBook Pro is now running on. Then right when it was time to start group work, I get a text message telling that my mom was being rushed to the hospital and I had to come and get my daughters. Now, thank God my mom is okay. She couldn't move and was in an excruciating amount of pain because according to the doctor, she now has sciatica. This is in addition to all of the other back and arthritis ailments that plague her. Sorry, mom, I love you. You're the best!

Anyway, that even sent my weekend on a tailspin. I went from showing up to Thanksgiving to now, hosting. I had to make a mad dash on Wednesday to get all of the food, instead of my normal pot of collard greens. Then I cooked all Wednesday into Thursday. And well on Friday I recuperated, slowly working myself out of my Thanksgiving coma. Saturday was a day spent cleaning up from Thanksgiving and well, Sunday was cheerleading and lesson plans. I say all of that to say. I did not get a chance to sit down and work on my e-lit blog until Monday night. And when that happened I kept getting this screen below.

I tried all last night but for each piece both Uncle Roger and Separation I got that message. So by 11pm I was tired and so I decided to go to bed and try again today at work. First off, my job won't let me be great. Every moment of the day I had a student who needed my attention at the very single moment and I had to oblige them. Then, I had an author come and visit my Project Lit Bookclub students. So when I finally was able to check the two sites at work I still got the same error message. 

So I had a bright idea to wait until I get to class and finish the blog while the e-lit piece is being presented. But, since I have to meet with my daughter's teachers because the November snowstorm caused us to have to reschedule, I won't even see the pieces in class because I will be late.  So yea, I said all of that to say that I will have nothing to contribute to the two pieces discussed tonight. But, it is not from a lack of trying.

That brings me to my e-lit piece. Well, I have the Instagram page up and I'm using actual photos for the Instagram. But I think the other element will be a Prezi piece. In this Prezi application, I will figure out a way to incorporate the Instagram page and photos. I've been playing around with Prezi and I like the idea of coming in and out of the information via the moving bubbles. What I am wondering if it will allow me to hyperlink things out or how I can add songs to that part of the presentation. I've been thinking a lot about different songs that would and should go along with my novel and this e-lit piece. And not that I am really equipped to do the sound application I want to at least try. So at the very least, I can include a link out to YouTube and include different sound bites or songs.    

Separation/Uncle Roger

The ending of Separation surprised me because while reading the poetry, I had an image of a couple going through some difficulties. The statement did say the elit was about the physical and psychic disorders from the result of the intensive use of computers. I did not read the statement and it is one of the first times I’m glad I did not read the statement because it created an element of surprise as the reader.

The funny thing is while I thought this was about a couple, I had no questions about why there were stretching exercises in the elit piece. While going through the piece, I guess I clicked too quickly which made the poetry “pause.”I had to go back and take in the poetry more slowly and understand the content.

Elit piece Update

I decided to change the tool I’m using from Wix to Prezi because Prezi does not have the linear navigation which the Wix had. The concept of the story will remain the same, the navigation will just be different.Capture1

Forbidden/ Journal #10

I am not having much luck with the stories for this week, but I will be sure to update this post if anything changes. So far this is all I’m getting:

Separation Forbidden

Uncle Roger Forbidden

I am having similar misfortune with my own eLit creation. I started building a “choose your own adventure” type story using WordPress. However, because of the design of the piece, I was soon up to 1,400+ slides (granted each slide only had 1-3 words on it). It became too big to load, even on my husband’s gaming computer. I plan to choose a different platform which will let me hyperlink to various physical characteristics instead of using copies of slides. I am at that point where I have what I want to do in my head, but I just need to find a medium to turn it into electronic literature.

Until next time…

Maybe I’ll have better news.

Update: Finding Abigail

I was opening the My Hands, Wishful Thinking and I was not able to download the file. But, in other news I was finally able to finalize a program that I will use. I will be using Prezi to present my E-Lit piece. I feel that Prezi goes more with the flow of my idea for the piece. I have also given my characters names and have a story-line.

My two characters are Mark and Abigail. Abigail is a young, 24 year old, who has a job as a teacher in a local elementary school. She have never had the time for relationships and past relationships have left her questioning if she will ever find love. Now she is ready to start up the dating scene again.

Enter Mark.

Mark is a wealthy contractor. Eight years her senior, Mark is everything Abigail could hope for, and of course, so much more. I express her feelings about Mark and her relationship taking off in the piece I am writing, which will be featured in different sections that the readers will be able to click on and read.

I am changing the opening image to a diary where Abigail has written down journal entries. Then, I will move to the image of the house, as the story moves forward.

