All posts by nickkoutris

Long Post #2

The piece of electronic literature that I choose to examine was, Carving in Possibilities, by Deena Larsen, with sounds from Matt Hansen. It was published in 2001 to frAme: Online Journal of Culture and Technology issue 6. This work of electronic literature was made in the format of a flash video.

 

The flash piece works off of the movement of your mouse. As you move around the page with the curser, a blurry image of the face of the statue of David appears. The face starts out as a big grey blur but slowly reviles itself to the user along with various quotes. The quotes seem to follow no coherent pattern. Some examples of these are “When is Real real,” “The body…reservoir for energy…,” “What makes your polished stone different then one tumbled in a riverbed.” And “I knew only before.” This is just a small sample of the type of text that comes up. From what I have seen every inch of the screen supplies you with a new quote but you are sill able to visit old quotes by going back to the old location. The quotes are four main colors green, blue, pink, and yellow. At my first examination I believed that maybe the colors linked together and made a story but upon further examination I have found that they do not.

 

Each mouse movement is accompanied with a sound. The flash piece also produces an eerie ambient noise to accompany the flash when you are not moving. Sound that is produced with the mouse’s movement is very jolting. It is something like a loud bang and makes for a disturbing experience.

 

The use of the seemingly random quotes creates an interesting dichotomy within the flash piece. While it may seem like these random strings of text might create something that can be processed they do not. In a way this seems to be the point of the piece. The piece is meant to unsettle the view and make them think. It accomplishes this with very vague and arguably aggressive quotes. The text creates a very accusative atmosphere in which the reader feels a sense of discontent and responsibility.

 

Compared to some of the other forms of digital literature we have examined I believe that this work is particularly effective. This work is able to capture the attention of is view as well as create a space where they feel vexed by the meaning of the piece. In a sense I feel that this is in fact the meaning of the piece it is meant to create these feelings and in doing so it accomplishes its goal.

 

Other works that were located on the Electronic Literature Collection volume 1 and 2 seemed not to accomplish their goals. Some of the works were able to tell a story, but none of them really seemed to create an emotional effect upon me. I feel that Carving in Possibilities was truly able to do this.

 

Another piece of the flash work that helps to create emotion in the view is the face of the statue of David. The face that is used is a close up shot of the statue of David. The statue looks almost as if it is in tremendous pain. Something about looking into the eyes of this statue is very unnerving to the viewer.

As for the digital objects of this piece it is clear that it could only be accomplished through a digital medium. If this were to be reproduced and made into a print medium it would not carry the same weight or have the same effects. The fact that it is digital allows for the viewer to have some semblance of control. If the viewer were simply flipping pages then that feeling of control would be gone. The viewer would not be creating his or her own story but rather following one that has already been set in place. The act of creation felt in the flash piece even if it is minimal is what helps to get the effect of the piece across.

 

This piece is a wonderful example of how digital or electronic media is able to transform an experience for a viewer. The piece is able to create both the illusion of choice while in turn casting a feeling of unease. This piece also captures the attention of the viewer through its relative simplicity. There is no overly complicated set of instruction or random string of nonsense words. It simply allows for the viewer to experience the text that the author has created in a more vivid and bonding way.

Grey shrimp

The shrimp was grey.

Even meat lovers will appreciate this warm kale and broccoli salad

Late- night milkshakes with Coldplay frontman Chris Martin at the center of rumors

Our Zesty Gumbo is made with juicy pieces of chicken,

The striking yet easy to grow Seashell cosmos flowers are the perfect choice for those looking to go off the beaten path.

Green grass beer isn’t the greatest tasting stuff in the world, but it is edible and nourishing.

That’s how I like my beer, edible and nourishing.

Once the shrimp is half pink and half grey, add in the broccoli and continue to stir.

You can complete the entire meal in minutes.

I have no problem eating shrimp ceviche once it turns pink, nor eating sweet shrimp sushi, yet this had me hesitant. The shrimp was grey.

I hate grey.

 

I wrote this flarf poem by simply googling shrimp.  I was going to cook some shrimp this weekend and decided to look up some new recipes.  I then spliced pieces of the recipes and added in my own lines throughout.  It was much like cooking.  You take something that is raw and you work it out until you have something new and different.  The poem was just segments until they were placed to make a whole.

