All posts by netnarrida

Carving in Possibilities

My final blog post will be a review of an electronic literary text. I had a hard time choosing a piece of e-lit and I found that it was because I wanted it to allow a lot of interaction from the user, give options for the user to choose from and have the possibility to co-create it. I find this aspect very appealing and interesting which made it an important factor in finding a piece.

Searching through different e-lit works in the first collection, I stumbled upon a piece that — funny enough — is called Carving in Possibilities (just what I was looking for). Carving in Possibilities (hereafter CiP) is by Deena Larsen with sounds from Matt Hansen. The author description of it goes:

Carving in Possibilities is a short Flash piece. By moving the mouse, the user carves the face of Michelangelo’s David out of speculations about David, the crowd watching David and Goliath, the sculptor, and the crowds viewing the sculpture.

When entering CiP, you are presented a white stone figure in the back with a text saying to click to start. When moving the mouse to “click here to start,” a small text appears over it saying “And remember where you put your ghosts.” After clicking start, the white stone figure is in focus and you can start rolling the cursor over it. By doing this (very carefully), different small lexia appear, but only one at a time.

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When you move the cursor, a new one appears and the last one is gone. As this happens, sounds of carving are playing each time the cursor is moved to a new lexia (though it sounds a bit more like the sound effect from an action movie when people get hit). These lexia all create a momentary poem and as this poem is evolving, the white stone in the back is carved into a sculpture. As the sculpture of David is complete, the poem ends.

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From this, I would define CiP to be a kinetic poem. This because of the interactive aspect where you have to move the cursor for the lexia to appear and disappear again shortly after. I did, however, consider if it could be a fiction of sorts as it can be interpreted as a story as well. Why I ended up with the definition of kinetic poetry was because of the kinetic aspect being one of the dominating ones for this piece.

The meaning of this piece is created by the user. It will, because of its affordances, have a different meaning each time you make your way through the poem. In this kinetic poem, it is almost impossible to make the exact same poem twice because the smoothest motion of the cursor will result in going to a new lexia. Also, you will have to remember the exact spot of the lexia because it isn’t given where they are on the sculpture surface. There is furthermore many, many different lexia — they are presented in different colors, sizes and fonts — so it won’t be easy to find the same ones. As I tried to, I found that there were different lexia right next to them. At first, I thought the lexia changed and, therefore, you couldn’t create the same ones. They don’t, though, it is simply because there are many and it is hard to guide the cursor so slowly and in the exact same way that it is very hard to create two completely similar poems.

From this, it is clear that the text positions the reader as the main drive for the poem. You, as the reader, have to go through it, create it and keep going until it ends. It allows you to take the lead, but still only offers the same lexia to create the poem each time — though it isn’t cheap in these.

Speaking symbolic meaning, this piece can be read in different ways. For example, the lexia appearing is actually speculations about David, the crowd watching David and Goliath, the sculptor, and the crowds viewing the sculpture. For each time you go through the poem, different speculations are connected to each other, creating different opinions. It allows the reader to create new meaning throughout the poem each time. This awakens a notion of “don’t let others speculations stick to you as everyone will have different versions and you yourself should make your own interpretation” — for me at least. I think it is because of the very different outcomes of poems that you can be left with.

The text “And remember where you put your ghosts” kind of builds to this understanding for me. When leaving the piece and rolling the cursor over “exit here,” the text is replaced with “leaving all the other ghosts behind.” The ghosts would be symbolizing the different speculations — remember where you put your ghosts would be: remember which speculations you put together and interpret the piece from. Leaving the speculations behind would be leaving all the other interpretations behind, all the other meanings the piece/you could create from it.

My experience of this piece is very positive. I found that I wanted to start over, try different paths with the cursor, try to make a context of the different lexia and see what I was left with. It is dependent on the interaction of the user and it, therefore, lets you be a great part of the poem. The window for the piece itself is quite small and the almost fragile poem that will change by the slightest movement of the cursor makes it quite hard to make your way through it without glipping a lexia or two. However, I found it very enjoyable and fascinating with the different outcomes and the different speculation that was to be found.

