Monday, May 4, 2020


HAPPY GRADUATION to the VERY first class of TBD majors!!!
(I wish we could celebrate in person!)

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Love Letters

I thought this was relevant, since it's where we started early in the semester with the history of e-lit and generative poetry. Nick Montfort recreated Love Letters by Christopher Strachey for a series of work called Memory Slam.

Friday, April 24, 2020

I couldn't decide if these were more funny or sad but given the poster for this class had VR goggles & we started with memes, I thought it was appropriate. We're ALMOST THERE! And here's hoping for a non-virtual graduation in the near future! 

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Final Post

For my final post I wanted to share this gif captioned “The new social distance Olympics”. It’s funny to see all these people running around a hotel floor on 3 different floors. But hey we all have to stay active somehow right? This is how I’ve felt running away from all the final projects I need to work on, but I just keep running away from them. However, I’m still looking to finish this semester strong.



Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Final Post :/

For my final post I'm going to share a meme I saw on Instagram a few days ago. I'm not sure who created it so I can't give anyone credit. I know a lot of people are feeling really strange about this new educational set up and the amount of assignments due for other classes have been overwhelming. Last week I had a project, an essay, and 4 quizzes due all on a Thursday and honestly it was worse than midterms or even finals week. I hope everyone is staying healthy and happy during this seemingly never-ending quarantine :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Final Post

For my final blog post I wanted to bring it back to memes. Right now everyone is going through extremely stressful and unsettling times. What helps me cope with everything is trying to find some lighthearted humour in it all. Anxiety is running high so finding funny things on twitter, tik tok etc has really helped me calm down a bit. I always overthink everything and have always freaked out about illness even before all of this happened. I thought this meme was really relatable and accurate.

Sofia Borea

Final Post :(

I'd like to talk about one of my many favorite video games. The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion.
GameSpy: The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion - Page 1
It's one of the nerdiest types of games you can play and I think that's why I like it. It's the predecessor to Skyrim, a game we have talked about in class already. It tells hundreds of different stories including almost all of my favorite video game quests. Basically, an amulet is stolen and the emperor is assassinated. These events set in motion a plan by an evil demon like Prince to open up portals from oblivion into the world and take over. That's just the main quest. Te better quests come from joining guilds and talking to strangers. If anyone has any interest in the game I strongly urge you to play it. Or if you like the voice of Patrick Stewart, he voice acts the beginning emperor.



This really made me laugh, I hope it will make you laugh too.

Dial by Lai-Tze Fan & Nick Montfort

 byLai-Tze Fan & Nick Montfort (Taroko Gorge)

a new "generative emoji-embedded text" just posted yesterday!
(follow the electronic literature organization on FB!)

final blog post

I've had this saved in my phone ever since quaratine started and it made me giggle when I saw it. All our animals probably have no clue a global pandemic is going on but are also probably really enjoying the company we've been sharing with them the past month. This also makes me sad though because once were out of quaratine our poor animals are going to wonder where we all went.

Along with that I saw a video that was like "Everyone's going outside. The fridge is fully stocked & our families are spending time together again." This is so true and while being stuck inside it's best to consider our time as "safe inside." Nature takes its course and this could be a sign from the universe that sometimes we need to take a step back from our daily lives and appreciate the things and those around us!


Final Blog Post

For my final blog post, I decided to go the traditional route of a simple meme. This epidemic has been a terrible misfortune causing extreme boredom and of course, cabin fever. I found that this meme related to my given circumstances of being at home, and not in the quiet confines of my school apartment. One good thing about electronic literature, it does not require a classroom. Stay safe everybody, and wash your hands! Here's my meme, enjoy.

Ryan Donahue 
A look back at the Top 5 memes of 2019; What's next for 2020 ...
A look back at the Top 5 memes of 2019; What's next for 2020 ...

A Throwback Pastime

Since we’re all stuck in quarantine with lots of free time, I’ve been occupying myself by playing a lot of computer games that I used to play as a kid. I don’t know how many of you guys are familiar with, but I remember being in computer lab in elementary and middle school and being addicted to all of the games on there. One of my favorite’s was Papa’s Freezeria featured below. The game uses Flash Player and is basically a simulation of running your own ice cream shop. It’s just something mindless to play that distracts me and makes me nostalgically happy during these crazy times and I would recommend it to anyone who just wants a simple and fun break from reality. Some of the levels can actually get pretty challenging!


