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Digitally Born

Shy Boy

Not only is it literature but it is also digital art because of the way it is presented. You not only read the poem about a Shy Boy and how he see and feels about himself but see a visual representation of the emotional state he is trying to convey. What makes this digitally born is that the authors would not have been able to present it in this particular way without its origins starting in the digital world.

Being a bit of a geek myself I always look at the source code of web sites that interest me so I can see how they did it. One of the first things that I noticed was that the code used was very minimal. I was expecting to see a huge amount but it is ten lines of code. The active part of the poem, a .swf file that is used for vector graphics, is stored on their server and does not activate until a user clicks on the ‘enter’ link.

As stated in Hayles’ Electronic Literature: What is it? In chapter three part of the genetic material to be born digitally is to have code embedded and part of the interpretation process. We read this in paragraph six:

“Unlike a print book, electronic text literally cannot be accessed without running the code. Critics and scholars of digital art and literature should therefore properly consider the source code to be part of the work, a position underscored by authors who embed in the code information or interpretive comments crucial to understanding the work.”

Audra Mann | @WSUVcollegeMom