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.
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.
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.