Separation, by Annie Abrahams is what’s known as E-Poetry. This piece of electronic literature allows the reader to disconnect him or herself with technology. That is where I believe the title “Separation,” comes into play. Abrahams forces the reader to navigate through this piece line-by-line and I mistakenly fell short of her requirements. I am the type of person who likes to move quickly through things and get them over with. This was my downfall in reading through this piece by clicking way too fast and my punishment was, who I believed to be the author, sending a pop-up box ordering me to slow down and not click so aggressively. I believe there to be a comical side to this because obviously the author cannot tell how hard I am clicking the mouse on my computer. What the author does is states the initial reason for the pop-up box and then gives a couple extra “unrealistic” reasons this could have happened. Although, this did aggravate me a little because I had to start from the beginning, it also taught me a lesson. It showed me I do have to slow down in life and allow things to happen as they should, not try and fast forward everything in order to really understand certain concepts.
While navigating, slowly now, through the piece, I found myself confused as another pop-up box appeared. I thought to myself, “was I clicking too fast again?” After reading what the box has said, I realized that I was not and that now the author wanted me to apply what she was saying about pain and make it more of a physical activity by opening my mouth as wide as I could while I raise my eyebrows as high as I could. The expression on my face was funny, I know this because as I was holding it, my brother walked into the room and laughed at me. At the same time, I realized it was starting to hurt, holding it for so long. I assumed it was a simple expression to not only read the word pain, but feel it as well.
Soon after clicking through the poem, still slowly, another pop-up box appeared and this time it wanted me to shrug my shoulders. This involved some body movement so I positioned myself up right in order to do it properly. Although annoyed at not being able to relax as much as I wanted while navigating this piece, I found the end of the shoulder shrug to be realizing to my body. Clicking further into the poem, I noticed the next pop-up box appeared after the word pain again, but this time it requested for me to rest. I started to feel more and more relaxed and clicking through this piece slowly became less and less of a hassle.
Following through with the rest of this brilliantly made piece of electronic literature, I realized that the next few pop-up boxes that appeared, allowed me to stretch in very useful ways that allowed my body and mind a break from each section of the poem. The boxes seemed to appear exactly at the right moment of the poem between the times it popped up and after each and every word it appeared after. The previous word would always relate to my next move that was about to be made. I was surprised that at the end there was no pop-up box, only questions that made me think about our separation to not just the computer, but technology in general. This piece allowed me to slow down, inhale and exhale slowly, and just distance myself from technology. Ironically, I was able to do with while using technology and that was what the brilliance behind this piece was.
I am so glad I chose to do Separation before reading David Jhave Johnston’s Sooth. Now that I was calm and able to explore more intimately, I was able to really get the feel of this next piece if electronic literature. This too, is a type of E- Poetry so it was able to fit well with the other piece, but in a completely different way. Johnston created this piece with not only words, but also noises and sounds in order for the reader to get a better feel. Abrahams was able to do that with movement while Johnston allowed the reader to only listen in order to convey the message.
Instead of going through each and every one of the 6 poems the author delivers, I will only go through my favorite one and the one I related to the most. That poem is titled “Snow.” It begins with a moving image on a sheet of snow, self-explanatory. After clicking the image once, words in the poem, the first line, pops up abruptly and in a rotating form. This allows the sound of what seems like to me as melted snow dripping water from higher ground. Maybe my brain is clouded by the image of snow, but that is what came to mind. Then there is this music that starts to play as I click more and more for more lines of the poem to appear, also in a disoriented form. The music changes from upbeat to a more eerie sound and in the back of the music sounds like a fire crackling or something of that nature. I related that back to the beginning melting of the snow sound that I first came in to contact with.
Each time I click more and more into the poem and more lines appear while the others float around aimlessly, the sound waves differ. There are some that have an echo and others that sound almost “alien-like.” As if E.T. from the movie was trying to “phone home” right on the screen. While clicking through the sounds stop for a second and after one more click there is the sound of wind, which almost makes me feel cold in a way. After that it sounds as if footsteps are being walked through in the snow in a harsh way. Then the crackling of the snow appears through sound and disappears quickly, back to what seems like sounds waves of communication from a transmitter. After clicking and navigating more and more I see a pattern appear, this pattern is that of the words recycling and the noises and sounds as well. This indicates that the poem will never end unless the reader in fact, puts a stop to it. This is different than the other poem because that had a definite ending to it.
