Tag Archives: student blog

Ally’s Elit World 2016-10-25 20:00:00

This was a very interesting game/Elit piece. I am fascinated by the pieces that are considered games because they aren't one's usual electronic video game. They are much more than that. This piece was a game because of the pieces put together to build the woman and discover all of the objects that make her whole. I enjoyed all the noises and music and voices with random comments that helped describe what was going on in the scene.
There was one scene I related to most and that was when the woman was talking about what she wears and what it means. She mentioned how what a woman wears like jewelry or clothing does not depict who they are on the inside. I totally relate to that in the sense that for work, I have to dress in all black every single day. In order to dress up my all black look, I have to wear jewelry and accessorize. I always relate all-black to a more gothic style so I feel like what I'm wearing on the outside does not symbolize who I am on the inside.
"Pieces of Herself" has a lot to do with women and how they realize who they are and what makes them who they are as a person. This piece plays with sounds and colors which I think is done to keep the reader/game player entertained and intrigued. At least that's what it did for me. I enjoyed all of the scenes where there were black and white backgrounds but the pieces itself were colorful. It was pretty scary the way it started in the bathroom with blood on the curtains. This raised a lot of questions in my mind but I just kept going because it had me wanting more.
Something I noticed about this piece that I liked is that it doesn't have a clear ending. It made me understand that my Elit piece won't have to be a story that has a clear beginning with a problem and a solution with a perfect ending. Our Elit stories won't be a typical novel setup. It can just be a piece that has a character or characters in an important setting with a message to the viewers and that can just be it. The idea of what I have for my piece is that I want to have a girl be able to see her life with three different guys. You can click the different faces and with each one will be a different journey. I thought of this idea because of my friends who just don't know how to pick the right guy. So in my piece I want the mean guy to yell out different blurbs like "go change I don't like what you're wearing" and the second guy to say "you better call me when you get there and when you leave. If I don't get a call we're going to have problems" and then the third guy to say "I was thinking for dinner we can do Chinese and then watch this movie I bought us tickets for,  what do you think?" . This way - the player can have a chance to see what their journey in life could be like with each possible guy. But each one will start off nice and throughout the game - their true characters will show. This is just a thought for right now. With time I will work on clearer images and sounds for my piece.

Tinkering Session

I have been writing my blogs in advance and then scheduling them, so I didn't get a chance to add my elit thoughts to last week's blog. I am considering two ideas. One: I am getting in the spirit of Halloween, and I kind of want to tell a story of a family who is experiencing some kind of haunting in their home, but I want to tell it from the family dog's perspective. I think that this could be fun. Two: I have a short story started that I might want to adapt to an elit piece.

For either of those options, I want to find tools that I can use to combine sound, images, and text (maybe video too...).

I started out by checking out Google Story Builder. This was not what I was looking for... I just kept asking myself, "Am I missing something?" This seems like a neat way to teach kids about collaborative writing though. I will keep this in mind for future projects. I also looked at Thinglink, but this too seems like something that I probably can't use for this particular project.

Then I got distracted by trying to make a Voki for way too long...

The tool that I liked the most so far is one that I can use as an element in my elit piece. It is WordFoto, and it is pretty cool. The images that you can create with the app by combining pictures and words are both visually interesting and a little disturbing. Perfect for the theme of my elit piece! When looking pictures to upload into the app, I looked on Creative Commons. I then played around with creating my own WordFoto. Here are some of my results:



~ Pieces of Herself ~

pieces-poem

I found the concept for this particular feminist piece of E Literature by Juliet Davis to be very interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed navigating the piece as the reader is prompted to search for the hidden colorful objects in various areas and place them on a silhouette of a woman’s body to the lefthand side of the screen. What is very interesting is the fact that none of the pieces are able to be removed once they are placed in whatever respective areas the reader chooses to put them down. By the end of the piece, then, the reader ultimately “makes” the woman into whatever he/she chooses instead of the woman being able to piece herself back together and “find herself” as she says she has set out to do before the piece begins. A women’s identity in society is very much socially constructed to the point where what can come of the woman is nothing more but a sense of brokenness and deterioration.