Final Blog Post

For my final blog post I am going to talk about the website The website is pretty basic, it gives you two items that have been searched through Google and you have to guess which one has been searched the most through Google. Its pretty simple, but very addicting. I found this website by random a few years ago and I play it when I get bored.

Tim W

Monday, April 13, 2020

Instagram Illustrators

I'm not sure whether this counts as a digital text or meme, but I really like following illustrators on instagram. Here are a couple screenshots of posts by an author named Alison Zai. Her art is a weird combination of cute and cynical, but she focuses on a lot of deep topics. These two pieces were posted recently, one of them being positive and hopeful, and the other one reflects how I'm sure a lot of people are feeling right now. We tend to put our value into how productive we are, which isn't always healthy, especially during a time of crisis. I think it's important to remember that we do not always have to be productive and if the only thing you accomplish is getting through the day, that's okay too.

Meg Champagne


"How We Feel"

I chose to share the app “How We Feel”, which is collecting data regarding the pandemic. This is not a work of art in the traditional digital literature sense, however I thought it would be a good piece to share because it is similar to our class assignment, “We Feel Fine”. The app records the number of people in your town who feel good and the number of people who feel sick. It also records how many people in your county have tested positive for coronavirus. It is not exact, obviously, as it relies on user participation to gain these estimates. I was surprised that so many people in my county had tested positive, because there has been very little coverage of that in my local news. Although the data is not entirely accurate, I still find the app quite interesting and consider it a very good idea because it gets the public more engaged in the situation around them. 

Sabrina Brown

Black Mirror-Striking Vipers

For my last post, and since VR was really recent, I decided to share an episode I was thinking about from Black Mirror on Netflix. Personally, I think this show does a really good job on highlighting the dangers and insanity that technology could lead humanity towards. There are a lot of sick realities that human beings have the ability to fall towards and whether or not this is just entertainment to us, they exist. VR is one tech that gets highlighted with some ugly realities. 

I don't want to spoil it for those who haven't seen it, so the point is that in this episode, two men forget who they really are while in a VR Street Fighter-styled game. You can watch the episode on Netflix but I put in the trailer:

They take a path that they never would have taken in their own reality, simply because of the advanced capabilities of this VR. It confuses their real selves, ruins relationships and causes conflicts that affect their actual human lives so irreversibly. I could never tell if the point was that human beings have weaknesses or if technology has weaknesses, but maybe both? The men clearly misuse the purpose of the game, but the game was always for self-enjoyment in the first place... I think the episode points to the recurring theme that technology is abused by humanity. I think that humans have been taking their pleasure/entertainment seeking desires too far and Black Mirror only highlights some of those in their episodes. 
For years, humans have had a focus within their civilization for entertainment and pleasure. It only gets easier with technology, a source that supports sharing of all knowledge, images and people. It can take identity out of sex, commitment out of relationships and confuse the already lost mind.

 I suppose I've been the naysayer for technology for a while. I never had a phone growing up and not surprisingly didn't have friends past elementary school. I never got invited anywhere, except birthday parties where the invitations were made out in the mail to be formal. I grew up watching people stare at phone screens on school buses and unable to play Kahoot in classes that were beginning to use technology as a tool. I don't feel bad, honestly. Now that I have a phone and use it for music and texting a total of 3 people, I realize how easy it becomes to depend on technology. I never would have witnessed the absolute horror of a society that relies so heavily on something so material. To grow up friendless simply because communication became so ironically limited. In elementary school, invites happened on the bus or on the playground where two kids realize they enjoy hanging out. Now, it seems to happen on a screen when two friends get bored and need immediate company. 
Here's a secret: I don't know why I am a Digital Studies major because a lot of the capabilities of the digital world scare me. Maybe I thought I could be at the helm of the ship and master it...making sure I have a certified opinion in it so that one day if the world needed a voice of reason, I could be that. I don't disagree with the good thing technology can do, but it is technology used without limits that haunts me. 
So watch the Black Mirror once for humanity's sake, twice for technology's sake and a third for mine. 


Tik Tok

What I chose to share is one of my favorite Tik Toks, I find it very funny and not inappropriate so I figured I could share! It's a baby girl trying her mother food and trying to act like she likes it despite, despite hilarious facial expressions. Her mother's commentary in the background explains the situation and the other babies laugh at the end tops it off. During this quarantine, I recently downloaded Tik Tok and have become completely obsessed with scrolling for hours. It's awful but definitely a good time waster. My friends and I have been entertaining each other by not only sending along with funny videos but creating our own even from different states. Enjoy!

