Glimpses into passing channels invited to unfold.

filled                                                                                               of old


thought                    hinges,                     chased


real            struggle

“our world”            to           assemble                                                                    limitations

created world?

Forming                 intention,

interface.                    Seemingly interconnected                     . However,

Emotional access                           is             interpreted


We become                                                    waters


something          Inanimate.                Glimpses into

passing                 channels

invited to                                     unfold.             Relate.

Engaged.                              too aware


Class and what it has done, as told by things I’d written without realizing they could someday be connected.

Splicing and digital cut-out method based on my former blog posts (words used are in bold):

The pipe he had just lit filled the room with smoke – smoke that smelled like an obnoxious mixture of old noodles and wasabi. Grand halls could not contain this smoke and indeed were not exactly fitting for suburbia’s worst detective. It was cold, despite the smoke. The pipe only warmed his nose and the middle notch of his forehead. Everything below his neck shivered despite a hand-me-down tweed coat and his brother-in-law’s work boots. He looked like an overgrown orphan but the mayor would have to accept the drab. No other detective would take the case. Marshall had heard some of the others’ responses while waiting in line, holding the manilla folder addressed with his name, a room number and an appointment time. Money, however, was a concern. With options narrowing down to zero, the mayor was willing to pay Marshall’s rent for a year.

If there is one thing I’ve seen throughout my lifetime of practice procrastinating on the internet, it’s that the digital age and digital media have ways of getting through to an audience that sometimes textbooks and lectures don’t have. There is a relatable quality to digital media; it presents a can-do sense for the average-man and a constant newness that every couple of seconds on the internet can bring.

Raw Shark Texts is an interesting thought experiment, but it hinges both on the reader’s willingness to participate and on the reader’s investment in the relationship between Eric Sanderson and Clio/Scout. If you aren’t willing to participate, then there is nothing more to be done. But if you’re willing to participate yet can’t stand the relationship between Eric and Clio, you’re stuck being chased by a conceptual shark that is threatening to destroy any previous memories you had of real, believable and endearing book relationships. The latter is my predicament. As alluring the idea of the Ludovician was, and as intrigued as I was to see the second Eric Sanderson through to the end, my journey was a constant struggle. I wanted to know what would happen next, but I didn’t care at all for Clio/Scout and couldn’t understand why Eric found her interesting in the first place. She seemed to be a character that was trying so hard to be different and unlike conventional girlfriends. I thought that she wasn’t that nice to or supportive of Eric in the flashbacks, and I didn’t find it that heart warming when Eric and Scout seem to be happy together at the end. The relationship between them was distracting, not enhancing. As a fiction writing major, I was too annoyed with the dynamic between them and with Clio’s character in general to be really invested in this book. However, the mind games it played on me by the end were certainly captivating. I am still working with whether or not I think Eric is dead in our world or if “our world” only broadcasts that he is dead so it can’t be blamed for Eric successfully escaping into another world and beating the Ludovician. I’m not sure which world is real and which is conceptual (or if Eric’s crazy just infected us all for 400 pages and then he died…should’ve listened to Randle), so I think in that respect Steven Hall did a good job. I just wish that I could have left the book feeling satisfied.

Now that I’ve read some of the other posts about RvB, I think I’m starting to assemble my thoughts I bit more clearly. First of all, is there really much control in a game like this? Being the First Person Shooter makes it seem like you can go anywhere and do anything you like, yet you’re still trapped inside the rules, objectives, limitations and actual created scape of the game itself. It seems like you’re being set up to experience exactly what the game-makers want you to experience. How does this tie in with the commentary that is happening inside of this created world? I think that it could even comment on the human experience, If I’m not sounding too pretentious and over-reaching, as possibly saying that we’re coming up with thoughts and opinions and asking questions inside limitations that we don’t really know exist. Because, when you think about it, if we as the players have no real control over what happens, then the guy we’re controlling has even less. Or none at all. So, the avatars are thinking thoughts and making points and commenting on things while being completely controlled by actual free-thinking beings. It’s kind of a mind warp. It’s kind of a “we’re all just ants in God’s giant ant-farm” type of thinking.

