Category Archives: student blogs

“Hobo Lobo of Hamelin” & “ScareMail Generator”

Screenshot_5    “Hobo Lobo of Hamelin”  is my favorite elit so far. It recreates the European folktale” Pied Piper of Hamelin”.  I have never heard the folktale before but I can catch up with by reading the elit version.  I love the idea of side-scrolling and “infinite canvas”. They recall my memory of the comic books I read when I was a kid.

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The third page impressed me a lot. It has a few texts, but provides a long image to show how Hobe Lobe eliminated rats. The creepy images, which illustrate death of rats, are also presented as a politcial satrie. I saw the irrelevent objects flying everywhere, such as apples, trukey, lobstor, a shirt, socks, tie and sculptrues. some sybolisms,  like the statues of liberty, may be implications of  political situations.

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I really enjoy the ending. It is implict but leaves a reader some imaging space. I really want to proceed reading but it ends at page7.

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The ScareMail Generater is quite siginificant. I learned its value of “nonsense” by reading its intruction and oprating the project.  it is defending the dataveillance and asking for privacy. It perhaps cannot change anything, but it stands for a brave voice and initiative awareness.

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I am very curious with the reason that ScareMail can be one of the elit. By reading and dicussing with my classmates, I am gradually understanding that. The mail is using digital language to interve the NSA Deploy Program and fight against govermental surveilance.  That means some people are using electronic literature to change the traditional mind. The power of elit not only deliever message but also is a weapon to defend ourselves.  Besides ScareMail, the web provides other projects, such as Safebook, which is againt privacy stealing. Those work seems to be nonsense. But they are pioneers to  lead an innovation and revolution of human society.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Give me some more Hobo Lobo!

Okay, I think Hobo Lobo of Hamelin is my favorite elit that I’ve read so far. I loved the story including the ending of page six (Don’t judge me….). I loved so many things about it that I don’t even know where to begin so I might as well list them.

  1. Navigation

After reading a few elit,  I have learned to click anything that is clickable on the screen. Never know where it might take you. Although this was very straightforward with the page numbers and the end and beginning tabs on top of the page, I was still curious about the question mark in the corner and the psst at the top. After satisfying my curiosity, I saw that they were the author’s notes which were even interesting to look at. It was not your typical author’s note, but I will not get into that.

After clicking everything, I realized that I was on the first page of the story(facepalm). After reading #1 of page 1, I clicked the sign(>) that indicated going on the next page. There was a quick movement, and then the next scene. I was baffled like, why did this move so fast. So I went back and forth a few times on the 1st and 2nd page to catch what was going on in scenes. I grasped everything and moved to #3 but instead of clicking on the screen I subconsciously used the arrows on my keyboard and noticed a difference in how the scenes changed. Navigating the story with the keyboard arrows helped capture the essence of the animation.

There were a few pages that a had slideshow to give more insight into what Hobo Lobo did as a “professional.” The pictures in the slideshow moved very fast, but there was a pause tab on the bottom which made it convenient and very easy to navigate.

 

2. The story

I felt like I was reading a fable filled with satire. It reminded me of Animal Farm by George Orwell and I guess that was part of the reason I liked it even more. The animation also played a huge role because it was well crafted and sometimes it had a lot going on and I believe the author wanted the audience to take it all in. I felt like a kid again reading this twisted story. The characters felt very familiar and believe that also played role in me liking this elit.  I felt like I was flipping through a book at some point, but then  I would get to some parts and then I’m like, no this is electronic literature and that is what makes it special. The traditional literature would not have you sitting a minute or two waiting to see what happens to about 20 children going inside a cave. This particular author had an image he wanted to convey and he did that beautifully through the animation.

I do consider this as literature just like the previous elit we read in the class. I see them as literature because I’m reading and interacting with it at the same time. If we based “literature” on textual contexts, we are never going to be able to move forward. I would recommend this type of literature to anyone who “hates” reading because I believe it offers more to the reader. There were not a lot of interactive elements like Reconstructing Mayakovsky or Twelve Blue, but I was able to read this and I was one with this elit.

P.S When are the other chapters/pages coming out? Asking for a friend……

Hobo Lobo of Hamelin/Blog 3

There is, once again, hope for a relationship between myself and eLit thanks to Hobo Lobo of Hamelin by Stevan Živadinović. This comic boasts intriguing imagery, rich language, a classically relevant story line, as well as mechanics that allow the reader to see a 3-D world on a 2-D screen. I was captivated from the very first panel.