I think the reason I chose to discuss this specific poem is because the image related directly to the title, whereas the others had almost nothing to do with their titles. Both electronic literature pieces were created differently, but I enjoyed them equally. The transition was easy as I was able to relax between the 6 poems given in Sooth because of the set up from Separation.
And isn't that the truth! "Sooth" is a collection of six love poems, but does not read like a typical love poem might. That is because the accompanying audio and visual elements are at times off-putting, even jarring.
The Electronic Literature Collection catalogs the piece as "one of a growing number of works that seek to integrate algorithmically animated, interactive text with rich video imagery". The visual element in this piece consists of six different, very close-up videos of scenes ranging from snow, to a fish, to a sleeping--half asleep?--woman. The six different poems and their accompanying videos are titled "Sooth", "Weeds", "Body", Root", "Soul", and "Snow".
In each section, accessible by clicking a tab on the left side of the screen, a video plays and text appears on the screen when the user clicks the mouse. Audio is also incorporated throughout. While the text moves continuously, it seems that in some sections the text's initial placement is effected by the placement of the cursor. Other times, it seems like the placement is random or pre-determined. Sometimes, the text overlaps the previously placed text, and the words become unreadable. In these cases, I felt like I was trying to chase moving lines across the screen in order to read them. This had an effect on my ability to understand the meaning behind the words.
While navigating the piece, I also noticed that the sound changes in volume throughout the videos. In "Soul" I was confronted with a high-pitched noise at a very high volume. It was so jarring that I had to remove my earbuds.
Although this piece was a collection of six love poems, my overall impression was that it was a little eerie... I think that my perception of the piece was influenced by the nature of the videos (all very close up and random), the occasional unbearable, high-pitched noises, and the constantly moving text. The energy of the piece was at times overwhelming and bordering on frantic. Not at all "soothing" ;)
After noticing sound I focus on interaction with the viewer/reader. I as the reader got to interact with this quite often. I loved the pop ups and the movement and how my participation was required to help keep the piece moving.
When beginning this piece I saw the title and had no idea what it meant. I looked it up real quick to find that lobo meant timber wolf and hamlet meant a small village. I assumed hobo meant what everyone knows it stands for which is a homeless person and I was correct. The hobo lobo is the main character in the piece. He is seen as a possible hero when there is news about rats being all around the village. Hobo lobo is expected to take care of the situation by the mayor.
Speaking of the mayor, my favorite part was when his face popped up on the screen so unexpectedly. I love when I cant predict something coming in a piece and that for sure I did not see coming.
There were many pop ups that moved all around the screen jumping around and sliding and bouncing. This could be distracting to some but I did enjoy the craziness of it all. The illustrations were great and really played a big part in making the characters come to life.
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.
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´!
I also shared the document with everyone through e-mail. The version I shared via e-mail contains the proper formatting, whereas the GoogleDocs version looks kind of weird. The content is basically the same, though.
I'm looking forward to sharing this piece with all of you tonight!
First and foremost, I would like to point out how much this story reminded me of my childhood, except, it was an animated version. When first opening up the hobo lobo hyperlink I imagined something very immature and dry, but it was the total opposite. Looking at the story at first reminded me of the story of the big bad wolf. A story of something that is playful and has a hidden message behind it leaving it up to you to find out what that is by the end of the story. There were many parts where I was excited to continue reading because this playful banter including some bad words, was clever enough to actually have an underlying message behind it. The story talks about a peasant wolf hired to get rid of disturbing rats in the town of Hamelin.
Rats being actual characters in the story, the mayor wants help in getting rid of them and getting them out of town. This wolf decides to help for money and bragging rights in return. What is expected of the mayor after getting rid of the rats was not met. As the wolf waited for his reward for getting rid of the rats, the mayor decides to say that there was no written contract in his payment agreement. The wolf then took the mayor to court but it ended up going to the best interest of the mayor. So by the end of the story, the wolf, ended up more broke than ever. What I got out of the story, and what I feel the underlying message was is how, in the end, you can’t expect money, earned by doing a distasteful wealthy- job, to lead you anywhere wholesome yet doing what you like will. The mayor the whole time did not have good intentions for this wolf helping him out.
These are great life lessons to be aware of in this dog eat dog world we live in. At first I thought I was going to read about the story of the three little pigs. I was clearly wrong. Once I started seeing the curse words, I knew that this was clearly going to be a strong and adult like story. The way the stories images dragged from left to right and moved with the words was so cool to see. I feel like the animation as well as the sounds and dark moments in the story had impact on how the author wanted the tone to feel like in that specific part. It was so amazing how you felt the anger and every other emotion while reading certain parts. I would definitely recommend this story to other readers that are interested in e- lit. The many ways this story was a success can mean the same for many others.
Before I actually began reading the piece I explored all the extra stuff on the page like clicking the “?” and the extra notes in the corners of the piece. I thought the site for the author was really creative and cool as well. When I began reading this piece I felt inclined to read the story out loud for some reason.
I believe that author narration would have been really helpful in this piece. On the other hand I still loved the silence. As they say silence speaks louder than words. The transitions were very surprising and eye catching as well.
I also felt like this piece was hilarious. There were times when I was shaking my head like "yes, this piece is so awesome!" At one point when the mayor went to see a psychic I was wondering where did the psychic come from.
At one point I thought that the author may have a vendetta against religious people when the mayor turned the removal of the rats into something solely based on the Divine. I think there is nothing wrong with thanking the Divine for a blessing but you should also thank the person God used to do so and you must keep your promises. It seems like the author was trying to explore criticizing hypocritical religious people. In my opinion I just hated that innuendo that I picked up on but that all religious people are just self-righteous.
This piece gets better as you proceed in the piece. I really wonder how the creator produced this.Where the author did add in music and sound effects were very complimentary in their placement. It had alot of symbolism in it too. I thought that this piece was kid friendly until I saw cursing and how the rats were actually "coked up." I was shocked and disappointed but I’m in love with this piece and can’t wait for the rest of it to be finished. When someone explores this piece for the first time, I would tell them to Expect The Unexpected.
STEVAN ŽIVADINOVIĆ’s Elit piece, Hobo Lobo of Hamelin, was an amazing piece of literature. This “flat 3D” fable resembling that of a comic book easily captured my attention and maintained it throughout the use of words used. I liked the modern twist on it and it was a fun and easy way to explore the story. It seemed to me that throughout the story, each page, in which there were 7 different sections, would become more and more advanced in the graphic designs. The words began to appear less and less as the images and sounds appeared vigurously throughout the piece.
The first page starts with a problem of “coked up rats” running around their town and the mayor does not know how to handle this situation properly. He goes to see a psychic who recommends a professional and then the story moves on to page two. In this part the images appear and disappear as you scroll through the pages inside the pages and it is not until the final page within page one, where you discover some movement in the images. The crystal ball appears purple, unlike the rest of the colors on the images and it has some kind of movement to capture the readers attention and lead them into the world of what is about to happen. It is a good transition from the images not moving into what we discover later on in this piece.
On the second page we meet Hobo Lobo, and his role is significant as he promises to help anyone with any problem they may have. The mayor describes the problem of the rats and explains that Hobo Lobo will be paid for his work of disposing of the rats as long as he gets the job done. The images on this page become more intense as they being to pop up, 3D but not 3D because it is flat. Images begin to move a little and the colors green and yellow take over the illusion of this page.
The third page changes the sequence completely. There is music that begins and only one of the pages throughout this has words, the rest are images popping up and moving around. The music drastically changes from something cheerful to something gloomy, this indicating that something bad may occur soon. The colors go from blue to red as the music changes its tone.
On page four I found myself having trouble on what to focus on. I was going back and fourth between the images and the words written under those images. There was no sound, but each page had words to distract the reader from that. The story continues on and page five almost gave me a heart attack when the mayor’s face appears huge on the screen. Thank god there was no sound because that would have made it even worse! On page six Hobo decides to sue the mayor for not recognizing what he has done for him and the story continues one. The images are moving and things pop up randomly throughout the page.
The last page had me confused as to how this all ended. I suppose it really hasn’t ended at all because there is a “more to come” box indicating the story is not actually over. Overall I did enjoy navigating this story and it was more of a linear story in which the others are not. There was a beginning, middle and end to indicate when to stop… well at least for now!