The sculpture stays the same through the kinetic poetry that is created before it — maybe the picture is worth more than a thousand words.

 

It’s (e)lit!

Moving on to the course’s last main field, we’ve discovered the grounds of electronic literature. I’ve been quite excited for this because, like I mentioned in my blog post about Leonardo Flores’s lecture, it is something I didn’t think I knew what was, but really, I’ve stumbled upon it numerous times before. I just didn’t know that it was e-lit.

For example, at my university back in Aarhus, I went to a lecture about a digital artwork called Abra. I remember it clearly in my mind because I found it so fascinating. Abra is a book and an app. The psychical book is a screen in a book that operates in the same way as the app.

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It is poems on poems that appear before you and you can interact with it. You can click different words to make them disappear, click the buttons at the bottom of the screen to make it different, make it shift words, make it move etc. etc. It is kinetic poetry.

And what I wondered about then — because I downloaded the app and interacted with it myself — and what I keep wondering about when learning more about e-lit in the lecture now is: how do you know when it’s done? When are you done interacting or reading e-lit?

It is actually an aspect of the genre that almost frustrates me, the fact that you never know when you are done or you choose it yourself. It shakes the normal way of reading a literate piece like a book or an article. You read from start to finish. Here, there is no start and finish. You make your own way through it and they differ every single time you interact with the piece (unless you do exactly the same each time). In one way, it is so cool that you can get a different story or poem every time you pay the piece a visit. On the other hand, there will always be different compositions of the piece that might not will be discovered. Even though this can be found frustrating, it is also fascinating that this is a main component of the genre itself.

I keep searching for a “right way” to do it — to read the piece. But I guess there just isn’t one. Every way of entering e-lit and making the way through it is right. Because it isn’t supposed to be in just one way and it is dependent on our specific and unique interaction with it whether we choose the first, second, third or whatever option.

What this also allows is for one literary work to change completely from one time you read it to another.  You can read the same e-lit twice, but the second time you read you, you could potentially get a completely different story out of it (here, I am thinking about hypertext fiction, kinetic poetry and the genres like these). If you didn’t like how the story turned out, you can just try again and make different choices in your interaction with it.

In this way, I find e-lit very modern and innovative. It’s changing something as basic as reading a story or a poem. It engages in participatory practices and develops with your interaction. It’s (e)lit!

Empathy Games

In the last lecture before Easter, we continued our discussion about games, this time with a new perspective: empathy in games. This was something I found very interesting; the fact that a game was created to evoke a special emotion in you and for most of the games, come with a special message about a certain topic.

I for one never really thought about games like these when thinking of gaming. That you could learn from them in other ways than strategies inside the game. There are two forms of empathy games: the cognitive and the emotional. The cognitive one is the strongest one I’d say because it lets you become someone else, it puts you in other people shoes and it gives you the certain possibilities that person would have.

In some way, I find that empathy games are quite “provocative” in the best way possible. Because it is brutally honest and shows you the reality of someone’s life (whether that someone could be a real person or a fictional character). Take for example the game Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice where you get put in the shoes of Senua, a warrior who suffers from psychosis (her thinking that it’s a curse). The game is about getting Senua (who you are playing in the game) to Helheim to rescue the soul of her dead lover. But really, the game is a strong metaphor for the struggle with psychosis. It has special effects that create an illusion for you as a player, reconstructing the actual psychotic state. It is recommended that you play the game with headphones on so the voices Senua hears in her head will be heard in the same way for the player. This will go on over passages where you have to focus, constructing how it actually would be in real life as you now have to think and play while the voices in Senua’s head are making it difficult for you — like it would be in real life.

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Senua’s Sacrifice is developed and published by Ninja Theory. To represent psychosis as properly as possible, the developers worked closely with neuroscientists, mental health specialists and people suffering from the condition themselves. There has been put a lot of work into the game to make you actually feel like you are having a psychosis, like you are experiencing it as it is.

