Warming up with a “walkthrough”

What a wonderful read through all of your blogs this past week. I must say that I had a clear feeling that many of you “turned a corner” in terms of your “warming up” to electronic literature. While the field continues to push categories/boundaries, it has become for many of you a more immersive and emotional experience. And despite the formal innovation in terms of storytelling, you also expressed a newfound relatability and accessibility in your experience of elit work.

Our agenda slides:

High Muck A Muck

Wespent our class with the beautiful hypertext poem entitled High Muck a Muck, – a stunning collaborative work.  High Muck-a-Muck: Playing Chinese is an interactive poem, consisting of a website and eight videos which explore the narratives and tensions of historical and contemporary Chinese immigration to Canada. High Muck a Muck is most intriguing especially because it was formed through an interdisciplinary collaboration of nine Canadian artists and programmers including Fred Wah, poet, Jin Zhang, composer; Nicola Harwood, project director and designer; Thomas Loh and Bessie Wapp, video artists and performers:, Hiromoto Ida, dancer; Patrice Leung, filmmaker; Tomoyo Ihaya, visual artist and Phillip Djwa, creative technologist.  The convergence of so many gifted practitioners has produced an exceptionally rich and complex piece, which definitely pushes beyond the traditional confines of “text”.  

We walked through many of the most significant images/tropes of the piece while sharing a sense of the diverse options for navigation.  The piece explores the multi-lenses of diaspora and globalism while provoking us to think further about the impact of dreams steeped in the challenges of exile or migration.  We could all see the way in which embodiment (the body) is wrapped up in conflicted pasts and presents, and how the myths of immigration are often a gamble with many different resulting outcomes.  The final tone of the work is ambiguous and dispersed, with a haunting lack of resolve.  In other words, there will always be loss despite gains in this journey to a new world.

Your to-do list for 9/29/22

Kathryn’s selection: Everythings Going to Be OK

Bianca’s selection: Blackout Poetry Tool

-Your next blog post is due by 9/29.  Blog about your reading experience and understanding of and/or Everythings Going to Be OK or  Blackout Poetry Tool.

What are some of the significant textual elements?  How did you choose to navigate these texts?  What visual, sound, interactive elements left an impression?  What overall effect do these texts create?  What themes and symbolic language emerge in navigating the text? What is literary about the text?

See you soon!

Let’s call it what it is, it’s a masterpiece

I think sailing is a word that falls short of this experience, not only did I navigate, but I entered, felt, heard, and saw the wonder of Chinese culture.

The first thing that caught my attention was the music and the blue that prevailed in all the options, the sound, and visual experience were extremely important to be able to feel what I was reading and understand what was being said. However, in High Muck a Muck I tried to feel free and comfortable, let myself go, and try to fly.

The second thing I was impressed with was when the human body was presented and the options were located at strategic points, like the cardinal points on compasses and maps, I saw the body as a compass rose, I saw that the human body is a vessel that allows us to connect with the elements and that they make it possible to be in sync with the world.

The third thing that most caught my attention was the first option that Everywhere and Nowhere took, located on the top of the back, when clicking on it, 2 people appeared and the yin yang in the middle, when clicking on it, it connected to a video where an older gentleman, but with the development of this it was fading and a baby appeared, the first thing I thought was in the movie of the Strange Case of Benjamin Button, but then I considered the importance of older adults for their wisdom and how they are capable pass it on to new generations.

The way in which you are able to move around the site is simple, public-friendly and interactive. Something I hadn’t noticed was the little ear on the lower left side of the screen. When you click on it, you can listen to stories, experiences, and knowledge of the culture.

Here are some phrases that caught my attention:

  • The valley is not empty, it is full of ancestors.
  • There’s no escape.
  • Some people are different, you can see it, or hear it. That’s how I grew up.
  • Just another hungry ghost.

Gero Roots

Is anyone ever the main character in our story?

I really liked this piece of e-lit, High Muck a Muck had my mind a little stuck. The art style going throughout was super swell, and it really rung my bell. Can you tell, that while experiencing it, this whole electronic platform really seemed to gel?

While easy to navigate (thanks to the inclusion of arrow guidance, book/boat emoji-style buttons, etc.) I still found this work to be quite an investigation. I’m not sure what it is about, but I’m pretty sure if I showed it to one of my history buff friends they’d really question how little fanfare I have for such a thing. But still, I am very curious about space, environments, and sensory experiences. A lot of the droning music was pleasant, but lulled me into the work in a way that is foreign to me, comfortably patient.

Usually I am one to sprint through a task, or an interest, and move on to the next, but this one held me. I particularly appreciated that one video that simply zoomed in on some elder’s face. I was honestly expecting some sort of payoff, some revelatory bit of knowledge, to pop up at the end, but nope. The video simply transported me into a state of mind, and an internal state of environment, and that is a notable compliment coming this way.