The idea of originality. How is this affected by our consideration of Tree of Codes and The Street of Crocodiles? We can’t exactly say that these media are working “together,” as Crocodiles was not aware that Jonathan Safran Foer would be dissecting the book and forming it into a new kind of art. We can’t say that Crocodiles informs Codes, because it is more of a literal “taking from” rather than being “inspired by.” We could maybe say thatCodes informs Crocodiles as a look at this “sculptural object” (as called by the publisher) could work towards a deeper understanding of its mother story. We can’t deny that Foer’s book is separate from Crocodiles in its idea and intention. So what do we do with the knowledge that Foer’s words are the same words as Schulz’s? How does Codes function as a work of fiction? Is it poetry? I think these are musings we need to consider in depth, as the answers are important to the questions we’ve been pursuing in class this semester: What is “literature?” What does a change in interface do to our understanding of a work as “literature?” How is this effective as a means of storytelling? For my part, I would say that Codes seems to be more poetry than prose. Is poetry fiction? It can be fictional, but what is the separation? Pitt offers the English Writing major in Poetry but also separately in Fiction. They are different fields, so are they different for this work? Is it a novel? Perhaps Foer meant to force us to ask questions like these. On the outside, Codes looks like a novel. It is bound like a book. But on the inside, it is not the interface we’d expect from a novel. It reads like poetry. It has windows. It is interface confusion. But we’ve been taught to read when we aren’t used to the access. So what is Codes? How do we gain meaning from it? Maybe again the medium is the message.

The hypertext journey seemingly never ends. After going down the rabbit hole of endless interconnected stories in last week’s My Body – Wunderkammer, I thought that this week we’d be doing something different and that focus of our assignments would be related in content only. However, the first thing I noticed when I opened the Twelve Blue website was that in the top left corner, there was a LINK to My Body – a Wunderkammer. I had a thought after reading Twelve Blue (a hypertext adventure that was more intriguing to me than the body experiment – since I’m a fiction kind of person): these two stories mirror the way that our tech society functions. There is very little unrelated in our world when you consider the scope of the internet and how our modern methods of communication can lead to anything becoming virally widespread in a matter of minutes. These hypertext stories remind me that access is everything. Emotional access is granted by the authors and then physical access is granted when the stories are posted online. After that, their work is free to the world to be interpreted, copied, loved, hated by anyone with an internet connection. We are the links. We allow stories to be shared across the country, across the globe. Nothing is unrelated, truly.

There’s a feeling of  comfort when words come together in a form that we’re expecting. If at first it’s a standard block of text as in a novel, we feel a bit of comfort at the format even if we don’t understand the words strung together. Once words start to disappear and we see that our format is changing, we become uncomfortable and start to delve into those waters with our lungs rather than with our gills.  But there is profit in the struggle because if we don’t fight it, our gills open up and we begin to breathe differently. The strain to understand becomes an open mind and we can see more underwater with eyes not expecting to see what life would look like on land. We can feel the words and appreciate the kinesis of their purpose rather than take a linear meaning from them. Errant. Straying from the conceived normal. Errant, anger, sycophant, noose, suture. Plucked from the earth, gasping for breath, longing for light, screaming, struggling, martyr. Replanted anew.

I feel like I’m reading something I shouldn’t be, while traversing Inanimate Alice. The black screen with glimpses into her personal life felt intimate. Like I was passing through back channels of her thoughts, or watching her play ba-xi without her noticing I was watching.The type, story, sound and interface all come together to give me a cultural and personal experience. I feel China, I feel John being missing, I feel as if I were invited to watch this little girl’s life unfold. But I don’t feel like I am her.I relate and I don’t relate. I wonder if it’s something to do with the window, the screen, that keeps me from entering the world. With the text on paper interface of a book, I don’t visually see a window in front of me, keeping me from entering into the story. I can be in the world through my imagination. With the digital interface of my computer screen, I can see a literal window, a black border around the screen through which I view Alice’s story–and I feel engaged but not enveloped. I wonder if this is a drawback of the digital interface for reading. Is there going to be automatic distance from the story because of the medium? Or am I just too aware of differences because I’m more comfortable experiencing a story through a book?


~ by kristinvermilya on April 7, 2013.

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