All posts by richonda

Sooth and Seperation

sooth

I will begin by reflecting on the piece I would have to say I enjoyed more so out of the two for this week. Honestly, and wholeheartedly, I did not enjoy either one in the way that I might have with other pieces this semester. In a brief discussion last night with a few fellow class members, there was talk of the pieces being quite boring and simple. I alluded to the fact that our progression with navigating electronic literature in the class has gone from such simple and classic pieces like Twelve Blue to more multimodal and even more intellectually challenging pieces. I brought up the question of whether readers of e lit, after a while, form a sort of preconceived idea about what a piece of e lit contains  because many can have varying forms of interactivity and multimodality, while others are meant to be a single click until he end of the piece. Can we not enjoy simplistic pieces for what they are anymore, and does interpretations of what e lit should be in an individual’s own biased option then affect the way that one is able to appreciate it?

To retreat from the tangent that I just partook in, Sooth (a noun meaning truth) by David Jhave Johnston was my preferred piece of the two pieces being presented tonight. The fact that the author intended for the images and music within the piece to be purposefully different from what a love poem might be associated with only added tot he intrigue. To me, the animated poems coupled with the looping videos and sounds only brought more… well… truth to what love really is or can be instead of the fairytale versions many people tend to associate with it. Like in the description, one is left to contemplate more deeply about the body, soul, and subconscious in ways that they might not have if they were to look at love on only a surface level. The poem “snow” in itself brought to question many concepts from biochemistry, interestingly, and ideas of looking at the self as an osmotic being (able to gradually process and take in information).

In terms of navigating through the poem, it took me a while to figure out that some of the separate pages lets you click on an open space in the box where the video place and the next line will appear in that area. However, sometimes you can click anywhere and the lines will only appear in a certain area and then zip and zoom to a different area within the box constantly moving. At first, I was frustrated and distracted by this because I couldn’t really get a good sense of what was being communicated if the words were moving and fading too fast, but I came across some scholarly commentary that put things into perspective. Jonathan Baillehache from the University of Georgia in his review of the piece states, “Clicking on the videos does not simple display the text, as in the turning of a page; it disturbs it, it shuffles the lines and complicates the reading experience with he intrusion of more sound, movement and color. Clicking is an act of destruction and disturbance of the text as much as it is a necessary operation to build it and proceed with the reading” (Baillehache, par. 3). This idea really brought things into a new light for me and the way that I looked at the piece.

screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-2-27-56-pm

As for the second piece Separation, it was written in the hospital under the effects of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) where one cannot work without the computer, but working with a computer is as much of a challenge as not working with it. I can understand the intended purpose of trying to get the reader or navigator to feel what someone else feels who has RSI, but in agreement with a fellow graduate student, Hailey, it reminded me of Tailspin by (author) in Volume 2 which emphasized the effects of Tinnitus in an old man and the repercussions it has on his life and his family’s lives. I am not sure, though, what to make of it and I want to do some more exploring and navigating through the piece a few more times.

 

 

Works Cited

Baillehache, Jonathan. “David Jhave Johnston, Sooth.” Hyperrhiz, 2013, hyperrhiz.io/hyperrhiz10/special-feature-e-lit-reviews/david-jhave-johnston-
sooth.html.

Hobo Lobo of Hamelin: The Inverted Pied Piper

hobo-lobo-1

I am ecstatic that Katherine chose Hobo Lobo of Hamelin for her presentation because this is such a dynamic piece. I did not come across this piece in my search of the three volumes when looking for the work that I would present, but I am glad that I had the chance to experience it. I was immediately pulled in by the sterling description of the piece because it captures the very essence within the work in that it can be “flat yet 3D, still yet animated, linear yet temporally scrubbable”. The very feel and appearance of Hobo Lobo of Hamelin embodies this sort of inverted child-like nature that’s hard to look away from, and too intriguing to not continue through. Every aspect of the work is particularly placed right down to the names that portray the characters they are bestowed upon (e.g. Hobo Lobo, which literally means homeless timber wolf or Dick Mayor seeing as how the mayor is exactly what his first name implies, or at least I thought so).