Long Post #1 FEED

 

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While M.T. Anderson’s novel FEED is intended for young adults it delves into territory that any one could benefit from examining.  Anderson’s novel examines the role of technology through his near future dystopia.  This book addresses several issues but one of the most important is the question of how technology shapes both the individual and the society.  He examines this phenomenon in his book though the use of the Feed, a network of which all the characters are connected and force feed digital information and commercials.  The major question that is asked of the reader is, does technology help or inhibit people?

 

Anderson looks at this question through the lens of the dystopian society he created.  His protagonist Titus is the character he uses the most to address this question.  Nowhere is this more apparent than in the final passages of the story.  In these final scenes the reader sees Titus’s interaction with his dying love Violet.  In these passages the reader can gain a better understanding of how distanced Titus and other characters in the story had become from their own feeling.  Titus is unable to express his emotions with out the help of the feed.  He is only able to speak to her in the same way the Feed had “spoken” to him.  The Feed had greatly influenced both his thought process and ability to express himself.  The first example of this can be seen when he goes to Violet’s bedside for the final time.  “I tried to talk just to her.  I tried not to listen to the noise on the feed, the girls in wet shirts offering me shampoo.”  (Anderson p. 296)  The reader can see how immersive the Feed is.  It is embedded in his consciousness and even during such an emotional event he is unable to control it.

 

This is the first aspect of the question that Anderson addresses during these final sections of the text.  He examines the anesthetized nature of technology.  It makes people numb to their emotions.  This is shown through Titus’s struggle with keeping the Feed out of his final moments with Violet.  The passage goes on and Titus begins to tell Violet the “stories.”  The lines I told her that the Global Alliance had issued more…major cites in South America.”  (Anderson p. 296)  These lines while seeming insignificant are actually very important to understanding Titus’s interaction with Violet at the end of the story.  He tells her these fragmented stories in the same way that one would interact with something like a television.  It is almost as if he is channel flipping and just catching bits of stories.  He tells them to Violet in small fractals.  He is unable to relate to her in a human way.  Anderson is using this section to address the reliance that comes from dependence on technology.

 

Even today we can see examples of this in society.  Technology has made human interactions seem taboo.  A perfect example of this can be seen in today’s youth culture, who are reliant on the use of text messages and other forms of digital communication.  Many people of the younger generation would much rather send a text then interact with some one in person.  Many would rather send a text then call.  This disillusion and distancing from human interaction is one of the major complications of technology, more importantly communication technology.

 

Anderson goes on in this section to further address this distance that technology has created.  He has Titus format the story of their love through the lens of a movie trailer.  Titus tells Violet their story but does it in a way that mirrors the form of movie trailers.  “It’s about the feed,’ I said. ‘ It’s about this meg normal guy, who doesn’t think about anything until one wacky day…and mild sexual situations.” (Anderson p.297-298)  Through this description we can see another example of Anderson showing Titus’s inability to interact on a human level.  Titus has become so disillusioned and affected by the Feed that he is unable to truly express his feelings.  This is the problem that Anderson is trying to address in this section of the story.  It is the inability to interact with other humans because of the barriers that have been placed by technology.  Technology has dehumanized interactions in our daily lives.  FEED takes this to the next level by amplifying the characters feelings of isolation and lack of communication.  Anderson is taking communication that has been warped and twisted by technology, and taking it to the next level.  Anderson’s characters are unable to communicate without the implicit influence of technology.

 

This idea is cemented in the final words of the book, an advertisement for sale jeans.  “Feeling blue? Dress Blue!  It’s Blue-jean warehouse’s Final Sales Event!  Stock is just flying off the shelves at prices so low you won’t believe your feed!  Everything must go!”  (Anderson p. 299)

 

This final advertisement helps to punch home Anderson’s idea of technological dependence for communication within the story and within our society.

 

 

Peter Pan group post

Digital Version (Gutenberg Project):

I chose a digital version of the text, Peter Pan.  I found it on the Gutenberg website.  This website is a collaborative project that allows people access to numerous works of literature through digital means.  They have digitalized thousands of works that are in the public domain.  We actually used the site to help us pick which work we wanted to do our project on.  When I first accessed the work, I was given different options of how I wanted to view the text.

