Pry – Part 2

The second part of Pry is just as immersive, while revealing more of the actual story. Chapter 5 starts with James taking another job that leads him to a bridge where he eventually falls off into the water after his vision fails him, he then appears in a desert where the text just keeps saying “Go back” with various other phrases. I think this is him trying to go back into his mind to the time he was at a base, since that was also mentioned. If you try to pinch into his mind, it’s just videos of him still sinking into the water from when he fell on the bridge.

Almost like while he’s sinking into the water, his mind is thinking about his past, somewhere else completely. Chapter 6 was pretty cool, as it started off with just two lines of text and every time you pried the text open, more would appear until eventually you could “tear” the text in half to see a video behind it. Eventually, the chapter ends and forces you onto the next one. Chapter 7 then begins with James and Luke sitting in the desert by a fire they built, and as you pry, you can switch between multiple videos while their voices talk in the background.

It was really cool to be able to switch between all kinds of different things happening in the same place while still hearing the story behind it. Chapter 7 also starts to reveal more of the story between James and Jessie. It’s apparent that James blames himself for Jessie’s death, even though she died because of an attack in a building. James says that it was his fault, and that she called to him but he ran away, leaving her to die. However the text, and presumably Luke, say that he wasn’t there at all, and he was in a different building across the street playing poker. It’s revealed through more videos that James and Jessie got into a fight, which caused her not to go to the poker game and end up in the building that was attacked, causing her death. James says that she wasn’t at the game because of him, and if she was there she would have lived, making her death his fault. At the end of chapter 7, James pulls himself out of the water, and the user is unable to pinch or pry into his mind anymore.


“The keywords in this file were typed into AOL’s search engine by users who never suspected that their private queries would be revealed to the public.”

The one I mostly looked into this week was the video “I Love Alaska” by Lernert Engelberts and Sander Plug. The first thing I noticed is that the background is a picture of Alaska, which is obviously fitting for the story. As the story goes on, it looks like the picture is moved and becomes dark which I saw as the passing of time in a day/night cycle. I wasn’t sure but at least to me it looked like the picture was the same throughout. The format of this piece of work is flarf, which is using primarily Google searches in a type of poetry or other work. The online network is made very visible to us in this work, as the “storyline” is that of a middle aged woman, whose searches on the internet were made available to the public by AOL. Throughout the video she is referred to as “#711391”. She uses the internet to talk about her secrets when she can’t talk to anyone else. Such as searching things like,

“I thought I could handle an affair but I couldn’t”.

The story itself is very interesting because you get to essentially see into the mind of someone who didn’t ever expect anyone to see her searches. This story is so emotional and raw I was extremely invested in it. It’s also a good reminder that not only is the internet permanent, it’s never really private. This is an important lesson in today’s time because a lot of people think the internet is more private than it really is. Google always remembers your searches, FaceBook knows that you’ve been looking at recently and will show you ads to represent that.

Multimedia Fiction

Out of the works that we were presented with this week, I chose to explore Mark Amerika’s FilmText as well as J.R. Carpenter’s CityFish. The most prominent comparison that I’ve made between these two particular works of multimedia fiction is that they both contain a plethora of different kinds of multimedia all at once. In the case of CityFish, you are immediately presented with a series of text, images and links that will either take you to other parts of the webpage or will present embedded videos. In regards to FilmText, you are presented with a series of animations that are accompanied by background images and links that present a series of texts and/or.

Mark Amerika’s FilmText shares commonalities with interactive games. When exploring the work, you are tasked with navigating through what is described as an empty desert landscape by moving through a series of eight levels. Throughout these levels, you may click on a series of items that present various imagery and text and on each level, there is a text box that appears and will present a message in the form of code; an interesting and creative way to present a message.

J.R. Carpenter’s CityFish on the other hand is far more story-like in the sense that the reader is tasked with moving across the page from left to right, circumventing through a set of text, images and videos. The story describes a girl from Novia Scotia named Lynne, who visits and experiences New York. All of the media components on the page help provide perspective for the reader in an interesting and engaging fashion.

