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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.


Bog Post #4: Inanimate Alice Episode 4 and reviewing my own e-lit piece

Image result for inanimate alice episode 4

Wow! I believe this piece is my favorite one thus far. As I began, I got a creepy vibe coming from the digital sounds and the dark picture the narrative was showing. Going through a story about a 14 year old girl named Alice that was stuck on a halfway broken staircase on her way to the top of a building. Scared to fall to her death, through a creative and digitally interactive lens, the author decide to show different elements of the life of Alice that lead to that exact point in her troubled survival. Clicking through, I reviewed hypertext and slow paced pictures and media. The music played fitting to the setting of the story in Moscow, Russia. It helped play a role in placement, made me fell as if I were present in that exact country.

As the author encourages you to click through the narrative, it takes you on stairs that go up , and up, and up, until you have reached a point mid-way where you can play a game that eventually leads you through dark and spooky rooms to the top of the building whee the story comes to a halt. She showed something that seemed like a tablet to me that would help navigate readers through the story. I enjoyed having a side panel part that helped keep you in track through this confusing piece of elit.

What caught me by surprise was when she was explaining how she began to love her life in Russia, to a text box popping up saying,” I’m going to die”. As she feared for her life, a game of different realms pops up to help you save her life. I felt as if her life was in my hands at that point. I felt in the rooms myself and I was kind of scared as some points which I believe was the point the author was trying to entail.

All in all, I believe this piece was successful in showing how navigating through different segments can really play a role in the inter-activeness elit has to offer. Being able to navigate ans ultimately helping save the life of Alice, the author put you in a game or a somewhat kind of setting or feeling like you were a part of the story. You were Alice, and you were in power making decisions as the where you would go next.

**For my own Elit piece!

As with most of my work, I would like for my project to be both personal and very hard to stop reading. Exploring my experiences through life can help me create a poem that can take you through every aspect of the particular part of my life or my encounter with this situation. I want to state a point in time without telling the reader what it really is. This gives the reader power in deciding what I was writing about the whole time. I’d like to create a hypertext piece that explores a point in my life where I experienced a hardship. I will have readers navigate through hypertext and put themselves in my shoes page by page until eventually the aspect of the matter of what I was speaking pf becomes evident. People can feel, hear, and know what pain I went through from a simple elit narrative. Poetry to me helps bring out a deeper emotion that flows when it comes to my own personal writing. This will help spark emotions within my paper making it a very successful one. I look forward to exploring realms that I can express and create this piece for my project.


Blog Post #3: A review on High Muck A Muck!

From the video, Mahjong, featuring community members of Nelson, BC

The e-lit story High Muck a Muck: Playing Chinese is an interactive poem, created through an interdisciplinary collaboration of Canadian artists, programmers and community members. The project entails an interactive website, 8 videos and an interactive gallery that exemplifies the works of these Chinese disciplines. High Muck a Muck: Playing Chinese explores the theme of Chinese immigration to the west coast of Canada – both historical and the contemporary tensions that exist in and between these narratives. Trying to interpret a complex narrative such as High Much a Muck.

High Muck a Muck: Playing Chinese troubles the cliché of historical tales of Chinese immigration by exposing this classic narrative against one of mobility driven by the exigencies of contemporary global capitalism. Disrupting a charming world of hand-painted graphics and traditional Chinese music is the winking gleam of a highly adaptable, well molded, digital class. As we take our chances and enter the modals of blue digital ink splatter, the myth of immigration as a pathway to increased fortune and happiness disintegrates from within and around through unknown portals. The journey may take you nowhere, the winnings of the game may be less than fortunate.

Within each piece of blue ink splatters that I selected, I noticed more and more how tradition became more rich through every piece of this narrative. This piece was excellent in displaying rich culture norms of china and a great platform to tell a never ending story and digital variations of a Chinese poem.


