Here is the link to my Tumblr containing my final project : ) enjoy
I was browsing through the various web pages. When I got to Big Other, I came across “The Broken Road” by Paul Kincaid and the post intrigued me. The very first sentences in the post caught my attention. Kincaid wrote, “And so the journey is finally over. Begun in the snowy December of 1933 by a young man not yet turned 19, and completed now, two years after his death at the age of 96. Or not quite completed…” I needed to know what he meant by the journey finally being over but not yet complete. I find this skill to be necessary when reviewing other’s work, especially if the writer is trying to entice others to read the work themselves. Kincaid continues to successfully describe the pieces of literature in a fascinating way, without giving away too much. He later explains how captivating Fermor’s (the story-teller) writing is and supports his assessment with a quote from Fermor’s writing. After reading the short passage, Kincaid’s observations are confirmed. He truly draws me in and convinces me that Fermor’s documentations of his long travels are worth reading. Kincaid review or explanation almost seemed to be an introduction to Fermor’s writing.
I unfortunately could not attend the additional literary readings because of scheduling conflicts, but it is with great pleasure that I discuss Stephanie Strickland and Alexandra Chasin’s literary reading. On Monday, November 25, 2013, I attended a lecture on the cutting edge of literary technology featuring writers, Stephanie Strickland and Alexandra Chasin. Upon entering the Plangere Annex, I took my seat. The event was small, yet intimate. Our Professor, Michael Leong, introduced the writers. Both women are highly skilled, renowned writers and such accomplishments were reflected in their introductions. Because of the size of the space, Strickland and Chasin were quite close to the listeners when presenting their work. The read, consequently, was more personal than I had anticipated. The women were able to make direct eye contact with most audience members throughout the reading.
Strickland was particularly invested when reciting her poetry. She is extremely passionate about her work and it was evident throughout her reading. The works she discussed included Dragon Logic, Sea and Spar Between, and slippingglimpse among others. Strickland explained her direct influence in the production of her electronic work. Her involvement and knowledge of the technological aspects of the work was inspiring and refreshing. Many writers produce the “written” parts of their work, but leave the layout or “visual” components to others. Strickland’s ability to participate in all aspects of the production of her work provided for a clearer more successful representation of her vision. Chasin was vivacious and eager to present her work to us. Like Strickland, Chasin was ardent about her work. She read a portion of the monologue Brief. It was evident through her reading that Chasin was extremely familiar with and confident in her work. She embodied the emotions and mannerisms of the character she was portraying and made ample eye contact with the audience. Chasin also provided us with video footage of writers in action. Various writers and artists, in both organized and unorganized sessions, gathered at an old home and covered the walls in various forms of expressive literature. The videos were particularly intriguing because the writer’s process was visible to the public, which does not occur often. The reading culminated with an interactive question and answer session between the women and the audience. This discussion was eye opening because Strickland and Chasin seemed to disagree on many points. We were exposed to all sides and possibilities, yet both arguments had validity.
I was intrigued most by slippingglimpse. This poem used the image of water in its animation, and I feel many of the qualities of water are exhibited in the structure of the electronic media. Water is spontaneous and unpredictable. Similarly, viewers are given several options for ways in which they can view the work. The ordering can be different each time, the images can change, and the coloring of the work varies throughout. I chose a starting image at random, and clicked “scroll text” (another option for the reader). To my surprise the text referenced performance and choreography, some things that are particularly present in my own life. The writing seemed to deal with experiences in life and how outside influences and personal experiences impacts how individuals are shaped as humans. Strickland writes, “I finally learned to see beyond the retinal experience.” There is more to life than what meets the eye. Interpretation and personal physical and mental experience directly influences a person’s life. Not all things are as clear as they seem and it is our responsibility to explore beyond the surface. The image above the scrolling poem directly correlates with the idea of looking beyond the surface. At a quick first glance, a viewer may be distracted and overwhelmed by the movement of the waves. Yet, if the viewer sees more deeply, he or she will notice the phrases flowing through the water. Even more so, each viewer will read these phrases in a different order and develop his or her own meaning. I had skimmed the work prior to the reading. However, I did not truly read the poem until after my attendance. Attending the reading enhanced my experience with the work. I would have not as easily navigated the poem without Strickland’s guidance. The first time I entered the site, I was a bit overwhelmed by the possibilities. After watching Strickland navigate the site, and listening to her explanation of what the images were and from where they emerged, the poem was more clear and I was more eager and interested to read it.
I would have loved to continue to read more of Chasin’s work, Brief. Unfortunately, I do not have access to an iPad to do so. This complicated my experience with work because it left me frustrated that my ability to access it is so limited. Had I been able to further indulge in Brief, the live experience with Chasin could have either enhanced or hindered my personal experience. Chasin was so invested in the reading and truly embodied the character she created. She was expressive in her speech and evoked the erratic nature of the vandal. Chasin mimicked the mannerisms the character possessed and evoked in the monologue. Had I been able to continue reading, I would have imagined Chasin reading the monologue. I would have pictured her inflections and quick speech. Because Chasin created the character, her acting out of the monologue directly embodies the character exactly how she had envisioned. However, this experience leaves little room for my own interpretation. It would be difficult for me to develop “my own” character because one was already created for me through Chasin’s reading.
Overall, the experience was both beneficial and enjoyable. It was an honor to hear both women recite their own works with such expression and passion. Their incite was inspiring and both Strickland and Chasin are indeed innovators and at the cutting edge of electronic literature.