Multimedia Fiction

Farinsky Blog 7: Multimedia Fiction

Multimedia fiction is a genre of work where textual and other methods combine to create interactive experiences for a viewer. In Loss of Grasp by Serge Bouchardon (top) and How to Rob a Bank by Alan Bigelow (bottom) the reader’s understanding of the literary landscape is heavily influenced by kinetic aspects within the browser window. The top shot is a moment where the mouse creates a series of colorful, musically choreographed, orbs that increase with every click. The bottom is a screen shot of one screen presented to the reader corresponding to the narrative’s main character feeling disconnected from her husband. Both utilize plain text in the center of the screen to convey a blunt message about the narrative spinning away from a controlled state and into the more abstract or absurd. The combination of sensory input immerses the reader in an environment that can otherwise seem straightforward and rather expose the subtext that is gleaned from these complex narratives. Readers can reflect on the grasp they may or may not feel in personal affairs and the connection strength to family. Both works tell an intriguing story worth exploring deeply.

Multi-media fiction. How to Rob a bank with 88 constellations

While reading these works, I was both engaged and confused. All of the pieces are vastly different and each have there own story to tell but also all of them use the same mediums available. I have gone through “how to rob a bank” in other classes and that backstory helped fill in details. But it is still interesting to see how both images, text, sound and video are all used to move the narritive along. While I enjoy this piece, it isn’t immersive for me, this is well because no one in reality would try to rob a bank in such a manner. So, the sense of realism an immersive is lost because of the absurdity of it. This doesn’t mean that the characters are not interesting and the story fun but that I always know where I am while interacting with this literature. The tools used to create this world are very different then you tools and methods used for other E-lit pieces and I like that about “How to Rob a Bank” in this series you interact and see the story unfold through seeing post on social media, or through journal entries, in gifs or other abstract sounds.
88 constellations, this art/literature piece grabbed my attention more than I was expecting. When I first looked at this piece, I was a little put-off/ confused by its layout. But after I highlighted the first constellation (hyperlink) and the video started I was hooked. The way that they are all interconnected as well as the utilization of video and sound had me jumping form one star to the next learning about Beethoven’s 5th, to then learn about Charlie Chaplin. How each star in a constellation has a little bit of information and they all play a part in describing the whole constellation.

Multimedia Fiction

In this weeks Blog we dive into a few contents that focuses on multimedia fiction as well as multilinear storytelling. We have to choose 2 – 3 of them and go in depth with what they represent. The 2 pieces of content that I choose to write about was “Lost of Grasp” and “Film Text”. I choose those 2 stories specifically because I felt like they are the ones that really stood out from the rest in terms of design and overall content.

The first story that I choose, “Lost of Grasp”, was very interesting. The story starts us off with a flash animated introduction then cuts us to a desert landscape where we are free to then choose how we want to progress with the story. I really felt immersed in this piece of content because I felt it was really well put together and it doesn’t demand to much with how fast we want to know with the story.

The second story that I choose which was “Film Text” was a little weird but in a way that really made you focus on the story to really get an understanding of what it all means. Like for example, the son talking about how he doesn’t have a hero because he doesn’t really favor a life more than the previous life but then we where able to mess with the wording a little bit by clicking on a specific part of the paragraph and hearing him say things like, “I don’t love you”, “You’re not a modal for me” and I believe that this is what the father is hearing because, I believe, that all he wanted is for someone to look up to him but sense his son really doesn’t look up to anyone the father believes that the son doesn’t really love him.

Multimedia Fiction

This week, I chose to take an in-depth look at the works “Loss of Grasp” and “How to Rob a Bank.” Loss of Grasp generates words through mouse clicking and every once in awhile it seemed as though the words showed up based on a timer. If I clicked sometimes a word would show up, but other times it would take awhile to actually show up, hence my suspicion that it also used a timer to precisely decide how long the user must interact with certain words and phrases. This timed text combined with the ability to click around on the screen creating expanding circles of color and different sounds creates a world that to me felt like a representation of what it’s like to think to yourself. Seeing those circles of color reminded me of the times as a kid where I would close my eyes and rub them hard and see all of the colors that would show up. I don’t know if this was the artists intention, but it’s definitely what the work made me think about, and I found it very immersive because it felt as though I was in my own thoughts. This work is a fiction based on the fact that it is not based on or referencing anything in particular. I believe if there is any character in this work, then it must be the user.

In How to Rob a Bank, the world is generated based on a fake iPhone screen, by clicking through it switches between various “scenes” within the phone, such as two characters texting each other about several things throughout the course of the story, news articles, images, social media, etc. Since this is the kind of world we see every day on our own devices, it was especially easy to become immersive, since I am so used to being able to become immersed in the sole technology in my hands on a daily basis. This work comes across as more of an obvious work of fiction than Loss of Grasp, mainly because it is much easier to tell what’s going on and gain a clear understanding of the plot and characters. There is a clear beginning, middle, and end.

