Category Archives: student blogs

Blog #9- Hobo Lobo of Hamelin

hobohttps://worstcomicpodcastever.com/2015/05/04/hobo-lobo-of-hamelin-60-second-review-episode-013/

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!

Hobo Lobo of Hamelin

    Hobo Lobo of Hamelin, created by Stevan Živadinović, is a digital pop-up book of sorts. It combines sound, animation and illustrations that give the illusion of something 3D. According to the editorial statement on the Electronic Literature Collection site, the piece is an adaption of the Pied Piper--  a modern "mixture of European folktale, political satire, and internet snark".

    The work is visually compelling. The images are a combination of what look like pencil drawings in muted, black and white color schemes, and bursts of darkened vibrant colors. Some of the images "pop up" at the reader, while others are animated such as the psychic's crystal ball.

    In order the navigate the work, the reader clicks on "pages" and numbers at the top of the screen. The piece is not broken up into traditional pages; instead, as the reader clicks through, the story glides seamlessly forward. The plot of the story involves a mayor who's town has a "rat problem". These modern rats are drugged up criminals. After the mayor visits a psychic who has told him that he must hire a professional to solve the problem, Hobo Lobo comes to town offering "professional services". The mayor quietly offers him "an insurmountable mountain of treasure" in return for getting rid of the rats.

    Music is used effectively in page 3 of the story as Hobo Lobo guides the rats off of a cliff. The music increases in volume as the reader navigates toward the conclusion of the page and as the rats navigate toward the cliff. The conclusion of page 3 is slightly confusing... There is a bright pink screen with images of food and clothing items, a kitchen sink, and a leather chair.

    The story drops the music and regains the words on page 4. The mayor has taken credit for Hobo Lobo's work and refuses to pay him as they had agreed. Instead, he actually sues him for blackmail. The story ends on page 7 just as the children are being led from their houses in what appears to be Hobo Lobo's revenge.

    This work is interesting to study because it is the first that I have encountered in this class that is not completed. The stats at on the work's website indicate that while the average update occurred every 23.3 days, the last update was 798.9 days ago-- July 31st, 2014.

   The author writes, "Ahem, I am probably very sorry stuff is late". Readers are directed to the author's Twitter and Tumblr accounts in order to find news about the piece and its future. I went back 6 pages on the Tumblr account and couldn't find any news, but I did find something via Facebook. The author posted on May 31, 2015: "Before the story wraps up, I really wanted to go back and polish some of the more jarring features of the first two pages".

    While I have not stumbled upon an incomplete piece in this class, this is something that I have encountered while reading fan fiction. As the reader of something being published serially, you are dependent upon  the whims of the writer. You can become invested in a story, wait patiently (or impatiently) for updates, only to later realize that the author might not ever continue writing the story. When you begin reading something that is published in an incomplete form, there is no guarantee that it will ever become complete. As a reader, you are taking a bit of a risk, and I think that this is very interesting and worth discussing further.

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.

 

first draft of the revolution

Once I realized what this piece of electronic literature was doing, I was delighted! I loved this concept of rewriting and watching the draft in process - I think that's genius.

However, I got stuck very quickly, I feel. Maybe the piece is short, or maybe I just don't know what I'm doing, but I cannot get passed changing the last part of page four. It keeps telling me to change the last bit before she signs her name, and I keep doing it- it keeps cycling between three phrases, and there is no where else for me to click. I wish there was a help / guide button or something to tell me what to do in case I get stuck like this, because I feel like I'm not thoroughly experiencing the piece. Or, if it really is that short, I wished the author expanded more (however, I don't think that's the case.) I hope we can go through this more for class, as I want to know about this feminist revolution that we are helping our narrator draft.

Blog #8- First Draft of the Revolution

first.jpg
https://www.thespace.org/resource/games-people-who-dont-play-games

      Unfortunately, I was not able to play this interactive Elit piece. I tried several times throughout the week, but was unsuccessful in accessing it. I did however watch the 7 minute video on how to play and the process behind Emily Short and Liza Daly’s “First Draft of the Revolution.” I thought about what the title meant and the word draft can pertain to two different meanings. First, it could focus on the draft from the window that is mentioned in the beginning of the piece and second, it could focus on the idea of a war draft. Revolution is mentioned so war is what automatically pops into my mind and then after reading the description I see that it is during the French Revolution.

As the video plays, the reader navigates through a letter that the wife, Juliette, writes to her husband, Henri, who seems to be very controlling of her. I wondered to myself as to why the letter had a scroller when it was so short. What was the reason we needed to scroll down a letter that stopped at mid page. After getting into the video even more I saw that this was an editing process of the original letter Juliette has created.