Inanimate Alice

Inanimate Alice is a digital novel that incorporates visual, sound and interactive elements. In one description I read, it is called “transmedial” – a storytelling technique that utilizes multiple digital platforms and formats. It even includes a game within the game for the player if they choose. The overarching theme of this story for me was a sense of loneliness and feeling out of place. In this Episode 4 (of which I discovered there at least six episodes), Alice discusses moving to a new city  in England. There is heavy digital/electronic/industrial overtones here – from the staticky soundtrack that accompanies most of the game to the repeated imagery of buildings, factories and urban decay.  I get the sense that it’s important we recognize that this is not just a story about a human individual, but how she relates to the urban landscape and (as I found out later) to the digital world. In the telling of the immediate setting for the story (Alice climbing the stairs of a rickety factory and getting stuck), I notice that the words take on the motions of a person – like climbing the stairs or “struggling” to get up on the platform after the stairs collapsed. Interesting to see human characteristics animating previously inanimate words. I notice early on that as the scenes progress, boxes are revealed on the right side of the screen, making it possible to view any section of the story at any time, but only after the scenes have been revealed in order the first time. I would note that this is kind of like memories of how you got to a certain point in your life (or predicament) – like once it happens, you can think back and try to figure out how you got there, but can run through the memories in any order you choose.

Alice’s recollections of Moscow show that she reflects on the same parts of that city as the one she’s in. Very industrial with fences, lots of buildings and walls and even stairs. The stairs I sense are a critical symbol in her story.  The literal stairs that brought her to where she is can also be a metaphor for the experiences she’s had that brought her out of Russia and into England. Yet, just as the stairs are swept out from under her, the experiences that brought her to England haven’t necessarily given her the sense of belonging or satisfaction she had hoped for, and now she’s left, marooned or stuck in a sense, in a new place, with no way to go back and only an unmarked path to go forward.

It’s clear through her recollections at school and with her project that she is allied with digital technology and uses it as a pathway to make friends. She is trying to make the best of the situation she finds herself in, but has her doubts of whether it will work out. She wonders if her new friends really like her or is she is just a “novelty”. We see the indications of her wanting to do what it takes to fit in. Her parents are obviously not try to make things better for her, and both the imagery and the way she discusses her parents she tons of limitations. The home is limited because its skinny and outdated and the layout is bad (with walls everywhere and long stairs – again!). She calls it horrible but says she likes the idea that they are staying, again trying to make the best of a bad situation. Her parents seem incapable of the same emotion and its interesting how she makes a literal list of things she doesn’t like about them (very teenager-like). We never see any images of her parents. I think its interesting that school, home, friends, her project and her city are the only options to click on – like they are the only things in her world.

I should mention that I liked the idea of her building projects on her phone, but I felt it could have been more interactive for the player.  We could only really click one place at a time and had limited options.

I think her imagery of the city is fascinating. Based on everything I had seen and experienced up to this point, I expected the imagery and sounds would have been much more industrial. But the imagery was almost pastoral – the music calmer and less urgent and she even mentions how she likes the weeds and we see drawings of geese – showing us she is working to see the natural part of the city (or maybe again trying to find the silver lining in a nasty situation.)

Back to the factory, I felt like the creators did a great job using the imagery and the sounds to communicate a haunting loneliness. The idea that Alice keeps going even when she runs into obstacles is a good metaphor for how we’ve seen her conduct herself in this new city up to this point. I didn’t realize who the sketch of the boy was until I googled the story series and discovered its her imaginary digital friend Brad. This part of the story adds another layer, in that it allows the reader to either play the game by trying to escape the catacombs by themselves (or with help from Brad) or to simply read a narrative that walks them through. Both are effective, although there were images I felt like I saw in one or the other experience that weren’t present in both. I like the idea that you could get a different experience depending on what you chose. The constant image of urban decay, abandoned industry and desolate, crumbing rooms and tunnels simply underscored the loneliness that Alice must have felt and several times, she starts to give  in to paranoia, wondering if someone is watching her or if she hears something that she cannot see. The multiple faces that show up on the walls in graffiti form are very distressing. Especially this one:

alicescream

Maybe they are the ones she senses are watching her? The fact that she emerges to triumphant music and to a scene of more buildings is almost disappointing.  What about her friends? Her home? Instead, for her, the moment of success seems to be that she can see with true perspective – no longer limited, she sees the city before her – “like it all belongs to me”. Being able to see everything with clarity seems to be her victory. But I must say, that throughout the story I had assumed that getting out, or overcoming the challenge of being trapped in an abandoned building meant getting out on the ground floor. It wasn’t until the end that I realized she was escaping upward… Is the key to her happiness to not look to the next challenge until she has to, namely how to get down from the top of the building?