Not only is the imagery in Hobo Lobo of Hamelin intriguing, but it is dynamic as well. The art style is newsy, the color purposeful. It starts off mysterious at first, with yellows and pinks that give the audience a glimpse about what kind of town this is. The color then jumps to mostly greens and then blues in the rising action of the story, signifying the carefree life of Hobo Lobo. However, the blue abruptly changes to red in the 3rd strip, after Hobo Lobo had led all the rats to their death. As the story progresses, the mayor can be seen with an increasing amount of red splatter on his body and face.

The language in this story was rich and varied. The opening line was, “Once upon a time, in an age long forgotten because it was somewhat boring and contrived, there was this picturesque hamlet full of God-fearing wholesome people.” The author intrigues his readers with a statement that this was a time that was “boring and contrived” in a place that was “picturesque.” It’s almost as if he’s enticing his readers to keep reading to find out where is the conflict that they know is coming. And in another part of the story, the reader finds basic language such as, “You see, they had all these coked-up rats running around the place, freaking everybody out.” This is more the language that an audience would expect to see from a comic. However, the author continually bouncing back and forth between language forms, with precise timing to emphasize the tone in all the right places.

Hobo Lobo in Hamelin has a story line that is relateable to countless stories before it. We have heard the story time and again of the “nice guy” being taken advantage of by the “bad guy.” However, the story works because it is still relevant. Millions of people around the world break their backs for pennies while those higher up the ladder take the credit and make millions for it. CEOs make more money than they could ever spend while the average retail employee has to work two, three, four, or more jobs just to make ends meet. Reading a story about the same thing happening to someone else brings us comfort that we’re not the only ones, while also hopefully having a happy ending to look forward to… (ahem MR. ŽIVADINOVIĆ) .

Another aspect of this story that makes such an old rhetoric so relateable is the mechanics of the story. This is absolutely my favorite aspect, as well as what makes it eLit. The author manages to create a 3-D effect on a 2-D platform using layers, similar to what you would see on a Broadway stage. The back layers scroll across the screen the slowest, and the front layers the fastest, in order to give the impression that the reader is traveling on a journey with Hobo Lobo. The basic color platform is used in such a way to help the story progress; very basic at first, then more varied later on. Even the sound effects are presented in a scrolling manor. On slide 3, at the beginning of the slide only nighttime sound effects can be heard. Then as you scroll to the right, a playful harmonica increases in volume, leading the rats on a playful march to the unknown. Abruptly, the music changes, as well as the color, to a low church bell and steady low bassoon(?) note, signifying the death of the rats. The scrolling is not the only motion in this piece, however. Most of the slides boast small “slideshows” or single object that have movement. This sparse movement, outside the general side-scrolling, is always used intently in order to emphasize certain objects or feelings. In the first slide, the only object to show movement is the magical crystal ball. At the end of the second slide, Hobo Lobo wipes his hand off on his coat after shaking hands with the mayor. At the end of the third slide, there is a lot of movement which, when paired with the low musical tones, creates a feeling of foreboding for the reader.

This piece of eLit leaves me with only one question… when is the author going to finish?!

Bots/ Blog #2

I think it is because that I have not read enough E-lit till now, E-lit always surprise me when I read a new one. To illustrate, the Bots collection. At first, when I clicked the buttons and open the websites, I did not realized that those twitter accounts were the contents of the Bots collection as a E-lit. Therefore, I clicked and opened all of the twelve bots that were included, then I found out that this E-lit is made up with those twitter accounts. That is interesting!

Station 51000 exists as a unmoored buoy drifting in Pacific Ocean. The author of this E-lit gives life to this adrift buoy, endows it with personality and emotions, and tries to tell a story from the perspective of a buoy. The stories being told and the existence of the account itself combines realistic with ridiculous. Although some of the accounts is difficult to figure out how and where to start reading for me, I was able to kind of get the meaning and the idea the author were trying to convey. Similarly, there are some accounts exist as “objects” in Weibo, which is a social media common used in China. Many people leave their comments on those objects’ account, telling their stories and expressing their feelings.

On Bots

I missed a week of my Digital Alchemy class one week earlier this year. Think I wasn’t feeling too well, maybe the bed was too comfy, maybe a combination of both. But either way, I figured that I was mostly caught up and therefore could just come back the next week and pick up on the Twitter discussions in the meantime.

Big mistake.

For the next several days, I kept getting mentioned on Twitter by members of the class. Aw man, they kept me in the know! But the Tweets quickly turned from interesting, to nonsensical. Uh, just why did they need to send me that article over Twitter? Why are they asking me about how I felt about the idea of social media selling our private information to advertising? Is this what typical Twitter conversation had become in the one week I wasn’t there?

Turns out it wasn’t so dramatic after all. The class that week was just experimenting with bots, was all.

Bots are one of those few things that bring us closer and closer to Skynet every day; artificial intelligence programs that are designed to think and act a certain way, or even worse, like us. Sometimes they’re just simple automated programs, designed to make retweeting or simultaneous social media posting easier.

