Tag Archives: ELC

I wrote this position paper today – Does it makes sense? I was sugar deprived at the time.

I have always been, and always will be a lover of pen to paper and cover to cover. Although the traditional method of writing a poem, story, essay, or even a grocery list has changed over the years and now includes input by typewriters, computers, handheld PDA’s and blackberries I will never stray from the simple basic method of writing and reading literature – word only.

Adding pictures and sound to literature is in no way a new revelation. Yet for as long as I can remember these added images and sound were still enclosed in a book, and were not flashing across a computer screen in a bold and intrusive method  as thought they were saying, “look at me.” No thanks. I have given it a chance. I struggled with the click through tabs, the abode upgrade downloads, the self navigation, and worst of all the 10 minute trickling of letters down the screen that at first developed a sense of intrigue in me that maybe somehow something might happen. But then at a point where it appears there is no end.. it does end, and rather abruptly thereby leaving me desperate for the wasted ten minutes of my life back.

As a child, my mom bought me the books that had a soundboard along the side. The reader, me in this case, is usually under the age of 5 and is instructed to push a button on this soundboard and a little speaker at the bottom would blast some sort of animal sound, Disney character quote or plane, train and automobile noise. They did not hold my interest; even then it was my opinion that you can’t use bells and whistles to detract from your lack of content. I have concluded that there is a reason that pictures are reserved for children’s books. They are there to aid in the development of a child’s creative side, to stimulate interest and promote a child’s own imagination. I don’t need this. I prefer to create my own images, to get lost in the writing, and to develop meaning for the words myself. That being said, I am also the person who abhors the thought of seeing a Hollywood adaptation of a novel I love. Why on earth would I want to erase the beautiful images I have made for myself and replace them with some Hollywood hotshot nitwits idea of what the novel should look like. For example: White Oleander: Novel, spectacular; Film, horrid. Blindness, a book that impacted my life so much so that I gave it as a gift to everyone I loved for Christmas that year, and the film adaptation was tragic and despicable. Please don’t even get me started on the upcoming adaptation of Alice Sebold’s “The lovely bones” I may just cry.

Maybe it is for this reason that I loathe the E-Literature. The only film adaptations that have ever been successful in my eyes are those of children’s novels. Novels that are designed to be entertainment like “Twilight” and “Harry Potter” I will welcome with open arms to the screen. Yes by all means, create e-literature for children, but give me words on paper enclosed in two covers. I need the definitive beginning and end that comes with such a format.. So no, I do not see E-Lit as a vibrant exciting strand of literary production. All the flash, html, image, sound, and click through nonsense is another way to distract the reader from actually looking at words on a page and deciding what to do with them. Sure e-lit does hold a place somewhere in the land of literature, but that place should be reserved for children.

Yours Truly,

Alexandra “Anti-E.Lit” Loslier

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The Moment Literature Danced

Not too long ago, literature was a pretty straightforward concept for me to define. Literature can be poetry, stories, books, newspapers, indeed, literature to me was anything that I could read, and, for the most part, that stayed put as I read it. Ever since taking the Culture and Technology English course at Capilano University, however, my entire conception of what literature is has shifted.

As our class clicked through the multiplicity of electronic works in the Electronic Literature Collection Volume 1 site, I came to appreciate the more abstract forms literature could take; words forming in a dance of looping string, a story told through my curious clicks, a poem that immersed me in its textual, visual, musical painting. No longer is literature an activity where I simply sit and scan words on a page or screen, my comprehension dependent on the ability to decode words, but is a dynamic interaction with textual and visual elements, where comprehension may not be the end result, but, indeed nor is it meant to be like I used to believe.
In the earlier stages of interacting with this foreign world of words and stories, the frustrations of my confusion was indeed a common feeling. More often than not, the pieces evoked thoughts of loss, futility and anger. Why is it that I value this new form of literature then, if my experiences seem to be more predominantly negative? The answer is simple: because I felt something. The electronic literature collection not only forced me to engage with the texts presented to me (or that I had to find for myself), they manifested stronger emotions than I had experienced with any other assigned book, article, or poem in print or as a pdf. Never before had I felt like destroying a certain author’s work, and never before had I been mesmerized and fascinated by simple words on a screen, their meaning redefined through various motional or interactive elements, and the barriers of language and thought disintegrating through the imaginative execution of textual art. Not only has my aesthetic view to defining literature has changed, but my understanding of its emotional power has evolved as well.

Though I might have once seen the concept of literature as a finished and closed book, my recent experiences with the ELC-1 has reopened it to a chapter I had never read. My views of the what literature is capable of now exceeds that of the enthralling story, and informative essay, and acknowledges the artistry of literary presentation, as well as the involving and interactive characteristics literature can take. My relationship with literature has been changed for the better, my engagement one that dreams of the vast possibilities and interpretations written language can take. Forget plot outlines, trains of thought, the consistency my literary concept of yore described… the static view is gone; I now read for the thrill of the literary unexpected.

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It’s Like a Campfire!

I, You, We
By: Dan Waber and Jason Pimble

I, You, We, is a collaborative piece of 3D visual poetry, created by Dan Waber and Jason Pimble, which can be found in ELC1. This piece is extremely simple yet immensely complex all in the same click. The reader/viewer is presented with one of two options in order to bring the piece to life. The reader/viewer can passively sit and wait for the piece to start (this takes less than 10 seconds) or they can randomly scroll the mouse across the screen creating their own viewing. Well this piece requires little to no interactivity from its reader/viewer, it somehow manages to captivate its audience with its spiralling 3D image. The reason for this captivity well not apparent, are rather intriguing. 3D images are not something that traditional readers are use to encountering (perhaps the rare exception may be your favorite pop-up book as a child). Waber and Pimble successfully create an ever-changing 3D image on a 2D screen. The three dimensional aspect of this piece creates a sensational eyegasm for the audience. Words are swirling, twisting, turning, and gyrating in every direction, making it impossible to focus on “reading” the piece. The word “I” appears in a rustic auburn tone directly in the center of the screen, which inadvertently creates the only true focus within the piece, as the “I” is the only word that does not move. After the introduction of the word “I,” the audience is hit with the repetition of the word “you,” appearing in a mid blue hue, whose job it is to circumnavigate the word “I.” After “I” and “you” début, “we” appears in olive green tones cautiously whispering to the world “here I am in the foreground, don’t forget about me.” After the pronouns have successfully made their way onto the screen, the audience is bombarded with a hunter green profusion of random verbs (and the occasional noun) that vie for your soul attention. This piece becomes addicting, begging its audience to ascertain as many hunter-green words as possible, all while creating a mesmerizing, hypnotic state of three dimensional euphoria. Well I, You, We’s concept is arguably one of the simplest pieces of ELC1 it still manages to engage its audience creating a pleasurable, unrepeatable 3D viewing experience.

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