Alison Clifford’s “The Sweet Old Etcetera” was an interactive poem based on the poetry of e.e. Cummings. I was immediately drawn to this because the picture featured in the collage appears to be a work of art, but when you look closely the work of art is created by clusters of words. In order to view the poem, the viewer must click on the words on the page–the viewer is essentially in control. This was appealing to me because I could spend as much time as I needed or wanted to at each step of the interaction. As the interaction progressed so did the image. You watched a tree grow, leaves form, leaves fall, until the landscape was created. With each click, a sound played. I, as the viewer was essentially creating a graphic design/movement art, with a sound score. I could click on the same word(s) as many times as I wanted to, so I repeated sounds and sections of the poem to which I was particularly drawn. I found myself, however, getting distracted by the interactive process, and sometimes not paying attention to the words themselves. Certain sections of the poem were more intriguing, particularly the sections that the words were ordered in a understandable syntax. I feel as though these sections were more appealing because they were naturally simpler to understand. Sections that featured the words in clusters, or with excessive punctuation were more difficult to comprehend. In these cases, I let that sections play for longer or repeated it. Another aspect of the poem that was a bit frustrating was the “word tree.” The tree swayed as if it was being blown in the wind. While, the swaying was visually appealing it made it difficult to click the word I was trying to click, and I often missed or clicked the wrong word. It was also challenging to remember which words I had already clicked on, as the interaction progressed. Times that I repeated sections, I was a bit disinterested and just waiting for the section to finish so I could move on. The color were also interesting. The poem placed emphasis on leaves and the fall. When I think of fall I associate it with an abundance of colors (red, orange, yellow, etc.) I supported this choice because, had the poem been more colorful, the words would have not standee out or been as affective for me. The images created with the words were also intriguing. An image that stood out to me, was one associated with the word leaves. I clicked on parenthesis, that were symbolic of a leaf, and the floated down off the tree, like a real leaf would. Similarly, when Clifford played with the word “leaves” the letter fell from the word like leaves from a tree. Perhaps, the most important aspect of this poem was its ability to maintain fresh. Every time a viewer interacts with this poem, he or she will have a new experience. The order of the sections will change, the sound score made will change. This poem is timeless because each interaction with it is unique to its predecessor.
Young Daisy awoke to a sky encompassed by darkness. Clouds filled the sky and a chilled wind blew throughout the town. Poor Daisy had been looking forward to a lovely day at the park with her friends from school, but it had appeared the coming rain had ruined any plans she had for the day.
Reluctantly, Daisy got out of bed and shuffled to the kitchen for breakfast. She filled a bowl with milk and her favorite cereal, Cheerios. Finished with her meal, she looked to her mother eyes wide and pouted lips. Her mother giggled and explained that she would call her friends and Daisy could go to the play room and wait for their arrival. Daisy’s mood brightened and she skipped off to the play room.
For whatever reason today, Daisy was not amused or satisfied with the toys she had. She searched and searched through the closet for something exciting. With the pull of a blanket, a box came tumbling out from the back of the clost–a box Daisy had never seen before. Daisy eagerly opened the box and rummaged through it for something new and interesting. She came across a cylindrical object, one she did not recognize. It had a pink floral design on the outside of it and appeared to be quite aged. She tried to blow into it like a whistle but that did not work. A baton, a wand, a cane, a flute–nothing seemed to fulfill this strange objects use. Maybe a telescope? Daisy put the toy up to her eye and was fascinated with what she saw. A cluster of colors appeared. She squinted her right eye a little harder and the designs became even clearer. Daisy even realized that if the turned the end of the object the designs changed. Little did she know, she had found her mothers old kaleidoscope.
Mesmerized by this foreign object, Daisy kept spinning the end, then she began to spin until she grew so dizzy both her and the kaleidoscope hit the window. She collected herself and abruptly looked into her new toy to be sure it had not broken. As she looked through the kaleidoscope she realized she could see her play room but in a rainbow of colors. Daisy ran towards the window as a woman slowly walked by. She was a skinny, elderly woman sheltering herself from the rain under her umbrella. Through the kaleidoscope she appeared in colors of blue, pink, yellow, and black. The woman stopped right in front of Daisy’s window, when suddenly her mom yelled from her downstairs. Startled by her mother, Daisy dropped the kaleidoscope. Her friends had arrived and her mom requested she come downstairs to greet them. She ran down the stairs in excitement leaving her new found discovery behind.
It was fascinating to me to learn about “e-lit,” which I knew nothing about prior to reading “Born Digital.” E-lit is so different from printed literature because it is more than just words on a page–it is essentially an interactive experience. Readers are not reading an existing document but having an experience with the literature. I went on to view Brian Kim Stefans’ “The Dreamlife of Letters.” He wrote this poem in response to another work by a women. While the visual was intriguing, I was very distracted by the constant movement of the letters and words. I became caught up in the movement and lost the actual meaning behind the work and some points found myself not even reading the words. The work became more like digital art, like I was watching a moving design, as opposed to reading literature. It was clear that the way I learned to approach literature growing up–very old-school, reading on paper–influenced my ability to focus on this work. Like Strickland explained, reading e-lit is a learned practice, which I have not yet mastered. Placing the words in alphabetical order allows viewers to identify in the words in a way that is familiar to everyone–in alphabetical order. Viewers can automatically relate to the poem in one way just because of the order of the words. The use of the color orange also has an underlying meaning. The color orange is often associated with uplifted spirit and optimism. By using that color in the background, Stefan initially evokes those feelings through his work. It was evident that Stefan was portraying that the woman’s work he was responding to was heavily compacted with words. By taking those words and allowing them to be ordered by chance, he showcased the many different things that can be said with words–specifically her words. The “by chance” ordering of the words and poems produced allowed viewers to create their own meanings for each poem/bundle of words, as opposed, to him pushing his opinions on the viewer.