Reading through the Bots section of the Electronic Literature Collection however, felt significantly less mechanical then I would’ve thought. Several of the bots were Twitter bots, which I mentioned before. But these weren’t necessarily just scheduling Tweets, these were a little more advanced than that. Instead, each bot had a particular task it was put up to, and some were a bit more coherent than others. “Pentameteon” for instance, Hailing from “Stratford-upon-Internet”, as if the Shakespeare profile picture wasn’t obvious enough, is an algorithm designed to find phrases in Tweets and other words that compose a rhyming scheme that modern Eminem would be proud of. The Tweets don’t necessarily make sense when they rhyme, but sometimes there are some memorable combinations to be had.

Rap bars of the year.

On the opposite end of the bot spectrum is “ROM TXT”, who’s sole goal according to its Twitter profile, is “Searching video game ROMs, looking for words and sometimes finding them. For beauty.” And while the premise sounds simple enough, the actual execution results in a fragmented, almost creepy line of words and letters that don’t necessarily have any meaning to them.

Cryptic warning, or unused game text from Ecco The Dolphin? Maybe both?

Perhaps the most fascinating thing about these Twitter bots is just how normalized they seem to be just by being on Twitter; they have followers and followings, retweets and likes. The visual interfaces never force us to struggle, only the content they have presented.

Overall, this isn’t my first run-in with bots, but it always becomes more and more fascinating to see just exactly what they can be capable of. While Skynet is hopefully still just a fantasy, these guys are getting smarter and smarter, and hopefully they’ll continue to be used for the good fights…..and not Skynet.

This bot is programmed for fighting the good fight.

Bots/ Reconstructing Mayakovsky

I really enjoy walking through the bots collection. Glancing the Twitter accounts was so different from reading printed literature. The pattern, form, the way to display the texts, are unique. Everyword is like an E-dictionary that collects every English words. Real human Praise looks like a joke as it is ironic, but provides so much space for readers to think. I love the space created in every bot. All bots are not directly convey stories and plots. They are pieces of thoughts. These bots remind me of a similar kind of form of text in China. In the social media “Weibo” platform, there are also many accounts that were established for some particular and specific purposes and themes. Like a clock account, a forest account, or an account that only reports fake news.

Reconstructing Mayakovsky is a novel of future. The design of the visual effect gives me a sense of virtuality. Every text is gained through a innovative method. By clicking a cloud of keywords, I can enter different mechanisms. The author divides the narrative texts into several mechanisms such as “texts, audio podcasts, video and a live Google image search based on intangible keywords” (Michael Stevens, 2013). This exploration makes me feel surreal to some extent, but the postmodern attitude of this work is seen by this way.

The second experience in Elit improved my understanding of it further. There are much more innovative elements in Elit.

 

Works Cited:

Michael Stevens. http://scalar.usc.edu/maker/english-507/stevens-granulations-page1

Illya Szilak. http://www.reconstructingmayakovsky.com/

Bots. http://collection.eliterature.org/3/collection-bots.html

 

Bots/ Reconstructing Mayakovsky

I really enjoy walking through the bots collection. Glancing the Twitter accounts was so different from reading printed literature. The pattern, form, the way to display the texts, are unique. Everyword is like an E-dictionary that collects every English words. Real human Praise looks like a joke as it is ironic, but provides so much space for readers to think. I love the space created in every bot. All bots are not directly convey stories and plots. They are pieces of thoughts. These bots remind me of a similar kind of form of text in China. In the social media “Weibo” platform, there are also many accounts that were established for some particular and specific purposes and themes. Like a clock account, a forest account, or an account that only reports fake news.

Reconstructing Mayakovsky is a novel of future. The design of the visual effect gives me a sense of virtuality. Every text is gained through a innovative method. By clicking a cloud of keywords, I can enter different mechanisms. The author divides the narrative texts into several mechanisms such as “texts, audio podcasts, video and a live Google image search based on intangible keywords” (Michael Stevens, 2013). This exploration makes me feel surreal to some extent, but the postmodern attitude of this work is seen by this way.

The second experience in Elit improved my understanding of it further. There are much more innovative elements in Elit.

 

Works Cited:

Michael Stevens. http://scalar.usc.edu/maker/english-507/stevens-granulations-page1

Illya Szilak. http://www.reconstructingmayakovsky.com/

Bots. http://collection.eliterature.org/3/collection-bots.html

 

Bots/Blog 2

I feel like I am honestly having a hard time connecting with electronic literature. It probably doesn’t help that I am not a big fan of classic literature in the first place. With that being said, I chose to focus on the “Bots” collection, because I am not familiar with Mayakovsky. However, even the Bots collection the pieces leave me confused and flustered. I have explored all of the bots posted in this collection, one by one. I find myself totally confused. I think I understand the concept that a computer program uses some sort of algorithm to generate random posts. And sometimes they come together into something that is amusing. Call me a party pooper, but I just didn’t get it.

