Cruising & My Elit Project Update/ Blog #9

Cruising is an example of a Flash poem, which is made by Ingrid Anderson and Sapnar. It takes advantages of ”interactivity in a limited way that complements the subject of the poem, the coming-of-age ritual cruising, with hormones raging, in small town America.” It is the first time for me to read a flash poem. The reading of “Cruising” requires the readers to learn how to drive the text, which means controlling the speed, the direction, and the scale of the text, “in order to in order to follow the textual path of the narrative.” Therefore, I tried hard to find the balance between the text and the sound, which allows me to read and engage with the sound in the same time. It is the only interaction I found that I could made with the work, which is much less than the other Elit pieces.

The theme of the piece I think is the balance between desire and need, for the character, she seemed to be struggling with love and freedom. I feel it is almost a human nature to always pursuing our dreams and wants while compromising to the reality and need. Thus, the piece is highly relatable for the readers.

My Elit Project Update

As for my own Elit project process, I have explored some of the digital tools but still not sure which one to use yet. However, I really appreciate the group talks that we had in the last class. The discussion of my group members really helped me with my Elit piece. I have a clear idea of what story is my piece going to talk about. Therefore, I start to storyboarding in this week. 

I decide that my piece is going to combine the concept of “travel journal” and “dream”, which is inspired by the piece we explored together last week “Icaurs Needs”. I am going to make my Elit piece in the way of travel journal, in which the narrator also records the dreams she had during her trip. The dreams can reflect her memories and reveals her important life experiences. In this way, the narrator reexamines herself and her failed marriage. More importantly, she finds herself again and explores the meaning of marriage with the help of her friend. 

I have outlined the overall development of the story and start to work on the contents of travel journal. In the following week, I will try to explore the digital tools more.

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Icaurs Needs/ Blog #8

Daniel Merlin Goodbrey‘s work “Icarus Needs” is a hypercomic adventure game staring everyone’s favourite mentally unhinged cartoonist, Icarus Creeps. He has fallen asleep playing videogames and become trapped inside a surreal dream world that’s part videogame and part comic strip. His girlfriend Kit has got trapped inside the same dream. Now Icarus needs to locate Kit, escape the clutches of the King of Squirrels and find some way back to the waking world. During the game, readers play as the main character, Icarus, to save Kit and defeat the King of Squirrels.  

Actually, I am not the person who enjoyed these kind of E-lit pieces that are based on game systems, as I do not play any video games in my life. It is hard for me to get familiar with games and play with games usually. However, it is out of my expectation that the easiness of playing with “Icarus Needs”. All I need to do as a player is controlling the character to move up and down, left and right.屏幕快照 2018-11-12 下午10.49.23

The character goes through different squares, being different plots, walks back and forth, in the purpose of getting all the things that are required to save Kit. For example, to find a key. 

屏幕快照 2018-11-12 下午10.55.46During the game, I found Icarus’s dialogues are really cute, witty, and relatable. I believe that the boys who play video games a lot must have heard these words from their mother.

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 For me personally, there used to be a period when I always had the same dream of myself falling down constantly for about a half month when I was in my high school. The dialogue here reminds me of those nights immediately.

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ROUGH IDEA-MY ELIT PIECE

The initial idea about my elit is “marriage”. I want to write about different kinds of marriage, both happy and unhappy ones that I have seen or heard about in my life. The theme might be asking what a happy marriage seems like or what are the “definition” and key components of a happy marriage. 

The reason I would have this idea is omnifarious. First, I am the one who does not have so much confidence about marriage. I grew up seeing and hearing about a lot of unfortunate abortive marriages of my relatives and my mother’s friends, which gradually destroyed my beautiful imagination for marriage. However, I watched a Chinese variety show entitled “Viva La Romance” on YouTube recently. The eudaemonic marriages of the four couples in the show demonstrate another possibility of marriage for me. It makes me curious about whether there exists a secret key to a happy successful marriage. I want to mix the real life experience of one of my aunt and a fictive happy marriage to make up my own elit.

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I want to make a site that like a travel journal, which is written by a divorced woman. The woman is 36 years old and she goes to a travel with her friend, Amy, right after she divorced with her husband. Amy has a really sweet husband and is two years younger than her. During their travel, she learns a lot from Amy and Amy’s marriage. She records the things happened and she learned by writing a travel journal. 

Actually, I want to make something more fun and interesting. However, it is still really hard for me to create something like animations and images, just anything more than texts. I would like to learn about doing these things and make my elit piece more interacted with the readers.

With Those We Love Alive/ Blog#6

“With Those We Love Alive” is a Twine game designed by Porpentine Charity Hearscape. During the game, it interacts with the readers by inviting them to mark up their own body with symbols. It starts with making the readers embedded into the game and became the main character in the game. To be honest, I was really confused about how to continue and play the game. I spent some time figuring out the design and intention of the author and how to move forward in the game, during which I felt the game was kind of dark and horrifying. Then, when I reached the stage below.

