“Eveline, fragmentos de una respuesta” by Marina Zerbarini

Open "Eveline, fragmentos de una respuesta" by Marina Zerbarini
Open “Eveline, fragmentos de una respuesta” by Marina Zerbarini

Eveline, fragmentos de una respuesta [Eveline, Fragments of a Reply] (2004) is a hypertext narrative by Argentine author Marina Zerbarini. It takes its inspiration from two short stories by James Joyce – ‘Eveline’, and ‘A Painful Case’ (1914) – which Zerbarini uses as a springboard for creating a multimedia narrative that brings together photographic images, videos, animations and sound files. Marina Zerbarini, is a leading digital artist from Argentina who has worked across several media, including photography, painting, objects and installation art for some decades, and whose electronic works include some that fall into the e-lit category, whilst others are more properly net art. She created this work in Macromedia Flash, using the ActionScript programming language. Each time we open Eveline, fragmentos de una respuesta different interfaces are loaded, these ranging from bleached-out images of sheets, to extreme close-up photographs of part of a human face or hand, with the image pixelated such that the individual pixels are visible. The cursor takes the form of a butterfly, and, by clicking on buttons that appear across the various interfaces, we activate different content files, including images, excerpts of text, and sound files (these latter containing excerpts mostly of electronic or orchestral music).

Butterfly cursor over pixelated close-up in Eveline, fragmentos de una respuesta
Butterfly cursor over pixelated close-up in Eveline, fragmentos de una respuesta

The chronological order of the files is not pre-set, and instead, the reader has to piece together the story from multiple stimuli, as s/he reads disparate blocks of lexia, views images, watches videos, and listens to sounds. The two source texts which are the inspiration for this work provide clues as to its possible interpretation. In Joyce’s original short stories, endings are unexpected, and questions left unanswered; in Zerbarini’s narrative, this sense of uncertainty, and of searching for meaning, is re-enacted procedurally, as the reader has to undertake a journey through these multiple sources to piece together the narrative. But more than just a re-telling of Joyce, Zerbarini’s narrative invites us to explore the nature of hypertext narrative and our embodied relationship to it as reader. The foregrounding of the human body through the extreme close-ups means that we have to think through our own affective relationship to the work as we navigate it. And yet… through the overt pixelation, Zerbarini makes us question our own status as human. Is it perhaps our possible transformation into cyborgs as we engage with electronic literature that Zerbarini is encouraging us to reflect upon here?

“Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney” by Shu Takumi

Open "Turnabout Beginnings", a case in Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations.
Open “Turnabout Beginnings,” a case in Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations.

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.

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“Vocaloid” by Yamaha Corporation

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Vocaloid is software that uses voice libraries built from the recorded and modified voices of human singers to allow users to possess their very own artificial singer. This software has created a great amount of possibilities and has had a significantsocial impact in many regions, especially in Japan. This entry will concentrate on explaining the authoring software and its e-poetic potential.

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“Útero portanto Cosmos” (Uterus therefore Cosmos) by Agnus Valente and Nardo Germano

Screen capture from "Útero portanto Cosmos" (Uterus therefore Cosmos) by Agnus Valente and Nardo Germano. Black background with three grey dots in the middle and two lines of grey text, one at the bottom, the other at the top. Text:"Utero" "Cosmos"
Open “Útero portanto Cosmos” (Uterus therefore Cosmos) by Agnus Valente and Nardo Germano

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.

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“Deviant: The Possession of Christian Shaw” by Donna Leishman

“Deviant: The Possession of Christian Shaw” by Donna Leishman
“Deviant: The Possession of Christian Shaw” by Donna Leishman

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.

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“Visual Sonnet #1” by Braxton Soderman

Screen capture from "Visual Sonnet #1" by Braxton Soderman. Images are stacking on top of other images. Some have text written on them while others have eyes  of people on them. Text: "Creative Bookbinding" "m n o or r" "Le Hasard" The rest of the text is too small to read.
Open “Visual Sonnet #1” by Braxton Soderman

This generative sonnet is inspired by Raymond Queneau’s Cent Mille Milliards de Poèmes but takes a highly visual approach by using images of poets, book spines, and other images. The images are cropped into strips, much like the line-pages in Queneau’s book, an ideal proportion for book spines (see a similar treatment by Jody Zellen) and the photographed eyes of iconic poets. The lines respond to mouseovers, allowing you to change the work as needed.

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“Cut to the Flesh” by Deena Larsen and Jody Zellen

Screen capture from “Cut to the Flesh” by Deena Larsen and Jody Zellen. Words overlaid by question marks on lightly textured background. Text: "The world disintegrates rapidly./Can one trust a reminiscence"
Open “Cut to the Flesh” by Deena Larsen and Jody Zellen

This multimedia poem was written by Jody Zellen, using a “page space” developed by Deena Larsen for this collaboration. Each of the question marks responds to a mouseover by triggering a line of verse moving diagonally across the poem’s surface along with a sound. The title’s reference to the flesh and the use of heartbeat, sonogram, and voice recordings saying things like “breathe” all reinforce a surgical conceptual framework, and metaphorically framing the diagonal language movement as cuts, slashing across the screen. The occasional variations in the sounds and word movement place the poem in conversation with some of the urban concerns which are so central to Zellen’s poetics, while the literalization of a metaphor through interface design is part of Larsen’s.

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“non-LOSS’y translator” by Simon Biggs and Loss Pequeño Glazier

Screen capture of “non-LOSS’y translator” by Simon Biggs and Loss Pequeño Glazier. Black background with binary code in green. Text in different colors on top. Four big, purple circles and two small ones.
Open “non-LOSS’y translator” by Simon Biggs and Loss Pequeño Glazier

This authoring software was created by Simon Biggs as part of the Page Space Project, a collaborative experiment in which e-lit writers would create a page structure for another to write in and produce a work of electronic literature. Biggs created this structure to encode the characters typed by into “a number of different languages, including English, Greek symbols, the decimal ASCII codes that map keyboard keys to typography, the binary codes that equate to these, Morse Code and Braille.” This odd word processor also resizes the characters as you type to fit the entire text on the screen space, doing so until it reaches illegibility.

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“Letters Demand Things” by Michael Madsen

"Letters Demand Things" by Michael Madsen. Black letters float in the foreground in front of what looks like a crack in some blinds. Text: "(random letters)"
Open “Letters Demand Things” by Michael Madsen

“Fallow Field” by Dene Grigar

Screen capture from "Fallow Field" by Dene Grigar. Text of work accompanied by photograph of a dark, windowed room. Text: "so numbed by the noise and the alcohol that the itching of the bites he endured at home ceased to bother him/07 Me, ha!/08 Me, he leaves to the fields and flies and my own FALLOW heart, which grows more empty and dangerous each day because no feelings are left to dust it with tenderness./08 But I have grown bolder this time that Theo's been gone.
Open “Fallow Field” by Dene Grigar

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