For me, the provocativeness comes in when you suddenly have a hard task being the psychotic Senua, only having her options, her mind and her possibilities to choose and act from. You would maybe act differently, but you simply can’t because you’re in someone else’s shoes who cannot or do not have the same possibilities and thoughts as you. It is an eyeopener for people who can’t imagine what it would be like and an opportunity to actually experience mental illness. It evokes empathy in you because you suddenly feel what it’s like to be Senua, to have a psychosis and feel how difficult that is and what choices and struggles it leaves you with. That for me is very strong.

I actually really like these empathy games even though it frustrates me at the same time because I suddenly don’t have the same ability to do what I would’ve done in those situations.  But it is powerful and it is enlightening and I love that a game can create that.

 

Red Thread

Before the Easter break, we had a different Tuesday lecture, taking place in the Humanities Library at UiB. We were to experience Zamora’s installation Textransformations which is both a sculpture and an interactive reading experience.

When I came up the stairs and noticed the red threads hung everywhere, I already knew what had been some of the inspiration for this piece. In January, I had been to KODE 2 in Bergen and seen Chiharu Shiota’s thread constructions. It was the same red thread hanging in the library, but it was easy to see that this wasn’t quite the same interpretation — Zamora’s work represented the transformation of textuality from analog to digital form.

 

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Chiharu Shiota: Direction

 

Shiota’s installation reminds me of a red spiderweb, weaving together the old boats that used to be a well-used transportation option in Bergen. This because the boats are something that was so integrated in the lives of people who lived here, but now, they are just a forgotten memory because of new transport opportunities.
When experiences Textransformations, this was kind of the same feeling I got — though reinterpreted into textuality.

 

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Mia Zamora: Textransformations

 

As seen in the picture above, the piece included old library cards, books, a book ladder, small drawers, QR codes and computers. Everything is tied together in the red thread which symbolizes the digital networks and shows how these have reorganized our experience of communication. 

The installation furthermore called for user interaction. The QR codes could be scanned and would take you to a quote for example, and the computers could be used for showing our #NetNarr network and how we are all tied together.

 

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Mia Zamora: Textransformations

 

These objects that make the installation come to show how we usually organized knowledge and how we come to organize it today. I for one hadn’t really seen the library cards for such a long time. Everything today is organized in computer systems. This piece, therefore, also includes elements of the past — something forgotten that has been replaced by newer, faster, digital opportunities that have left the old objects somewhat purposeless.

This way of showing how we went from analog to digital and how everything now is connected via the invisible threads (done visible with these red threads) is very fascinating. It is something that otherwise is easily forgotten: where we came from, how things used to be. We integrate all kinds of digitalization into our lives and leave out the things we once were so dependent on. Now, what we are really dependent on is the digital — the networks, the devices, the opportunities that these offer.

I really enjoyed the installation and the fact that one could contribute to it and interact and engage with it. This further shows the network aspect of the piece. It was a very cool experience, a “blast from the past” and an eyeopener for me of how many small objects that have lost their purposes and have been set aside because of the digitalization of it.

Gaming and escaping

So now in #NetNarr, we have moved from digital art to video games. Personally, I find learning about video games very fascinating. This because I don’t know much about it, and frankly, I didn’t think of myself as a gamer at all. We had to raise our hand, showing which gamer we thought we were and I didn’t even raise mine at all. I actually don’t play any games. This is also why my test score for the DDA came out like this:

And honestly, like I tweeted, I just had to chose some options at some of the questions because I couldn’t say “none of these.”

However, I suddenly realized that when I was a kid, I was a big gamer. When I didn’t have obligations, I played the Sims all the time. And when even younger, I played games online almost every day! All from some kind of makeup/dress up games to Hugo to Runescape. I spent so much time in front of the computer playing these games and I would hang out with my friend every day after school, go to her place and play games together, but on each our computer. Gaming has been a big part of my past which I didn’t even realize before. So maybe I’m not a gamer anymore, but I have been a big one.