I do not like normally editing my own papers so I am assuming if I was actually able to get to play I would have felt a bit of frustration editing Juliette’s letter. I believe that maybe that is what the authors wanted their reader’s to feel because as I read along with the letter I felt as thought Juliette may have been frustrated with her husband for sending her away. The concept of editing was interesting in a way that we were pretty much in the mind of Juliette, what she was thinking about each and every line composed, we were able to see and feel. One thing that did surprise me was the fact that we could not change the line, “Your obedient wife, Juliette.” That was the one line I wanted to change immediately after seeing we were able to edit it and once I saw we were unable I once again felt that frustration. I am assuming that because the husband is so controlling of his wife that we cannot change that fact. He wants her to be obedient of him and that is how she must remain.

Overall, I did enjoy watching the video and really wished I could have went through this piece myself, but I did get a pretty good understanding of it from what I saw. I cannot wait to go over it in class today and see what is was that I missed about the Elit piece because I was very limited to what the reader wanted me to see. I feel an appreciation for Elit even more now because I like the fact that I have a sense of freedom of allowing myself to go through the pieces on my own. I felt caged in with this one!

First Draft of the Revolution! Or is it?

 

First reading this piece, I thought it was pretty interesting especially as an English major that I was able to “edit” the letters before sending them out on this portal piece of elit. Interesting enough, I thought there would be different outcomes, but mid-way, I was eager to reach the end. I asked myself, when will this end, and when is it over? I later wanted the piece to finish and just let me read the piece like a regular story. One of the main characters Juliette, who has left the country for the summer, and her husband Henri, who has banished his wife because of pressure from his family were in a portal filled with letters that needed to be changed.

In the beginning of the story, it is revealed that both Henri and his wife are using magic paper to deliver instant letters to each-other. The point of the story is revealed through Juliette’s and Henri’s letters to one another. Interesting enough, the reader clicked through different portals of these letters following a provided change or edit within the text. It gives you great insight on revision and also how un-done the author made the reader think these letters were.

After a while, these edits were just becoming redundant and overbearing. I wanted to read a story that was consistent and had an accurate ending. I appreciated the playful edits and renditions of letter, however, mid-way I wanted it to be over. By helping to revise their letters, the reader exposes who the characters are. She doesn’t define or change them. Juliette, Henri, and the others are meant to have consistent personalities, and there’s nothing the reader can do to alter this.

A story that was written to be before the French Revolution, I found this piece to be similar to a novella. A novella that I was forced to watch as a child with my grandmother. These shows were many based on overly dramatized plots that had loads of screaming, crying, and misunderstandings. Overall, I enjoyed the click and interactive-ness of this piece, and also how it was a dated piece meant to play out before the French Revolution, anything written back in the day paved the way as they say. It could’ve been better in the whole flow of the story but I understand there was a purpose for that in this piece.

Thermopolis In Love!

The thought of having to join a so called “game” that was more like a blogging site seemed pretty interesting at first. It was the complete opposite of what I had expected it to be. Thermopolis in love described the characters as having different genders. It made corky and cartoony connection to different types of characters and how they played roles in this particular netprov game. At first hearing the word netprov, I thought of the word improve. Improv is a term that is usually used in theatre classes and plays where characters jump into acts and have to come up with things on the spot at the top of their head. Reacting and interacting in the game, I felt like improv was very much needed in order to effectively play the game. This game gave you a chance to embrace the characteristics of the character you were given. This gave netprovers opportunities to embrace being someone or something they wouldn’t regularly be. As a so called “fac” one of the characters in the game, I felt like my own personal personality did not embody what a fac really was. Networking and interacting with other facs made me feel like I didn’t belong, therefore, making me act and speak like someone I am not. Being a fac,

Gender: Fac
Formal Classification: Facultative thermophiles
Strengths: Shape-shifting gender. You conform to whatever situation you are in.
Propensity to develop different personalities, which to you are more like modalities.
Personality is just a tool. You are up for whatever. (Can cause jealousy as you flit about doing your thing.)
Propensity to lose yourself.
Weakness: Truth is relative to you; ‘lying’ isn’t in a concept to you.
Motto: Dare To be Similar
Other Genders: Feel connected and at home with you
Occupations: Explorer, investigative reporter, private eye, spy, political strategist

I feel like I did not embody the details of being a fac that are listed above. With that being said, I found it rather difficult to relate and not sound robotic. What also threw me off, was the science and biological terms that were used in this game. I was thrown for a loop trying to decipher what words meant what in order to continue on in this game. Even towards the beginning, I didn’t understand the point of the game, but obviously given the title “ Thermopolis in Love” gave it light. All in all, I thought the concept of the game was cool, however, I feel like they could of made it more fun being interactive and playing around with the characters more.

Artifice is the Engine

I'm glad Dave decided to present "First Draft of the Revolution" by Emily Short and Liza Daly; I was intrigued by this piece earlier in the semester when I was browsing through Volume 3.  The combination of an 18th century setting, with all the worries of a noble European family, and magical elements reminded me a little of the novel "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell," despite the fact that said novel was set in the 19th century (if I remember correctly).  The woodcut images, elegant font, and book framing device all accentuate the period piece aspect, as does the period-appropriate language.  I also think it's interesting to have a piece of electronic literature mimic the publishing traditions of an earlier era; it draws the reader's attention to the artificiality of it.  This artifice is, I believe, a driving theme in "First Draft."

