This week we were introduced to the Electronic Literature Collection. A lot of interesting elit works are presented on that website, but the work which really caught my eye was High Muck a Muck by Fred Wah, Nicola Harwood, Jin Zhang, Bessie Wapp, Thomas Loh, Tomoyo Ihaya, Hiromoto Ida, Phillip Djwa and Patrice Leung. High Muck a Muck deals with the troubles of Chinese immigrants who came to North America during the global capitalism of “Gold Mountain”.
This work is introduced as an interactive poem. If you click on images, poems, oral histories and short videos are revealed. In addition to that, Asian sounds and music in the background define the particular Chinese world and atmosphere. The recipient is free in his movements because there is no curtain way of exploring the website which means that there are no regularities for time and order what I really liked. The navigation of this work is easy and self-explaining. After a short introduction you can enter the interactive poem. Then, a text – verse by verse – appears on the screen, so the reader has to be fast because after a while the verses disappear and a game board with Chinese ideographs come into sight. Then, six blue spots, like ink stains, arranges on the board. Hereafter a hand-painted torso appears with the same ins stains and blue lines on it. On the left corner is a book with the title “British Colombia”, on the left corner one can see the Chinese game board again. You recognize that the body seems to represent a map because if you click on the blue spots names of American cities show up: Pacific Rim, Vancouver, Richmond, Victoria and Nelson as well as Canada and Everywhere and Nowhere.
If you click on the lighter spots different texts come into sight, while the dark spots, the cities, new pages show up. Here you can discover more and learn a lot about the life of Chinese people during that time. Either pictures, videos or text are presented to the recipient, which makes the user experience interesting and diverse. Moreover, I really like this piece of art because of its details. One can see that the artists take care and created this work with a lot passion. The hand-painted drawings are accurate and every person and every picture is telling its own story. Below one can see some examples of Chinese people and their hopes and fears:
All in all I have chosen this piece because you can really see the hard work of the artists who wanted to create a never before seen experience for recipients. Especially because of the use of interactive elements High Muck a Muck becomes a special and important oeuvre to get to know other cultures and learn from history.
If you are interested then check out the website and find out more, it’s totally worth it: http://collection.eliterature.org/3/works/high-muck-a-muck/