Kendall Arkay

Also, feel free to send me more Tik Toks...

funny meme

For my final blog post, I decided to share a meme with you all. The video is called Cat Goes Down Water Slide and was posted by funnyjosh99 9 years ago. The reason I wanted to share this meme with you all is because at the end of the meme the screen says: “please tell others.” because I enjoyed the video I thought I should help the creator by telling others. The video is basically what the title suggests: a cat goes down a water slide, however, the video quality is really bad and choppy. This suggests that the cat did not actually go down the water slide, but that the video was edited to make it look like a cat going down a water slide. The music that plays while the cat goes down is Candy Shop by 50 Cent. I feel like this video is under appreciated; it only has about 100,000 views, which is impressive, but compared to other internet memes is relatively small. This video made me laugh and I hope it makes you laugh as well. The cat goes down a water slide and looks silly afterwards. I can understand why funnyjosh99 wanted to share this video with others: because it is hilarious. Now that I have told others, I hope that you all will tell others as well.

Here's the link to the video

A picture from the video (Warning very funny)

Sunday, April 12, 2020



Words and photos to live by Craig Dietrich

From the website: "Half zine, half app, the QuaranZine is just what you need to pass the time during the Worldwide quarantine. Available in this release is Issue 1 which contains individual artistic contributions, ranging from comic strips to poems to short stories and even your horoscope. QuaranZine is perfect for reading in bed, on the couch, or anywhere that you're weathering the quarantine."

Friday, April 10, 2020

VR: This is Not Private, 1,000 Cut Journey, and Becoming Homeless

I found This is Not Private really strange and hard to understand at first. I get that they're trying to show the effect of empathy but I thought the shifting faces were a little creepy. It is really interesting that your face can show whether or not you are empathizing with another person and it's so weird how people mimic each others expressions. It's kind of like how you pick up on other people's mannerisms when you spend a lot of time with them.

I think the two VR experiences were really powerful. Something that stood out to me was how the website with Becoming Homeless on it pointed out that when things bad happen to other people, we blame them, but when bad things happen to us, we blame external factors. We are so harsh and quick to other people when we cannot relate to their experiences and don't realize that those things could easily happen to us.

I really enjoyed the 1,000 Cut Journey interview and I found it interesting that the creator said she made it for liberal people who are trying to be more accepting. I think it is important that the VR focuses on microaggressions because those are the things that go unnoticed by privileged people and you have to be in the oppressed person's shoes to fully understand how hurtful they are. They also brought up the implicit bias test, which I have taken a few times. It tells you whether or not you have a bias you are not aware of based on how quickly you respond to different prompts. It's super eye-opening, and it made me realize that we all have biases because of the way we were raised or media we've been exposed to. It's impossible to be completely unbiased, but the important thing is that we recognize these biases and do our best to reject them and treat people fairly. Hopefully VR like these two examples can change the way people view the world.

Meg Champagne

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

VR and Queerskins

Chris Milks Ted Talk is exactly what videos I love to watch on the internet, the discussion about VR and filmmaking is so interesting. I love the explanation of his past and his first music video with Kanye West, the “signature” from Evil Knievel got me laughing as well. The videos he uses to further his point like the boy flying the bird is eye opening to what this technology can offer. The camera they use to film in 360 degrees just feels so futuristic to me. I know there are a bunch of 360 cameras (some of which are pretty affordable) around in the market but I never really thought about using them for VR, I thought they would die out over time. When he shows the video in a stretched out way giving a 360 view without having to even turn your head is not only a good way to show VR but for photography purposes it would be a cool idea. I would love to see the films he talks about that they are going to work on in the future, it sounds very eye opening especially when it is in VR making it feel more lifelike.
The concept of Queerskins is pretty cool, the way the characters in chapter 2 are made from pixels makes it feel more like a game versus a story, not being able to see it in full VR it catches my eye to see what stories can be told through VR and that answer is basically anything. Whether it be a real or fictional story of real people or computer generated characters the experience is like no other and the options are endless.

-Mason S.