Funnily enough, the only bot that I somewhat connected to was the “How 2 sext” bot. The description says, “it plays on describing intimate messages between partners in often un-sexual language.” One says, “You quickly manage peer pressure while i stay focused on my studies.” Does this mean the author believes his/her peer quickly gives in to peer pressure while they manage to stay away from it and focus on their studies? My brain may just be too literal for this. I definitely need to stay late tonight and speak to my professor…

Bots

Bots is a lovely elit collection where accumulates artist and literary work associated with the social networks, such as Twitter or Facebook. There are eight bots in the collection. When I clicked any of them, there would be six blocks on the page. They are about the screenshot of the web, the web entrance, Metadata, Author Statements, Editorial Statements, and Downloads. Editorial Statements would be the first place I go to. It provides basic information and summary about this bot. I can learn the general information through the homepage and do not have to enter in if I am not interested in it. The Metadata provides hyperlinks. It shows the language and keywords of each bot. If I click the hyperlinks, I can find a list which collects the language and keywords of all the bots.

When the first time I went to Bots, I felt a little perplexed because it does not have a classification or a certain theme. It covers all the artistic and literary bots. It is very hospitable to the visitors and I assume it is in the progress. My favorite bot is the crossword. I used to play crossword games in the newspaper. However, the answer should be known in the next edition. It has a time delay for the game interaction. Tiny Crossword is a twitter account that you can follow. It will release the cross puzzles in advance. The puzzle is usually based on the important 21st-century repository, which means the database is updated. The combination of the crossword puzzle and social network somehow maximizes the utility of the game.

However, I am thinking about the literary or pedagogical level of using Bots. It seems to be something absent that is able to get readers into somewhere. I feel like Bots in some ways is more like a recreation. Our readers can have fun on the Bots but I want to figure out more literacy meanings in using Bots

Seeking Utopia in the Virtual World: Reconstructing Mayakovsky

“Let us compose an elegy for the PASSING OF what defined us as human. LET US LAMENT BECAUSE WE ARE still HUMAN.” – Reconstructing Mayakovsky

The world has never been perfect before. Will the world become better in a virtual world?

In Szilak’s book Reconstructing Mayakovsky, humans can live in a virtual world called OnewOrld with the help of the Oracle system. Click the “Mechanism” tab, the reader can see some white spinning words and some star-like spots on a black background, with a background music much like the sound of the outer space.

Click the rotating word “Movies” in the “Mechanism” tab, an advertisement of OnewOrld will show up. The ad shows the audience many disadvantages of living in a real world, such as cost lots of money, waste too much natural resources, expose to terrorist attack and diseases, etc. Then, the ad commits that living in OnewOrld can avoid all those issues and make people happy.

Click “Archive” in the “Mechanism” tab, many pictures will show up. Put the mouse on one picture then the information in this picture is presented. Click the picture, however, will bring the reader into one of the random e-book chapters. Click a globe sign in the right corner will bring the reader to an outer link, which is the source of the picture itself.

Click “audio podcast”, the reader can see chapter numbers hanging in a black background, they move while the mouse moves. Put the mouse on different numbers, the reader can hear different sounds, sometimes men singing, sometimes children playing, sometimes a woman mimicking a cat. Click on the number, the reader can hear an audio record of one of the book chapters.

Click “Manifesto”, there will be some brief philosophical sentences, such as “THE DEATH OF ONE GOD IS THE DEATH OF ALL”. These sentences are the main ideas of this book.

Click “Theater”, an invitation to join the Revolution Nostalgia Disco Theatre will appear. To me, the invitation letter does not make much sense. It is like a piece of random work created by machine.

Click “Mechanism B”, the reader can see some black words with its chapter numbers floating in a red background. Click on one of the words, it will take the reader to the chapter where it is from. Those numbers do not show up in order. They move with the mouse.

Click “Attributions”, it will bring the reader to a page where the author says other information about the creation of this book.

I read several chapters in “Mechanism B” and “Archive”, listened to some chapters in “audio podcast” including the first chapter and the 45th chapter. I can get the main idea and the macro-context of the world in the book. The heroine is called Vera, whose avatar has silver-gray eyes and bleached golden hair. Vera falls in love with Mayakovsky who already passed away, so she tries to reconstruct him in the virtual world.

After viewing the entire website, I realize that Utopia is impossible to achieve in the current world. Whether humans live with their physical bodies or with their virtual avatars, as long as there are human desire and hatred, the world cannot be perfect.