What we talked about in lecture today really fascinated me — an aspect of why we play. Games as escape. That when you play a game, you escape the reality you’re in, you can focus on the character in the game, make choices for her/him and kind of forget all the choices and responsibilities you have in your own life. Like getting a small break. And what really fascinated me was when we talked about every entertainment being like this, I thought that that was so true. And instead of playing games, what I do quite a lot when I’m home and don’t have any obligations is watching series. From documentaries to reality TV to Netflix fiction TV shows. When it was mentioned that that would be an escape too, I completely agreed. It gives you a break from all the stuff you have to think about — all the responsibilities as students, the upcoming midterms, the exams, the articles I’m writing, the things I have to prepare for tomorrow, just about anything. I can kind of zone out and just focus on Jess’ life in New Girl.

I think I kind of knew that I used series-watching this way, but I haven’t actively thought about it in that way. I feel like the word escape can have some negative connotations — like you’re running away from your responsibilities and reality. But I (and I may just be trying to justify this for myself) actually think that we need that. At least for me, I feel like it is a way of reloading. I get a healthy break from whatever is on my agenda, I can relax and be entertained. Everyone goes to something to be entertained — games, movies, series, books, the theatre, stand up comedy and so on. We obviously need this form of entertainment as humans. It is where we relax. Everyone has something they turn to which is why I’m guessing we all need that break from our own lives once in a while. And that doesn’t sound unhealthy to me. Whether it is beneficial for us in other ways or not (like having to actively make choices in games or just passively watch New Girl like me), I think it leaves us with something. An impression, a reminder of something — it could be whatever. All in all, this aspect of gaming and entertainment is so interesting to tinker about and I was really intrigued when the theme got up in lecture.

#SelfieUnselfie

This is kind of intimidating which is also why it’s awesome to do. And GO!

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I posted this selfie on my private Instagram account with a caption that said that I am very happy about being in Norway. I liked it because it is crooked, fun, I thought my hand was hilarious and it shows that I am happy — the photo captured it pretty nicely.

That being said, I am not this happy all the time. It is difficult being abroad and being away from family and friends and this photo definitely doesn’t show that. The selfie neither shows that I’m a very social person, hardworking and very engaged in student organizations here. But those aspects of my life makes me happy which is all the selfie reflects.

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This is my unselfie. I chose this because, not having my own room with my regular things, I found that everything on this table shows something of me because this is the only table I’ve got and, therefore, it has all the things I use most on it.

I have my computer which I use all the time — both for school work and for watching series (it’s my favorite thing to do when I don’t have work to do). A coffee cup is always there because I get up early every day and need my coffee to start the day. I have lights because I’m very dependent on hygge and these lights are very hyggelige. I have my university books and I (actually) love them — I really enjoy reading them and learning new things. I have my to-do list on an old envelope because I need to keep track of things, I’m always afraid I forget something. Underneath that some student magazines published by the magazine I’ll be writing for myself this semester. My makeup-bag because some days I choose to look a little more alive — the mirror to check that I do so before walking out the door. A power bank because I’m dependent on my phone (mostly to take pictures) and post-it-notes that I just got in a course where I challenged myself. Lastly, the view. I absolutely love nature and the mountains here!

This was probably a bit long, but I tinker well when I write it down. So here it is.

#SelfieUnselfie

Ida

Net art & map art

This week in the #NetNarr class, the big focus has been on net art. We have heard about several subgenres of internet art in class, like web colliders, browser art, chat environments and software art. And we’ve had the task to find some cool net art ourselves on net-art.org as well, seeing what the net artists are up to.

On net-art.org, I found a very interesting piece of artwork. It is called GeoGoo and is based on the mapping function of the world that Google Maps offers. Normally, when accessing Maps, it is to find out where a certain place is or find a route from a to b. It is very user oriented and is there to help you. And as a frequent user of Google Maps, both on the computer and on my iPhone when I’m going placing and I’m letting the app lead the way, this artwork at first came off kind of provocative to me. Because this map doesn’t allow the same things Google Maps does.

GeoGoo is an artwork that takes you where the artwork decides. At first, I ended up in the middle of the ocean. You can zoom in and zoom out to find out exactly where you are. But then, at that place that it has generated itself, it starts to pin different “attractions”, symbols that would normally represent a place to eat, a hotel, a destination. Here, it is pinned somewhat “randomly” in the means that it doesn’t pin anything on the map besides the pin itself. It creates artistic patterns with the pins as shown below.