Chris Milk's Ted Talk on virtual reality gave me a completely new perspective on the topic. I have never had any experience with virtual reality except one time my friend had a game that he made me try and it completely freaked me out! Things were flying at my face and I had no idea what I was supposed to do.
Listening to the Ted Talk made me realize that there is so much more to virtual reality than video games. Movies and films can be created for people to have an even greater hands on experience. Emotions are always going to be involved when you feel like you are specifically apart of the project. Our google earth assignment we had for class last week was very reflective of this idea. It was so cool to feel like you were going through someone else's experience even though you had not specifically gone through it. Anything that can be made more relatable to someone will always be more appealing to them and therefore create a bigger reaction. Even looking at Pearl from last week also started this idea. The more work and research that is put into virtual reality can create a whole new way of storytelling and will draw even more people into the experience.

Sofia Borea


Empathy is the ability to feel other people’s emotions, it is something that can happen for a variety of reasons. Virtual reality can make people empathize with other people because it puts the user in the shoes of other people. Other forms of media can make people empathize like movies or video games. However, virtual reality is more intimate than other media. Film, for example, there is a greater separation between the viewer and the characters. This makes it harder for the viewer to empathize with the characters; the less separated the viewer is from the characters the easier it is to empathize. This is why virtual reality is good at getting people to empathize: there is less separation between the viewer and the characters. This is the case for the story Queerskins. This story uses virtual reality to put you in Missouri where you can interact with objects around you. This makes the experience more “real” for the viewer. Virtual reality is interesting to me because it is new technology: it has the capability to create a new world in a virtual space. Virtual reality is still young and the technology is going to improve over time. I am excited to see what virtual reality will be capable of in the future.

VR and QS

As much as I think VR is cool, I think the Ted Talk just exaggerates the awesome power of it. The truth is that as it might be cool to put yourself into someone else's shoes, to be shown something that you might never see, but you still end up right back where you came from. Human beings will only ever use entertainment and VR as an escape or a way to be something else so that the life they have becomes meaningless for mere seconds. I am a firm believer that VR can't really contain the amount of emotion or wisdom someone might have if they actually experienced that other reality. If I want to understand someone's life, I would rather look them in the eye as they explain it. For many cases, maybe people would jump into the VR and come out happy that they don't have the same problems or happy that it wasn't their reality. VR doesn't make people human. What makes people human is seeing the tangible body of someone else and hearing their story from themselves. I think humans are slowly drifting away from valuing their own senses and their own observations of life. It would be really sad to think people might be content with being in a VR of a place they know they have never been and then they don't feel like they need to go there. It could cut down the adventure, the interest and inquisitiveness of people to need to be there. I guess it is all in our heads though. I mean if you think you've been there, or you think you went through someone's life, then you did right? Or are people afraid to just admit they can't know/understand everything in the world? Empathy is more human when it comes naturally and unplanned.

As for QS, I watched a video about it and I thought it was sort of creepy: The voices, the fact that the two people just stare at each other while driving and being able to touch a bunch of stuff in the backseat. I think I'd rather watch a movie about a love story, than be in it. Or I'd rather play a game about a love story than be in the game.

There's also a Black Mirror about the freakiness of VR and how it can mess with your mind/reality. 

VR and Queerskins

    Chris Milk's Ted talk discussion about VR was very interesting. Milk reflects as a kid about the Evel Knievel toy that he had enjoyed at a younger age. "I got into the field very young: I was seven years old. And the tool that I used to access virtual reality was the Evel Knievel stunt cycle..I was there with Evel Knievel, we jumped the Snake River Canyon together". Milk expands on his experience with Vr, stating that it can make a person feel empathy for the characters involved. Milk further discusses how VR is a self-immersive experience, showing example of his modern forms of VR.
     Queerskins puts the viewer right into the backseat of VR, literally. This form of VR takes you on a virtual drive down a country road in Missouri. The experience is very real, involving a radio in the car that fills you in on recent news making the viewer feel as though they are really there. The viewer interacts with the objects in the backseat and around the home to help develop a further understanding of the characters virtual life. I liked this aspect of VR. It allows the viewer to lose track of reality, and immerse themselves in an interactive, virtual life. With more time spent in the virtual world comes more understanding of the character's life. I enjoyed this interaction because I felt involved and in control.

Ryan D.