Bank Robber and Cityfish

Cityfish uses text, maps, and stock photographs to tell a story. It was kind of hard to follow the story. I had to read it a few times to get the gist of it. I clicked on some of the stars that read, “You are here” and was taken to another part of the story. When I did this, I ended up in the section where the fish was speaking to a lemon in the bag. This kind of confused me because it from fiction to magical realism. Lynne is the main character in the story, which tells of her vacation in New York. This work of fiction is abstract and immersive. This is not a critique on the work; I actually like it.

How to Rob a Bank, uses diaries, calendars, pictures and Google search engine to tell the narrative. This work of fiction uses common tools (Google search engine text messages) to produce the fictional world. Several characters in the story uses aliases after going into hiding after a bank robbery. The character’s newborn daughter (Alexandria) is central to the story. This fictional story is immersive because it uses the common tools I mention earlier to tell the story. I think the use of the web is what make this story work. I never imagine one could tell a story by using a search engine. I like this story, because it’s easy to follow. I didn’t understand the clips of
the Simpsons and baby instruction. What was these clips trying to imply?

Multimedia fiction

The first one of the readings I explored was “88 constellations”. Within the framework of box images, video, and audio combine to make this multi-linear story. The constellation lets you pick the sequence of the story. It deals with the digital world, history, and the present. I also liked how it used fictional stories from movies to “teach” through this story.

I liked the multilinear stories on “how to rob a bank” best. I felt it did a better job of connecting the characters to one unified thing. It reminded me of the movie “searching”, where the whole story was told through the use of different digital platforms. The story told is that of a couple who rob banks. But it is not just told through their viewpoint.

The part that captivated me the most was the part with the woman and the baby. It’s able to tell a story through the vehicle of a phone. She documents her experience with a new baby. It captures the joys of motherhood with the heartaches as well. The reader can see her scrambling through a baby help book for answers to stop the child’s crying. Also, the icons or apps that show the degradation of the family unit, as the husband and wife grow further apart. It seems they are both bored with each other or maybe what life has become, compared to their careers robbing banks. It seems at the end of this entry that the mother asks for forgiveness from the child, assumedly for leaving it so she and her husband could pursue their “career”.

Multimedia Fiction: Film Text and 88 Constellations

“Film Text” by Mark Amerika immediately grabbed my attention as it popped on the screen. Between the sound and the words floating by, not to mention what the words were actually saying–“We are the ghosts in the literary machine”–as well as the visual elements he incorporates, it is a more immersive work i’d argue. Though some characteristics do happen to pull the reader from the experience of the piece. It isn’t entirely clear what to do to continue on so rather than reading a work and moving from one section to the next with smooth transitions, whether linear or not, with this work the reader has to stop and think about what they need to do next or what they may not have yet tried until the notice appears in the corner stating “Authorized for next level.”

The work itself does appear to be rather ominous in nature as well. I certainly would not describe it as a happy work as he questions what is real, makes mention of his body being a host of biological events, as well as media terrorists and that of the collective consciousness and his succumbing to that ideal, ‘his’ being the speaker of the piece rather than that of the author himself.

He uses the phrase,

I have no choice but to give in. Rip me, mix me, burn me. Burn me into plastic and fuck me in your TV computer mind.

which can easily be related to when someone takes a blank disc and burns their music or their own mix track onto it. But in this context, with terms like “burn” and “vaporize” as he uses a short while later, makes the whole process sound so violent in comparison. As though we’re facing a digital-age apocalypse.

Another work that was keen to grab attention was that of David Clark’s “88 Constellations.” Whether or not there are characters per se would be a matter of opinion. There is a narrator, in a sense. A voice proclaiming “Join the dots!” to create the constellations. I particular enjoyed the animation style right at the start to be frank, and then how it continues through with each constellation you pick as the narrator goes on a little story both related and unrelated to what was selected. It has a bit of an older and yet still elegant appeal to its design that appears almost timeless.

The content itself is certainly informative jumping across history to name events and people, such as 9/11 and the Twin Towers, or Chaplin and his aggravation with Hitler ‘stealing’ his signature mustache. When it comes to immersiveness, this work is certainly easier to navigate and has a relatively clear purpose in comparison to Mark Amerika’s “Film Text.” But also similarly to “Film Text,” the content itself is rather dark.