A bit of a complaint here, some of the texts fade away far too soon. I tend to hang onto words when I read poetry, so for me to reread a pairing that I was really enticed by, or that served of some musical quality, only for it to be erased was a bit of a negative rub. Still, I find something thematic going on here at points, like when it happens over a painting of water (the Pacific Ocean). Like a ship sinking from battle or the natural horrific beauty of Mama Nature. The words fade away just like all of the wondrous and notable journeys, the memories, that those who are not experiencing them will never imagine, never fathom.

And I get that I likely could have gone back to the emoji and whatnot, but once that little thematic nugget hit me, I didn’t dare want to interfere with it. It felt special. There’s also a lot of stuff that sounds like Nine Inch Nails’ more ambient stuff, I think during the video with what looked like a shoulder bag. Like, woah, pretty rad sounding stuff, with a tinge of creepy. There was also some chaotic noise bits with sampled voices scattered throughout which is very much my kinda thang. It’s a shame that there isn’t a link (that I noticed) to where this stuff comes from artist-wise, but in a way it adds to the mysterious aura that surrounds the work.

I wonder if a lot of this has to do with agriculture or industrialism, or the beginning stages of consumerism, in a very primitive sense. 

While it never went fully into that direction, the characters painted throughout kind of reminded me of the storytelling of Tom Waits, where they’re vague but you get the feeling like everyone around each other is so at an arm’s distance. They are all distinct, and perhaps they know every observational detail about one another, but there is something seedy present. The environment you are in is almost never really there. Fleeting. Eternal, but inverted. Not as seedy as in Waits’ work, where everyone feels greasy and grimy, but seedy in the sense that I feel like, even if I were one of these kinds of caricatures painted, I wouldn’t truly know the whole story.

As a matter of truth, none of us never will.

From nowhere to everywhere

When I first looked at this piece of Elit, I was very excited to see the familiar Chinese character! It feels like meeting an old friend in another country, and I am so glad Dr. Mia Zamora chose this piece!

In this blog, I am going to share with you guys some fun facts I found from my personal experience! Get ready with me!

This map cleverly combines the topographical map of Canada with the Chinese cultural map of human acupuncture points.

This picture has a solid Chinese color, such as the signboard in Chinese and the traditional Chinese architecture—the archway. Still, it also reflects how Chinese culture collides and blends with Western culture in British Columbia’s Chinatown, where many foreigners in Western dress trade or live here, reflecting the harmony between the Chinese and the locals.

When I clicked on the little man sitting in front of the store in the upper left corner, an ear icon appeared on the screen. I clicked on it to play music played by traditional Chinese instruments, which sounded like a kind of sorrow and sadness of being uprooted from one’s homeland.

This image contains many Chinese elements of culture, such as YingYang (阴阳). Yin and Yang is an abstraction of the two opposite and complementary properties of the ancients in the universe. Also, it is the philosophical category of the unity of opposites and the law of thinking in the universe.

Chinese sages have coined the word “Yin and Yang” to represent the unity of opposites in which two things correspond and complement each other. Lao Zi says that “all things bear Yin and embrace Yang,” and in Yi Zhuan, “one Yin and one Yang is called Tao.” The Book of Changes is a mathematical and philosophical theory about the change of Yin and Yang.

At the bottom, “everywhere and nowhere,” you will see a yin and yang gossip map between two people. Click here for a video. This video has no words, only background music, and shows an older man with a face full of furrows. The camera slowly draws closer to focus on his eyes, full of vicissitudes, until the eyes fill the entire screen. The street slowly pulls away, and the older man becomes a newborn baby.

In my understanding, everywhere may refer to the tree of life’s sprouting roots and branches growing wildly until they wither, just like people entering their twilight years. Nowhere refers to the seeds that have not yet

Huck Muck a Muck

This week’s reading was interesting in the same way “Twelve Blue” was, but there were immense differences between my experiences. Still, going into this reading it felt just as blind and I still felt that sense of disorientation. It made me think, Do all of E-lit works utilize this disorientation of the format itself to add another layer to their works? My guess is yes. I mean we haven’t studied any linear narratives, so that may change. Whether or not they do this, these authors have a way of keeping it fresh & utilizing it in ways we would’ve never expected.

Going into Huck Muck a Muck, I immediately noted that there was a common theme of displacement, which is why I opened this post with the idea of disorientation. Maybe the author was trying to mimic the feeling of displacement that immigrants often feel on their journeys to new countries.

