Kean University- Fall 2018
Electronic Literature Presentation
“We wanted love. That’s all everybody ever wants”
In this elit story authors, Ingrid Ankerson and Megan Sapnar take readers on a journey of sight and sound. They tell a fictional story of Joanie, a young adult woman who’s out on a ride with her girlfriends looking for love! As they cruise through a small town in Wisconsin they are waving and making new friends along the road. There is a lot going on in this elit piece, it’s filled with background sound, pictures and words moving across the screen swiftly, a woman’s voice reading the poem and her image in the background. All of these elements in the story serve to create the theme of space and time.
By moving the cursor across the screen the reader is essentially cruising through the text which gives them a sense of control and freedom in the way the story is told. There were some elements in the story like the background music stayed that stayed in the same tempo while the words and images moved at different speed across the screen.
As for me, I enjoyed working with this piece of literature. Although in the beginning, it was a bit challenging to find the right speed and how to properly read the story, I managed to get a manageable speed of the moving text. In essence, this elit piece allowed me to cruise through the text as if driving a car around town looking for something I needed.
As for my Elit project, I received great feedback from my peers and I will take some ideas into consideration. My topic will focus on the fictional story of two couples at different stages of their marriage. The digital tool I decided to use is picture bird and Symbaloo, both software provides templates that I can use to enhance my story.
Didn’t your mother ever warn you not to fall asleep playing video games? Well in the elit piece Icarus Needs poor Icarus has fallen asleep playing a video game. Unfortunately for him, he has gotten stuck and now he needs to find his way out of this scary dream. Readers are to help Icarus find his way out by helping him find the things he needs such as his keys, ropes, apples, his girlfriend Kit, a crown and ultimately he needs to find a way to wake up. The tools for the game were simple, there were four arrows each to move on either side and up or down. In the game, Icarus sometimes was blocked by dead ends and other places where he became stuck and it was my job as the reader to help him find his way around the situation.
In the different parts of the game, Icarus was in different locations, one which was outside, inside his bedroom (where he first woke up), in a basement ( or someplace with water) and the throne room. I also noticed that the different rooms each had a different color and everything within that room all had the same color.
I would consider this piece of literature because it does tell a story. For the most part, Icarus talks with his subconscious, however, throughout the game the author includes dialogue from Icarus with author objects or characters in the room. At one point, he talks to the door saying: “He doesn’t look like a door, is that racist”. In another part of the game he is talking on the phone with Kit, some other objects he talks to is a cat, squirrel and a man selling ropes. More importantly, there are moments in the game the author ask some philosophical questions and Icarus responds.
After finding all the objects he needed, Icarus needs to finally wake up. Kit tells him that it is not him helping her but her helping him find his way out. While he is atop a mountain she tells him to jump in order to wake up. This is significant in the story because many scientists say that in order to get out of a bad dream you must jump or fall off of something, that will push your mind to wake you up. In the end, the reader must press the down arrow so Icarus can jump off and finally wae up form this dream.
I am not of a video game player, however, I found this game interesting and easy to use. I was happy to see Icarus finally woke up from this bad dream. I hope readers learn to not fall asleep playing video games or else they will end up like Icarus.
For my piece of elit writing, I am excited to create a fiction story about two marriages. One that is going to happen and one that is falling apart in the process of divorce. I thought of this idea because I love attending weddings, unfortunately, some of the weddings I have been to ended up in divorce. Through this piece, I want to show climax and downfall of a similar concept that is both good and bad.
This story is important because marriage happens all the time. In fact, it is a huge deal in places all over the world. There are different types of marriages between couples. Statistics prove that most marriages end in divorce. So as people we wonder what is the point of marriage if most of them will end in divorce anyway? Even so, many people believe that marriage is a beautiful union and couples all over the world want to get married.
There will be four main characters in my story a young man and woman between the age of 26-29. A older female and male couple between the age of 48 and 52 respectively.
In one half of the story, readers will experience the joy of planning a wedding and also feeling the excitement of these young couples.
Conversely, in another half of the story readers will actively engage in the process of going through a divorce with the older characters.
This will include surveys and selecting answers in the text. Each section will advance the reader further along in the process. Readers can select the type of flowers, venue style, theme color and anything else that goes into planning a wedding. The older couple, on the other hand, will have to decide what they want to give up in the marriage. For each individual readers will select whether they want to give up the house, family pet, children, or investment.
The younger couple has been dating for almost 4 years and they are in love. The guy proposes and she accepts. They both are panning this wedding to make it the best night of thier lives.
The older couple is going through this divorce because they fell out of love and they each are no longer interested by the other person. It was a mutual agreement between the two to go ahead and separate.
The purpose of this fictional story is to show the irony in marriage, while many young couples desire to get married and stay in love forever, an older couple who similarly felt the same way are both now experiencing the complete opposite.