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This was interesting because it allows for very different types of reading.  They have HTML versions as well as other versions such as PDF and Kindle files.  Even though these electronic versions are very similar, they do produce different reading experiences.  The version that I chose was the HTML version of the text.  This meant that I had to read the text through my laptop and I was not in fact owning a copy of the story.  On the other hand the PDF and Kindle files could be downloaded to Dropbox, Google drive, the cloud, and ones own computer.  By picking these options it allows for a reader have direct access anywhere and does not require a computer or internet access like the HTML version.

After clicking on the HTM version I was greeted with this screen

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The link gives a brief explanation of what the Project Gutenberg is and explains why people are given access.  Then the reader is given a list of chapters that are blue hyperlinks.

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This is important because it allows for the reader to jump around the page and keep their spot in the text after leaving the page.  If you continue to scroll down the reader is taken into the story.  The hyperlinks jump to a spot on the page but one does not need to use them to navigate the different chapters of the story.  One can simply continue scrolling.

I have found this the most accessible of the different types of media, because I do not need to own a physical copy of the text nor do I need to have a special device to view the text.  The only complaint I have with the text is the spacing of the actual text.

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The text could have been more spaced out allowing for easier reading but all and all it was a well made and easily accessible website.

Disney Animated Film Version:

Another adaptation of the text can be seen in the animated film version of the story.  The version I looked at was the animated Disney film from 1953.  I was surprised at first that it was made so long ago as I fondly remember viewing it as a child in the late 90’s.  The film follows the same text as the story for the most part.  It has the same characters and plot points.

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Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, and Hamilton Luske directed the film.  It was produced by the ever talented Walt Disney.  It was a major success and is still loved today.

This film is what inspired me to want to read the book.  The way the story is presented is perfect for both children and adults.  That is part of the draw for a animated classic such as this.

The movie allowed millions of people access to a story they might have otherwise not had any contact with.   The ability to take reading out of story telling and add orality and visual aspects is key in creating an easily accessible story.  This is what sets this version of the work apart from others.

Graphic Novel Version: http://www.peterpancomic.com

This version of Peter Pan is in an online comic book form. It obviously omits much of the original text and instead provides pictures that help to tell the story. A majority of the original dialogue, however, is kept and the comic follows the standard plotline very closely. The audience that this version is geared towards would be a younger demographic, especially when considering that it is accessed online. Comics are the most popular with teens and tweens. Reading this version of the text would be a vastly different experience than reading the original book because of the illustrations. Because books rely heavily on imagination of the reader, a closely illustrated version would ensure that readers have a more standardized experience of the story. In the transition from print to online comic, a lot of the specific descriptions are included, which I found surprising because it gives the comic the feel of a book in reading but a comic in physicality and presentation. It is an interesting combination of text, dialogue, and animation. It is similar to a movie because you are watching a picture instead of imagining one in your head and holds on to the descriptions that can’t be shown, much like a narrator that voices over in certain movies.

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Print Version (the play):

I chose the original play on which the novel is based. In terms of content, this version has two titles, or rather a main title and a subtitle: “Peter Pan; or The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up”.

peter pan title page

This difference in title suggests that since the play preempted the novel, the readership of the novel would have been familiar with the play. Also, J.M. Barrie might have desired to distinguish between the two works by leaving the second title off of the novel. Interestingly, the way Barrie describes the setting in this version before each scene starts reads more like the exposition of a novel. Instead of just giving information about how the stage is set, it provides backstory as to why this particular setting has been chosen, as is the case of the Nursery in Act I.

the nursery

The stage directions also were written with in a narrative style: “So we may conclude that WENDY has told them to wait outside until she explains the situation to her mother…” (Barrie 155). To me, it seems that Barrie assumes that his audience would be reading the play as much as watching it, and I think it is meant to be read as well as performed because of this combination of the elements of a novel and a play. There is, however, less narrative description of action in the play, and it lacks any sort of illustration. It leaves lots of gaps that must be filled which makes reading this version slightly more of an effort, and thus might not be intended for a younger audience to read on their own; rather, the play version seems to necessitate being seen by younger audiences and read by older audiences. This lack of description allows for more ways in which the action can be imagined (in the reader’s mind) and interpreted (on stage). It definitely differs from the graphic novel in this way, as well as from versions that include illustrations of particular moments (see the Nook version below). Lastly, the text of the play also lacks any editorial notes or introductions; however, it does include the dedication written by Barrie.