Like I said previously, these authors have their ways of keeping their work intriguing. Huck Muck a Muck offers multiple perspectives on the non-linear concept of immigration, which is refreshing. They reiterate the idea of lottery & gamble when talking about the journey, but they never explain what journey. It’s implied that they mean the journey through the e-lit work, but also the journey taken when we click on something and put ourselves in the speaker’s place.

I must say, I did enjoy this walk though more than “Twelve Blue” and I think it just has to do with the fact that this was poetry. Poetry invites and even encourages the unknown, unspoken, and uncertainty. So, I wasn’t going around in circles trying to connect characters to other characters. I wasn’t expecting a linear narrative to show itself at the end of my browsing. Huck Muck a Muck’s poetic focus allowed me to enjoy the bits & pieces handed to me, rather than worry about the outcome.

High Muck A Muck

I enjoyed last week’s discussion of hearing everyone else’s feedback about their interpretation of Twelve Blue. It helped me with my blog this week. I think a classmate had mentioned that they take notes as they are reading. I do that as well. I think it’s important for me to do that before I forget anything that I might want to touch up on later.

The first sentence of High Muck A Muck hooked me instantly. I was immediately excited to explore this body of work. I appreciate that the author allowed his readers to read the full poetic text if you want, by just clicking the book in the corner.

The illustration of a human body with a map painted on them was a breathtaking image. I knew this piece was going to make me feel something, which is the whole point of art. I started this piece with Everywhere and Nowhere. I thought the imagery was beautiful of two people holding hands with a Ying Yang symbol in between them. By clicking the Ying Yang symbol, it brings you to a video of an old man. The video begins by zooming in on the old man’s eye. When the camera pans out it is focusing on a baby’s eye. I thought that was a beautiful imagery of life and death, rebirth, and renewal.

Next, I chose to explore Pacific Rim. The imagery of the ocean and ships added another level to this piece. The first and third ship were poems. The second ship was a video. It took me a moment to realize that there were texts moving across the screen that said Made in Japan. The video continued with images of products that included moveable texts stating made in Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, or China. I appreciate the changes in the music as the images changed. I think this was a very thought-provoking piece of art. The images of handbags with the text speaks volumes of the fashion industry.

I really liked that each tab had something different to offer. The Richmond tab had wonderful architectural illustrations discussing wanting a successful job and succeeding in Canada. The Vancouver tab introduced me to people and their stories. The Victoria tab introduced me to the people of Chinatown desperate to have a piece of their homeland in Canada. The Canada tab was an arm with a map illustrated on it with water at the fingertips and mountains above the arm. I think this says a lot about going back to your roots. I love the reference to trees and how deeply rooted they are in the earth.


High Muck A Muck immediately caught my attention. Now that I understand a bit better as to how electronic literature works, it made it a little easier to navigate through this piece. High Muck A Muck was very different from last weeks reading Twelve Blue.

Before I get into what I liked about this reading I will say that it was unfortunate that the words appeared and disappeared so quickly. Some poems I had to read a few times because of the words disappearing so fast. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let me explain what all I enjoyed about this piece.

I first navigated to Victoria and I was very intrigued by how much I was able to click on and learn about. I loved how the image portrayed the city of Chinatown. I liked when I clicked on the different buildings or people, there was a poem to go with it. In some cases there was narration along with a poem. For me that helped me understand what was taking place at the particular space.

Another portion of High Muck A Muck that stood out to me was Canada. While navigating through there were a lot blue dots and most of them had quick sayings or maybe even advice as you went through. I really liked that. I also liked the poem that talks about a family but relates a family to trees;

Like a family

Are these trees




I really enjoyed this weeks reading.

High Muck a Muck and the Root of Literature

My first impression of High Muck a Muck is that the description of “interactive” paired with the soundscape immediately made me think of website video games I have played in the past. This gave me a little comfort and at this very beginning point I felt better about it than Twelve Blue.

Looking at the entrance and the first few pages, I really enjoy this piece. The soundscape with the pace of the words and art appearing. The interaction is great, but the method of interaction (rolling the mouse over the box in the corner and the titles appear, the dots glowing if looking at the map) is really lovely.

The entire page has been purposely crafted to give you a calming and peaceful feel as you peruse incredibly complex and thoughtful work. It is so hard to not keep saying that this piece is lovely.

I think the question of “what is literature” is really present here in a way simply because the method of interaction is so similar to website video games that have been produced; however, the words, the entire piece is so obviously, in my opinion, literature. Even the art and the way the language interacts with the art is literature, even adding sound to a piece just reminds me of gallery, but then you add this very specific type of interactive-ness and all of the sudden I can understand the question being asked. I think this is very much shows the root of privilege and “prestige” and frankly, snootiness, that is associated with literature.