Review: The Dreamlife of Letters

By Ady Tang

In Brian Kim Stefans’ “The Dreamlife of Letters”, he uses Flash as his medium to portray the relationship between words and letters and provides a creative animation to deliver his message. Stefans begins with a small introduction prologue and leaps into the alphabet, highlighting one letter at a time with its versatile presentations. The letters “A” through “Z” each has their own “minutes of fame” with some having more time in the spotlight than others. However, with repeated observation, it has been noticed that the letter “Q” and the letter “X” have been deprived of their minutes of fame.

Even within the presentation of each letter, Stefans often ensures that the words appear in alphabetical order such as “She shuns simple sins”. This has lead to great appreciation of his detailed thought process as well as the tremendous effort he has put into this piece. As each word play across the screen, the action of the movement helps to emphasize the meaning of the word and allow the reader to reconsider the connotation of the word at a deeper level such as the word “drip” as it “drips” off the page.

Another good example of movement is when the word “hey” and “hi” enter the page from different directions and leave in different directions. It gives the readers a sense of two people greeting each other on the street. This is an advantage of using computers to generate literature as opposed to pen and paper since it can bring the word “alive”.

Without surprise, by using the words in an alphabetical order, a poetic device easily surfaces to the readers as alliteration. What is even more fascinating is that Stefans is able to use alliteration as well as adding humour to his poetry such as “lords love love love male mammary”. At the same time, this helps the poem transition from the letter “L” to the letter “M”. Stefans has succeeded in making subtle transitions from letter to letter as well as keeping them in alphabetical order.

Stefans also demonstrates that words can often differentiate themselves with the simple switch of one letter. For example, Stefans leaves the letter “D” in the middle of the page as “ream” and “read” move themselves through the page in association with the letter “D”. The readers can notice that the word “dread” and “dream” has the difference of only one letter with four of the five common letters changing the whole connotation of word to mean the opposite meaning.

Appropriately titled, “The Dreamlife of Letters” dissects and takes words apart down to its letters and proves the relationship of similar words to each other is often just the difference of one letter which can change the meaning of the word completely through its swift movement and creativity on Flash media.

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