DTC 338 | Will Luers | CMDC @ Washington State University
Final Artist Statment
DTC 338 Artist statement
When writing “Self” I didn’t know what I wanted to say through the piece. While this might not be the case for my co-author Des, I knew I wanted to address the ideas of interactive poetry as well as hypertext. I was heavily influenced by works like “Those We Love Alive” and, “My Husband Came Back from the War” while writing the different poems for this interaction. I wanted this piece “Self” to look at the emotional ups and down we face throughout our lives. But I had no idea it would come together the way that it did. When interacting with pieces like “My Husband Came Back from the War” you are drawn into the piece not just by its aesthetics but also by the emotion in the writing. This emotion is also very true for “Those We Love Alive”. The emotion in these pieces is what I was trying to bring in “Self” but through looking hardships we face and overcome. Looking at this piece critically there are several parts that I tried to make interactive, those being not only the hypertext but also some of the effects put on to emphasize words or moods that are in the piece. In the first part of the interactive I wanted words like wasteland to be a throbbing sensation like all around you there is nothing. Or later on in the piece many other words move to add emphasis as well as to show the motion of the words. Words like violence, wasteland and strikes all have their own effect to convey motion as well as emotion. Another aspect I wanted to address in this piece was it being repetitive/ leading into itself. Not only because that is closer to life but also because the act of clicking on the different poems is like taking steps towards healing.
When Des asked me to work in this project, I was nervous because I haven’t written much poetry. But between both of us and asking questions about where we want it to go it was amazing to see the development of it. When it finally came down to writing both Des and me bounced ideas off of each other so that each piece would fit with the ones surrounding it. Also, after all the poems were written it was amazing to see how in what ways we could change aspects of it. We looked at colors, fonts, as well as effects and finally liked how it looked simple and concise.
The hardest part for me in making this piece was in planning how it would fit together, but even that was short lived especially when we spent an afternoon writing everything seemed to fall into place and we were astounded when we were done.
In my poetic style I try to have rhymes or a letter that starts all of the different parts of the poems. While Des heavily used sounds or a rhythm for his poetic beats. So paring these two styles together was both fun as well as interesting.
In experiencing the second half of this piece I am both amazed by how smooth it is and more confused on what all went on. Like did he fall off the bridge or did James just imagine it? It is also interesting to see how him falling off the bridge landed him in the desert. The flashing forward and back to both memories and possible imagination as well in the piece keeps you on your toes as to where you might end up it you close your eyes. But jumping to the end SPOILER ALERT: it was nice to have a little explanation of what happened whether it was the relationship between Jesse and Luke or if it was the attack on the base leading to the death off Jesse. These details help the player understand James’s mental state. As well as adding the confusion of losing your sight. SPOILER DONE: overall it was an interesting experience the use of the gestures makes it all the more realistic, but the story is structured so that you never know fully what is and isn’t real. Though it might seem counter intuitive I think that the confusing nature of Pry as a whole makes it seem all the more real. Since you never know what will happen in life and there are many decisions to be made with little to no extra information provided.
I will say that I have already traversed pry in an earlier class this year, but it was still interesting to go through it again and find more details that I had missed on my first playthrough. The use of gestures and interaction with this piece work perfectly, I think. As the reader looks at the real world and back to his thoughts it shows that time is moving, and you can either spend your time looking out to the world around you or miss it to see what is going through his mind. This work follows the story of James a demolition consultant after he returns from 1991 Gulf War. With his vision failing you look into his mind and try to understand what is going on as his past collides with his present. With every action you can dive deeper into James’s thoughts or try and ignore the idea that you are losing sight. The gestures that you use also remind you of the situation you are in some of the gestures needed are the simple tap, or swipe. But mostly you will either pinch or pry to look at his thoughts or to open his eyes to the world around him. The creators of this interactive “tender claws” have made a piece that I have seen nothing like and it is amazing to see the creativity and thought put into this piece.
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.
Shy Boy, Sound Poems, Kinetic, and Interactive Poetry
When I was reading about sound poems, I didn’t know what to think about them like someone really tried to pass off random sounds as a poem? But after listening to it as well as reading Jörg Piringers reasoning it is both intriguing and cool. It is also interesting to see how different sound poem is from shy boy. Shy boy has a soft melody in the background but has a larger focus on the visuals the text moves and falls at the pace you read it as well as to shows the sadness and loneliness of the boy. I personally really enjoyed Shy Boy and liked how its interaction with the reader I tried to read rain on the sea, but it was to jarring and I wasn’t able to follow it. The time spent in making(author) and reading/interacting(reader) with Shy Boy is also a part that I hadn’t thought about and enjoy.
