“Hobo Lobo of Hamelin” by Stevan Živadinović

Screen capture from "Hobo Lobo of Hamelin" by Stevan Živadinović. Hobo Lobo and his dog walking through a wooded area of a village; two eyes stalk him from inside an old barrel. Text: "They had everything they could ever wish / for - with a healthy side-serving of strong moral / fibre - and yet their lives were not as fine and / dandy as they would've liked them to me."
Open “Hobo Lobo of Hamelin” by Stevan Živadinović

This comic strip narrative in prose and verse reinvents the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, but with a character called “Hobo Lobo.” Reimagining the comic strip using Scott McCloud’s notion of the “infinite canvas” the comic goes beyond the traditional implementation of a two-dimensional strip. The innovative aspect is that he uses layers to produce a three dimensional parallax effect when the reader scrolls and rethinks the panel by centering layers on adjacent segments on the strip, as he explains in his Parallaxer tutorial. The effect of these layers and panel transitions enhances narrative continuity in panel transitions by replacing the comics gutter with the more cinematic mise-en-scène.

Enjoy this fun retelling of the folktale in all its layers: politics, images, social issues, technology, media, genre, and more, keeping in mind that you’ll notice different things depending on what angle you view it from.

Featured in New Media Writing Prize 2012

Read more about this work at ELMCIP.

“Window” by Katharine Norman

Open: “Window” by Katharine Norman

This multimedia poem is a profound meditation on place. Based on photographs and sound recordings taken from the same window over the course of a year, this work seeks to capture a sense of space for readers to enter. Norman directly credits John Cage as an inspiration for this piece— a musician interested in listening to ambient sounds and directing audiences to the same, as he did with his (in)famous 4’33”.

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“Pentimiento” by Jerome Fletcher

Open “Pentimiento” by Jerome Fletcher

This narrative poem is a fascinating type of hypertext because instead of having five primary nodes from which to follow linear threads it uses a layering interface for navigation. The reader, instead of clicking on links, scrapes away at images to reveal an image beneath, and can continue to scrape away until she reaches the end of that narrative thread. This allows readers to reveal more than one layer at a time, as pictured above in a screenshot of three layers in the introduction.


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“4 Square” by Jody Zellen

Screen capture from "4 Square" by Jody Zellen. Grey background with black text on the screen. Text: "SHOULD TELL YOU / I will try your other number again / go study and learn about the world / from one little day to a long year / go study and learn about the world / from one little day to a long year / I will try your other number again / well that is not what I have found / for each man will go down the same / land for you to move to / for you to be at one with the land / each day I think of you / point after all that / our show must go on / need to get in line / why did you do this / follow what you say"
Open “4 Square” by Jody Zellen

This free app art poem captures Zellen’s approach wonderfully. Each of the four squares respond to touch and can be tapped to change within each category or dragged to reposition with the others. Each category is representative of the materials she traditionally works with:

“Empty Thoughts for Real Life” by Jody Zellen

Screen capture from “Empty Thoughts for Real Life” by Jody Zellen. Traditional comic strip consisting of 8 panels, but devoid of any text or characters, leaving only preset word bubbles.
Open “Empty Thoughts for Real Life” by Jody Zellen

This minimalist piece takes a purely visual approach to language in a manner consistent with her other works. The panels only contain speech balloons, which are divested language, people, and context to represent purely abstract utterances. Is language disappearing from Zellen’s work? Or is it becoming yet another visual material to draw, cut, layer, shape, and imbue with behavior?

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“Seen Death” by Jody Zellen

Open “Seen Death” by Jody Zellen

This poem takes on the coverage of the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq after the September 11, 2001 attacks particularly how by 2007 it seemed to have been somehow de-emphasized in the media. Zellen composes this piece out of newspaper headlines, data visualizations, iconic images, journalistic photography, text, and news media sound clips to make readers aware of the deaths that result from war and occupation. Slightly interactive, the reader triggers and ends scheduled sequences that display some of these materials in visceral ways that make it difficult to ignore the suffering. This multimedia hypertext is divided into three main sequences— “Death,” “Seen,” and “Extended Harmoniously—” and in all of them we see layered, stacked objects that contain language that has been remixed to produce newly readable poetic texts.

Is this a newly envisioned cut-up abandoning the aleatory to refocus language that has been dispersed and diluted by an overwhelming amount of other news?

“Smooth Second Bastard” by Jason Edward Lewis

Screen capture from “Smooth Second Bastard” by Jason Edward Lewis. Background with multiple colors and shades: orange, cream, blue and red. An “e” takes most of the left space. Text: “you/ from/ here?/ betwl  x/ bastard,/ smooth”.
Open “Smooth Second Bastard” by Jason Edward Lewis

This poem is the fourth in the P.o.E.M.M. (Poem for Excitable [Mobile] Media) series, which explores iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) as a creative platform for poetic expression. Each work investigates meaningful interactions with this environment, such as arranging texts on the screen space for readers to discover with touch and dragging gestures (“Speak”), using multitouch capability to pull out a line of poetry from a text cloud (“Know”), and combining the latter with tapping gestures to provoke words out of moving objects (“Migration”). This latest work engages the iOS environment as a market— an important aspect of artistic production.

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“Pause” by Jody Zellen

“Pause” by Jody Zellen

“More Real than Now” by Jody Zellen

Screen capture of "More Real than Now" by Jody Zellen. Legs of people walking are shown in black, while letters (specifically "what is now...stasis...") are in white, and the street / background is gray.
Open “More Real than Now” by Jody Zellen

This video poem is built from a dual juxtaposition of language and image and an image with itself. A steady stream of language scrolls horizontally on the screen in a manner suggestive of a news ticker providing a prose poem that uses grammar and the window size to offer a sense of the line. This creates a disconnection between the line we read now and the one we read a few seconds or a minute from now: it is the same line, but we are witnessing a different portion of it. The way the work handles the images is similar. The window displays a portion of the image, and then moves (or does the image move?) so the reader can see different parts of the photograph. Interestingly enough, a semi-transparent snapshot of the original view moves along with the window, emphasizing the disconnection between the initial and current perception of the piece.

Now read the poem, keeping in mind how it meditates upon the past and present of urban spaces, and our perceptions and changing relations with both.

“Tomorrow’s News Today” by Jody Zellen

Screen capture from "Tomorrow's News Today" by Jody Zellen. Collage of images arranged vertically, one next to the other in a black frame that has four lines of white and red text beneath the the image collage. Text: The lines are too small to be read.
Open “Tomorrow’s News Today” by Jody Zellen

This responsive multimedia poem is built from several objects that work together to critique how news is reported and received in print, images, and television. She uses JavaScript to produce a scrolling poem composed of 40 newspaper headlines, each with a link that opens a tiny pop up window with an image that one needs to make interpretive leaps to relate to the headline. The Flash object presents a slices of grainy television images sliced into vertical strips while two text-to-speech voices read news sound bites— television’s equivalent to a headline. Depending on where the reader places the pointer, loudness is assigned to a male voice on the left speakers or a female voice reading on the right. The voices read the same looping text, seemingly in the same order, but starting in different points, and are synchronized to almost take turns, though there are overlaps. Both the scrolling lines of text and the spoken words reveal a prosody of headlines and sound bites: the rhythms of the news.

Conceptually, this piece echoes Ezra Pound’s famous quote “Literature is news that STAYS news” and William Carlos Williams response:

It is difficult
to get the news from poems
		yet men die miserably every day
				for lack
of what is found there.


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