As for my ideas, I am sticking with my idea of using musical lyrics to tell a story between a father and son. They will each be represented by guitars. The plot structure will be an encounter between the two, in which each tries to communicate in his own “voice” (the boy with rock and roll or heavy metal lyrics and the father with blues or ’50’s rock lyrics), but they will be unable to communicate or understand each other. At the point in which clicking between the two builds the conversation to an impasse, we will transition to a scene of a concert (where the boy will have fled) and the player can hit different points on the screen to play guitar solos.  It will then transition back to the home scene and the father and son will attempt to communicate again. At some point in the back-and-forth, they will strike the correct “chord” and they will begin speaking in a common “voice” to resolve the conflict. I will need imagery of guitars for the main characters, as well as a concert and home image for the two scenes. I will then need a bank of prechosen audio snippets to represent each character’s voice, with one set for the before-concert conversation and one set for the after-concert conversation. They will be randomly chosen when the player clicks the guitars. At some point, clicking two “correct” snippets in succession will erase all of the audio snippets except two – which will represent the final exchange between the two. (in the same “voice” or song).


High Muck a Muck: Playing Chinese

 

high-muck-a-muck-hs

As soon as I entered the world of high muck a muck, I was captivated by the sounds and the map of the author’s journeys being placed on the back of a body. When I went into the marker on the map named Everywhere and Nowhere, the music in the video brought me back to my time in my Cross Cultural Communication Class with Dr. Yedes. My second cultural event assignment was completed at the Rubin Museum in New York, where I was able to to explore the different cultures that make up South Asia. The music throughout High Muck a Muck took me back into the Tibetan alter/shrine where chant-like music played constantly in the background. Moving along, this piece was very interesting to me and I almost wish that I would’ve found this one to be able to present it :D. I feel that this work is so similar to how I would like my personal project to be. I love that the aspect of poetry (sometimes seemingly obscure but better understood if one clicks the book to read the full thing) is incorporated throughout as the reader travels through all of the places the authors trekked while immigrating to the West coast of Canada.

When I began trying to respond on this blog about this piece of e-lit, I started out by googling the word High Muck a Muck, and it is indeed an actual word (a noun). High Muck a Muck is basically a very authoritative and conceited person, and that was very interesting to me because I still do not know if I understand why it is titled that. I did stumble, however, across Simon Lysander’s website. Lysander contributed to the programming and design of the interactive piece. I liked how he specified the fact that he used “aleatoric processes” throughout the piece to make it feel similar to a fate/fortune, essentially because aleatory is defined as random or dependent upon chance. This concept really brings the piece full circle because that is exactly how it feels.
canada

I became even more fascinated as I read more and more about pak ah pu (Chinese lottery game) because this entire piece, I suppose, is supposed to be like a pak ah pu game. Often spelled pakapoo as well, this game is played by the organizer marking a ticket that has rows of characters on it from the Thousand Character Classic (a poem where no two words are repeated and is used to teach Chinese characters). The player that marks their ticket closet to the way the organizer does wins. I thought that I was the problem at first as I reiterated in my head that the piece was kind of all over the place and messy. I ended up finding out that “it looks like a pakapoo ticket” is an Australian slang way of saying that the writing that is displayed is essentially messy!