Everything that a woman can experience, whether it be heartbreak or a struggle with personal insecurities and body image is practically inscribed on her and carved into her from birth. The apple on the tree outside alludes to a man ruling over a woman, which is a concept that was very much socially acceptable for centuries really climaxing in the 50s as the man was seen as the dominant figure and the head of a household. A woman’s life was lead in such a way to prepare her for taking care of her children, her home, and catering to her husband; Unfortunately, there wasn’t much else to aspire to as women did not have a very dominant role in too many other things. The emotion of this piece was increasingly heightened as some of the hidden objects played music. When the clip of “Que Sera Sera” started, it was extremely despairing as it confirms the very miserable existence the woman in the piece (representing many) had. Whatever will be… will be and there wasn’t much a motive to do anything else. She lives for putting others before herself.

I was intrigued in certain scenes by the different actions that would take place as the mouse rolled over the different sections of the screen. There was an area in the kitchen where the reader could roll over and it would tuck in the chair at the dinner table, which I thought to be an allusion to the way women were trained to act and carry themselves regarding table manners or mannerisms in general. Sayings like “Don’t forget to wash your hands” ring throughout the piece more than once like a broken record. The piece itself is described as a polemic on the information page when the world is first entered. This idea made me wonder if the author was going for a very clear understanding that this piece could be a sarcastic take on societies very outward exhibition of a women’s contempt, or if it is just an attack on the views put onto women by society. All in all, it is evident that the woman and women in general are in pieces and never quite put back together in a sound way from all that is endured, leaving the end result to be complex and in some ways very disturbing.

 

Tool Testing: I ended up going through the list on the course’s website to get a feel for what each tool is for and what it can do. Thing link is very interesting and can come in handy if I would like to put text over a map maybe, but as far as testing something out I stuck with Powerpoint this week. I know that there is so much that I can do with it, but I still have a lot of playing around to do with the program to get to a point where I may be comfortable using it to create my entire project. Some of the different effects with fading and moving text may be hard to do in Powerpoint with the way that I am seeing it in my head. I know that there’s an ability to fade things in and out and video shouldn’t be a problem unless I create one and it decides not to play on other devices when people try to access my piece. The strongest impressions made on me so far from the pieces we have seen (regarding the components that make it up and how the piece is navigated through) is Like Stars in a Night Sky and High Muck a Muck. I do not wish to achieve exactly what is done in these pieces in just this one project for the semester, but I want to find a way to emulate them with my spin on it (if that makes sense). I’m thinking some of the most prominent aspects of my piece will be visuals, video, and narration. Powerpoint should have the ability to do all of those I guess, but as aforementioned, I will have to play around with it more because I am honestly unsure at the moment if it is what I would like to work with. I do recognize that it is a powerful tool, though, and I am in no way casting it off. I just want to explore more options.

"Pieces of Herself"

Before experiencing this piece of electronic literature, I thought that the premise of the narrative was going to be much darker, so to say. I loved that it still touched on concepts of gender identity and social construction of what a woman is "seen as," and I think that the paper doll idea was very creative and effective in showing these "tangible" pieces. However, I thought that the "pieces" of this woman were going to be picked up after possibly having a traumatic event, namely something sexual, and putting herself slowly together in order to reclaim her own identity.

While I enjoyed the piece, I wish Juliet Davis would have done more. I think she could have inherently gone further with the idea. For example, I thought that biblical verse about the "job of women" was particularly chilling and effective, and I wish there were more glimpses of dark societal moments and presumptions about what it is to be female throughout. I felt like she held something back. Still, the sound bytes of the different interviews with women, especially in the office, were effective in adding to the tone of the piece; again, though, I wish we would have seen more of that.