As I start to put the images in, it will become easier and I can see where things work best.

Separation & My Elit Project Update/ Blog #10

Separation

“Separation” is an interactive piece by Annie Abrahams originally written during her stay in the hospital under the effects of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). The visitor is constrained to follow the implemented exercises. The exercises are based on the exercises in workpace, a breaks and exercise software tool proven to assist the recovery and prevention of RSI. As the development and popularization of technology, instead of pen and papers, an increasing number of people take advantages of computers, kindles, iPads, and smart phones in the work places and daily life. The most of computer users might have experienced the situation when they found that their shoulders, necks, and eyes hurt so much after they use the technologies without noticing the time. 

The readers of “Separation” are required to click slowly to read the text, which appear only one word at a time. If you click too often, the following words will appear on screen, which force you to start the whole text again.

屏幕快照 2018-11-27 下午12.22.29

The exercises are included in the text. As the readers click through, the exercises will appears on screen to interrupt the readers, which kind of protect the readers from RSI.

The exercises remind me of the eye exercises and radio calisthenics we had in our primary school, middle school, and high school. Students are required to do these exercises during breaks to protect our eyes and strength our bodies in China.

My Elit Project Update

Now, I have a more clear picture of my own Elit piece. I decided the tool that I am going to utilize is Wix. I will try to construct a Wix site for the main character. The site is made by the character herself to record her travel and the dreams she have during the trip. It is going to be like her own space, which includes her thoughts and experiences. I’m exploring Wix.com while working on the story contents.

The Building Blocks of Old Days

Uncle Rogers by Judy Malloy is an interesting hypertext piece. It is similar to a couple of other literary works we have examined in the class in terms of its format. The narration is non-linear and the reader is required to put everything together to follow the story. It has that puzzle-solving aspect that gives it a playful tone. Its easy-to-follow style of writing makes this certain aspect much more fun to play with, especially in comparison to those other works that contained very metaphorical and poetic styles. The story itself is very intriguing; or rather, the three stories that combine into one big story. It is simply being witness to specific relationships and personal interactions among people in social settings; parties or cafe meetings. With its subtle themes and complexities, the story manages to captivate its reader for sure. I do not think, the name Rogers was a random choice by the author.

One particular detail that impressed me is the year of its creation. It was apparently made in 1986-1988 by using the very early versions of HTML and other digital scripts. I’m not sure if this is the oldest electronic literature we had a chance to look at but it is fascinating. Having limited amount of resources tend to allow (or force?) people to use their creativity to make something compelling for others. This piece certainly proves that. Its “primitive” aesthetic adds a certain charm to it. The structure and format choices by its creator offer a nice presentation for the reader. I do not know exactly why but yellow text with a black background looks attractive for some reason.

Oddly enough, I was actually having hard time paying my complete attention because my own E-Lit piece kept creeping into my mind while reading it. Instead of simply experiencing this work as a reader, I was constantly examining its structure and thinking if I could apply similar details in my own project. So, I was more of an analyzer than an expected reader. I certainly need to re-visit this literary work after finishing up with that final project in order to experience what its author, Judy Mallow, had actually intended for her readers.

Speaking of which…

Final Project Update:

I was able to tinker with Twine and observe some possibilities that I could utilize in creating my story. I had a few ideas as to how I could incorporate certain elements to make it more appealing and more interactive as an E-Lit piece. Fortunately, I was able to do the things I needed by using a CSS cheat sheet. I have built a WIP story with stock images. At this point, I simply need to assemble the actual story with my own images. I expect the main portion of it to be done by next week; then I can focus on polishing and adding the final details during the last couple of weeks. Everything seems to be on track so far.

# 10 Elit Reading & Workupdate:Speparation&My Timeline

First thing first, my elit piece is in the progress. I created my “Final Project” folder. It is like a food pantry where I could put my “prey”. This idea comes from our classmates’ blogs and I appreaciate the contrbution very much.  Screenshot_3

The time is limited.  I need time to plan my project, collect materials, programme and have a final editting. I am also considering the way to show my piece so that my readers may find it intriguious. Hence, I made a timeline:

Theme: Reauthoring Rachmaninoff Symphonic Dance Op. 54
Timeline: 3 weeks
Nov.20 – Nov. 25
Thanksgiving
Materials collecting & Storyboarding
Fill Folders
Nov. 26 – Nov. 30
Collecting & Coding 50%
Twine/ Thinglink/Presi/PPT/ Googledoc./
Google what tools you will use
Nov.31- Dec.4
Coding 100%

Dec.5 - Dec.11
Final editing & Presenting
Present on Dec. 11 night
Storyboarding: 30 mins play

Separation

It is a compelling piece. It points out the contradition between our work and computer: people suffer from Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) becuase of the wrong  way to use the computer.