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I started to understand the game and feel the emotion and meaning behind. I felt the despair and helplessness of the character being trapped. My understanding was that the character was kind of divisive. “The people who share your blood” is actually “yourself”, the old “you”. “Let it flutter away” is a part of “destroying the physical reminders of the past”, which is a way of “loving yourself”. In my own experience, if I want to forget something makes me unhappy, I would try to get rid of anything that may reminds me of that bad memory. I guess the most of us do the same. Therefore, here, the old “you” and the past is something “you” want to forget. There must be some reason, such as something bad happened in the past, that makes the past and the old “you” terrible for “you”.

However, the behavior of drawing signs on the skin that is required in the game reminds me a lot of self-harm. I don’t want to admit that, but I had done this before in my middle school. That time is really the darkest period in my life, during which I self-harmed using knife and compasses. I tried to avoid these things and memories after graduating from middle school, but this game really reminds me of that. For me, that old me in the middle school is also something I want to forget and get rid of. Here, I am the same. We are the same, Jangloss. It did make me feel kind of uncomfortable, so I gave up doing that halfway, which is a part of “loving myself”.

Pieces of Herself/ Blog #5

For Juliet Davis’s “Pieces of Herself”, my attentions and interests were totally raised and drown during the process of exploring and playing the Elit work. Unlike other E-lit works that I have met and read now, “Pieces of Herself” is a drag-and-drop game that explores feminine embodiment and identity. To be more specific, it uses the dress-up doll motif to explore issues of gender or women identity in different contexts, which include with shower, bedroom, outside, kitchen, living room, office, and Main Street. When you drag and drop the colorful icons in the black and white settings onto the human figure on the left side of the screen, it triggers audio clips from interviews with women, music loops, and sound effects, resulting in a layered narrative. Maybe that is because I am one of those who are really care about and pay attentions to feminism and gender equality, I felt the piece was really relatable for me, personally.

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  • She-nameless-considered to indicates every female in our life.
  • Pieces of herself-pieces of female characters/pieces of the society’s stereotypes or expectations on female characters.

Before I click on any of the icons, I want to mention one detail that I have noticed, the short explanation for each setting. For example, the explanation for the “shower room” is as below.

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Places like restroom, shower room, are always the most ideal places for women to have some private chats. In the shower room especially, “women slip behind curtains” and keep themselves “in perfect synchronicity, to remain invisible to each other”. We were educated to do so. We were educated that we need to hide our bodies and protect our bodies. Therefore, only in this way, can we feel safety and reassured. Meanwhile, because this is the place where we are naked, we tend to communicate something really private and honest.

When I started exploring the Elit, the first thing I drag is the bacterias on the toilet bowl, and the corresponding sound says “don’t forget to wash your hands”, which sounds like the words mothers always tell their children. I am not sure whether Tracy, which is the name on the door of the toilet, is her name or not. I think it could be something she saw on the door just as us do, but draw by someone else. Or it could be draw by herself in the past. The sound makes me feels like Tracy was betrayed by John. The sound of finger print is “Oh my god, I’m not gonna let my kids see me naked”. Again, it demonstrates the fact that women always try to keep their bodies on the dark and private side, and usually they are kind of unconfident and ashamed about their own body. The blood icon triggers a music loop of “Blood Makes Noise”. You can find the dripping sound never ends after dragging the water in the vanity sink, which was really annoying.

Here, more than three other social characters are revealed in her life, her mother, her lover, and her kids.

 

Than, in another really private context, the bedroom, the explanation is as below.

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This explanation really confused me at first. Then, I felt related to it strongly. In my life, sometimes, I mean I am a person who tend to think and worry a lot, when I start thinking, concerning, even imaging about something, I felt I can never catch or stop the thoughts. They are just there, like a cloud, “floating to the ceiling”. Actually, when you enter the bedroom, before you can notice and think about the explanation, some sound messages would start playing immediately. The messages are left by her boyfriend, her mother, and her friend maybe. The messages are really disquieting, as they indicate the fact her might had not answering any phone calls from her most close ones for a few days. From my own experience, that is usually not a good signal for a person’s neither mental or physical situation. She probably had experienced something really bad and had a great influence , which might made her break down.

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In the trash bin, I found a piece really disquieting again. “In my dream, I’m home but it’s not really home” I feels that demonstrates that she lost her sense of belonging to her home, her city, and her close people. So, she felt unfamiliar with the surroundings. When you click on the purple cloud, the sound of thundering releases, which reminds me of all the thundering and raining nights I spent on my bed in my own bedroom when I felt afraid, small, and lonely. These bad weathers make it easy for me to think of bad and sad memories and have some negative and distressing thoughts. Another interesting thing I found is what is showing on the screen of her computer is also “Pieces of herself”. I felt, again, it really implies that every female who is reading the piece is actually “her”, the one who is finding the “pieces of herself” to some extent. I believe the most of us have had the question about ourselves.

