This collaborative poem was written for the CAVE at Brown University and is a relatively simple yet compelling argument for this kind of writing, initiated by Robert Coover in 2002. Other CAVE works reviewed in this blog have published video documentation of a performance, which is a far cry from the real deal, but considering it takes time and money to travel to Brown University to use their CAVE (and a prohibitive amount of money to build one), this will do. Soderman and Carter have gone a step further by providing access to the Cave Text Editor and the source files for readers to explore the work and run a preview of it.
A full screen preview allows readers to enter a VRML type of space in which texts are arranged on the inside walls, ceiling and floor of a cube. The reader has some limited navigation capability and can click on texts to do the graphical equivalent of pulling them from the background layer, which is mostly obscured by the a “snowstorm of white letters. The immersive experience is enhanced by a recording of Carter reading a poem, positioning us in the point of view of the poem’s speaker. It is a rare experience to be surrounded by language: lines of verse in space and time, with white symbols cascading about as you take it all in.
We need more CAVEs. But in the meantime we have the CAVE Text Editor. Can’t we make it Web deliverable?