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And after about 10-15 seconds, the destinations changes and the artwork takes you to another place. It is zoomed in on the map that much that you have to zoom out to see where you are on the map. Then, when the pin-art is complete at that place, it takes you to another again. After a while, I even came to the moon.

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So when normally, you would be able to go where you wanted on the map, find specific places, routes or whatever, here, the technical affordances doesn’t allow you much. The artwork only allows you to choose different “settings,” I would say, in the very top of the left corner of the screen. These not having any meaning so you don’t actually know what happens when you change them. I found that some changed the patterns, changed the satellite photo to be a drawn map and zoomed in and out. Also, the pins were replaced by drawn lines going across the whole map of the world. It is very unpredictable which is very opposite to the usual map of the world where everything is where everything is in the real world. Here, everything mapped still is reflecting the real world, but the pins are definitely not.

I find the pins to be a symbol of and a comment on consumer culture and the whole piece to be critically pointing out what we usually need the pins in maps for. For finding stores, finding the cinema in Bergen, finding the mall or the taco place. The map itself becomes a whole store of stores. Instead of this, GeoGoo uses pins and symbols where there isn’t anything to pin and changes the meaning of them, using them for artistic purposes. Because when I first went on the site, I thought “how can there be any stores/attractions in that pattern?” It challenges the way I usually look at and use a map which is why I find this piece very interesting and worth checking out:

http://geogoo.net

Celebrating digital technology in/and nature & the visualization of emotions

This week, we did a #NetNarr Twitter Flash in the Tuesday lecture about what I think is one of the coolest digital artworks I’ve seen. We had already been shown it once before so I was happy to see that it was the Sky Magic we were going to talk about — or tweet about.

I really enjoy watching it and the contrast between nature and the digital is so fascinating to me. The vibe it gets is so contradictory because of the landscape with Mount Fuji in the background, the live played music on the traditional instruments clashing with a ballet performed by drones, lighting up the sky in different patterns.

My thoughts and answers to some of the questions during the Twitter Flash were these:

The relationship between nature/tradition and technology is very much being highlighted and even though my first interpretation of it was that it could be a comment on the technological development and engagement in so many scenes of life, it doesn’t have to be in a negative perspective. Taking something that comes off as so traditional and close to nature as the music and Mount Fuji in the background and the inclusion of drones for the main act of the ballet is very beautiful. This because of their distinction and the thought that tradition shouldn’t be changed and (I am hearing my grandmom’s voice now) that technology and digital devices shouldn’t change tradition — but in this ballet, it is included and shows the possible union of the two in a great way. They don’t have to clash, they can go well together.

I find the technological side of it very interesting in itself as well. I keep wondering if there are people sitting behind the camera, in charge of their own drone each and having it rehearsed again and again like real ballets, wanting no mistakes. Or is it all programmed? Either way, I find the whole ballet very celebratory — both of nature, traditions and technology. And again, I really really like it.

At Thursday’s lecture, we did another Twitter Flash. This time reading into Lisa Park’s artwork Eunoia II where she uses speakers that are connected to her head that can receive and translate her emotions into sound waves. On top of the speakers is a vessel of water that reacts to the sound waves and creates vibrations and waves in the water. This is a way of translating her emotions, something psychological that can’t really be “shown” or pictured in itself, into waves in the water and hereby something physical — something you can see, even touch.

We had a question (Q4) about what Eunoia II says about the external and internal world which I find very interesting. Normally, what is inside isn’t visible outside and we can only reflect it via words, expressions and body language. Though, this artwork brings out the internal world in a different way. It translates it into a physical thing directly and hereby draws the internal world as it is into the external without you being able to choose yourself what part of it you want to share.

My other answers to the close reading questions were:

I find this way of expressing thoughts and artworks very interesting, innovative and modern. It reflects today’s digital and technological opportunities to create and present art and makes it a great part of the artwork itself.

I’ve really enjoyed both close readings during lecture because it allows me to react to something while I see it and not only write it down immediately, I also have to tweet it out and share my thoughts and read others’ and get inspired.