Another thing I want to mention is that when you finish exploring two or three settings of “Pieces of Herself”, you might found that the body on the left side is already a mess full of different icons. Some of the sounds, such as dripping, never stop making you feel crazy and restless. My understanding is that a woman’s body is like a trash can, which is full of her own life experiences, no matter they are good or not, they can never be removed, and the filthy things that the society imposed on them. The “clear” button is like the process of dumping the trash can. However, in real life, woman do not have the “clear” button and they can not removed these things as they wish.

 

The explanation for “Outside” is really worth thinking.

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“As if she could ever really get ‘outside’”. If I put us here, in her position. “As if we could ever really get ‘outside’”. We are trapped. We are all trapped to some extent, as females. As it was showed in all the settings, females always have multiple characters and roles, for example, someone’s mother, someone’s daughter, someone’s lover or someone’s wife, someone’s employee, etc. Therefore, many different expectations, requirements, and responsibilities are thrown on females. During the process of exploring the pieces by dragging and dropping these colorful pieces, we are actually exploring how a woman is treated or required in her life as different social roles. There existed so many labels and stereotypes for being a woman in the society, in all the countries, for all the women. She may tried really hard to reach the “standard”, but she can never be perfect. However, she can never “get outside”. She were trapped. Just as we do. Maybe for her, the ending was really sad. In the “Main Street”, we can found that Tracy is missing, her photo is on the missing poster beside the policeman.

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Fortunately, we are Tracy, but we are not Tracy. Furthermore, the Elit piece provide us the opportunity to think about some things really of great importance. We are supposed to think about ourselves as female characters in the society and the stereotypes, labels, limitations, and requirements for female characters that our society has. Why do I have to? Why do I have to be the way others or the society want? I want to be the way I want. Why am I defined by others or the society? I can only defined by myself. The perfect me can only defined by myself, too.

Brainstrips/ Blog #4

The structure of Alan Bigelow’s work “Brainstrips” is really interesting. It is made up of three separate parts: “Strip”, “Brain”, and “S”. I really love the part entitled “Is color real?” in the first part “STRIP”, which is about some “Deep Philosophical Questions”. In this part, there are three characters in a comic strip. One character said that he senses a blackness around them, which is actually the frame in dark color of the comic strip. Then, the other two characters’ dialogues indicate that they knew they are characters in the strips. Which attracted my attention is that in the second strip, outside of the two windows of the boats, there are a pair of human’s eyes actually. I think it reveals the fact that they are in the comic strips, rather than the reality. However, the eyes are actually a part of the comic strip, too. That kind of makes me questioned that “am I a part of comic strip or reality?” or “how can we make sure that we are not just comic characters?” I feel that comic strip questioned and challenged the boundary between reality and fiction or imaginary world. 

It really reminds me a lot of a South Korean television series, which is called “W”. In the teleplay, the hero is the hero in an alternate universe written by the heroine’s father in his comic book. The heroine goes back and forth between the two worlds. And at last, the hero comes to the real world and realizes that he is only a character created by a comic book creator. Both of the teleplay and the Elit make me confused about my exact identity and the world I live in (hhh)… Like… Am I real? How could I know? Maybe I am just a character created by someone in the other world…But anyway, I feel like I can never figure out the answer. So, just live the way I want and do whatever I like hhh…

By the way, I really do not like the dialog bubbles which are kind of vibrating and quivering. They make me feel weird and make my eyes tired reading them. But I can kind of get it, like the author is trying to convey the message that trying to query and overthrow some of the stereotypes.

Hobo Lobo of Hamelin/ Blog #3

It seems that Hobo Lobo of Hamelin is the one that I was able to understand the best and the easiest among all the E-lit works we have learned up to now. When comparing with other E-lit that we read or played, Hobo Lobo of Hamelin has a more simple and clear form, which is a webcomic, at least from my perspective. It is talking about and sticking to one story line, which is easy to follow for me.

The story starts with a typical beginning of fairy tale “Once upon a time…”, which makes me feel really familiar and curious soon. The first page of pictures is colored in black, gray, cool-toned yellow and pink, under a gloomy and somber atmosphere. As I clicking on the rest parts of Page 1, all the pictures are colored in the same pattern with the first one, indicating the thread and the mood of the story, which is a dark fairy tale.

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Screenshot of Hobo Lobo of Hamelin, Page1, 1

Then the main color changes to green as the story turned into Page 2, in which the story is describing the free life of Hobo Lobo. I really enjoyed the slides here, which were so fun and interesting.

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Screenshot of Hobo Lobo of Hamelin, Page2, 5

Next, the color turned into blue at the first half part of Page3. And the story started to be told in sounds rather than words here.

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Screenshot of Hobo Lobo of Hamelin, Page3, 9

Followed by the red color in the second half part of Page 3.

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Screenshot of Hobo Lobo of Hamelin, Page3, 11

I really loved that the color tone of the pictures parallel with the development of story, which helps the readers to understand the story and experience the emotions better and deeper.