I also read that, for the authors, creating this piece was as much of an immigration journey as the actual stories they tell and that is completely understandable. The design of this piece is so carefully and intricately put together. The more that I got into it, the more excited I became to find different things that I did’t see before. I really appreciate this piece for what it is. Stories like the ones these authors shared are stories that need to be told and identified with. There was so much reflection in this and even more release. I have to say that this piece might have been even more powerful to me if I was hearing all of the poetry instead of just in one of the videos in the Canada section (?). Don’t quote me on the section, but I definitely remember it.  All in all, I can’t wait for Hailey’s presentation.

muck-a-muck
Link to High Muck a Muck

High Muck a Muck

I actually looked at High Muck a Muck initially for my own project and I am glad to get a chance to play. The phrase itself means an important or influential person, especially one who is pompous or conceited. It comes from Chinook Jargon in the period (later 1800’s) and area (Pacific Northwest) in which the story is set. The first screen appears to be the Pak Ah Pu lottery card that they reference. Interesting that it seems the game is set up to be multimodal (text, video and sound) and it indicates that the player has final decision on how the game unfolds, since the front page promises that the site can be explored “in any order and for any length of time”. No other part of the page is clickable except Enter. The text reveals slowly. The poem begins two lines at a time, referencing the lottery book which then replaces the poem large in the center of the screen. Some of the Chinese letters seem to be darker than others and I found that at least one was clickable, but while I was checking the others, blue ink stains appeared over some of the letters and then it all disappeared, replaced by a map. Starting over, I tried clicking on the one spot and all it does is erase the spots and then they come back again. So I let it go to the map. The lottery  card in the corner acts as a kid of a map key and reveals a list of places you can explore if you cursor over it. There is the sound of Chinese flute music – very calm at first, but soon replaced with conversations and silverware, etc – sounds very much like a restaurant. The blue stains are now on a person’s back covered with a drawing that looks like a map. By messing with the key, I discover that this is the home page. If you click on the book that says “British Columbia” in the left corner, it takes you to a poem. The seven biggest and darkest blue dots correspond to the seven locations in the lottery key. Clicking on “Everywhere and Nowhere“, you get a mystical horn sound, like a digeridoo. There are the images of two men facing away from each other and a ying yang between them. The ying yang takes you to a video that shows an old man emerging very slowly from the black screen – so slowly I thought the link was broken. It then pushes in on him. Is this the man with the lottery card from the beginning of the story? Discordant music plays over the video which just keeps pushing into the old man’s left eye. At about the halfway point, it dissolves into a bay’s eye and slowly pulls back. The juxtaposition of old and young is interesting – perhaps it means that if we look closely enough, we find things about us that are all the same? Just like the baby and the old man’s eyes are the same when you look closely?  (As I point out later, it’s interesting that each of them is shown separately and by themselves, fitting with a theme of solitude throughout.)

Back to the home page and I’m trying to figure out what this is a map of. The opening page mentions that the idea of this game is to explore the difficulties of Chinese immigrants in North America’s Gold Mountain, which I discovered is a reference to both San Francisco and Canada’s British Columbia. The closest parallel I can find using Google Maps is Vancouver Island just north of Washington state. The lighter blue dots on the map reveal short poems, seeming to channel Chinese immigrants’ experiences and perhaps the locals as well (dealing with the wave of immigrants). One poem talks about villages a hundred years ago and describes them as “elegance in tune” – perhaps a reference to life before the immigrants came. But another says he marks his time “in sluice” – a type of gate that can be used in panning gold (a big part of what drew immigrants to the region). There are references to Chinese cuisine and names. By the way, interesting that each poem has an FW at the bottom – I’m guessing a reference to Fred Wah, one of the makers of the game. Click on the Pacific Rim, I realize that it has a book in the corner. I go back and check and the Everywhere and Nowhere page does not have a book. Clicking the book, I get a poem about the location. It seems to be referencing the troubles for someone going back and forth between China and Canada – “the counterbalance to the Mainland not so man at home” – maybe means the man is no longer welcome back home?  “Here and back again, stopped stunned and caught in this double-bind of information, Chinese-Canadian, China Chinese tongue-tied”… maybe the man is finding it difficult to jump back and forth both physically and mentally and getting caught unable to speak the language fluently either place. On the man page for the Pacific Rim, there are three ships (actually the middle one is several ships).  That middle one shows a bunch of stuff shipped by China and the label “Made in China”, so perhaps this is about how critical China is to other parts of the world and how Chinese immigrants want to be recognized for that? In Richmond, the poems and images are about Chinese immigrants longing for you and complaining about being disillusioned by the U.S. One video shows expensive American houses and complains about this “empty life”, saying “it’s just not me.” Interesting that this is a modern story with modern images – not so much a reference to life in the 1800’s (although the sensibilities may have been the same). The juxtaposition of the Chinese drawings and art (even the writing has a Chinese feel) and music with the American images is jarring. It gives the player the sense that these things are being forced together instead of fitting together seamlessly. I think this is the whole point, to show the beauty of the Chinese culture and then show how poorly it fits with America. I noticed that many of the characters in the art are depicted singularly and in the videos as well, it’s often (if not always) a single person or face. They even opt to push into the face a couple of times, emphasizing the singularity and (in my opinion) solitude of the person, giving the viewer no sense at all of the people or environment around them.

