Tag Archives: student blog

#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:

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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.


Galatea by Emily Short.

This week we looked at Galatea, it’s a text based piece, where you, the player is introduced to Galatea and then its all up to you where the story goes from there. The player has different command words to use; ask, think, look, listen, tell. The list goes on, now the interesting things about this will be discussed after I have introduced Façade.

Now I am going to compare galatea to Façade, that I wrote about earlier, if you haven’t looked at my post or know about Façade; it’s a game where the player can input text as they want, and the game interprets the commands and tries to make the interaction as seamless at possible, Façade is a voiced game, and it is probably not a as smoot transition as I would like.

galatea

Now galatea and Façade have to different approaches to make the player interact with the game, but they are different takes on the same concept, how to let the player feel like a part of the story and not just the player experiencing a made to experience.

The main difference is that Façade lets the player type whatever they want, and as long as it is grammatically correct, the game will interact with it. Contrasting to this is the command list and topic list of Galatea, but Galatea has several things that Façade does not. Mainly the “think about” and the “tell about” command, now this makes it possible for the player to know more about the players character. In Façade there is no such option, there is times where the player may get a tidbit about the story of their character before the game, but there is very hard to follow a route that leads there, in contrast you can type “think about galatea” and get “your” thoughts about her.

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Before I move on to the preservation of digital media, I would like to talk about why I think Galatea holds up to time more than Façade, even though Façade has the better/more exiting tech. the graphic of a game or the like, will always age, some better than others, depending on style and tech choices but there is also the way Façade implements the voice acting with player input, its bound to feel older and more jagged, while Galatea’s tech is still used today, and is not that far away in what text games are today. Yeah, the “few” choices compared to the endless in Façade is something to gripe about (not really) the simple design holds up better.

 

This leads me into the next section of this comparison: aging and preservation.

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From videogames to electronic literature to webgames it is a known problem that they get outdated, and not only do they become outdated in the graphic, engine, or the scope sense, but they get outdated in the way we can experience and host them. If you look at galatea it’s a piece that you need special tools to work on your computer, now how long until that tool is no longer supported on new computers, how long until no one can experience galatea?

There are several different organizations that try to preserve different parts of our digital history. The difficulty of preserving the different types of digital media, biggest of all problems is copyright law, especially in America, even modding machines or using emulators is not legal in many countries.

There is a lot of work being done to preserve the digital history, but it’s very difficult to do, the digital world is so large and ever expanding, making digital preservation an almost impossible job.

 

 

Here are some of the different organizations that try to preserve digital works, games, websites and other.

Here is games history and they try to preserve games media and different publications of games magazines  

Here is a Japanese organization that preserves games and games media, they have over 40,000 games

Here is the Wikipedia article on digital preservation.


Queerskins

The first thing I want to point out with this piece that weren’t talked much about in class is the fact that its sophisticated simplicity makes up what I believe to be the very essence of what “traditional literature-meets the digital” should be. The way the text is presented in a skewmorphic way, meaning it’s presented as “text on paper”, accompanied by audio and video, to me, is Electronic Literature in its purest and most undisputed form. The multimodality, which only can be achieved through digital platform enriches this text in a way no traditional literature would be able to. The navigation is also pleasant due to use of javascript instead of traditional HTML and CSS, which gives it a much smoother and non-website feel. Having said this, it’s definitely worth mentioning that this is a heartbreaking, yet beautifully told  story about how it is living with a terminal disease and asexual orientation in a time where neither is socially accepted. We sort of get the feeling of having discovered this persons inner most private thoughts and feelings through his diary and letters, which gives the reader insight into different, and more often than not, more or less incoherent bits and pieces of his life, which after just a little while makes up the story of a man living in a world that does not accept him, or people like him, for who he is, and if that weren’t enough his lifestyle is also indirectly what kills him. Even though we only see this from his perspective, the theme of this piece also paints a picture of how gay people were treated in this time in history, and the fact that AIDS spread like wildfire in the gay community added to the hate and stigmatization of these people. The multimodal elements sort of put an augmented reality layer to it, when a part of the text for instance could be accompanied by a a news report, either directly related to the content, or just touching upon the subject, but through the view of that point of times attitude toward the subject. Living in our modern time where these lifestyles are perfectly normal and accepted, at least by the norm, these elements of time-travelling REALLY helps us grasp the situation, something that would be much harder to do through conventional literature, then we would only have the author’s word for it, but here we can actually see it for ourselves. I love the way this story was told, even though it was a sad one, and to make a call-back to my blogpost on The Hunt For The Gay Planet, which i slaughtered for not giving justice to a really important cause, this one really, truly does.

For my own piece, I’m really thinking of shifting my focus due to the fact that what I want to do seems a bit harder than I first thought. I don’t just want to do it, I want it to have some quality to it as well. I still want to do something in 360, but I’m not sure the Blindfullness is going to happen. I have no idea of what theme to focus on yet, but know that when it’s decided that much of my time will be spent on it.

Until next time, Dannyboy out!


Taroko gorge remixes and own work

New blog post and this time it’s about Taroko gorge remixes. This blog post will look at two different remixes of this populear e-lit, “snowball” and “along the Briny beach” to see what new they bring to the table

Taroko Gorge,” Nick Montfort’s 2009 nature poem has been the inspiration for many remixes. The original and simpel nature of the piece have inspiret many to make fun and interesting remixes of the piece like “tokyo garage”by Scott Rettberg and “snowball” by Alireza Mahzoon.

Snowball is in my opinion a fun and good remix of the e-litt. Instead just a green backgrou and and text. The e-lit have white-grey background with white text plus the text move atleast twise as fast and in a more poetick pattern inspired by the snowball style of poems. The reason I maybe like this more is that I like the winter and snow themes. The text generates faster is a good thing becouse thats meens you dobt need to wait and its more straith forward.  So In my opinionI like this remix becouse Its faster and the winter/snow theme make it apeall better to me.

The other remix is along the “Briny beach” by J.R Carpenter. In this remix J.R. Carpenter infused the original source code with coastal language, and used jacescript  to insert  beach themed texts and images into the generated page. This make the e-lit more interesting and change it personality alot. Personal I understand why the remix do it this way becoyse beach is fun with alot of things, but i think its to messy and all the pictures and text that scrolls on from the sides take awy from the real poem. This is personal and from a designer point of view the e-lit is great, but perdonaly its messy. Alot is going on and you constantly need to change focus on the screen.

A big question that comes up with this remixes is are fow creative are they and are they just copies of an already popular e-lit. My anwer to this is if the remix are true to the original (you can see what the inspiratoion are and how the original piece worked) and you give the remix an own personality the remix is something new. Whats cool about all the taroko georges remixes is that they gave the same look and work i  the same way, but they all have different personality thanks to what text generates and the color schemes on the page.

 

For my own e-lit project uppdate, I will talk about how I will talk about mapping ideas and how the project may interact with the reader.

The way I plan to have the mapoin on the project is that the reader star wiht 5-6 differents titles on the screen and they lead tho different stories. The plan right now is that If you press rhe title you will be exploring a song lyric that is important to a person and see different way you can interact with it. After a while the reader will come to the end screen of that lyric and the end screen will be a personal story from a person that have/had problem with deppresion and how the song helped them battle it.

The different song lyrics have all different tone and I will try to make the different ways fell unik and personal, but I will also try to make them have the same similaritys so its not 5 different e-lit in one

 

See you next week