Selfies

This week there was some conflict in the scheduling for our classes. Thursday, Mia was leaving for Oslo to present her experience as a Fulbright Scholar in the Department of Digital Culture at the University of Bergen.

For the next week we will have Tuesday off, which gives us a great opportunity to do browse and search the numerous tools that Mia have shared with us, such as; https://www.net-art.org/, http://rhizome.org/about/, and http://www.adaweb.com/context/stir-fry/.

Personally, I am really stoked for Mia’s chance at presenting her #SelfieUnselfie installation project, I think that she is on to a great idea and I think it will go over well. But I am not so stoked for the same reason that most people in my generation probably would be. Although I am very accustomed to smartphone apps, I do have my own grievances with apps like Instagram, Twitter, and *. I’ve never been a fan of selfies or the culture surrounding it. Fairly often are selfies—like Mia pointed out in class—a distortion of reality.

Selfies serve as the next level to Facebook statuses—they serve to portray a certain contained message, or cypher, to the surrounding world and are framed in a particular way to lead the reader/viewer to arrive at a predestined goal. Someone in class pointed out how the only selfies they take are “ironic” or “sarcastic” selfies, and Snapchat happens to have a very serviceable application for exactly this—as you are encouraged to forward selfies to friends and close ones. (Except for in the case where you can publish your snaps to the public, but we’re not talking about that right now, shush)

Twitter on the other hand is an app I just never got into. And it’s a shame too since a great deal of participation in this class is directed towards Twitter. But my grievance with Twitter is pretty similar to my points above. There isn’t much diversity in the usage of twitter, than just to forward your—is 250 characters the limit?—character limited message, be it self-promotion in a professional way, promotion of your personal business, or simply just the act of spreading messages by a digital form of word of mouth.

In summary of my points above, it is really hard to be part of these things when you’re vehemently against them. Which poses several questions for one self and others.

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Digital Art and Net-Art

This week we took a close look at “Sky Magic Live at Mt. Fuji: Drone Ballet Show” and “Lisa park’s Eunoia II” and brought the discussion of the pieces to our twitter accounts—which I think is progressing nicely, but I agree with Mia that it probably takes a while to get everyone situated and willing to participate. I personally have never been involved with Twitter before I started doing my digital culture subjects, so I can relate to that feeling of hesitation.

As far as Net-Art goes, I followed Mia’s advice of starting with a piece by choosing a page number that corresponds with my month of birth and then scroll down to the piece that correlates with my day of birth—so I choose the third page for March and the ninth piece scrolling downwards. What I landed on was “Asco-o”. (http://www.o-o.lt/asco-o/) Mt first impression of the website was that someone posted the wrong link and sent me on my way to a chaotic website form the early 90’s, but it was actually the correct link. Next, I wondered how I—or anyone for that matter—would go about explaining this net-art.

The design is cryptic, at best. The base color used for the entire background is a heavy green, which looks like it’s imported straight from a malfunctioning computer screen from some 80’s action movie. Although I am extremely puzzled by the piece in its entirety, I am intrigued as well—because if there in fact is a message hidden in here, it’s hidden extremely well. The screen is mostly made up of numbers and symbols which are used to create larger pictures, pictures in which the meaning is completely lost on me. One moment it’s a straight quote from some inspirational speech of the past, then it’s a playlist from some album I didn’t catch the name of, and then it goes on to change into the Pokemon ‘Sandslash’—except it’s body is completely made up of symbols. And mixed into this whole thing is the fact that the entire screen completely changes about every four seconds and shows you a new and entirely different screen with it.

Like I said earlier, if there is a distinct message to this piece then went completely over my head.

My own neat little box

This week we were lucky enough to be guests to the lecture of Leonardo Flores who showed us a multitude of different ways that electronic literature has evolved over the years—and the subsequent categories of generations that we can place the different pieces of work within. The lecture prompted me to think a bit outside the preconceived box that I’ve personally put electronic literature within. For our exam last semester, I created a piece of electronic literature in Inklewriter (which is still in its beta form) and, at the time and admittedly up until this lecture with Leonardo Flores, I kept my idea of electronic literature in a neat little box of my own.

This unfortunately resulted in me thinking and viewing electronic literature in a single way, which upon further evaluation goes against a large picture of what this subject is all about—the fact that electronic literature has the extremely unique opportunity of being a piece of literature that transcends traditional means of absorption. I feel bad for catching myself in the act of limiting my own view of exactly what electronic literature is supposed to be, and realizing that I narrowed its definition down to a certain idea or being.

That’s why I’m even more excited now to try and figure out a way to make a piece of electronic literature this time around that is the opposite of what I created the past semester. I’ll try to steer as far away as I can from a “traditional” hypertext interactive fiction and make something that stands as far away from that category as possible—I’m thinking of maybe creating a generative poem, or a piece of digital art similar to ‘Like Stars in a Clear Night Sky’  ( http://collection.eliterature.org/1/works/ezzat__like_stars_in_a_clear_night_sky/index.html ) which happened to be one of my favorite electronic literature pieces last semester.

Going forward in our lectures, I’m looking forward to what we will be discussing and considering in the subjects of ‘digital art’ and ‘video games’—and to a certain degree I am very curious to see how many people in our class is starting to make plans for creating a piece of video game for their exam. We only had one person in our class last semester who wanted to try out for making a video game and he happened to have a very interesting concept for what he imagined that he could create.

I would love to be able to make a website that encourages the user/reader to explore and choose their own path through the piece to uncover the “secrets” within it. On second thought, that’s vaguely similar to what I created in Inklewriter—at least on the face of it. Although the way I would go about creating this one would stand out from my previous work. Maybe that’s it though, what if I made two different mediums that both built on the idea of having the reader explore and discover bits and pieces of story that they eventually could bring together to form the bigger picture of the overarching story. This is starting to look like something. I could even present both of the individual works next to each other, side by side, as an example of how one idea could be worked out and presented on two completely different ways.

I will have to ask Mia for some guidance on this however. There hapens to be a lot of different ideas and suggestions on how to move forward with this that I could possibly gather from the different volumes of electronic literature collections—I think I’ll be using both ‘Like Stars in a Clear Night Sky’ and ‘Queerskins’ ( http://www.queerskins.com/ ) as my base for how I want this piece to look and function. Also, shoutout to ‘Queerskins’ for those who haven’t read it yet. The way it deals with its presentation and layout is amazing.