The overarching theme is of someone who doesn’t feel like they belong – either in the homeland they have left or in the new land they now inhabit. Canada is similar – it shows a map of the Northern U.S. along with the Great Lakes and images of workers and the railroad. The poems speak of loneliness (ancestors who wont remember you) even though it seems to refer to a lot of ancestors being in the area (or maybe just a lot of Chinese). Interesting to note all of these maps are on images of a body, showing that the land and the experiences of these lands are ingrained in the people and that the people and land start to become inseparable for better or for worse. When these immigrants came to these areas, it changed them forever.”Nelson” is another dot (a city I discovered). The images you can click on are more modern – restaurants and shops and a small house… The poems again speak of homesickness – of dreaming of a land across the water – and disconnectedness from the Chinese people who are living there – the “uncle” in the shop, the people playing mah jong. The main character questions everything – how are they related to him?  or more likely, how are they like him? Another image of a man with a camera takes us to a video. More action in this one – mostly showing people playing mah jong, with a close up on the game (not a lot of faces) and an odd toy or something showing a figure with a Chinese hat on a string leash of some kind. Again, faceless and unidentifiable. In the poem, it’s interesting that the narrator admires a man named “Charley” who he says “is China”. Apparently he finds it easy to move between the two worlds – a trait our  narrator finds admirable.

After I clicked through the locations, I tried the “Legend” which I should have looked at first. It told me what all the images meant (and I went back to look at another video hidden behind a character in Vancouver. It showed people moving cups around) And it told me that ears had audio from people who told stories about the places they lived and their experiences. The key also had an option to learn about the making of the game and all their awards, as well as an option to tweet about it or share the game on Facebook. All in all, this is a very involved, multi-layered game with lots of different options for the player. The drawings and audio put you very much in the mind of an Asian/Chinese experience and with the different text, video and audio options, there are lots of places to draw a sense of what the authors are trying to do. That said, the entire game seems very much to stay with the theme which, to me, is that of people coming to a new land, trying to maintain identity and yet feeling disconnected, at odds with the new culture even as they try to maintain their own, and in some ways disillusioned with where they find themselves. And yet, the sense is they don’t really have an option to go back (although they admire those that can move between the two worlds) and so therefore are stuck to try and make the best of it. Looking back, I think the image of the lottery card may simply be telling us that all of life is a game of chance. You make your choice, buy your card, and hope to come out ahead.

 

 

 

 


Blog#3- High Muck a Muck

high-muck
http://www.agentic.ca/work/high-muck-muck

One word comes to mind when thinking of “High Muck a Muck,” and that is confusion. This Elit piece was not easy to get through and I found myself stopping and coming back to it several times. I do believe that the authors did this purposely because its main genre is poetry and poetry is how you interpret the idea of the author or authors and what they are trying to express. In this piece the words from different poems would appear at a different pace. That pace would indicate how fast or slow the author intended the reader to get through each part. Some lines would appear and then disappear and others would appear and remain there until I decided it was time to move on. I also believe this showed the importance of the messages the authors were trying to portray.