VR and Queerskins

Virtual reality has always interested me. My experience with it is pretty limited. I went to my buddies house once and we stole his older brother's ps4 and played Skyrim VR all night. It was fun and even though I've played that game consistently for pretty much my entire life, it felt new. That experience made me hopeful for a new generation of immersive video games. The Ted talk by Chris Milk was cool. I liked the thinking behind the emotional response generated from VR. It made me see how much bigger VR could be as a tool for human growth. I see the power behind his project and how moving they are. I'm delighted that it is helping and will continue to help people realize how much help people need. The only part I didn't agree with is how it makes us more human. I understand how it generates empathy, which is perhaps one of most human feelings. I just think the most human experience would be to travel yourself, smell and breath the same air, do more then send money and create legislation (which are completely necessary btw, but to say it makes you feel the most human, idk.) Regardless of my thoughts, Chris is doing wonderful work.

I also couldn't access Queerskins but I saw clips. The art and effects seemed pretty cool. It felt green screeny at times but I kind of liked it. It's another example of VR telling a story from an intimate perspective. It proves that VR can be a positive tool for showing people some less considered realities.

I wish I had a VR headset now.


Prior to watching the Ted Talk, VR was definitely not a familiar concept to me. I had tried the google VR headsets both when my brother got one for Christmas a while back and then in class on the first day. However, I didn't find the excitement and often found myself dizzy. I never got into the games or action sequences behind these VR programs. However, after watching Chris Milk's talks, I realized the power of VR when used a certain way, allows humans to pout themselves in a position they normally wouldn't be exposed to. A quote I really liked was that they allow "us to feel empathy for people that are very different than us..."Then, for example, the project utilizing Google Earth technique and stopping in front of peoples houses, "people were having a deeper emotional reaction" This form of electronic literature tells a story involving all sorts of people and doesn't just include these headsets but projects such as Milk's, The Treachery Of Sanctuary. This installation I've actually heard of before but used virtual reality that puts viewers inside the frame themselves., It's amazing.
Kendall Arkay

Monday, April 6, 2020

Virtual Reality

I really enjoyed the Ted Talk about VR and how it's a "machine that makes us more human." I've never thought of VR in that way. I've mostly just considered it as another form of video gaming, but I really appreciated the aims of Chris Milk to use VR as a way to share different perspectives and bring about world change.

I remember during my semester in London our class visited the Migration Museum. We toured the "house" of an immigrant where we could interact with the scenery. The VR in Milk's presentation reminded me of this experience and I think that it would be really beneficial if more people were able to share these similar experiences.

"Queerskins" had a similar effect on me. I love how these VR projects are intended to bring a voice to those who are oppressed or at a disadvantage in society. You can read 1001 articles on other people's stories or experiences, but actually being put in their shoes and getting a small glimpse into their life and perspective is so impactful. For example, I don't think I would have enjoyed "Pearl" nearly as much as I did if it were a story or even if it were just a short film. VR has a way of engaging the audience in ways that other mediums can't and I'd love to view more of it.


VR & Pearl Response

VR has honestly never interested me. I've never wanted to put on those goggles that will take me on an adventure through a forest or a car chase or into a dream universe. Without taking this course, I also wouldn't have really considered VR to be a form of electronic literature. "The Wilderness Downtown" opened my eyes as it carried a deeper meaning to the project and has the ability to relate to anyone and everyone. It has a different feel from a traditional video game because it's a lot more intimate and personal to the audience. I agree that it should be referenced as an "empathy machine" because it had the power to evoke strong emotions of nostalgia from the viewer, depending on their childhood and personal experiences.

Queerskins has been mentioned since the beginning of this class so I was excited to learn more about it. The story captured a very raw experience that people of the LGBTQ community face often, especially in areas that are less accepting. When I searched it, I found that it had 3 sections: Queerskins: A Novel, Queerskins: A Love Story (Chapter 1), and Queerskins: Ark (Chapter 2). I skimmed through all of them and noticed that they all had many layers. The images and audio combined together make it a very intimate experience and you really feel a lot of empathy and sympathy for the characters involved. The media aspects make it very immersive and grab your attention.

I forgot to do a response for Pearl so I'm adding it on to this post! Pearl was another emotional VR experience. The 360 feature really added a lot to the piece and made it so the audience feels more involved in the story. It's a really cool and cute novel that makes me feel really nostalgic towards my own childhood because my dad is very similar to the dad in the story. The music was really beautiful and it was really nice to watch as this family grows up.