What I imagine is that the part with the younger couple will have a white background the hyperlinks will have yellow colors. The part with the older couple will have. brown background with white hyperlinks. This is the story I have been thinking about creating, and I would like to learn more about how to make it interactive in elit form.
In the narrative High Muck A Muck a group of authors Fred Wah, Nicola Hardwood, Jin Zhang, Bessie Wapp, Thomas Loa, Tomoyo Ihaya, Hiromoto Ida, Phillip Djwa, and Patrice Leung, present a three-year project representing the history and culture of Chinese immigrants in an interactive way. The story begins at the body, that is the home of the story.
The body parts represent seven cities each having their own meaning of Chinese history.
Canada represents the arm of the body. In the arm, there are red veins that connect each point together making the connection of Chinese immigration to Canada.
Victoria: Has several gates, each representing different locations of a Chinese story. These include restaurants, a cemetery, a park, a door of no escape.
Nelson: Likewise, this section of the body represents different locations such as a restaurant that serves rice (a traditional food of China), laundry place ( typical Chinese business) and some other significant places.
Vancouver: In this part of the body the reader follows the life of an individual named Charley. He is an immigrant who moved to Canada from China we hear his voice as he tells the story of his experience as a Chinese in China tows. The other individuals in this image are standing on what seems to be a train track or outline of a city street. When I clicked on each person, they provided words of wisdom and appreciation for their new life.
Richmond: in this section, I watched A city’s language video. The video follows the life of an immigrant coming to American for the first time. As he drives by houses and neighborhoods he describes the American dream as empty and silent. He states that “The emptiness is steaming”
Pacific Rim: I’m not sure which part of the body this section represents, even so, in this section there are three ships in the middle of the Pacific ocean. Each ship tells a short poem about the Chinese-Canadian voyage experience on the ocean.
Everywhere and Nowhere is simply a reflective video that zooms into the eyes of an older male person which then zooms out of the eyes of a newborn baby. These two people make the connection between the old and new life is both everywhere and nowhere particularly.
I absolutely loved this elite piece. The background music sounded beautiful and made a connection within each body part. The sounds of people talking, children playing, items making nouse all flowing simultaneously did not create a havoc noise but it was important to make a connection. I felt that the images were also well put together and the poems were significant in meaning. The videos on the cultural and historical background of China was enlighting and authentic. I appreciated the contribution and different styles of each author because it created a unique piece of literature.
“Her friends said she needed to “find” herself. And sure enough, when she started looking, she found pieces of herself everywhere…”
In Juliet Davis’ elit narrative Pieces of Herself, the reader plays an interactive game where they engage and explore the autonomy of a female body. In order to play this game, the reader has to enter the different spaces and environment that women typically occupy and drag-and-drop pieces onto the paper doll. These different places are both public and private.
In each of these different spaces the pieces found tells a story. Every time a piece is dropped on the female doll a story is told revealing an interview or some other form of audio relating to a female experience with prejudice and sexism. These stories combined focus on issues of gender as it relates to women. By actively putting pieces together to formulate an identity and perception of the female identity Davis forces the reader to personally associate with the pieces. Women readers specifically are challenged to see themselves in the shoes of these women and question their relationship of the text.
Overall, I thought Davis’ elit work was user-friendly and functionally simple to operate, unlike some of the other electronic literature I’ve read so far. Moreover, her piece was profound in its relation to the social and cultural context of the female experience. As we all know the female identity is one that is complex and mysteriously unintelligible to the average mind. Even so, Davis’ work challenges the reader (women especially) to construct a narrative of the female identity that is like the self.
As a female, I feel that I was able to relate and make a connection to the of this work. My favorite room in this game was the bedroom. In this room, I notice that there were pieces everywhere. Pieces were found in the draws, in between the sheets, inside the closet and inside the trash bin. In the trash bin, I found a quote from a women stating that “she is home but not really home” [paraphrasing]. It’s interesting that she feels this way because one should feel at home while their home because it is a sacred place of comfort. I believe Davis highlights this piece in the story in order to show how women feel powerless in a place where they should have power. Moreover, I loved that Davis provided the option to clear the image and start all over again creating a different narrative that in many ways are still similar. By doing this the author shows how the narrative of women although told in different times and context all have connecting experiences.
Of both the articles for this week, my favorite one was the Brainstrips piece by Alan Bieglow. This piece was very engaging and even humorous at times, I enjoyed every section of it.
I noticed that the word brain strips in the main page lead to a category for different lessons.
In the first word brain, the two characters in the comic discuss deep philosophical topics of existential theory. The questions were “what is art’, “are men more sensitive than women, “does God exist”, “how do we know we are human,” “do trees have rights” and “is color real”. All of these questions forces the reader to think outside the box and formulate reasons that are neither right or wrong. For each of these question, I enjoyed the artistic and narrative process of creating my own story. I also enjoyed the visual and audio experiences that Bieglow provided while reading. Everything felt like a real-life comic movie.