Digital Nook Version:

peter pan nook version

The digital version of the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of Peter Pan is accessible not only just on the nook but on other devices like the computer or a smartphone (with the nook app) as long as one has a B&N account. It advertises itself as being able to be read “instantly”. this version also includes an introduction and notes by Amy Billone. The notes are separated into two sections: notes on historical information and those defining certain terms.

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One can navigate to these notes by clicking on the linked numbers or letters in the text, which send the readers to the back of the book. In order to get back to the text itself, there is a “Back” button. This is a convenient way to navigate notes, which are less easily accessible during a reading session of a print version.

The Nook version also includes suggested study questions and illustrations by F.D. Bedford of particular scenes.

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These illustrations are not extensively provided; only the most important plot points seem to be illustrated. This says something about the intended readership. It is neither exclusively for children (though it is a children’s book) nor adults. It is marketed for a mixed audience; while the illustrations cater to the interests of younger individuals, the informative notes, and even some suggested study questions, gear the novel toward an older audience who may intend to study the work academically.

Reading the Nook version allows one to search for specific words or phrases easily using the search tool, to make notes and highlight passages, and to bookmark pages, among many other features.

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Additionally, unlike print versions, the individual reader can customize how the pages look; this personalization of the experience of reading (increasing screen brightness, making the font bigger or smaller, etc.) makes the text easier to read at the individual level. These features provide easy navigation, making reading more efficient than on other e-text versions like the Gutenberg Project’s, and they individualize the reading experience.

 

I also listened to part of an audio-recorded version of Peter Pan – it is read form the original text, so this version does not stray from the storyline. Audiobook seem to be most popular with the older generation because of the ease of use. It is unlikely that a young (under 30) person would sit down to listen to an audiobook or even listen to one in the car. I think that the way that an audiobook is consumed is very different than if you read the book yourself – reading requires more concentration. Your attention is much more likely to wander when listening to an audiobook and few people listen as a singular activity – it is often more of a background noise to the other activities they are doing. This dilutes the experience of the story. Details are more likely to be lost and the listener (at least in my experience) doesn’t form the same kinds of attachments to characters.

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Drupal

Drupal is a free open source software package that allows for people to publish their content to the internet.  One of the first and most interesting things about it is the fact that it is open source.  This means that it is free to download and you are have access to the programs code.  This openness allows for people to create and improve upon the program.  Another example of this can be seen in the operating system Linux.

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Drupal started in 1999 as a simple software message board and the community around it quickly grew.  It has become more popular with time and is not one of the major content providers on the internet.  Everyone from small businesses to major companies use it to create and display content.

 

The basic uses of Drupal include stander web layout, user account systems, User account maintenance, menu arrangement, RSS feeds and system administration.  It provides all of the basic tools needed to create a functional website.

 

One of its major draws much like WordPress is its accessibility.  One does not to be a codeing expert or complete computer wiz to use Drupal.  It is easily accessible to the average computer user, yet it can still be used to a higher function by more expensed computer users.

Change of warfare

One thing I have found interesting aspect I have found in literature is the presence of war.  This is a fluctuating thing that has always been a part of human history.  What I wanted to look at was the use of the word gun vs. the use of the word sword.  After putting these words into Google Ngram viewer I found some interesting results.

https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=gun%2Csword&year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Cgun%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Csword%3B%2Cc0

As you can see from the graft the use of sword was more widely used during the 18th century.  This slowly changed as warfare evolved.  We can see how the gun began to be more popular in writing.

Around the beginning of the 19th century we can begin to see the sword be lose its value in literature.

This is right before World War I so that makes sense but what is interesting is looking at the time right before World War II.  You can see that sword spikes and becomes important in literature again.  Then at then guns take a huge leap forward and never look back.

I clicked on this time period and found that one of the most popular pieces of literature during this time were manuals for weapons.  This again shows the influence of warfare on writing.

Another interesting point to look at is the spike of the word sword in the 2000’s.  I think this can be attributed to the success of fiction novels like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones.

It is interesting to look at how warfare has effected writing and the trends that writing takes based off changing culture.