Category: Uncategorized

#7 I am what your treatment makes of me

In my busy student life I had given up on Galatea. I just didn’t have the mindset to downloading and figure out a program on my computer. But after this weeks class I was so intrigued, that I just had to check out the piece by myself.

The narrator of the piece is “you” who is an art critic visiting the museum where the statue of Galatea is. If you don’t know the myth (I didn’t), Galatea was a statue made by the artist Pygmalion. He fell in love with her, and prayed that she would come alive, this the goddess Aphrodite heard and she answered his prayers (Wiki).

The elit piece takes a lot from the mythology. The description of Galatea fits very well with ancient greek statues, and she talks about the ancient greek gods.

In my version of this piece the critic wasn’t very happy about the “bad programming” of the statue or art piece. This caught me completely off guard as I had the idea that this was completely built around the old mythology. By adding programming it got a very sci-fi-y feel to it, as if people in the (near) future would wake up statues this way (the first robot just became a citizen of Saudi Arabia, so it’s really only a matter of time).

The language of the piece seems very worked through. It is very beautiful yet simple (in a way where there isn’t an unnecessary use of fancy words). Galatea’s language seems so thoughtfull, while the critic is sometime unnecesarily harsh, as I believe a lot of critics are. Even when I got frustrated with the piece it self I was still enjoying the language.

Moving through the piece I got a bit frustrated. The commands I tried writing didn’t work and I when I did get something right she wasn’t giving me very long answers.

At some point I was running out of logic ideas and I decided to ask Galatea about Galatea. This turned out to be interesting. The critic demanded to know what she was made of, and again brought up if it was some new material, sci-fi vibe is back. But this unraveled a whole new sequence of things. Galatea did not tell exactly what she was made of, but that the critic seemed mentally strong enough to deal with her. I liked that it almost made it seem like the critic wasn’t completely mentally well. After this comment Galatea turned first to wood, then to sand before she: “fled[s] entirely, and she is only a shadow, passing you in a cool whisper. “I am what you think I am; I am what your treatment makes of me.””

In a way a person is made up of what people think of them. Not necessarily in a bad way, but it is so easy for the balance to flip, and that being the only thing that matters to a person. But it is not only the thought that counts here, the way we treat each other also controls the people around us understanding of themself. If a person is always treated badly, for example if they are told they are not good enough, that will eventually be that persons truth.

I think this ending was very poetic and it really is a comment on how we should be better at treating other people nice, because the way we think of people might eventually rub of on our actions and then it will affect them.

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#5 Pretending to be someone, pretending to be themself

In this weeks elit class we talked about pretending to be someone who is pretending to be themself by looking at Being Spencer Pratt, a netprov where reality star Spencer Pratt let Mark C. Marino and Rob Wittig take over his phone as a young, british poet while he was locked in The Celebrity Big Brother house.

My first thought when hearing about this piece, was that someone was making fun of Spencer Pratt. I would have never in my wildest dream imagined he was in on it. To me Spencer Pratt is the ultimate bad boy (and not in the good sort of sexy way, just as a horrible person), I remember watching The Hills when I was younger, and he was always the cause for the worst drama.

But oh how young and innocent I was. Obviously reality tv is not real, and Spencer Pratt was acting himself on the show. If he wants to stay in the spotlight, he has to still be the character, but now he has to keep it up on his social media (or at least a more mature version of it). I think that it is really interesting, that there is a thought behind his life on SoMe, that all of it is almost acted, and that the public never gets to actually peak in to his life.

This pretending to be yourself business has inspired a bit of my own elit piece for my final project. I’ve always sort of admired, but also pitied all the girls who overshare on Instagram (like Karen, we don’t care what you had for dinner #vegan #dinnertime). I think there must be a huge need for attention, that maybe comes from a huge insecurity behind the need to share everything, all the time. I therefore want to do that, through a fictive character, whose face is never shown. At the same time I want to use twitter to represent what she is actually thinking, and expose her insecurities. I think the story needs a climax or an ending in some way, but I’m still working on that bit.

The big question with these kind of pieces is if they are actually literature. I don’t know if there is an actual answer to that question. In a way everything with text is literature, if there is a story in it. But on the other hand using Twitter and Instagram won’t make a coherent story, unless people actually go through it all the way. Either way I think there is a narrative on all social media accounts. It’s a way to get a glimpse into someone’s life or at least the story they want to tell about themself.

I think the main thing I learned this week is that I should get better at not judging a book by its cover, which is ironic in a class where the books are not on paper.

 

 

#4 Second chances

For our last meeting in E-lit class we read Kouryokhin’s Second Life, which will be the theme of this weeks blog post.