I feel that there is something to be said about motion in digital contexts with this piece alone: the way in which it can work or may not work, and the affordances it brings to the field. Hobo Lobo of Hamelin definitely confirms the ways in which motion, or rather the illusion of it, can defy what traditional electronic pieces offer. Now, this piece did not emphasize sound, but when sound was used it was important. If I can recall correctly, only a couple of the “pages” used sound effects, but I think they effectively evoked a particular emotion in the audience to go along with where the story was at the time. In addition, I did, at first, have some reservations about the way items kept moving and changing as I read on some of the pages, but I quickly realized that I could pause that particular changing reel, which helped me to focus on what I was reading a little better.

hobo-lobo-2

Moving along, I would like to say that I took note of the description before entering this digital pop-up book. Stevan Živadinovic´’s work, as the description points out, is inspired by the work of Jaques Tati. In my research of this French filmmaker, actor, and screenwriter, it was interesting to find that his first three films (name them all here) possessed this recurring theme of western society’s fixation on material goods. This concept speaks heavily to the way Hobo Lobo looks for wealth and bragging rights for the job he is hired to do in taking care of the rats in Hamelin. The mayor does not follow through in paying Hobo Lobo, so essentially Hobo Lobo loses out on what he wanted, but maybe his intentions in securing wealth and gaining bragging rights for his deed (as if it would improve the quality of his life) is what harmed him more and left him in an even worse position than when he started. I was saddened that the story was not completely finished, but it only gives readers that much more to look forward to when this piece is finally finished. I thoroughly enjoyed navigating through this work. Hats off to Stevan Živadinovic´!


Writing Processes in “First Draft of the Revolution”

first-draft“First Draft of the Revolution” by Emily Short is a very fascinating piece. From the eloquent book that opens up as the reader begins, to the beautiful calligraphy on each page (or letter rather) definitely fits the time period of the piece and helps to create a more realistic experience. As a writer myself, a reader of other’s work, and a writing consultant/coach I was all to ecstatic at the fact that this very piece centers around the idea and analyzation of writing processes. To draft, revise, edit, and publish is the routine of my life in many different aspects; this piece spoke to that for me. As the piece begins, the reader is drawn in by a bit of backstory before the first letter is shown, and is then immediately able to start making changes in the letters to be sent to the recipient (mostly Juliette writing to her husband and so on, but sometimes Juliette and her former convent mother superior are conversing back and forth as well).

Although this piece can definitely lose its reader in that it can be predictable (at times) and somewhat dreadfully boring to just keep clicking and revising to progress to the next letter, it is held together by a sort of pragmatic ideal about writing, what it is made of, and how it is carried out. To look at each line, the way it is worded, the possible changes, and thoughts behind the changes to be made not only says so much in regard to the character, but also in the way any individual partakes in the act of writing. One is able to organize their thoughts, see what is working and/or not working in real time, consider the audience and the best possible way to convey what is meant. “First Draft of the Revolution” emphasizes the importance of being particular about the words used, what message is being sent, if something is getting across to the reader in the right way, and how to fix it if it is not.

writing-process

The way one speaks and writes, and their process in doing such, reveals so much about them. From this work I suggest that Juliette is somewhat submissive. She also second guesses herself and doesn’t seem to take many real risks in the beginning of this chain of letters back and forth to her husband. Before revisions are made, Juliette’s character seems to always want to tone down or get rid of altogether something of significance that may alter the outcome completely. Henri is very stern and upright if you will. He doesn’t seem to quiver or show too many signs of indecisiveness as much as Juliette does. He is strong and structured in the way that he prepares to write and then carries out that task. These characteristics speak heavily about the ways in which both men and women were perceived and still are. I appreciate the idea of a letter in itself being the focal point of the this piece of electronic literature. The letter definitely still correlates with the time period, but it slows things down and allows the reader to feel as though they are actually taking their time to craft these messages and advance the story in whichever way they choose.

All in all, this piece is packed with the momentousness of internalizing the writing process to produce not only logical pieces of written work but well-written and effective ones too. If one is not interested in delving that far into discussion about writing then I don’t know what they might take away from a piece like this, but it can still be enjoyable to navigate through.