For my own project for Elit, I tried to experiment with inklewriter, thinglink, and popcorn maker, but none of those programs were what I wanted to convey my story. Instead, I have decided to do it all through wix, since I think I will be able to actually imagine my ideas through the website, even if I have to implement coding to get certain effects for my navigational elements.


Wix allows me to create icons and have lightboxes and different elements pop up without necessarily leaving the page. I want it to look like a desktop background, and have icons the reader is able to explore to "experience" this romance I am writing. Additionally, I have done further storyboarding for the story, and I'm excited to develop it more. I don't want to give too much away, but it will definitely have a darker twist to it - nothing will appear as it is on the surface, and the reader will have to click on things to really uncover the true narrative going on. I know that sounds vague, but I promise! It'll be great. 

Blog Post #5: Review of “Pieces of Herself”

poh

Starting this piece I was very confused as to where the actual literature or you can say “writing” was located in this piece. Clicking through the different portals I was pretty confused on what was going on until I realized that there were descriptions on the top right of each portal. As I began to drag things to the woman’s body as instructed, I thought that something would come out of it.

The only thing I got out of it was a deeper message. The author explores a woman’s body through nodes of exploratory context of home, work, and community. As you click and drag nodes onto the woman’s body you can see the meaning behind where the items being dragged plays a deeper meaning towards the empowerment of women.

This interactive drag and drop game explores the embodiment and feminine identity. As an advocate of women empowerment, I very much appreciated the feminine aspect of how powerful the meaning behind the drag and drops nodes had. For example, there was a node of a brain to drag meaning education and/or intelligence. Another node that stood out to me was the finger prints. To me embodied somewhat of an identity.

 

poh2.jpg

All in all, this piece was powerful in the sense of a deeper message, granted it was a little confusing towards the beginning and this is definitely not for simple minded people. Pieces that allow my mind to get stimulated are always good in my opinion.

Blog #5- Pieces of Herself

pieces.png

http://elit.umwblogs.org/2012/02/23/pieces-of-herself-by-juliet-davis/

Piecing Together the “Pieces of Herself”

            Pieces of Herself by Juliet Davis captivates the awareness of feminism and gender identification through the unknown character’s eyes and the public’s eyes in multiple settings surrounding a person’s everyday life. This piece of electronic literature is described as “ironic” and “playful,” in which Davis uses interactive digital media to convey her message to the reader. This person remains nameless throughout the story in an attempt to reconstruct her lost identity using drag and drop to help “dress- up” the doll that appears only as a silhouette in order to maintain that idea of hidden emptiness.

When first entering Pieces of Herself, a text slowly popped up line-by-line, stating, “Her friends said she needed to “find” herself And sure enough, when she started looking, she found pieces of herself everywhere…” This line automatically made me realize that this piece of electronic literature would be more interactive with the reader more than anything else. The first place the story takes you to is the bathroom and as the screen appears there is an awful, loud sound that appears simultaneously. That sound is short, but undoubtedly grabs your attention from the start. Realizing this, I knew that sound/noise would be an essential part of this piece.

While exploring the rest of the story, I noticed that the overwhelming noises coming from different items I either scrolled over or clicked and dragged in order to move from the scene to the doll were beyond frustrating. Once listening closely to those sounds I came to realize not only of the importance of the meaning of each individual sound, but the fact that they looped around or played once and stopped was just as significant. For example, the floating journal scribbling’s represented heartbreak and the statements of her wishing her children to have the best and trying to hide herself at work in order to avoid harassment was a representation of regret. These repeating sounds, noises, and music all symbolize a complex, conflicting and distraught human being. What I found to be an unsatisfying experience was the attempt in listening to the different sounds, one would override another and it made it almost impossible to hear anything. I assume that is what the author wanted the reader to have to go through in order for the reader to understand the character’s emotional distress.