This interactive Elit piece had me going all over the place which was a bit confusing, but that is what also made it entertaining. Nothing in this piece was predictable as to how it would appear on the screen. The authors used many types of ways to communicate to the reader with videos, images, sounds, text, etc.

My favorite part on “the body” also known as “the map” was Vancouver. I spent most of my time focusing on that part because there was so much and I knew picking a specific part was important in understanding the piece as a whole. While reading through the poems and listening to the noises that appeared from the small ear in the bottom left corner, I realized that I am only half understanding what is going on throughout this piece. But like I mentioned before, poetry is made to understand and interpret what you can. The reader may not always see what the author is trying to discuss. I noticed that every single person had their own story to tell and there were so many different types of people. The music playing in the background of each person would indicate the emotion surrounding each individual and help to explain the story being told.

Another interesting section was at the top, center of “the map” labeled “Everywhere and No where.” This piece had no text, just one video that was not too long, but felt as if it were never going to end. This video was of an old man which started from a distance and slowly went closer and closer up until it reached his eye. Once it got to his eye, the image changed to another eye and as the camera moved further from that image I noticed an infant. To me this was a symbol of life. The idea of someone from the end of their life moving onto the beginning of it. I am not sure why it went from old to young as opposed to young to old like the way we grow in life. It kind of gave me that idea Benjamin Button.

Another important thing discussed and what I believe was the main focus of this piece was the idea of racism. Each person, no matter what class they were in, felt a part of racism at some point in their life. Each person told their own story of what they have been through and as things appear and disappear, so do the emotions of the people who have gone through their own situations.

I feel like there was so much in this Elit piece and it was hard to capture the entire meaning of what was trying to be said. This was one of those pieces that did have an ending once you got through it, but it took forever to reach that ending. I went through it for about an hour and a half and didn’t even make a dent in it. I hope to learn more about this piece as we discuss it in class this Tuesday!


Spinning Tales

tailspin

As soon as the world of Tailspin by Christine Wilks is open, there is movement and sound. Intricate designs grow and move in the background as the shape of an ear appears. If one did not read the description of the piece before entering, the ear would seem confusing, but after reading, it becomes clear that sound is crucial to this piece because of the grandfather’s tinnitus. I tried to do some research behind spiral shapes and their meanings, but did not stumble across anything that made it clear why the author chose to have swirling spirals as the point on a screen to click on. The reason could have very well been because Wilks just needed a shape or a spot for the reader to click. As you roll over the spirals, words fade into view to reveal part of a story. What happens next will be different for every reader because one may not roll over the spirals in the same order as another. I like the fact that everything does connect. The spirals could have been blurbs of unrelated pieces of text, but it connected to a larger story.

black-spirals

The story mostly centered around the lives of the mother, her two boys, the dad, and the grandfather. There are moments in the story that trails back to when the grandfather was in the war. Animations and caricatures sometimes moved across the screen as the story unfolded. At times, rolling over a spiral would result in the background transforming into a sky and plane would fly around. Once all of the black spirals on a single page is rolled over, a blue spiral will appear usually toward the center of the page to click on and move the reader to the next set of pieces to the story. I felt there was some sort of clear ending even though it may seem impossible in any type of electronic literature setting. There was a point where I was able to get to a red spiral in the center, and that brought me to the credits.

blue-spiral

Some of the spirals will have noses associated with them, in addition to the ongoing clinking of the grandchildren’s toys and the buzzing of tinnitus in the grandfather’s ear. Moments of the story even went back to when the grandfather might have been flying a plane and bullet sounds will blare out of the speakers. I can understand the feel the author might have been going for with such intense sound throughout the piece. The feel of the world reminds me of simulators that let individuals experience the kind of illness or disability another person has. I feel that the world is a great way to step into another person’s shoes and get to experience what is happening from the grandfather’s point of view. I can only imagine how annoying the constant ringing and buzzing is to him. All of the different moving parts on the screen emphasize how distracting it is to have so much going on at once.