In looking at the “Those We Love Alive” (TWLA) I am intrigued by its repetition, as well as its descriptive language. The other piece I looked at was “Deviant” which after playing for a while I remember going through last semester. While Deviant was intriguing, I felt like I was running into the same problem that we have discussed in previous classes. Following the general character but not understanding the story or what is going on, due to lack of context. But after reading the authors inspiration of what inspired them to make deviant it makes a lot more sense. Looking at TWLA it was a lot more linear, so it was easier to follow I really enjoyed it. The tone and mood set by the colors and music are eerie but fascinating. I looked quickly at howling dogs and was surprised that they were both done in twine as well as TWLA seams like a more refined and completed piece but that was only my initial thought. E-literature has such a wide spectrum of what it can do that I will just learn and enjoy whatever I can.
When I was reading each of these pieces I had so many different reactions and emotional responses. When I first read Grammatron, I was mostly just confused but with both World of Awe, and my boyfriend came back from war I was enthralled. The ability to have your reader interact with the piece allows them to feel more engaged. When I was going through World of Awe I really did feel that sensation on loneliness and wandering as well as the need to find the treasure. The ability to click around the desktop and look at the love letters then move back to the “journal” allows us as the readers to set our own pace. The use of multilinearity in all of these pieces in interesting, when looking at world of awe it is multi linear due to the different places you start from like with the love letters or with the actual notes or even with a different chapter. When you look at My boyfriend came back from the war it is much more open by each ‘window/cell’ that you can click on is a contained thought. While in conjunction working with the cells around it this kind of path I overall linear but you will most likely find yourself going through this piece slightly differently every time. The way that each piece has addressed hypermedia, and net art covers vastly different but they all share on thing in common, the digital space.
The change from traditional text to hypertext has only happened in the past decade with the advent of the medium as a whole. While hypertext new to the realm of storytelling I don’t think it will have as much of an impact as traditional books did. the use of hypertext has changed our culture and world really, like what was stated in Rettberg how hypertext introduced multilinearity to society. All of us in class grew up with the traditional book but have all learned how to use and interact with hypertext. this doesn’t mean that we all like one or the other better but it will be interesting to see younger generations as they grow up with both forms of storytelling what they will gravitate towards. whether we will all but abandon the traditional style of storytelling or if there will be a balance that happens. the latter is more likely. As well as how we interact with hypertext will change in time and who knows where it will go.
In reading “The Babysitter” I am mostly confused I had a really hard time following the narrative as a whole and figuring out what perspective it was taking. The story was written with the intent to blur reality and it does that very well, I would say personally to well since I was lost most of the time. Nevertheless, I was struck with how well It would make a digital “choose-your-own-adventure” style narrative. If the babysitter had some other que to let the readers know what perspective, they were reading then it would be easier to follow along and really engage in the narrative. While this might have taken away from what writer Robert Coover wanted it would have allowed some of his readers to better engage in the story overall. My personal opinion aside it is interesting to see the impact and change over the years from works like “The Babysitter” to things like “Those we love Alive” by Porpentine while The Babysitter is multinarrative it is really only the building blocks of what we have today, as discussed in Electronic Literature written by Scott Rettberg. The effect of multilinearity is so prevalent in todays society it is rather remarkable. The use of how hypertext and links are shared and used in daily life is second nature now. With the internet and web-sharing you would be hard pressed to go a day without interacting with hypertext or a multilinear platform built off of the foundations of The Babysitter and works like it.
In looking at our assignment and Taroko Gorge’s poem I am struck with the similarity between it and the bots on Instagram and twitter. While it is different in one make an infinity scrolling poem the twitter bots post something new every day, but at its core they are both randomizing words within the confines/ parameters of the code and making poems that will never be the same. In Electronic Literature by Scott Rettberg he writes about how using technology changes how we create and what we create. In todays society we are ever more the consumer so is that due to technology or our own doing? While the effects impact humanity I as a user of technology must wonder if by looking at what these programs make, we will learn anything or if we will have a good laugh. Maybe in the future algorithms will be able to create novels and poetry but for now we can impute the variables and it will show us a little bit more about ourselves. Another example written about in Electronic Literature is when Scott is writing about Alan Turing, Christopher Strachey and the Mark I. The M.U.C love letters produced by the Mark I are rudimentary at best but that was because of the technology available at the time. Looking at the code used in the Mark I and the code used for Taroko Gorge’s poem they will be vastly different just because of the technology used but have the same result. Taroko is an infinity scrolling poem and the Mark I had that capability in its time. The abilities of Taroko Gorge’s poem are far better than the Mark I and while reading it I wonder if in time we will get to a point like Alan Turing was, where a machine can emulate and use a language so well that we cannot tell the difference.