The object of the piece is the russian composer Sergei Kouryokhin who died of a cardiac sarcoma (a rare heart condition) in 1996.  The difference between reality and the story is that Kouryokhin survives in the piece, and now wants to do better in his second life.

When entering the piece the title is at the top of the page, then it states that this is a “metasimulator”. I think this might relate to the idea that one should think more about their actions and their how they live their life, just as Kouryokhin does when given the chance. He looks sort of tired on the picture of him that is also part of the title page, which is maybe also part of the meta-layer. It will obviously take a lot of effort to chance your way of being.

The piece has a game-like interface. On the left side of the screen the reader sees the three categories Health, Knowledge and Madness, with an indication of how much out of 10 Kouryokhin has of each. While exploring the game the reader will realize that they need to have certain levels in the different categories to do certain things. You must for example have more than 6 Knowledge to evolve the “Schizonet”. I like this part of the piece, because it also gets me more involved. I want Kouryokhin to survive and feel better, and be able to make music and do all the stuff he wants to do. But as I went through the piece, I realized that I couldn’t win. I feel like that is also something that a lot of people can relate to (and maybe even more in these “perfect” times of social media), the feeling of never being able to be as good as you want to, and just keep on running after a unachivable goal. During the read through in class we managed to “win”, or at least Kouryokhin didn’t die or kill himself, which I think is nice – if you read try to read it enough times there is going to succeed.

When you finish the piece you can either choose to start over or listen to a piece of music by Sergei Kouryokhin. The music is called “Morning Exercises in the Nuthouse – Exercise 1”, and though I haven’t listened to the entire thing I think the name is suiting. It is played on piano, and is both fun and quirky, but also sort of disturbing with some very dissonant chords. I think the music reflects the mood of the elit. I’m not sure I necessary like it, and I think it could have been integrated better into the final “page”, but it is a fun way to end the reading, when you, as a reader, have almost killed off the main character.

I think in the end the piece is a reminder that everyone is going to die one day, and we might just get the most out of the time we got on earth, and sometimes it’s okay to go drinking with your friends to increase your madness, even if it makes your health a bit weaker. Because you never now if you will get a rare heart condition at the age of 42, and suddenly not have time to do the things you wanted to.

#3 A Children’s Story?

This week’s blog post is about Inanimate Alice Vol. 1The story is supposed to be for children, but when I first read I did not see how it was suited for a young audience.

First of all the main character’s dad is missing, and her and her mom are driving out in the dark looking for him. Meanwhile both the visuals and sounds are sort of disturbed. The white text on the black screen flickers like a broken VHS-tape, which as a 90’s kid does not bring any happy memories. The soundsscape reminds me of a cellphone corresponding with a speaker (yes that is also a bit back in the days), also a sound that is not bringing any good memories back, I even think there was a rumour in my school that if it happened, your phone might explode. All of this together gave me a very unpleasant base for my reading experience.

After reading through the entire piece I got an idea of why this piece is meant for children. The composition of the story is classic with an

  • Introduction to a conflict: Alice’s dad is missing and Alice and her mom don’t know what to do about it. Both of them are afraid, which causes tension.
  • Point of no return: They drive out to find him.
  • Conflict escalation: Mom tells Alice she can’t use her ba-xi, which makes Alice feel more scared and lonely than before.
  • Climax: Alice hears a voice in her head telling them to turn, and they find Dad.
  • Resolution: They decide they might go to a restaurant.

I think the build up of the story is one of the things that makes it less uncanny. Seeing the familiar structure of the story gives knowledge that everything is going to be fine in the end, because that is how it always is.

The story is also quite easy to navigate. You have to click the same symbol to move forward in the story, so there is no hidden paths or anything like that (no one that I found anyway). This again goes with the easy-to-understand composition of the story.

I get a sort of Sci-Fi-vibe from the story, as we only see Alice’s writing whether it’s the white on black writing or her writing lists on a screen on the screen. It makes it seem a bit like Alice is a computer-intelligence. This also correspondents well with the name of the piece “Inanimate Alice”, she is not a real person. I don’t know what to read into this except that it brings me back to feeling there is something very strange and uncanny to this piece.

All together I, with a closer look, get why this is meant for children. The story is quite basic (not that it’s bad), the main character is a young girl, which makes her relatable for a younger audience and the visuals are fun to look at and easy to navigate. I think grown-ups tend to over think every little detail and worrying about everything instead of seeing the things right in front of them and following their guts.