In the second section, the word strips were “Science for Idiots”. You would probably expect that the section was like the dummy book of science, however, it was unlike that. Science for Idiots discussed the politics of science in everyday life and how some things just don’t make any sense. For example, in the evolution category, Bieglow writes that “minimum cage size recommended by the zoo industry for an ape is 14 by 14 by 10 feet, slightly larger than a standard office cubicle” Well this statement raises that question of ethics because that size is not large enough to accommodate an ape. So the question remains, who are the real idiots in science?
Lastly, just the letter S in that word lead me to another page with math lessons and concepts. Each word in that section was interactive and hilarious! I felt like I was learning a classroom lesson, however, it was more enjoyable because at random parts there would be a tangent that made it not so serious. The storyline was intelligible and tasty to follow along. I loved that the visuals in the background were consistent and moved while reading. Overall, this was a fun read for today’s blog.
I thought the creation of the ScareMail Generator is such an interesting idea. This software created by Benjamin Grosser uses a collection of specific words and linguistics methods to generate a creative “story” every time a person sends an email. The words use such as “ plot”, “facility”, etc. are considered “scary” and raised suspicion. When the software is installed it will confuse the National Security Agency (NSA) and make their search results useless by reading random stories and narratives.
Grosser,, describes that the NSA has a certain software that runs through emails and detects certain words and communication that they believe is written by terrorists. These words will flag your email and they will read them in an attempt to prevent a terrorist attack. The NSA is skilled in this field and it is their job to identify these conversations and communications before anything drastic happens, which could have been prevented.
Even so, I also agree with Grosser’s statement that reading citizens personal email is a violation of our first amendment rights and the government should not interfere with our privacy. The ScareMail software serves its purpose to reveal a flaw of the NSA’s surveillance that words do not equal intent.
I didn’t download the extension because for one I wouldn’t want the government to purposely get attached to one of my emails because of these scary words. Additionally, I was not interested in creating narrative stories in my email to distract the government. Nevertheless, I think ScareMail is an interesting creation.
I learned so much from reading this short collection in the volume. Mainly its relation to elit as a genre. I will admit that I didn’t know much (anything really) about using robots to generate language. A bot is considered “a chatterbot that engages users in conversation through text entered and displayed in a computer terminal.” This was all very interesting, even so, I still remained apprehensive about the thought of creating my own elit using this technique. I clicked all of the Bot links and followed the accounts on Twitter. It was interesting also to see that this technique is used in most of the social media platforms that I already use, such as Twitter and Tumblr. The short bio also mentioned that this artistic and literary tool created for social networks has grown exponentially.”
My favorite reading for this week was “Reconstructing Mayakovsky” by Illya Szilak. The epigraph quote describes it as a novel of the future. The floating stars in the main page served as a table of contents. As I clicked each word it revealed context and information to a story. I preferred to download the paper version of the text. Additionally, I also loved that the design resembled galaxy. In another part of the literature words were floating around and when I clicked on each work it revealed a chapter of the story. I didn’t get read the entire book, unfortunately, but I enjoyed the experience.
In her short article “Navigating Electronic Literature” English professor and scholar Jessica Pressman introduce readers to a different style of writing literature, that is electronic. In her article, she goes in-depth to explain the historical creation and aesthetic of this digital type of work. Electronic writing she describes is “unlike print literature”, in that print literature is simply pen to paper writing, a traditional form of literary studies that many people know and are accustomed to doing. In contrast, however, this digital form of literature forces readers to engage in the literary work at hand by navigating through links in the story. In the article, she states, “whether it is a mouse-click or a typewritten word, this action affects the work’s performance and the reader’s engagement with it. In other words, navigation enables the digital work’s performance and its signification.” Readers are immersed in this type of reading because they are actively clicking a link that brings them to a different page to follow the story. Additionally, there are other several key points that Pressman make about this type of genre. She also talks about hypertext and its quintessential purpose in digital works. She agrees and concludes with critic George P. Landow who states that “hypertext [offers] readers more agency, and even partial authorship, over the text they read than print texts.” This action allows readers to become aware of their significant role in a story.
Pressman’s article was an edifying resource that provided me with the knowledge and skills needed to read an electronic literature. While reading Twelve Blue by Michael Joyce I was able to interact with the story by clicking the links and hypertext included in the story. It was an interactive form of reading that I’ve actually never experienced before this course. I look forward to reading and learning more about this type of literature.
Before enrolling in this course I expected that electronic writing would be about reading novels and stories in electronic form using a Kindle or audible app, the usual ways that I normally read literature in electronic form. I was surprised to learn that this is a form of storytelling that exists and I knew nothing of it beforehand. Although I still don’t know much about electronic writing I am excited to learn something new and hopefully enjoy this different form of the genre.
Check out the links below: