Category Archives: student blogs

Failed attempt at netprov (aka update on my own elit)

This is to be my final official blogpost for #elitclass. If I will continue blogging, we will just have to wait and see.

For our final blog entry we have been asked to participate in a netprov called “one-star reviews” where we create a character through a reddit account, and write a review stating we really like something about something which everyone else seems to really dislike. I have tried all week to find time for creating a character and find something to write my review about without success. The past week and the two upcoming weeks will be the busiest weeks of the semester for me, and therefore my time has gone to working on my own piece instead of contributing to someone else’s.

I have read through some of the rules and instructions for One-star Reviews and checked out the netprov itself. I wish I would have had time to check it out more closely and participate myself,  but sadly no. I must say though that I find the project very interesting. Even when I go on sites online like TripAdvisor I kind of tend to to read the bad reviews before the good ones, so yeah – the topic of this netprov is interesting to me.

 

So, about my own elit piece…
Earlier this week, I run into a huge problem. My starting point of the story was gone, and instead the starting point was in the middle of my story with a loop at the end going back to the original beginning. It took me a long, long time to figure out. At one point I was ready to give up and start all over with the whole story. Honestly I was about to cry at this point because I have worked so much and so hard on this story.  

Luckily, after some time, I managed to save the story and get back to how it was supposed to be. I am not sure if it is 100% how it was before, but if not then the changes are too small to really matter. What did I learn from this? Make sure the top of the page in Inklewriter says “saved” before signing out! Even though I am not sure if this is what caused my troubles, the page said “saving…” when I signed out and then when I signed back in later on everything was messed up.

I still haven’t fixed my issue when it comes to the layout where I wanted the lines of the poems on separate lines instead of being a regular paragraph – but honestly I have gotten used to the way it looks and it has definitely grown on me. Therefore fixing this will not be a priority to me anymore – if I end up having extra time towards the end (I highly doubt it) I might reconsider but for now I will ignore it.

I continue to make progress on my story. Most paths are still unfinished, but within another week or two I think most of those will be finished as well. I think the paths will have around 10-15 choices in total (depending on the path) and just as many poems. Most choices have two alternatives, but at some points the reader might only get one choice depending on previous decisions. So far I do not think any choices have more than two options, but different paths may get the same choices with different options than the other. Does that make sense? I hope it does.

When it comes to Inklewriter, I have gotten used to working with it and like it for the most part. However, I have not yet figured out how the if-statement function works – at the same time though I haven’t tried it that much because honestly I do not see it necessary for my project. It would possibly have made working on my story a bit easier, but then again I do not know if it would save me enough time for it to be worth the time it takes to figure out.

Another thing with Inklewriter is that when you get to a new page, you can write a new paragraph or use one you have already written for another path of the story. In my case, many of the paths at one point are at the same place in the story as another path and therefore I reuse the paragraphs often more than once. The problem with this I discovered was that I do not just copy-paste the paragraphs, but if I change one of them then all places the paragraph is in use will be changed too. This made it harder for me to have smaller changes to each path’s version of the same page.

Copy-pasting the old fashioned way is not easy with Inklewriter because you can only do it one paragraph at the time. This means that if you have several paragraphs you have to go back and forth between the two pages, which takes a lot of time once your story map gets up to a certain size.

One last thing I do not like about Inklewriter is the design. There is only one design to choose from, with no ways to customize it. Also the design makes the story look like a good old book, which kinda defeats the purpose of electronic literature – at least to me. Therefore I really hope Inklewriter gives the writer more designs to choose from in the future.

All in all though, I enjoy working with Inklewriter. For the most part it is simple and user-friendly. It somehow motivates me to work on my project because I can just work on my project without the hassle of having to figure out how to do everything. I did not need to watch tutorials on how it works – I just created an account and tried it out myself, figuring things out rather fast. Earlier in the semester I tried Twine just to see if it would be a tool I could be interested in working with, and let’s just say I did not try it out for more than a few minutes before having to search for tutorials.

I decided to work with Inklewriter, despite the limited possibilities of customisation, because it is just so much more user-friendly – at least in my opinion. I am not saying Twine is bad, I am just saying that to me Inklewriter is better to work with.

 

I guess that’s it for now.
Thank you for reading my blog!

 

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Galatea

This week the piece Galatea, made by Emily Short, was presented in class. It is an interactive fiction game with many potential outcomes, depending on how you engage with its titular character. The work is somewhat reminiscent of a mixture of chatterbots and old text adventure games, though Galatea differs in that there is a multitude of possible narratives, and she actually keeps track of what things have been brought up in a playthrough, giving some added consistency and depth to the piece. It does have its limitations however, in that there are specific commands you have to input in order to receive an answer, and the narrative pacing can be thrown off if you start up more than one topic of conversation at a time. There is nevertheless an impressive list of commands available, and there is a surprising amount of depth and complexity both narratively and technically for such a seemingly simple piece. And that is perhaps what is so fascinating about it.

The game itself is a conversation between the player character and the living statue named Galatea, though how it plays out will depend on the player. In a way it portrays how conversations between two people could play out in a lot of different ways depending on what questions you ask, how you use what you learn, and on how you treat the other person. The difference here is that Galatea is not human, which gives her a different perspective on things. For one she doesn’t need to breathe, yet she learned how to do so simply by watching her creator, and she finds it a relaxing thing to do. She’s also quick to warn you if you, for example, try to grab and turn her around. Continuing that type of behavior leads to a quick end of the conversation, and it shows that despite her limited experiences she has her own boundaries.

I find the game to be reminiscent of how we approach art in real life. Sometimes you try to distance yourself from what you critique, so as to give a neutral, but fair assessment of it. Other times you might get a more personal experience from what you see. There is no correct method when it comes to the personal interpretation of art, and Galatea shows this through the many varied conversations you can have with her. One visit might be fairly pleasant, another cold and distant, and in yet another you might possibly befriend or even anger her. Without a list of commands the game can be difficult to navigate properly, and even then the flow of the conversation can be interrupted by new topics, which shows its limitations. In spite of that it has aged quite well considering that the game only relies on text to convey meaning. The wide variety of topics and outcomes gives the game a lot of replayability for you to explore the possible conversations with Galatea, which I quite liked.


VII. Galatea

Galatea was a beautiful experience. I liked the medium, the language and the certain eeriness of the piece. Not only that: it made me think about my interaction with objects, to be more precise technological artefacts. We are constantly surrounded by machines that know us so well that they can predict which word we will type next, what brand we will like and which show we would love to see. Artificial intelligence is evolving at an alarming (or admirable?) rate.

That’s why this text can teach us a lot about how we interact with those humane machines. Galatea goes back to the very beginning of our obsession with breathing live into objects. The myth around the sculptor who loved one of his statues so much he wanted her to be alive has influenced literature, music and art so much that entering this story feels kind of familiar.

One think I always like to ask myself is: where is the connection to Elit? Because it is so artfully and beautifully written, one might be led to think that this piece could exist outside of this genre, for example as a book – however, that is only true at a first glance. This piece depends on the variety of choices, turns and endings this story includes. Also, the electronic surface adds a complexity and depth to the story that a simple “choose-your-own-adventure-story” could not provide. Again, the medium connects to the content: By interacting with Galatea, we are  talking to a machine and the machine is responding according to what we decide to say. This has an influence on her character and on the way she thinks and acts. So far, so good, but Galatea also goes one step further: through talking to her, we are also discovering truths about the literary “you”, about who we are in the story. It is an exchange, a learning process that goes both ways. This piece asks the interesting question about the relationship between us and our devices. It is the same question that the movies “her” asks and the same question we should ask ourselves when we notice that our phones know more about us than we would have expected.


own e-lit update

In this week blog post I will talk about how my own e-lit project are going because i sadly missed this week class

The project are going forward and I have started to work on it. I will use notepad ++, html, css as tools for the project since I think it will work fine with what I have in plan.

As mention before I will try to make a textbased interactive collection about depression and mixed with song lyrics that will tell an personal story. The goal is have at least four different songs and stories, but I hope to get the time to have six stories, but time will tell.

So far I have on one the song lyrics finished and make the whole part ready before tomorrow class. The song lyrics are from the song “Red like roses II” by Jeff Williams and Is abouth a Daughter that deals with the lost of her motherroses

The way the reader will explore this part of the project is to hoover over the text to make the lyric clear. The reason why, It gives the reader time to read the piece of the lyrics alone and not with all the text. And also I think it looks cool. The last part of the lyrics will be cliable and will lead the reader to the personal story.

 

For the others part I have plans, but it will not be the same as  the Red like roses part, but I will try to make them uniqe based on the the theme of the song like red like roses lyrics are red on a black background focusing on the lyrics and not all is clear. I will try make the lyrics and story to make an impact on the reader, if I will manage that Im not sure, but i will try my best.

The next personal story I will make is actuall a my own personal there I had alot of troubel with my own mind and I found help in music (this is also one of the reason I will make this e-lit).  The song I will use is “Beyond the realm of death” by Judas priest. Since the theme for “red like roses” was red and black I will usee different colors and I will make it feel different, but at the same time have a similare feel. I will continue to work with html and css and hopefully it will work.

For the four other partsI know what I will write about and what lyrics I will use, but I will not spoil everything and you will just need to wait for the rest.

 

If some of you are intrested in HTML here are the project base HTML

 

 

And oh the template name for the project is “Beyond Roses and mirrors”

See you soon

 

 


#7 Meeting Galatea

In this week’s presentation, we were introduced to an Elit piece called Galatea. I had never heard of it before but the name immediately made me think of Greek mythology.
And I was not disappointed. Even though Galatea might have been the most minimalistic Elit piece so far really liked it.

What is is about?
In this piece of Electronic Literature, the player finds himself in the role of an art critic on some sort of vernissage, who discovers a statue, Galatea. In contrast to all the other objects, Galatea is alive/animated. To interact with the statue, the player has to type in commands. These can be simple questions, but also more complex. There are different commands available, from asking questions to just simply looking around – but the most interesting in my opinion is the „think“ command. In this case, the art critic does not interact with the statue, but more with himself, presenting is thoughts on eg. Galatea or his surroundings, so the player gets to know more about the character he is playing.
There are different topics one can talk to Galatea about, for example about her creation, her creator and about different mythologies. There is a whole list of topics one can discover in the Elit piece. 
The player even has the chance to walk away from the statue, but this ends the Elit immediately. But, at least in our walkthroughs on Wednesday, the Elit sometimes ended rather abruptly with a longer answer from Galatea.

About Interactivity
As mentioned before, Galatea might be the most minimalistic piece of Elit I have encountered so far. The layout is simple and looks almost like some sort of notepad or Word document. There are no sounds, no pictures – the reader/player can solely focus on his interaction with Galatea.

I don’t think there is a real topic in this Elit. There are different ones that the player can discover through the questions he asks – but in contrast to e.g. last week’s Queer Skins, I don’t get  a real message form the piece. I believe its main focus is on the interaction, rather than on the topic – which I think is nice.
In class we briefly talked about a possible feminist read of the piece – a woman being put on the pedestal, supposed to look perfect.  In connection to this there is the reference to the mythology – and Galatea being the recreation of a perfect woman without being perfect.
We also talked about Galatea referring to the subject-object part in human conversation. Galatea being a literal object, but also the subject of the conversation – or the object when you look at it from the reader’s perspective.

Conclusion
Even though it might not be my favorite piece of Elit I have encountered so far, I liked it. I think that it is nice that its layout is simple – but I can imagine the work behind this piece must have been incredible to make it possible for the reader/player to interact in so many different ways simply through text.

 


On, well … “me”

I’ve fallen into a rabbit hole of Instagram-related self analysis. I don’t know who I am anymore.

As I’ve written before, my project is a sort of net-prov that examines our relationship to Instagram and how the platform molds our sense of self in this day and age. Would we like beets as much if their pink hue showed up less nicely on a screen?

Basically, I hired an “Instagram curator” (you don’t know about them for personal use because no one wants you to know there’s someone else behind their feed), to expertly curate my profile during my time abroad. I hired the curator because, as this is quite possibly a one time thing, I need my Instagram to show off a lifestyle that can only be achieved abroad — specifically in Norway. Someday my grid will be the perfect souvenir, inspiring jealousy now and for years to come when someone falls into the slippery world of scrolling.

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Accidental post of the behind the scenes instead of the for-publication caption. Is something going on?
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Feed as of November 12, 2017
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Work on first post of travels. From Tumblr site (still figuring out format).
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Behind every selfie post

And while it’s entertaining to write blueprints and joke about all that goes into the creation of a post  … so much of this stuff actually goes through my head. When the platform first arrived I would post nonchalantly, now everything involves some deep thinking. I need to figure out a way to separate myself from the creation of the project, because getting too wrapped up in might make me crazy.

While Instagram is my main tool, I’ve also created a Tumblr page that looks like an Instagram feed in order to provide more information and links in a cohesive space that Instagram is unable to give me. The hardest part so far has been establishing an interesting curator persona, and looking at other feeds to find examples of stuff she may have worked on. The interesting (and kinda cool) thing about it is that no one’s feed matches mine; we’re doing our job right.

 


#7 I am what your treatment makes of me

In my busy student life I had given up on Galatea. I just didn’t have the mindset to downloading and figure out a program on my computer. But after this weeks class I was so intrigued, that I just had to check out the piece by myself.

The narrator of the piece is “you” who is an art critic visiting the museum where the statue of Galatea is. If you don’t know the myth (I didn’t), Galatea was a statue made by the artist Pygmalion. He fell in love with her, and prayed that she would come alive, this the goddess Aphrodite heard and she answered his prayers (Wiki).

The elit piece takes a lot from the mythology. The description of Galatea fits very well with ancient greek statues, and she talks about the ancient greek gods.

In my version of this piece the critic wasn’t very happy about the “bad programming” of the statue or art piece. This caught me completely off guard as I had the idea that this was completely built around the old mythology. By adding programming it got a very sci-fi-y feel to it, as if people in the (near) future would wake up statues this way (the first robot just became a citizen of Saudi Arabia, so it’s really only a matter of time).

The language of the piece seems very worked through. It is very beautiful yet simple (in a way where there isn’t an unnecessary use of fancy words). Galatea’s language seems so thoughtfull, while the critic is sometime unnecesarily harsh, as I believe a lot of critics are. Even when I got frustrated with the piece it self I was still enjoying the language.

Moving through the piece I got a bit frustrated. The commands I tried writing didn’t work and I when I did get something right she wasn’t giving me very long answers.

At some point I was running out of logic ideas and I decided to ask Galatea about Galatea. This turned out to be interesting. The critic demanded to know what she was made of, and again brought up if it was some new material, sci-fi vibe is back. But this unraveled a whole new sequence of things. Galatea did not tell exactly what she was made of, but that the critic seemed mentally strong enough to deal with her. I liked that it almost made it seem like the critic wasn’t completely mentally well. After this comment Galatea turned first to wood, then to sand before she: “fled[s] entirely, and she is only a shadow, passing you in a cool whisper. “I am what you think I am; I am what your treatment makes of me.””

In a way a person is made up of what people think of them. Not necessarily in a bad way, but it is so easy for the balance to flip, and that being the only thing that matters to a person. But it is not only the thought that counts here, the way we treat each other also controls the people around us understanding of themself. If a person is always treated badly, for example if they are told they are not good enough, that will eventually be that persons truth.

I think this ending was very poetic and it really is a comment on how we should be better at treating other people nice, because the way we think of people might eventually rub of on our actions and then it will affect them.


My elit project

At first I thought I wanted to make a Elit piece of my family, I just didn’t know what I was going to focus on. After I have thought about this for a while, I decided that I want to make a piece about my grandma. My grandma is 88 years old and she lives in Bergen. It just takes me 15 minutes to walk to her apartment. I therefore try to visit her as often as I can. When I´m visiting, she always have a lot of stories to tell. Stories from her childhood, stories of where she used to work, where she used to live, stories from my childhood and a lot more. She lived during the war, and that is also very exiting to hear about! She also likes to show old pictures and letters, which I think will be too cool to use in the piece. I also think that the pictures and letters is going to be some of the most interesting parts of my piece.  I gathered some photos from Google, just to show some of the kind of photos I was thinking of using:

Creepy-old-picture-1 f79455950e848423f6e1e0209099a8e3--old-letters-vintage-letters.jpg imagesphylis and adele 1940s orig.jpg

She has a lot of letters and photos, so that would be fun to look thru and use.

My grandma also writes in her journal every day, and she never forgets to write. I can therefore also use some journal entries in my piece!

So my idea so far is to write about her life and some of her life with me. I want to share her story! And it would be interesting to write about how she experienced the war etc…

I dont have everything planned yet, but I am thinking of using wordpress to make blogposts and links (like this for example; My grandma was born in 1929  …….). And then link them to each other. I dont know any other way I can do it…

I think this is going to be interesting for others to read about, and see real letters and pictures from her past. She has lived a very fascinating life, and I am very exited to make a piece about it! I hope you think this is a good idea too!


Galatea + update on my own elit

Galatea


Galatea by Emily Short is a piece of elit consisting of text only. The piece looks like a word document of some sort, where you type in commands for the main character to decide what he should do. There are many possible commands, and there is possible to see a list of them all if you are in doubt of what to do.

The story consists of our main character, a man who is reviewing an exhibition of statues. It appears one of the statues breathe, move and is able to speak. 

In Galatea the conversation between the man and the statue is explored. Trough the commands, the reader decides what the man should think about or say to the statue. There are many conversation topics to choose from, but many of them seem to be about the statue and how it came alive, the man who carved it, or mythology. In a way, the topics seem connected to each other. Every conversation topic is also possible to just think about. The third thing we can do is to ask her to turn towards the man or for the man to touch the statue (for example her hair or shoulder). There is also the option of walking away from her, particularly in the beginning before they get to talk much to each other, but this ends the story. If one starts over, the statue will remember you walked away the last time (and thank you for not doing it again if you choose to stay and talk to it).

Every command seems to have a preset response or outcome. Nothing seems to be at random here. This means that though there are a long list of available commands, the outcome is limited. The whole elit is also centered around the man’s conversation with the statue, so when the conversation ends the elit also ends.

I really like the concept of Galatea, and it does feel like a text-based game in some ways – which I liked. However, everything feels very limited because of how the whole story consists of one conversation, you have a pre-made list of possible actions which all only seem to have one response.

The way the elit is made out I think only makes it more clear how limited the story and its outcomes are. And although I really, really like the way it looks and how the reader interacts with it almost like it is a text-based game… I am unsure of how much I actually liked the elit itself. All in all though, it is worth checking out.

 

 

Update on the development of my own elit


The second half of my blogpost will be an update on how I am progressing with my own elit. The last week I have been working on expanding the story and putting it into inklewriter, as well as mapping out the last part of the story – which I will soon start putting into inklewriter.

When I first started making my own elit I was going for the same story, but with poems only – where random words where clickable instead of giving the reader choices. This would have been much easier for me to create, but would not make as much sense for the reader. This would also have made the piece feel less interactive. Therefore the reader now gets to make choices throughout the story. For every choice made the reader first gets a consequence or event that happens, then a poem that kind of explains the event more in depth before a new choice. If this is the best way of doing it I am not sure, but I have grown to like it.

As this elit describes someone’s life, and lets the reader make choices for the person’s life, I had to start coming up with the actual choices (and what they would lead to). Before even beginning to map out the story I had over 20 little poems written with this elit in mind. Doing it in this order was a bit difficult because I had the poems and partly the order they would go in partly figured out – but not the choices. Some people would say the choices should have been made first because they are the leading element of the story – and I partly agree. But in my elit the poems are almost more important than the choices – and therefore it is fine by me that they were created first.

I still have a few issues with the design of inklewriter and how it works. Though, to be honest, I have not been googling or watching tutorials that could be helpful yet. This is because I at first thought it would be best to finish the story, mapping and choices first and then go back to “polish” everything. Now, on the other hand, as the story has so many branches and paths I kind of wish I would have looked into these issues a bit earlier. The main problem is that I cannot get the four lines of the poem to be on a line of their own without being a paragraph of their own, and as most of the text consists of poems… Let’s just say I need to find a solution as soon as possible.

Aside from the smaller issues, I think I am on schedule and will done with my elit in time. Right now I just need to finish mapping out and make sure I have the poems I need to finish all the paths – and find choices that make sense along with their consequences. I would say that at least half of the story is already in inklewriter though, but we will just have to wait and see where it feels right to end the different paths. A few paths are already done, but most still need more work.

All in all, I am on schedule with my elit piece and enjoy working on it – I feel motivated and inspired. Due to all the paths, working on it now takes more time since I have to go back and see which choices were made for the reader to end up at a certain place for each addition, but I think I can manage.

 

Stay tuned for my next blogpost!

 


Galatea

I can’t remember who it was, but someone (possibly multiple people) in class mentioned that the piece of Galatea was creepy, and I wholeheartedly agree. During the presentation of it I kept being reminded of a similar feeling I got while watching a movie in the past, of course I can’t remember which movie this was, but the point is that the main character was conversing with a being that was equal to God/a God and the conversation was very eerie because the deity was very detached from the troubles and suffering of the main character. This is how I felt throughout the piece of Galatea, the female “entity” that we’re communicating with—the sculpture—seemed disconnected and detached from whatever was happening around her. Sort of as if she thought herself above the topics and conversation we were trying to communicate with her. I was also reminded about another character from a different story—a comic this time around, named “Gantz”. The being in question is sort of all-knowing while at the same time very much mortal as human beings, but although it faces the exact same threat of mass extinction, it is unable to relate to human despair in the face of death. I’m sort of rambling here, but my point is that the being implies that because of its lack of human characteristics, it is by definition godlike. Which is the exact same eerie feeling that this piece gave me as we walked through it. Galatea’s answers struck me as coming from a place of all-knowing, while at the same time indifferent.

With that part out of the way, let’s talk about the design—minimalistic. The piece is basically just text that somewhat scrolls down as you progress through the story. Both different and yet similar to the various hypertexts we’ve walked through in class, it focuses on the content more so than the visual design. The design isn’t nonexistent however, the design of Galatea is sort of in the same vein as the design of a novel with the intricate work of making text flow naturally and effortlessly—but that’s as far as it goes for the design aspect of the piece.

The “condition” system of the piece is interesting as I’ve played around with Inklewriter for my own piece. Apparently, from what I could gather during the presentation of Galatea, there are different endings wholly dependent of what sort of mood one establishes and which choices one makes throughout the piece—and some ending are only obtainable by following a set of exact actions and conversations. Just from my very limited knowledge about condition systems, I can tell that there is an enormous amount of work and time put into this piece for all of the different parts to function just as intended. Something that hit me as interesting was the idea that if you just continue the conversation and you don’t trigger any red flags that lead you towards an ending in any direction, you could potentially just keep the story going on forever.

This piece made me consider making something similar, but apparently you need to download a specific software to be able to run this system. Which is unfortunately, in every instance where you need to download a software, because it is automatically going to limit the people who invest any time into this piece. If this could be run from a website, the reach to grab the attention of more viewers would expand exponentially—but in a way it is sort of appropriate that only a certain number of people get to invest their time in Galatea, as both the e-lit and as the distinguished sculpture art.