VR & empathy + Queerskin

In this TED talk, Chris Milk speaks on his experiences with virtual reality and how he believes it can affect the world. While he started off working with music artist he had turned his skills with film making and graphic technology to make something more compelling and innovative to the world. The experiential medium of 3D camera he displays is described as, "You feel your way inside of it. It's a machine but inside of it, it feels like real life, it feels like truth. And you feel present in the world that you're inside and you feel present with the people that you're inside of it with." This 3D camera captures a world will you will inhabit other culture's reality, including places like Liberia and India. Milk has planned to work with the United Nations to shoot a series of film to capture the lives of other people's lives they can change. Virtual reality isn't seen as a video game device to Milk, he believes that VR can allow for a change in perception to other people and allow for us to become more passionate, connected and empathetic as humans.

I couldn't figure out how to access Queerskin but I did watch the 1 minute clip at the bottom of the front page. The first thing I noticed was how realistic the graphics were. It was almost like half real people, half green screen of the surroundings. From what I know about Queerskin, it seems to be an exploration of his life and struggles through a collection of his own belongings. I think when VR becomes more empathetic is when the story becomes more personal. While VR is something many don't realize is more than a video but becoming of the story and seeing its full surroundings is almost like one is living in the moment with the characters.

Cassie Haskell

Sunday, April 5, 2020

VR Empathy and Queerskins

I’ve never considered virtual reality as more than an elaborate video game extension. My opinion did not change as Chris Milk explained The Wilderness Downtown project or even his interactive panel piece. However, when he showed “Clouds Over Sidra”, when I realized what he had been trying to explain all along, my thought was “oh my goodness, this changes everything!”. If all of the decision makers of our world could see into the everyday lives of the people which they govern, if they could live their lives for a day, imagine how different their decisions would be. I have never considered virtual reality in this way. I only saw it as a threat, simply another technological change that would take away from real experiences. However, Milk’s work shows that although the experience is not real, the emotions that are connected with it are, and that can be just as powerful. 
I’ve been excited to explore Queerskins since we began this class. It is such a beautifully executed piece. The combination of the music, and the writing, but as well as the voice overs and short clips and images. Even the color scheme. It is tragically beautiful, and I loved it. Queerskins accomplishes the same level of intimacy and warrants the same level of empathy as virtual reality does. To know a character intimately, to hear their private thoughts and know their dearest loved ones,  to experience their loss as if it is your own; that is a very difficult thing to do in art. This piece accomplishes it perfectly. As a person it leaves me heartbroken, but as a literature and art enthusiast I am simply in love with this piece. 

Sabrina Brown

VR Ted Talk

I thought the introduction to the Ted Talk was interesting because he talked about his experience with playing with the Evil Knievel toy. I had always thought of VR as a electronic software, but hearing how Chris Milk was able to create a new world just by his imagine brought an interesting perspective on VR. The Wilderness Downtown was a neat project that combined real world interaction and VR. Even though the person running down the street was not actually your street, because the Google Maps popup would appear it gave the impression the person was running down your street. Hearing about the camera used in his VR project was interesting to me because of how the 3D camera covered the whole camera and had microphones on all sides. I had always associated VR with games, but seeing how VR is being used to cover stories of real people and how immersive it can be shows the potential VR has. I think it is hard to view movies and videos specially for VR without a VR headset because you are not getting the full experience. For example with the video Pearl, I was able to see the video and look around, but I most likely was not going to get the full experience without VR.

VR and Queerskins

I really enjoyed the Tedtalk about virtual reality. The medium is so immersive that it makes sense it could be called an "empathy machine." It is such a powerful tool because it can take you anywhere in the world and put you in anyone's shoes. Last semester I took a women studies class on privilege and it really opened my eyes. One of the main causes of inequality and discrimination is lack of exposure. People are not always trying to be close-minded, they just are not aware of the problems in the world because they live in a bubble. You typically surround yourself with people who are similar to you in terms of interests, class, and race, and this results in people assuming that their experiences are the norm. I think virtual reality like the one shown in the video has the power to cause change and lead to equality and acceptance.