The ability for a person to hear and the implications that the text makes allude to the fact that hearing is vital to human life. While some with hearing defects learn about the world in a different way to be able to adjust/adapt, if one is able to hear, they are automatically at an advantage and have a different view of the world than others. I felt a sort of weight once the author wrote “He can’t hear birdsong anymore” (Wilks “Tailspin”). I also felt there was a very distinct way in which the author went about sound so differently, and that was manifested when I’d roll over a piece of text and hear some of the words within it in a muffled shout. This aspect was creepy at first, but it is such a prevalent and striking detail. Overall, I didn’t know how much I would like this piece when I first started navigating it, but I feel like I found more joy in picking it apart than actually being immersed in the world and getting to go through it and navigate it.


The Aftermath of Confusion

Endless stairs of future

Just from reading the description before I began and entered Sharif Ezzat’s world, I was interested in how the idea was going to be executed. I really liked the idea of traditions between parent and child, and it sounded as though I wasn’t going to really know where I would end up or what I would be reading at any given moment. I really love how the sky became even more filled with stars as the narrator spoke in Arabic, asking questions about what the reader wanted to read. The music created an ambiance that is very calming and set the tone for the entire experience. The world is very dream like. Maybe it is just me, but the poems did not read like poems, but rather personal journals or just individual stories at times. There is no real vivid imagery in the poems. For example, I would like to know how the landscape that his uncle’s wife hated looked. The language is intriguing, but sometimes empty and I am not sure what to make of it.

The concept for Soliloquy by Kenneth Goldsmith is very unique and different. I don’t think I have seen anything like it before. I remember coming across this one as I was looking through the volumes. I remember my eyes widening as I realized how many words were possibly going to appear on the page, and then I became anxious as if I had to find them all and go through them all. I am not sure why those feelings came over me, but they did. It is interesting to see the choppiness of the entire piece and to read different blurbs of speech at different parts of the day. I never knew what my mouse was going to roll over and how much would appear. On one hand, I wanted to keep rolling my mouse around the page just out of curiosity, and on the other hand I felt as though the set up of the piece was a burden. I do, however, love the fact that once the mouse moves from one place the text fades away. On the web, we can get get back to it and just roll our mouse over it again, but during the day we can’t really say something exactly how we said it before unless we are paying close attention to ourselves in that way.

Red Riding Hood was the most interesting of the three, but also the most uncomfortable to me. I was excited for it because I am very familiar with the story, and also did a project on it in Writing for Cyberspace where my group collaborated to create a modern version honed in on today’s technology and how it can be dangerous. In this piece, though, I did not understand the twists and turn that the author was taking. I jumped into all three of these worlds without any previous knowledge of anything associated with it and I felt like this had something to do with how I reacted. I felt that Red Riding Hood had this really storyline-like interactive format, but didn’t really allow you to do much. There was one point where I wanted to click to make her dream, but I couldn’t and I had to choose to wake her up. The option, that turned out not to be an option, made me mad because I kept thinking about all of the things that I wouldn’t know about now. I couldn’t understand what happened at the end of the piece either. To me, it looked as though Red was just laying on the bed and then someone (I’m guessing the wolf) comes to stand beside her and that is it. It had a dark and menacing quality to it and the music really helped to drive the story forward, but I still felt confused throughout the entire piece. I feel like once I know more about it and look up more on the piece I will begin to be able to understand it better and appreciate the decisions the author made.

Overall, I liked surfing through the three pieces. I even went back and forth through them simultaneously, after I surfed them individually, to get a feel of coming in and out of the different worlds. I must say It would be a very hard decision if I had to choose one that I liked the best because I honestly have my reservations about all of them and maybe it was because of the time of day that I looked at them; I may not have been at my most receptive. I definitely want to go back to each world and experience again in a different space and at a different time and see if it makes  a difference to how I respond to it.