“Ah” is the title of the electronic literature that I chose to explore and analyze. This experiential piece articulates a simple paradox of animated digital literature. Essentially, the eye, by extension the mind, is given jumbled up letters that slowly spread into legible words. The entirety of the electronic poem is to provide the reader with a defined breathing experience, whereby the words are only legible at a certain time, which enables a controlled timely experience of the work. Additionally, the viewer isn’t given the chance to reread an already perceived word or phrase. In “Ah”, the central object of meditation is Einstein, but just as the physicist pondered the numberless variations between the presence of a “1” and “0,” this experiential and textual animation of poetry brings us back and forth between clever articulations and the ambiguous expressivity of single letters and syllables.
The starting-point of Ah (a shower song) is a text that moves between breathing and singing, representing the flow of time. Words glide in and out of each other in a way that reminds us of respiration, or of the “stream of consciousness” of somebody standing in the shower whose thinking and poetic thought about the unfolding of time flow beautifully into each other. It’s almost as if the reader is allowed passivity, but the reader’s role changes. The endless loop of the work forces the reader to adjust his or her reading and method or strategy of interpretation. The process of breathing is a very individual experience. To have the exact respiratory rhythm as someone else is a rare occurrence. However, by unraveling these poetic words of the unconscious thought, all readers are empirically linked in the dimension of time and breath. Thus, mentally and physically linked. (Which I find to be a very cool experience, as my roommate sat beside me and we read it along together, breathing and unveiling these words at the very exact same time.)
In reading the unwinding words, you’re not suppose to use the words not, no, and ah or oh. After going through the electronic presentation a couple times, I realized that no, and not were making the sentences break. When disregarded, the words in context made sense! But that made me wonder why those words were there in the first place. My own personal analysis is that they are representative of the noise of any unconscious free flowing and natural thought; they’re used as white noise that occurs as mental fillers in the midst of meaning and purpose. But why does our mind speak these contradicting words? No and not are the opposite of yes and are—the mode of action and existence. So if we unconsciously include these contradictions amidst our conscious thoughts, are we thereby doubting our own mental capacities and ability to assuredly produce a plan of action or definition? The content works very well with the experiential dimension, as the syntax is concise and simple, which I believe is what the method of digital experience is trying to invoke by method of control and breathing tactics associated with the readers systematized and controlled breathing experience.
The word “experience” is a very accurate depiction of what this electronic literature work is. The words align themselves in a lateral order, unscrambling at a specific time in order to provide the reader with a particular breathing sequence. However, in addition, at a few points the words raise and separate into two lines, creating a lyrical curve that to me, is extremely symbolic of the literature piece as a whole. It rearranges into a DNA type form, some words going up and down as others go down then up, meeting in the middle. The experience and the text go hand in hand to develop a sense of individuality, met with unison. These two elements, for me, create a moment of catharsis in a very unexpected and original way.