Mark Amerika’s “Film Text”
David Clark’s “88 Constellations”

Dylan Niehaus – Multimedia Fiction

The first work I decided to explore was FilmText by Mark Amerika. I found this work to be interesting and intriguing, I found myself stuck and unable to advance. I also feel that the work lacks any real narrative, although it does have quite a bit of intricate interactivity to it. The sound work in this piece of literature is also quite interesting, its very dissonant and I found myself a bit mesmerized by it. One thing that I have learned from exploring different pieces of electronic literature is that I greatly appreciate atmospheric music that sounds a bit “off” if you will. I also find this works use of symbols to be quite interesting, although I am not sure if the symbols are unique and created by the author just for this work or if they are simply letters of a different language. Despite the interesting elements of FilmText, I would have to say that I do not entirely enjoy it because it lacks meaning to me and I just feel lost while exploring it.


Next, I decided to explore How to Rob a Bank by Alan Bigelow. When compared to FilmText, I found How to Rob a Bank to be much more immersive and enjoyable. This is mainly because How to rob a bank is a much more straightforward story told in a rather unique way, rather than an abstract piece of art that is interactive. How to Rob a Bank tells a linear story through a person’s actions on a cellphone, which I found to be captivating and immersive. I found myself looking forward to the next actions performed on the cellphone to reveal new information in the story. I also enjoyed the background noises of cars passing by on the street and birds chirping – very relaxing, in stark contrast to the story being told. 

Multimedia Fiction

For this post, I chose to focus on “Cityfish” by J. R. Carpenter and “Loss of Grasp” by Serge Bouchardon.

I read Cityfish first, and even before I got into the story, I enjoyed the unique page layout. I think it does a lot to show how time passes for the narrator, literally moving the story along as it does so figuratively as well. I also enjoyed the collage-like aesthetic, since it seemed to very accurately portray a young person’s thoughts and memories: fragments of photographs, mental maps, illustrations, snippets of foreign languages and even pieces of poetry and quotes…they all come together to form a cohesive picture of the narrator, Lynne.

Something else I liked in this story was the various pieces of ephemera (such as the Transit Authority buttons) that took you forwards and back. For me, I didn’t realize they were links until partway through the story, and when I clicked on one, it took me backwards in the story. I took this as showing how Lynne feels about her New York summers–repetitious and jarring–and so again, really helped to add to the character.

The videos included also did a lot to build the atmosphere. Rather than showcasing smooth, glamorous shots of the New York skyline, the videos are all rather banal, showing rows upon rows of marketplace goods, blurred grey views from transit windows, shadows of passerby moving over the concrete…again, it helped a lot to place me in the scene with the characters, and fit Lynne’s bored and annoyed mindset very well.

All in all, I felt that Cityfish wasn’t abstract per se, since while it was fragmented, each piece was concrete and vivid, but it was definitely immersive and told an interesting story about family dynamics and feeling like an outsider. It was somewhat interactive in that it invited the reader to explore the world being built, but it was overall pretty linear, as it did have a specific plot with pretty definite forward motion, going from Nova Scotia, through New York, to the Aunt and Uncle’s apartment with the fish being fried at the end.

Loss of Grasp was more abstract, but still had a strong character, as well as an immersive kinetic setting. I liked how the interactive quality of it also told a story. A good example is in chapter 1: when the character is describing feeling in control of his surroundings, the mouse controls a series of glowing, musical orbs. When the narrator begins to have doubts, however, and finally realizes he has little to no control, the orbs explode into random patterns, no longer following your cursor at all.

A great example of interactivity and character/plot work involving kinetic typography is in chapter 4, when the narrator reads a portion of an essay written by his son. In it, the son describes not having a hero, and the narrator is instantly betrayed.

“How can he do this to me?”



After the essay is read by the son, you can click on a paragraph and the letters fly aside, revealing what the narrator is actually taking from it: phrases like “I don’t want anything from you” and “You are not a model.”

The other text transitions themselves are also very insightful and do a lot to help portray the mindset of the narrator. Instead of cleanly moving from one thought to the next, they flash through a mess of gibberish symbols and letters. This is pretty much constant throughout the story, and it good continuity as well as character work.

Overall, this piece includes a lot of vivid kinetic typography, interactivity, and intriguing narrative. While it is a little abstract (the narrator and characters aren’t given names, no true setting is given, etc) it does follow the story of this man’s life and mental instability.