 


Thermophiles in Love

thermophile-cover-photoMake me a match, find me a find, catch me a catch!

I absolutely loved participating in this Netprov project! I was excite from the minute I created my username and my character’s profile. For the duration of the project, my character was obli_wankenobi.

screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-12-05-43-am

 

In the beginning, the environment of Thermophiles in Love wad fast paced and intriguing. I knew that I didn’t have to know everything about the bacteria to participate, but I felt like I did for some reason. I took notice of how every other student was entering into the project with vastly different perspectives and I didn’t want to seem “behind”. I actually found it interesting that I felt that way, and thought I needed to keep myself in check in terms of what I said. I thought having the anonymity behind my character would make me want to open up a bit more, but in the beginning I was still very shy as if I were meeting everyone in person. I definitely retreated back to the rules a lot and I would check the characteristics of my character to make sure I was getting things right. I went to bed the first night convincing myself I had to loosen up a bit more.

By the second day, I felt more comfortable in the environment. Conversations were taking off and topics held more weight than on the first day. I began to see disagreements about made up preconceived notions about the community that we were all building and I felt compelled more to add in my two cents in whatever imagined way I could drum up in my head. I feel like the obli gender is closer than any other to my true self, so it wasn’t hard to be me, but I still tried to venture out and do/say a few things that I wouldn’t necessary do or say. I know nothing about replicating and plasmids but my character sure did!

I absolutely loved how everyone carried on however they felt and represented themselves in whatever way they chose (e.g. Jason) from arrogant and bold to straight up chill and hippie-like! This project not only taught me more about myself, but allowed me to make new discoveries about communication in obscure and abstract situations. I think something is to be said about the way in which there were cliques and groups forming naturally by the third and second day that I joined. I feel like humans have this natural disposition to react and respond in similar ways that they would in real life sometimes without knowing it. I liked the fact that you never knew when someone was pulling from something real within themselves to give life and a sort of dimension to their character or when it was just something literally made up on the spot, but I loved even more how you could be as silly as you wanted like having a movie mesflix and chill night to watch Meso_Streep and Meso_nardoDiCaprio movies with some meso and obli buddies!

I think this project is innovative and serves its purpose well bringing up the importance of community, communication, interacting in an online forum, and even discussion of the ways the gender are looked at and can be socially constructed (since the entire idea was based off of five different types of thermophile genders). I have learned so much and kind of wish that it wasn’t over! I will place some screenshots below of some of my comments and interactions!

screen-shot-2016-11-06-at-4-46-18-pm

screen-shot-2016-11-06-at-4-46-15-pm

screen-shot-2016-11-06-at-4-45-33-pmscreen-shot-2016-11-02-at-12-38-13-am

This is How You Will Die.

in-loving-memory

Jason Nelson’s piece “This Is How You Will Die” is interestingly unique. At first, I didn’t know how to internalize the concept of the piece; the piece isn’t the most interactive as there is only one button to roll over (which reveals a poem), the box to view how many credits are available to spin, and the death spin button that activates the slot machine to then generate a random scenario for the reader’s death. Throughout the entire piece, spine-chilling music plays and there are door icons with numbers that loop audio clips of random topics on death. Some of the audio clips are of just a woman talking or just a man. Other times there is a man and a woman having a conversation about death. Unfortunately, the text on the pictures for the audio clips switches too fast and I couldn’t get a good sense of what each of them were saying. The piece definitely brings forth a air of fortune or chance with the different ways that people can die, and the function of a slot machine does make the piece seem more game-like or like death is just game or something.

The voices in this work are very haunting. What adds to this is the fact that the audio clips don’t just play once and then stop, but in fact stay on a loop until something else is clicked on. I am almost at a loss for words with this piece. I am not sure what else I could say other than the fact that it was haunting and it was displayed in a very lighthearted way. I am not sure that I actually enjoyed it as some might have. I am not sure if I understand the point of the piece. I am definitely interested in Kelli’s interpretation and presentation of this piece and I can’t wait to engage in discussion about this to hear other perspectives.