After exploring other readers from different sites, I have come to understand their viewpoint of certain aspects. There were a few different articles discussing the “ending” of this story. As one person described the ending, they stated that Pieces of Herself stopped when the reader collects and/or triggers all objects that appear in each scene. Another person argues that there is no true resolution in which no one truly understands himself or herself and people constantly change while facing new conflicts. A third person claims the story cannot be viewed as “singular” or as a clear picture, just as life itself. I agree with all of these opinions because when it comes to reading electronic literature or any literature for that matter, it comes down to the reader’s thoughts and views on that specific piece.

Generally, I would describe Pieces of Herself as an outrageous and overpowering piece of electronic literature. Davis was able to captivate the reader’s usual way of perceiving their normal, everyday scenery and rationalizing certain images of items from something so “outside of the box” and turning it into a relatable object. As the reader, I was capable of getting through this seemingly irritating and bothersome piece, in order to obtain my goal of understanding what Davis was trying to demonstrate. People living their everyday lives with their everyday friends/family, living in their everyday homes and showing up to their everyday jobs may come off a certain way, but on the inside may be struggling with who they really are or what they can really be. The goal is to explore everything around you until you find out exactly what does and does not work for you, just like in Pieces of Herself.

Pieces of Herself– Juliet Davis

Juliet Davis's Pieces of Herself is introduced by the Electronic Literature Collection as being a piece that "uses the motif of the dress-up doll to explore issues of gender identity in the context of home, work, and community". Davis adds in the author's note that her work "is an exploration of feminine embodiment...in relationship to public and private space".

The piece is essentially a drag-and-drop gaming experience. It plays on color as well. The background for each scene is black and white, while the game pieces are very colorful. The reader must use the mouse as if they were taking a virtual tour of the scenes. When the pointer rolls over a game piece, it becomes visible, and the reader can click and drag in order to place it on the black and white outline of a body, which is located on the left-hand side of the screen.

The game pieces trigger sound bytes and short clips of interviews. Sometimes there is only a brief, animated sounding noise, while at other times, the sound repeats itself until he user leaves the game. The repetitive sounds that I encountered were of a frog croaking, a drip of water, and the sound of something being dunked aggressively into water. These sounds become distracting and annoying at times. Towards the end of the game, when all three where playing at once, it was more difficult to concentrate on the other audio clips.

In the game, there are seven scenes: Shower, Bedroom, Outside, Kitchen, Living Room, Office, and Main Street. In addition to the game pieces, each of the scenes contained moving images, songs, and sounds that were activated by dragging the mouse over them. In the living room, the TV played Oprah; An answering machine in the bedroom played messages.

In terms of grasping the theme of the piece, the interview clips were most enlightening. The women talk about body image, about graying hair, and overpriced clothes. One woman discusses how the expensive clothes and jewelry that she wears makes people think a certain way about her, but she isn't that person. They person that she is on the outside is not who she is on the inside.

In one scene, there is a sound clip of a man reading a Bible passage about a woman's place in society. One interview clip is simply a woman's voice saying, "He said he loved me". Another sound byte in the office scene notes that emotions have no place in the workplace.

This piece makes the reader think about all the parts that make you who you are-- all of the pieces of self. Who are you? Are you one person in one context and a completely different person in another? Who are you seen as?

This piece has no real, solid ending, and I think that is done with purpose. This is the type of piece that you should spend time thinking about long after you've finished reading it.

Response to "Inanimate Alice" Episode 4

By far, this has been the most game-based piece of electronic literature in class that we have read so far. Ultimately, this episode of "Inanimate Alice" is highly visual and has a lot of emphasis on using first person POV through out its video game-esque narrative. The author uses a lot of real life photographs to build up the setting that is essentially all around you, and even incorporates an element of self-exploration to navigate the end of the story. It's a choose-your-own-adventure without words, and acts as if you're exploring the world inside of a video game, which is definitely a neat element to add to the multidimensional feel that elit allows the reader.

However, the question of electronic literature truly being "literally" can truly be contested here. Since it relies so much of techniques associated with gaming, as well as visuals (pictures, ect.,) does it stay consistent with what classifies something as literature?

