“Paperwounds,” is an intimate look into the sometimes-surreal, often-manic realm of the suicidal and depressed. It is an intense snapshot of the numerous facets that go into the decision of taking one’s own life, each of its disparate parts aligning to form a piecemeal narrative readers may only ever really guess at in its entirety. Presented as a crumpled up piece of paper, readers “unwrap” the suicide note by clicking on the highlighted/pulsating words within its folds. Doing so exhumes other, shorter notes the writer placed within the virtual letter, each one a different illustration of–perhaps–what drove the fictional victim to this ultimate negation of self. The interface, technological sounds, and brief animations when you mouse over certain texts combined with the ruined state of the materials create a forensic tone for the work, casting the reader in the role of an investigator. The poem may be zoomed in on, zoomed out from, flipped, rotated, dimmed, and made completely invisible–though doing any of the aforementioned does not seem to change the nature of the text at first glance.
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.
The Jew’s Daughter (2000) suggests a postmodern interpretation of T. S. Eliot’s famous assertion in ‘Tradition and the Individual Talent’ – a melding of the timeless and the temporal in order for the poet, or, as in this case, the writer, to observe tradition and his own contemporaneity. Judd Morrissey’s take on the hypertext novel suggests this observation of a “historical sense [which] involves a perception, not only of the pastness of the past, but of its presence; the historical sense compels a man to write not merely with his own generation in his bones, but with a feeling that the whole of the literature of Europe from Homer and within it the whole of the literature of his own country has a simultaneous existence and composes a simultaneous order” (Eliot, para 3). The novel echoes this in its own way, stating, “Past things emerge discretely to sanctify a new system. Like fragments once written, they seek the wholeness of a new arrangement. They are ours, they want to be realized by us and to make us real, to make their wholeness ours – to claim us and be claimed by us. Things seek realization in new configurations.” Morrissey’s work thus locates itself to an extent within Eliot’s modernist framework of tradition and the role of the writer, while using hypertext’s digital landscape to self-reflexively indicate the fragmentary nature of literature and lived experience.
“Dois Palitos” (“Two matchsticks”) (2008) is the title of an e-poem by short story writer, Samir Mesquita based on “Two matchsticks,” a popular saying in Brazil. The origins of this Brazilian folk expression are difficult to determine, but its significance indicates the rapid execution of a task. The matchbox is a Brazilian’s old friend. Even with the absence of musical instruments several sambas have been created accompanied only by the cadenced rhythm of these improvised little rattles. Today, in the Internet and microblogging age, the matchboxes inspires new literary genres.
Reagan Library might be best described as exploratory hypertext fiction. In this work, Stuart Montfort has created an eerie world, reminiscent of the game Myst and its sequels, which seems to require a particular state of mind, a suspension of disbelief, and a total immersion into a new and unexplored universe.
In “RedRidinghood,” Donna Leishman retells the story of Little Red Riding Hood. Using Flash in a similar way to “Deviant” (previously reviewed here), Leishman offers a modern reading of the traditional tale, which acknowledges its indebtedness to Angela Carter (thanked in the credits as the person who initiated it all). In this interactive narrative, Red Riding Hood sets out on her way to her grandmother’s house. In the woods, she meets a boy-wolf who will eventually seduce her, but also experiences the forest itself before falling asleep and dreaming.
In 1964, poets António Aragão (1924-2008) and Herberto Helder launched in Portugal the first number of the “Experimental Poetry Journals“, an experimental poetry magazine that presented vanguard poems created by a generation of poets attentive to new visual poetry tendencies and concrete poetry. 44 years later, a researchers staff headed by Rui Torres launches the project Experimental Poetry: Digital Archive of Portuguese Experimental Literature rescuing and spreading in the digital environment, the published poems and some proposes of its interactive digital versions.
According to its author, Agnus Valente, “Uterus therefore Cosmos” is a kind of work in progress developed during the years 2003 to 2007. In this project, several e-poems created by Valente and his twin brother, Nardo Germano, explores the expressive and conceptual potential of the World Wide Web. “Uterus therefore Cosmos” brings together in one digital environment, works by visual artists, poets and musicians from different eras. Valente proposes a dialogue between his poems authored with his brother and the work of brazilian poets and visual artists.
In “Deviant: The Possession of Christian Shaw,” Donna Leishman uses a series of animated images to tell the story of Christian Shaw, an almost eleven year old girl who lives in Balgarran. This is an exploratory piece that allows the user to experience Christian’s world.
Although there is some text, the piece is mostly non-verbal. The images change when the user chooses to hover over them and they show strange things happening. The world inhabited by Christian is filled both with terrible creatures that observe her from behind the barren trees or marvellous flora that changes in unexpected ways. Her experiences affect her perception.