Slightly modifying the “cut-up” technique of Dadaist and Modernist writers in her digital work, “Blue Hyacinth,” Pauline Masurel encourages her readers not to destroy the original four poems, but rather jumble them together, stir them up, and weave them in a way that shares in the creative process of generating an individualized text. By presenting “Blue Hyacinth” as a stir-fry work (using Jim Andrews’ “Stir Fry Texts” framework) that allows readers to reflect on the original poems, Masurel is changing the author-reader relationship. Masurel ensures that readers become extensions of herself by encouraging readers to manipulate her writings and fashion a text that becomes less a traditional example of poetry and more a collaborative piece shared between individual reader and writer. With “Blue Hyacinth,” Masurel crafts a space where traditional print culture roles fade and are replaced by their mutable digital counterparts. Never once just a reader or an author, those that encounter “Blue Hyacinth” are able to exercise a semblance of autonomy that is novel to texts within the digital medium.
A thrilling courtroom drama delivered through a medium which blurs the line between visual and textual narratives, Ace Attorney, whose first release in 2001 proved unexpectedly popular in the West, can be counted among the works most responsible for bringing the visual novel paradigm to the mainstream. It, along with selected others which can be strictly categorized as true “visual novels”, such as:
…are most easily described as text-based adventure games which require minimal player input, since visual novels are formally labelled as ‘computer games’ by society at large. In practice, however, they are essentially a novel-length narrative retold through text and animation.
Nanette Wylde’s Storyland (2002) is a digital work that produces recombinant narratives within a frame that seeks to evoke the ethos of a circus performance. Each story within Storyland opens with a black screen, the title of the work lighting up in a randomized configuration of multi-coloured letters to a shortened subsection of of Louis-Philippe Laurendeau’s ‘Thunder and Blazes’ (1910), a small-band reworking of Julius Fučík’s Opus 68 march, ‘The Entrance of the Gladiators’ (1897). The stories within Storyland follow a basic six paragraph template, and are refreshed each time the user presses the ‘new story’ button. Each time this button is pushed, the page refreshes by playing its music again and produces elements in a new combination in order to tell the user a different narrative, seemingly depicting a whole new performance, although elements of the previous tale are displaced and repeated within each new tale.
myBALL is a Flash based mock product site that satirizes a kind of sales pitch commonly found in the web. By clicking the initial slogan “The future of robotic toys is now” we enter the wonderful world of corporate parody and get to know myBALL.
“Ceci n’est pas un nike” (This is not a Nike) (2002) is a web interactive project created by Brazilian multimedia artist Giselle Beiguelman. The project proposes a pun inspired by the enigmatic phrase “Ceci n’est pas un pipe” (This is not a pipe) inscribed in the painting, “La trahison des images” (The Treachery of Images) created by the Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte in 1929. This Magritte painting is notorius to cause the viewer a weird dissociation, because it proposes a breakdown of meaning between text and image despite the obvious relationship between them.
“Ceci n’est pas un nike” allows the interactor two basic interaction forms: visual and textual. Through visual interaction is possible distort, in many ways, the image of a tennis shoe. The distortion effects is implemented through a Java application developed by Alex Rosen and renamed e-nike generator by Giselle Bielguelman. The interactor can save the result in a gallery of samples After making his intervention at the picture, and exhibit his work alongside interventions of digital poets as Komninos Zervos and Jim Andrews. The second interaction form is a textual experience that allows the interactor to edit new text on the original text of the author, adding their reflections the project.
One of the most eloquent expressive forms of poetry in digital media is inscribed in territory between the image and the written word. For centuries, the text was directly linked to speech and image associated with the representation, though poets like Mallarme and Apollinaire and other artists such as Magritte and following Cy Twonbly and Jean-Michel Basquiat challenge these limits.
Giselle Beiguelman invites the interactor to reflect about the word / image classical dichotomy through an ironic and provocative approach. In digital media, languages interacts one with each other. Texts transformed into images and vice versa. Words move from side to side of the screen. Objectivity becomes ambiguity. Poems are language distortions and new contexts created by semantic and syntactic provocations. By providing means to manipulate, distort and break the image of this capitalist icon Beiguelman offers to his interactor, the possibility to create new contexts from the forge of visual discourses.
Undoubtedly, Giselle Beiguelman’s “Ceci n’est pas un Nike” reveals to the interactor a new way to see and read the digital poem.