#2 The Day Glitter Saved the World

This weeks blog post is about the elit piece/game Qiung’s Quest VII: The Death of Videogames. I know very little to nothing about video games, but I do know a lot about not fitting into the box “girl” – according to other people that is.

Quing’s Quest VII shows the ridiculousness of gender norms. I think Dietrich Squinkifer adresses something everyone can relate to such as not feeling like they belong or having their “elders” telling them they did something wrong. So even though the piece tells a story of gender equality or feminism, people who might not see themselves as someone who fights for these particular matters, still can relate to the overlining aspects of the story.

As a hypertext fiction the reader (who is also the main character) gets choices of what they want to do throughout the story. I think the main one is the choice of what You will do to your home Videogames once you’ve fought of the Gamer Police, the options are to: Save Videogames, Destroy Videogames og Get the helle away from Videogames. I think this is a comment from the author, that the reader have to make a choice on how to solve the problems caused by Gamergate (or in general problems with inequality). It is not an easy question to answe and in the end the only options are to destroy Videogames or let it destroy itself, it is to late to save what once was.

In the story language is used to emphasize the meaning of the text. The main vessel is The Social Justice Warrior, which is also what is used to eventually destroy Videogames (in my version anyway). There is really no question what the text is attempting, social justice for everyone, whether they see themselves as them, she or he. The “bad guys” of the stories are Misogynerds, a wordplay that I think adresses something in the real world. I think the word “nerd” is taken more as an insult, than the word misogynist (even though [I think] it should be the other way around), so the combination is great, especially when you keep the intended audience in mind.

The music that is used for the different parts of the story matches the contens of the pages very nicely. I think it’s a funny that some of the music is made by people in the LGBTQ-community, it underlines the main theme of the text.

Overall I very much enjoyed this piece of elit, everything from language to music to the visuals of the piece emphasizes its points. I think it is great to use humor as a weapon. This is a low-key way of letting people know you think they are wrong or mistreating more than half of the Worlds population.

On a final note I think we should all just appreciate for a minute how DEATH BY GLITTER would be the worst nightmare of toxic masculinity, and isn’t that just the perfect way for it to go?

 

Read more about Quing’s Quest VII  here: http://collection.eliterature.org/3/work.html?work=quings-quest-vii

 

#1 Like Stars in A Clear Night Sky

Like Stars in A Clear Night Sky makes me feel like I’m sitting in a desert and looking up at all the beautiful and clear stars, while a fellow traveller – perhaps someone I’ve only just met, is telling stories of their life, a life so different to mine, and yet quite alike.

When first entering the piece by Sharrif Ezzat you see a black screen and hear a man talk in Arabic with english “subtitles”. While the titles of the stories within the piece are said out loud, the black screen get’s filled up with stars, some brighter than others. The brightest (or bluest) are his stories.

As mentioned the piece consist of different short stories, styled almost as poems, and each of them have some sort of existential questions at the end. “Is this life a test? / Is that why we suffer? / Or is that how we endure it?” (Shall I tell you about my uncle whose life is a test?) or “What will it take to make him happy?” (Shall I tell you about my cousin, whose palace is unfinished?). The questions make the piece stick with the reader, at least it did with me, and the desert sky and arabic voice made me think of a culture so different from mine and yet close to it.

In my first notes about this piece I wrote that the stories were about people who are unhappy, and I think that is true to some extend, but as I have read them again I think the main theme of these stories are love, both the happy and less happy (not necessarily unhappy). There is the story of a man who is married to a woman who despises the place he is from, but I think he still loves her, or sees the part of her he fell in love with, even though other parts of her are now showing. In that story you could say the unhappiness lies within the couple.    

In another story (Shall I tell you about my sister? Please let me tell you about my sister …) the unhappiness is coming from outside. The storyteller’s sister falls in love with a man below her social class, which her parents disapprove, and they try to break them apart. Within this story I don’t necessarily think the couple in love are unhappy, not always anyway. Therefore I think the main theme of these stories are the struggles of love.

There is also larger narratives that goes beyond the family and friends of the storyteller.  In the story Perhaps I should tell you that the whole world is determined to become my family I get the idea that it’s about refugees; “Some are scared and seeking shelter. / Some are confused and don’t know how they / arrived. / Others are overjoyed. / And have already / Started cooking the first meal.”. I think this translates very well to what people immigrating to a new country must feel, while it also illustrates that no one has the exact same experience. I think there is an element of social criticism in this piece, even though it is more obvious in some texts than others.

Overall I really liked this piece it made me stop and think, instead of just be “something I had to read for a class”. Apart from that I really think the layout of it is beautiful and the text, audio and visuals really suit each other.