Physical Imagination Comes to Life


Last week we looked at digital sources of storytelling, and I decided to give Tree of Codes an early look. This week I want to focus again on this text, but rather than praise it for it’s “originality” (which I still question due to the same reasons as last week), I want to know how this relates to Digital Storytelling. There were only two non-digital works this semester. The first was the infamous “Raw Shark Texts” which gave us all goosebumps and fear of yet another creature. That was early in the semester, nothing was expected of us, we took for granted that it had something to do with Digital Storytelling. But this time, we’ve looked at examples of Digital Storytelling, how we interact with them and how they function. Everything was going great, we were all sufficiently confused.

The Issue Arises:

Tree of Codes. It is unique. A book of holes and evolving sentences. It doesn’t take a seasoned student to realize these things. However, this book cannot exist in a digital form. That is, the feel of the novel would lose all effect. We wouldn’t be turning pages to see the same sentences, we wouldn’t see to the core of the novel from the start and we wouldn’t have to re-read it multiple times. Naturally, somebody could create some program that simulated the experience, but it wouldn’t be exactly the same. This is the kind of novel that can only exist because of the Digital Storytelling phenomenon, but also will only be successful in print. It plays both sides. Tree of Codes does all of those wonderful things that frustrate you online, except it does it without the electricity. The question becomes, how can something that exists because of one set of rules not be able to actually reside in those rule’s territory?

Time to Guesstimate:

Tree of Codes’ approach to the story it tells puts the Story back into the physical world. It does make you wonder, why is it that there are different kinds of storytelling that all must exist in different realms. I think that this book is the first, in what will likely be a very short line, of books that uses the Digital Model in print. It explores the reaches of words and sentence structure, while still placing its story on paper solidifying its existence in reality while dawdling in the imaginary. Sure that sounds pretty, but what does it mean? As I understand it, Digital Storytelling likes to experiment. IT does not enjoy the ordinary style of storytelling and prefers to look for new ways of telling a story. Meanwhile, our typical print storytelling looks to tell a narrative through meanings hidden behind “in story” situations. Tree of Codes attempts to tell multiple stories, or one very repetitive story, while still experimenting with sentence and word structure.

The Part Where You Disagree:

Obviously this can all be wrong, I have been known to make one error a year. However, I think that like Digital Storytelling, there is a lot of give and take with understanding Tree of Codes. It can “DO” more than one thing while still appearing to focus on one goal.


~ by brogarn on March 31, 2013.

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