I was curious about RSI, so I did some studies:

“Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is a general term used to describe the pain felt in muscles, nerves and tendons caused by repetitive movement and overuse.”

Awwww… I felt I have same symptoms!

“The condition mostly affects parts of the upper body, such as the:

  • forearms and elbows
  • wrists and hands
  • neck and shoulders”

Yeah… My neck has some problems…(Want know more? https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/repetitive-strain-injury-rsi/) Ok, that’s interesting. So I played a little while:

I am very impetuous person. I was so impatient to what is going on on the screen. You want me to read words at this slow pace? No way!

SO I RECIEVE THE WARMING a couple of times:

Screenshot_2

LOL. Ok, I have to say I was very hasty while working with computer. I need so much patience to click … It drives me mad…

The practice is quite funny.  I was sitting in the dining hall and people saw me opening mouse and lifting eyebrows… They might be scared by me. Haha

Screenshot_5

As the auhor says, “The visitors of Separation / Séparation are compelled to click slowly (as someone recovering from RSI) in order to see how words appear, one by one. Every now and then an exercise for an RSI patient is proposed and all interaction with the computer is postponed.” It reminds of ScareLetter that deals with the privacy insulting. I couldn’t say such programs can make a big difference. Either Separation or SL is not a cure for people who suffered from those issues. However, they show efforts and present a unique voice to ignorance. They are the brave soul to arise new awareness of the socity.

That is what we can do – as a writer and elit author. The elit is a window  in the darkness where sunlight comes in. Thanks to the reading! It gives me new ideas and I would like to put the perspectives in my elit.

 

 

x. i think i read it wrong

Hello friends it has been A Week, let me tell you. Hope y’all had a nice Thanksgiving that was devoid of familial discourse and full of rad food, instead.

I’m gonna apologize in advance for this blog post; she’s not cute. I’ve been slacking on my work for this class, but! We’re in the home stretch! So I’m gonna give it my all starting… Now!

Alright, so this week I read “Separation” by Annie Abrahams.

Screenshot 2018-11-27 at 12.17.44

Looking first at that main screen, I was intrigued to find that the piece was first created during the author’s stay in a hospital. The background surrounding its creation, and its purpose, to “separate” the reader from the computer through those random exercises that would appear throughout the piece were very interesting elements and vastly different from past works we’ve read for class.

Screenshot 2018-11-26 at 22.01.58

Well, other works have had readers do physical tasks, so that’s not new. But having to get up and exercise? That’s new. (Not gonna lie, it was a little eerie, particularly That Face coupled with the phrase “Show the pain.” Yikies.)

… Confession time. I read the piece wrong. I didn’t get up and exercise, I read the whole piece lying down (laying down?? whatever;;; colloquialisms). I did do the first one, though. That creepy one with the open mouth. Gladly, no one was in the room with me, so I didn’t have to explain myself kldjfskljdk.

Also???? L O L when I started clicking more quickly and it gave me this:

Screenshot 2018-11-26 at 22.01.13

Felt like I was being reprimanded. Patience is a virtue, I suppose. I was kinda confused about it, actually, until I actually read through that first page and saw this:

“All computer workers tend to forget their body, and so risk to be a victim of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) one day. The visitors of ‘separation’ are constraint to click slowly (, as someone recovering from rsi) to see appearing one word at a time of the text. Every now and than a exercise is proposed and all interaction with the computer is postponed. (A recovering rsi patient needs to do this kind of exercises.)”

In which case, I was like “oh. fair enough.”

Overall, a very interesting piece. The text had me Feeling Some Emotions with the depth of the language, and the meaning and perspective behind it only expanded my view of it.

Okie dokie, so regarding My Piece.

……

Clear update, huh?

Well, I’ve been editing the story itself, marking the “panels” with numbers to keep track of them while marking the different storylines in different colors (i.e., light blue for Baby Owl, a pinkish-red for Mama Owl; hopefully to correspond with the colors I’ll make the actual panels in Twine). I’ve also been planning how far I want the branching storylines to go. I was thinking of hiding a bio somewhere in there, too, but I don’t wanna spoil anything, I guess.

Anyway. That’s the progress I’ve made. It isn’t much, but I’m planning to really dive into working on it for the rest of the semester. That, along with my writing theory final project… and my novel for YA Lit…

It’s Fine :’)))))))

Okay. I’m gonna go. Looking forward to class tonight!

Have a lovely day/night/whatever!

–Masooch