To follow up on my last blog post where I said we’d be doing gifs, I made this gif at first:

And I thought it was so cool that I could now make my own memes and gifs so I went ahead and made one that I knew my friend would appreciate — it is an inside joke, but when we hiked Løvstakken last weekend, we kept doing lame “parkour” down the mountain and I made one just perfect for that. So now I’m just meme and gif making in my spare time.

The Digitalization of the Image and E-Lit

Another week has passed in the #NetNarr course and this time, we’ve focused on the image in the context of the digital revolution. This changed the game completely. Going from the analog to the digital, art can now be produced, reproduced and distributed by, well, anyone. The reproduction aspect of this is very interesting to me. I remember in my class in Denmark, we watched a short clip from an episode regarding the reproduction of art by John Berger called “Way of Seeing.” It focuses on the things the camera allows for us now, e.g. the reproduction of a painting. A picture of a painting allows it to be seen in a million different places at the same time now where once, they belonged to their own place. Now, they are in many different contexts. The uniqueness of the painting that once was is in this way “ruined” by reproduction of it. It doesn’t belong to a certain place anymore, the image comes to you, you don’t come to them — or at least, you don’t have to.

So yes, the digital revolution has questioned the relationship between the original and the copy, and it has made art accessible for almost anyone. But it has also allowed the creation of digital art, using the computer as an artist tool.

Apart from the digital artist we heard about in the lecture, it has also allowed electronic literature to emerge. And Leonardo Flores’s lecture which we attended Wednesday quite amazed me. His lecture was about the third generation electronic literature, and I wasn’t quite sure what electronic literature was before this. Honestly, I thought it might was the digitalization of the book — reading on computer and tablets. But it is so much more than that. In his definition, it is language-centered art that engages the expressive potential of electronic and digital media.

What amazes me is that I didn’t really think I knew what it was when really, I have stumbled across it online plenty of times. The Twitterbots, generating tweets, kinetic typography and the lyric videos, netprovs and social media performances.

Take for example the Twitterbots. @tiny_star_field that tweets out, well, tiny star fields. Or @pentametron that makes poems-like retweets, generated by a bot. This takes the idea of the bot and makes it an independent machine that produces content for social networks. The coolest part is, anyone can make them — even I could.

All in all, this week’s lectures have been very interesting and lærerig (I really can’t find the English word for that, sorry!) to me.

Now, speaking of Twitter, I will include my #dda’s for this week:

And I never got around to share the meme I made in the seminar group so here goes:

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Next up is GIF making and that is just awesome!

I am now a #NetNarr

The first two weeks of the NetNarr course has passed and I am so happy that I chose this course (and no, it’s not too early to say that). I feel like I’ll really get an inside of the digital culture which I think my previous education in media studies hasn’t provided me with and I love that since I really want to get a digital perspective on my education as well. I am very positive about this!

Now that I’m attending this course, I feel like I have to be kind of a NetNarr — an internet jest. I have to tweet and blog which is something that I’m very new too, but I like that I have to get involved in the course in a new way! I mean, maybe it’s just because I chose this education I think this, but isn’t that so cool?! That’s the best homework I’ve had to do at least. And I also have to be creative in new ways and even though that can be a challenge, I am definitely up for it! I’ve started incorporating the new platforms into my digital life which is pretty huge. I feel pretty bad admitting to it, but I spend a lot of time on the internet. I didn’t apply as a volunteer in a SoMe-group for a student organization for nothing. But it’s not just the SNS, I watch a whole lot of Netflix, I use Facebook for communication, I use the internet for tips, translation (thank you Google translate), maps, reading, recipes, and if I wonder about something, Google also has the answer to that. And now it is just a habit, but I’m not sure that I like it. I do, however, like that something like taking this course can make me wonder about my habits and make them more clear to me so I maybe can find alternatives in other things. I kind of like the idea of not being so dependent on it even though I feel like all of us totally am thanks to the digitalization. And that’s completely fine with me. I could just need a bit fewer hours of looking into a screen. On that note, I will get ready to go out and watch Denmark play handball at a sports bar (not thank you, geo-block). That still counts as non-screen time, right?