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-12-26-32-pm


~ Pieces of Herself ~

pieces-poem

I found the concept for this particular feminist piece of E Literature by Juliet Davis to be very interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed navigating the piece as the reader is prompted to search for the hidden colorful objects in various areas and place them on a silhouette of a woman’s body to the lefthand side of the screen. What is very interesting is the fact that none of the pieces are able to be removed once they are placed in whatever respective areas the reader chooses to put them down. By the end of the piece, then, the reader ultimately “makes” the woman into whatever he/she chooses instead of the woman being able to piece herself back together and “find herself” as she says she has set out to do before the piece begins. A women’s identity in society is very much socially constructed to the point where what can come of the woman is nothing more but a sense of brokenness and deterioration.

Everything that a woman can experience, whether it be heartbreak or a struggle with personal insecurities and body image is practically inscribed on her and carved into her from birth. The apple on the tree outside alludes to a man ruling over a woman, which is a concept that was very much socially acceptable for centuries really climaxing in the 50s as the man was seen as the dominant figure and the head of a household. A woman’s life was lead in such a way to prepare her for taking care of her children, her home, and catering to her husband; Unfortunately, there wasn’t much else to aspire to as women did not have a very dominant role in too many other things. The emotion of this piece was increasingly heightened as some of the hidden objects played music. When the clip of “Que Sera Sera” started, it was extremely despairing as it confirms the very miserable existence the woman in the piece (representing many) had. Whatever will be… will be and there wasn’t much a motive to do anything else. She lives for putting others before herself.

I was intrigued in certain scenes by the different actions that would take place as the mouse rolled over the different sections of the screen. There was an area in the kitchen where the reader could roll over and it would tuck in the chair at the dinner table, which I thought to be an allusion to the way women were trained to act and carry themselves regarding table manners or mannerisms in general. Sayings like “Don’t forget to wash your hands” ring throughout the piece more than once like a broken record. The piece itself is described as a polemic on the information page when the world is first entered. This idea made me wonder if the author was going for a very clear understanding that this piece could be a sarcastic take on societies very outward exhibition of a women’s contempt, or if it is just an attack on the views put onto women by society. All in all, it is evident that the woman and women in general are in pieces and never quite put back together in a sound way from all that is endured, leaving the end result to be complex and in some ways very disturbing.

 

Tool Testing: I ended up going through the list on the course’s website to get a feel for what each tool is for and what it can do. Thing link is very interesting and can come in handy if I would like to put text over a map maybe, but as far as testing something out I stuck with Powerpoint this week. I know that there is so much that I can do with it, but I still have a lot of playing around to do with the program to get to a point where I may be comfortable using it to create my entire project. Some of the different effects with fading and moving text may be hard to do in Powerpoint with the way that I am seeing it in my head. I know that there’s an ability to fade things in and out and video shouldn’t be a problem unless I create one and it decides not to play on other devices when people try to access my piece. The strongest impressions made on me so far from the pieces we have seen (regarding the components that make it up and how the piece is navigated through) is Like Stars in a Night Sky and High Muck a Muck. I do not wish to achieve exactly what is done in these pieces in just this one project for the semester, but I want to find a way to emulate them with my spin on it (if that makes sense). I’m thinking some of the most prominent aspects of my piece will be visuals, video, and narration. Powerpoint should have the ability to do all of those I guess, but as aforementioned, I will have to play around with it more because I am honestly unsure at the moment if it is what I would like to work with. I do recognize that it is a powerful tool, though, and I am in no way casting it off. I just want to explore more options.


High Muck a Muck: Playing Chinese

 

high-muck-a-muck-hs

As soon as I entered the world of high muck a muck, I was captivated by the sounds and the map of the author’s journeys being placed on the back of a body. When I went into the marker on the map named Everywhere and Nowhere, the music in the video brought me back to my time in my Cross Cultural Communication Class with Dr. Yedes. My second cultural event assignment was completed at the Rubin Museum in New York, where I was able to to explore the different cultures that make up South Asia. The music throughout High Muck a Muck took me back into the Tibetan alter/shrine where chant-like music played constantly in the background. Moving along, this piece was very interesting to me and I almost wish that I would’ve found this one to be able to present it :D. I feel that this work is so similar to how I would like my personal project to be. I love that the aspect of poetry (sometimes seemingly obscure but better understood if one clicks the book to read the full thing) is incorporated throughout as the reader travels through all of the places the authors trekked while immigrating to the West coast of Canada.