The metafictional elements (if you could call it that since the letters being sent aren't fiction to the characters; maybe metacompositional would be more appropriate?  Metaepistolary?) in the piece contrast with the magical elements to make the reader engage more fully its theme of artifice.  It creates a kind of irony, and I think it's metaphorical for the power of writing in general.  Because humans instinctively organize their thoughts and experiences through narration, when one writes, one has the power to alter reality; this is especially true if they're writing about history or experiences.  Like the magic in the piece, however, that power is tempered by societal norms.  Each time a character changes a piece of what they have written, whether the character is male or female, magic-user or not, they are giving away a little bit of their power, and they have made their communication more artificial.  The fact that the piece won't move forward until the reader has rewritten or erased certain parts of the letters emphasizes the fact that the authors wanted their readers to see how each writer is altering their words due to the expectations/possible reactions of others.  It's fascinating to see the different writing processes of each character (for example, Henri makes a list of the points he wants to address), and the limited choices for revisions also raise a number of questions about gender and society, both historical and modern. 

It's also worth noting that by involving the reader in multiple characters' writing processes, "First Draft" blurs the line between reader, writer, and fictional entity.  In this case, all three interact to create meaning, or to dilute it.  This feature is all the more powerful because the reader is seeing the true thoughts of multiple characters, so the reader is omniscient, and dramatic irony is infused into everything.  The reader is asked to act as every character, though, as if they don't know the truth of the other characters' thoughts.  This ties into what I was saying earlier about the surrender of power and the triumph of artifice over truth.  The reader must pretend they don't know all they do know in order to make revision choices and move the story forward.  Artifice is the engine, but is it only the engine driving the story, or is it driving all our lives?

The First Draft of the Revolution: Emily Short and Liza Daly

According to the author's statement on the Electronic Literature Collection site, this work is an "interactive epistolary novel set in an alternative version of the French Revolution". In this alternate universe, the war is over those high class members of society who process magic and have married within their class in order to keep the magic for themselves, and those lower class citizens who think that magic should be for everyone.

The two main correspondents are Juliette, who has been banished to the country for the summer, and her husband Henri, who has banished his wife because of pressure from his family. In the beginning of the story, it is revealed that both Henri and his wife are using magic paper to deliver instant correspondence to one  another. The plot of the story is unveiled through their letters to one another, and to minor characters as well.

In addition to Henri and Juliette, the story includes or mentions the following characters: Henri's illegitimate son; The Friar; Henri's sister, Alise; Bernadette, the boy's mother; Mother Catherine- Agnes; and Henri's aunt.

The reader interacts with the text by clicking on parts of the text and following along with the provided edit, and also making choices about which edits to allow. By doing so, I began to think a lot about revision.

There seemed to be a few types of revision being made in this text. First, there were practical edits: revision for the purpose of clarifying something or erasing extraneous detail. There were also manipulative edits made in order to coerce, to gain information, or to hide information. Finally, there were manipulative edits. This occurred when revision was needed because the writer wanted to regain control of themselves, or to clam themselves.

In addition to being a compelling read, and a historical fiction (which I love!), I like that this piece made me think about the writing process and about how revision is possible because of the written letters and because these characters were not having a face-to-face conversation. Revision is unique to writing.

thermophiles in love

This past week of the netprov has definitely been interesting! I enjoyed the concept of Thermophiles in Love, specifically the idea of have five different genders; in particular, it made you think outside the box of gender performance, and therefore embody and become something entirely new and different. I think the idea definitely points us in the direction to be more accepting in real life, and be open to various gender identities, or having more than one of them (or none at all). The gender Regardless of the gender you do end up performing, you're still just a person searching for love, which is significant to note after playing TiL.

Admittedly, though, I was actually out of my comfort zone throughout the whole process. To begin with, I know virtually nothing of any cellular biological vocabulary / terminology - the context and language itself is pretty confusing for me and makes me eyes glaze over from traumatic flashbacks from high school science lab. Because of that, I felt hindered when I tried to make posts. I felt jealous of everyone whose posts seemed perfect and fitting, as their use of the language was so eloquent and fluent that they could even make hilarious and scientifically sound puns. On occasion, I tried to do the same, but it either elicited no response or was just weak in comparison. Additionally, I felt parts of my own personality stopping me from truly being involved in the experience, because I don't know how to sell myself / flirt with other people! Even though it was a netprov, I think we all still had a bit of a personal investment in our cell characters. As a fac, which seems the opposite of what I would have identified with in real life, it made it twice as hard to come off as confident, or even deceitful.

However, I enjoyed the narratives going on around me, even if I couldn't make myself into a more prominent role as a fac. Like I said, the idea itself was very cool, but I wish the context of it would have been something less sciencey!