This week I chose to read and blog about World of Awe, an electronic work that has three chapters: “Forever”, “Deconstruction and Mending”, and “Object of Desire”.On the main screen you have the choice of which chapter you want to start with by clicking on their individual icons. The first chapter has a computer above it, the second chapter has a bomb, and the third has some sort of odd shape that I can’t quite figure out. Beneath these icons we are given a setting about a world that is parallel to ours. Death is undefined, gravity is a choice, and thirst is never a problem.
Since I was given the choice of where to start I decided to click on the second chapter that had the bomb icon. Chapter two opens up a separate little window that has a couple of tabs up top and four more buttons that you can click on in the middle. Each of the buttons takes you to a different area. There’s the Minefield, the Pearl, Celebration, and Computer’s Inventory. The level of multilinearity in this work is kind of uncomfortable (to me anyway). I was a little bit unsure of where to start. The layout of the work was more like a really old computer game. You had your “center” or “map” with locations and at the top you had your “menu” of sorts. For now, I would like to focus more on the story of this electronic work.
At the top of most of the documents are a list of keywords, the protagonist’s physical condition, and the surface’s “expression”. For the most part our hero, Whirr, seems to be traversing through a dessert. Unfortunately for this guy, he can’t seem to catch a break. If you go to the minefield you’ll notice that his foot is missing some toes and his right ear is missing some pieces of itself. If you’re a huge empath like I am, you can feel his pain and struggle as if it were your own. Although we are told this I feel as if some of the text almost takes away these feelings. The text itself is very detailed but once in awhile you come across a word such as “moo” or “eep” that just doesn’t seem to belong. The text is also in different colors which ruins it’s atmosphere and consistency. Sometimes it’s blue or red, other times it’s yellow, green, and orange. The color sometimes stops midway in a word and is never seen in the protagonist’s love letters. You can feel their love and tangled emotions in the letters. A pearl that was a memento from his lover gradually made it’s way from their arm down to their foot. This part made me a bit anxious so I had to reread it to get the full affect. I believe the pearl is representation of where he feels his longing for her. He didn’t want her warmth and affection to ever leave him, which is why he felt sorrow when the pearl fell out from his eye at one point. It was almost like reading a poem/story from Japan. Stories that have a certain presence and meaning behind them.
I had trouble proceeding with the third chapter due to some language issues so I went on to the first chapter. There was no audio for the second chapter so I was surprised to find an audio file here. The audio is made up of wind sounds against a vast, open dessert with an occassional random noise. A siren, a robot, beeping, etc.It feels alien, almost unsettling even. The text in the first chapter is squished together in places and moving around in others. If you were to leave the literary work at any time it would say “Yours 4ever” just like what Whirr writes at the bottom of his love letters. You are his lover.
Overall this work was much easier to navigate and comprehend compared to Taroko Gorge and The Babysitter.It was still a lot to take it and quite a bit to dig into but the navigation was more organized. Things had a certain flow to them. The character Whirr reflected the harshness and dangers of the surrounding environment while his letters reflected his emotions and inner turmoils towards his lover and himself. We didn’t see this in the babysitter. In the babysitter the reader was a watcher. We were being shown things and given dialogue but very rarely were we given depth on a character’s inner thought. In The Babysitter, we barely scratched the surface. Taroko Gorge was albeit more simplified than World of Awe but both really wanted to drive the point across as to what they wanted to show us.