When I began trying to respond on this blog about this piece of e-lit, I started out by googling the word High Muck a Muck, and it is indeed an actual word (a noun). High Muck a Muck is basically a very authoritative and conceited person, and that was very interesting to me because I still do not know if I understand why it is titled that. I did stumble, however, across Simon Lysander’s website. Lysander contributed to the programming and design of the interactive piece. I liked how he specified the fact that he used “aleatoric processes” throughout the piece to make it feel similar to a fate/fortune, essentially because aleatory is defined as random or dependent upon chance. This concept really brings the piece full circle because that is exactly how it feels.
canada

I became even more fascinated as I read more and more about pak ah pu (Chinese lottery game) because this entire piece, I suppose, is supposed to be like a pak ah pu game. Often spelled pakapoo as well, this game is played by the organizer marking a ticket that has rows of characters on it from the Thousand Character Classic (a poem where no two words are repeated and is used to teach Chinese characters). The player that marks their ticket closet to the way the organizer does wins. I thought that I was the problem at first as I reiterated in my head that the piece was kind of all over the place and messy. I ended up finding out that “it looks like a pakapoo ticket” is an Australian slang way of saying that the writing that is displayed is essentially messy!

I also read that, for the authors, creating this piece was as much of an immigration journey as the actual stories they tell and that is completely understandable. The design of this piece is so carefully and intricately put together. The more that I got into it, the more excited I became to find different things that I did’t see before. I really appreciate this piece for what it is. Stories like the ones these authors shared are stories that need to be told and identified with. There was so much reflection in this and even more release. I have to say that this piece might have been even more powerful to me if I was hearing all of the poetry instead of just in one of the videos in the Canada section (?). Don’t quote me on the section, but I definitely remember it.  All in all, I can’t wait for Hailey’s presentation.

muck-a-muck
Link to High Muck a Muck

Spinning Tales

tailspin

As soon as the world of Tailspin by Christine Wilks is open, there is movement and sound. Intricate designs grow and move in the background as the shape of an ear appears. If one did not read the description of the piece before entering, the ear would seem confusing, but after reading, it becomes clear that sound is crucial to this piece because of the grandfather’s tinnitus. I tried to do some research behind spiral shapes and their meanings, but did not stumble across anything that made it clear why the author chose to have swirling spirals as the point on a screen to click on. The reason could have very well been because Wilks just needed a shape or a spot for the reader to click. As you roll over the spirals, words fade into view to reveal part of a story. What happens next will be different for every reader because one may not roll over the spirals in the same order as another. I like the fact that everything does connect. The spirals could have been blurbs of unrelated pieces of text, but it connected to a larger story.

black-spirals

The story mostly centered around the lives of the mother, her two boys, the dad, and the grandfather. There are moments in the story that trails back to when the grandfather was in the war. Animations and caricatures sometimes moved across the screen as the story unfolded. At times, rolling over a spiral would result in the background transforming into a sky and plane would fly around. Once all of the black spirals on a single page is rolled over, a blue spiral will appear usually toward the center of the page to click on and move the reader to the next set of pieces to the story. I felt there was some sort of clear ending even though it may seem impossible in any type of electronic literature setting. There was a point where I was able to get to a red spiral in the center, and that brought me to the credits.

blue-spiral

Some of the spirals will have noses associated with them, in addition to the ongoing clinking of the grandchildren’s toys and the buzzing of tinnitus in the grandfather’s ear. Moments of the story even went back to when the grandfather might have been flying a plane and bullet sounds will blare out of the speakers. I can understand the feel the author might have been going for with such intense sound throughout the piece. The feel of the world reminds me of simulators that let individuals experience the kind of illness or disability another person has. I feel that the world is a great way to step into another person’s shoes and get to experience what is happening from the grandfather’s point of view. I can only imagine how annoying the constant ringing and buzzing is to him. All of the different moving parts on the screen emphasize how distracting it is to have so much going on at once.