In my opinion, yes, I do find this piece literary, but I don't think I would have if I did not make a mistake first.

Originally, I was under the impression we were reading "Inanimate Alice" from the beginning; thus, I started with episode one, which I felt was less like a video game and more like a story. The plot was simple: Alice's dad gets lost, and she and her mom, Ming, get into their jeep to search for them... Does that sound familiar? What struck me most about "Episode 4" was that it shows its complexity as a piece of literature by introducing intertextuality. When in England, Alice's friends ask her to make stories of them, and she shows them how easy "storytelling" and making them can be. As an example, she subtly references the plot of the first episode, but the way she does it makes seem as if, maybe, it had never really happened to her...

Alice, then, becomes this unreliable narrator, and now the reader is more closely reading the text of this fluctuating storyline. We are analyzing her words and trying to make connections and critical analyses of the narrative. Additionally, her friend "Brad" follows her to the fourth episode, the imaginary one she drew back in episode one, and acts as an imaginary friend and "guardian" of sorts. It adds more depth and complexity then just being a shallowly visual experience - for me, it makes me question who Alice is, why she is "inanimate"; ultimately, the question of what is real and what isn't within the story keeps the audience on their toes, and becomes a driving motivation to read the piece of electronic literature.

Blog #4- Inanimate Alice

inanimate-alice
https://padlet.com/embed/tl3o2nyw8joh

Inanimate Alice was probably my favorite Elit I have read so far. I love the flow of it and how you must get through one part in order to reach the next. Compared to other Elit pieces, this one was the least confusing and had a beginning, middle and end like most literature I read. I guess I am still in my comfort zone when it comes to a piece of literatures structure, but I am hoping by the end of the semester to come out of that comfort zone.

I believe the images/clips and sounds were the most important feature to this piece. The music would increase as the climax began to form and it would become silent at moments where you could picture Alice in this small, dark and scary place. The images basically told the entire story with only a few words when necessary and that is what I enjoy reading the most. I like when you can put a “face” to the “sounds.” I was a little confused as to why the story began with this girl who was about to die when the stairs collapsed as she was walking up them, but then I realized that when she started talking about her old life and discussing her new life, it was a flashback. I have always heard that right before you die you may see your entire life in a matter of seconds and that is what I thought was going on here. Alice was appreciating her past, even the parts that were not so great. She was especially fond of the present, well not the present of her almost dying, but the present of where her life was at at the moment.

I also enjoyed the story inside of the story which discussed Alice’s game that she created. A lot of the icons were clickable and made this more interesting and interactive. After Alice got back to talking about the present situation she was in and having to go through this place in order to survive, I found myself frustrated by getting the pointed fingers wrong in order to get out. Unlike Alice, as the reader, we did have an easy way out. We could simple “ask Brad” for the directions in order to leave, but unfortunately that is not how life really works. I tried to be in the moment and do it on my own, but after a while I had to come back to reality so I gave up and let Brad basically take control of the situation.

Overall, I really enjoyed this piece and it helped me into thinking more about my own piece of Elit that I would like to put together. This gave me the idea or theme about life in general and how we really do not have control over what happens, but at the same time our decisions effect our actions and how things turn out.

So for my Elit piece I was thinking that because we do not get to choose the lives we are born into, but we get to choose the decisions we make in our lives, I would have this huge dice to start off my piece in which there are 6 different types of life you can get when clicking and rolling the dice, whatever you get is what you are stuck with throughout the piece. 6 choices because the dice is 6 sided of course. Throughout the piece sometimes you have to keep rolling the dice and others you must choose a path indicating that sometimes we do have choices and sometimes things happen by chance or by luck. There will be several ending points depending on the choices you have made throughout this piece or your “life.” One will be death, another will be higher education or maybe being homeless or even starting a family. Your choices will lead you down this path, but the key is to answer and do things honestly. Like the way you would in real life. I want to use images, text and maybe some sound, but nothing too overwhelming.