“BA-Tale” by Zuzana Husárová and Ľubomír Panák

“BA-Tale” by Zuzana Husárová and Ľubomír Panák

This poem invents an origin myth for Bratislava (abbreviated BA, hence the title in English), cuts it up and scatters it like seeds into an interface designed to respond to reader interactions. The scattered words are gently drawn to the pointer until a word falls under it, which triggers the whole dispersed line to swiftly arrange itself, brightening into legibility on the canvas, and then dispersing and fading when released. This allows for an exploratory kind of reading, taking in a snippet at a time, as if one is hearing bits and pieces of the story as one travels in Bratislava.

But the exploration doesn’t need to be haphazard: Husárová and Panák provide a trail in this poem’s psychogeography by gently lighting up the next phrase in the sequence. This, combined with sounds associated with a key word in each line encourages interest in the sequence, to discover a narrative and sound progression.

A peek at the source code (right mouse click on the screen and select from menu) reveals well organized and documented source code with all 35 lines of the poem starting in line 82. This potentially allows others to remix the the work by changing its words and lines, placing other ideas into this structure. The aural component would require revision or disabling of the scripts which shouldn’t require advanced knowledge of Processing.js or MooTools. The trick is to preserve some the original work’s energy, which has the advantage of having been created along with this e-poetic form.

My suggestion: experience the work as designed before reading the code. There are pleasures in discovering it through the interface provided, which enhances its wit.

Note: When the work starts, allow the tight word structure to expand into the canvas before moving your pointer over it. I have noticed the work can freeze and become unresponsive if not allowed to start up properly.

Featured in ELMCIP Anthology of European Electronic Literature