The ability for a person to hear and the implications that the text makes allude to the fact that hearing is vital to human life. While some with hearing defects learn about the world in a different way to be able to adjust/adapt, if one is able to hear, they are automatically at an advantage and have a different view of the world than others. I felt a sort of weight once the author wrote “He can’t hear birdsong anymore” (Wilks “Tailspin”). I also felt there was a very distinct way in which the author went about sound so differently, and that was manifested when I’d roll over a piece of text and hear some of the words within it in a muffled shout. This aspect was creepy at first, but it is such a prevalent and striking detail. Overall, I didn’t know how much I would like this piece when I first started navigating it, but I feel like I found more joy in picking it apart than actually being immersed in the world and getting to go through it and navigate it.


The Aftermath of Confusion

Endless stairs of future

Just from reading the description before I began and entered Sharif Ezzat’s world, I was interested in how the idea was going to be executed. I really liked the idea of traditions between parent and child, and it sounded as though I wasn’t going to really know where I would end up or what I would be reading at any given moment. I really love how the sky became even more filled with stars as the narrator spoke in Arabic, asking questions about what the reader wanted to read. The music created an ambiance that is very calming and set the tone for the entire experience. The world is very dream like. Maybe it is just me, but the poems did not read like poems, but rather personal journals or just individual stories at times. There is no real vivid imagery in the poems. For example, I would like to know how the landscape that his uncle’s wife hated looked. The language is intriguing, but sometimes empty and I am not sure what to make of it.

The concept for Soliloquy by Kenneth Goldsmith is very unique and different. I don’t think I have seen anything like it before. I remember coming across this one as I was looking through the volumes. I remember my eyes widening as I realized how many words were possibly going to appear on the page, and then I became anxious as if I had to find them all and go through them all. I am not sure why those feelings came over me, but they did. It is interesting to see the choppiness of the entire piece and to read different blurbs of speech at different parts of the day. I never knew what my mouse was going to roll over and how much would appear. On one hand, I wanted to keep rolling my mouse around the page just out of curiosity, and on the other hand I felt as though the set up of the piece was a burden. I do, however, love the fact that once the mouse moves from one place the text fades away. On the web, we can get get back to it and just roll our mouse over it again, but during the day we can’t really say something exactly how we said it before unless we are paying close attention to ourselves in that way.

Red Riding Hood was the most interesting of the three, but also the most uncomfortable to me. I was excited for it because I am very familiar with the story, and also did a project on it in Writing for Cyberspace where my group collaborated to create a modern version honed in on today’s technology and how it can be dangerous. In this piece, though, I did not understand the twists and turn that the author was taking. I jumped into all three of these worlds without any previous knowledge of anything associated with it and I felt like this had something to do with how I reacted. I felt that Red Riding Hood had this really storyline-like interactive format, but didn’t really allow you to do much. There was one point where I wanted to click to make her dream, but I couldn’t and I had to choose to wake her up. The option, that turned out not to be an option, made me mad because I kept thinking about all of the things that I wouldn’t know about now. I couldn’t understand what happened at the end of the piece either. To me, it looked as though Red was just laying on the bed and then someone (I’m guessing the wolf) comes to stand beside her and that is it. It had a dark and menacing quality to it and the music really helped to drive the story forward, but I still felt confused throughout the entire piece. I feel like once I know more about it and look up more on the piece I will begin to be able to understand it better and appreciate the decisions the author made.

Overall, I liked surfing through the three pieces. I even went back and forth through them simultaneously, after I surfed them individually, to get a feel of coming in and out of the different worlds. I must say It would be a very hard decision if I had to choose one that I liked the best because I honestly have my reservations about all of them and maybe it was because of the time of day that I looked at them; I may not have been at my most receptive. I definitely want to go back to each world and experience again in a different space and at a different time and see if it makes  a difference to how I respond to it.