Note: This post might be updated a couple times before April 30th.
Electronic Literature Review
I’ve looked through quite a few pieces of electronic literature, but the one I found most appealing was Facade. I wrote a bit about it in a past blog post about electronic literature. In that post, I wrote about its focus on interactivity, which is exactly why I find it so appealing.
In Facade you start by choosing a name. You find yourself outside of an apartment. When you knock at the door, you’ll be greeted by Trip, saying he is happy to see you. When you enter the apartment, Grace tells you to make yourself at home. Grace and Trip is a married couple, and if you say the wrong (or the right) thing, you’ll completely ruin their relationship.
You could argue that Trip and Grace are the main characters, as the story kind of revolves around their relationship. You could also argue that you’re the main character yourself. Everything revolves around you. You can say whatever they want, and they will react accordingly. The interaction between you as a reader and those two fictional characters are arguably more important than the characters themselves. The player is the one who gives the story a meaning. That being said, the story has a couple endings. If you’re assuming Trip is having an affair, Grace will eventually leave him. Also if you’re just genuinely being rude, Trip will throw you out of their house. Those are just some of many endings this piece of literature has to offer. Which ending you’ll get all depends on how you interact with them.
Saying this is a literature feels a bit weird. Being a digital reader is something very different than being a non-digital reader. This isn’t some text you read from left to right. You press buttons to navigate around the apartment. You press the same buttons formulating words which the fictional characters will actually understand and react appropriately to. The author made some code for you to interact with, and this as a whole makes a unique story. You’d think this would lead to some absurd interactions with the characters, but it’s really not. The AI is great. All of the interactions actually makes sense. They actually understand what you’re saying, which is something I wouldn’t expect from a piece like this.
This piece is as multimodal as it gets. While playing you hear ambient sound in the background. Nothing spectacular, but worth noting. The most important sound appearing is the characters’ voices.
As far as imagery goes you got the three-dimensional apartment you’re in. The characters are also three-dimensional. It’s an interactive game and has interactive characters. It’s full of different animations as the characters move around a lot doing things. They can walk around, make drinks, hand you items and even grab you to throw you out of their house.
You could say the piece has kinetic text, as in the text you write yourself. When you type a letter it comes up, if you backspace it goes away. The text is moving and can therefore be said to be kinetic, but not necessarily in the same way as a kinetic poem. It’s therefore not too interesting, but maybe worth noting.
Making a Twitter Bot
This bot constructs its own sentences based on textual data from a song. It makes sense as far as the song itself makes sense. The song is called Globglogabgalab, one of the recent biggest memes. I find it interesting how people can find something so nonsensical funny, especially considering I find it funny myself. This is why I wanted to make this bot in the first place. I’ve seen bots imitating Shakespeare and such, so here is a bot imitating something much less impressive lyrically. Maybe you could say it’s a parody on the most poetic bots. Gobglogabgalab says he love books and is a «yeast» of thoughts and mind, but he doesn’t look like an intellectual at all.
This is probably the most fun thing I’ve done in this course. Making something and see it come to life on Twitter.
There’s not much more to say about the bot other than that you can check it out here.
Writing here every week has been an interesting experience. Converting thoughts to text is something people should do more often. It’s completely different from just having them in your head. I’m glad I got to experience this. It was unfortunate that we didn’t get to have the labs we originally planned to have, but it has been an educational experience.
Maintaining a blog and a Twitter account in the context of a class has been quite the journey. And as they say: «Every journey has to come to an end.» Thanks for everything.