I could not figure out how to watch Queerskins, but I watched short clips of it. From what I saw it seems really heartbreaking and emotional. Living in the northeast and going to a college that is pretty liberal it is easy to forget that there are many people out there who are not accepting of the LGBTQ community. People's brains naturally want to stereotype so that we can put people into boxes and be able to know everything about a person when we first meet them. I think of the conservative southerner who is not accepting of gay people as some kind of exaggeration that doesn't actually exist, but there are people like that out there. It's easy to think that there is equality now since gay people can get married, but that is not the case. it's kind of like when people say that we don't need feminism because women are equal now. Sure, women are equal on paper, but they are not treated equally, and neither are people of color. Hopefully virtual reality pieces can help people step out of their bubbles and realize that there is still a lot in inequality in the world.

Meg Champagne


The visual novel Pearl was an interesting experience. I was involved with the story and the characters. The use of virtual reality really immersed the viewers in the world. I wish I was able to view this story in virtual reality, I feel like it would have made the experience that much more immersive. It is exciting to see how other people use virtual reality in other ways to make interactive stories. Virtual reality is a very new technology and it is not accessible to many people, however, it seems that it is becoming more mainstream. This means more creators will be able to make things like Pearl and I want to see what other people do with this technology.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Pearl Response.

I actually liked this a lot. When is first started I was looking straight ahead through the windshield and loved seeing the details of the up coming road. Then some dialogue drew my attention and made me look in and around the car. I enjoyed the style of artwork. It felt creatively simple, some of my favorite video games are the same way. The plot and story had me feeling strangely sad in the beginning. Seeing the daughter age and go through stages with the dad can be sweet but leave this unique somber feeling. I don't know if that was just me. I also support the argument that cars are a big part of a family. I liked it!



I honestly loved everything about this experience. It honestly got me feeling pretty emotional by the end. I loved how it told an entire story and you could essentially choose the viewpoint that you wanted to see everything from. This reminded me a lot of those short films you watch at the movie theatre before the movie starts. There is specifically one with a snowman they always showed a couple years ago and it made me cry every time. Whenever people tell stories as people grow up I can't help but get emotional. The added element of feeling like you are going along for the ride with them was super cool. Showing her relationship with her father throughout the song and then how it evolved was very special. The bonds she made and the experiences she had throughout her life all from her car is something really special. They are such personal memories and every person can think of specific moments from their life that bring them so much joy. This has been one of my favourite things we have viewed so far this semester.

Sofia Borea

Pearl Response

This is a really cool experience even though it was only in a video for us. Overall I enjoyed it and I can see how much more incorporated the viewer would feel sitting in the car with the family. I liked the song a lot and it subtly reminded me of another song but I couldn't figure out which one...As well, I noticed that it encourages driving with your knees which I don't encourage (haha). I liked how it showed the places that they went, the trouble and the fun that they got into. It displays both excitement and the normalness of living life. My favorite part was when they kicked off their shoes and ran to the beach. The door was left open almost inviting the viewer to go. For me that also calls the viewer into their own reality, even though they are watching someone else's. It made me feel like I should be out there living my own life and having those relationship builders with people that I care about. It also made me think about how much time and bonding I've actually had in a car. Even though it seems like just a tool for transportation, cars actually carry a lot of memories everywhere they go. I wish I could watch it in VR now...

Not only did I love the visuals of Pearl but the storyline gave it so much more meaning. Looking at other people's responses I can agree that the storyline was heartwarming and easy to follow. Because of this, I think it was easy to have a connection with the story and found it to be more intriguing to watch. At first, I thought the way the screen curved was just a cool effect to make it seem more rustic but then I realized it could be seen as VR. Being able to move the screen in 360 was an awesome way to give a perspective of the girl growing up in the car. Just like the 360 affect, the whole story really came full circle! The 360 was a perfect add on for what the audience could pick and chose what they wanted to focus on. I'd definitely like to see more story's like this and I wish VR could be more easily accessible. However, if the technologies advance with things such as VR maybe more things will be written or made to be viewed that way & it will continue to grow. Not only could it be used for things such as music videos, but I've explored VR on Google maps too and that was super entertaining. It allows the user to step into a whole new world and experience places without ever leaving their home.

Cassie Haskell


This experience was super cool. I love how it tells a story without any words, just a simple song that a dad taught his daughter. The growth of the girl from just a little girl playing guitar with her dad to playing concerts and with her friends is so cool to see. Being in 360 you can drag the screen around and see everything around you and with so much going on it was a good idea to watch this twice. At first I thought the graphic design in the story was kind of weird but after watching it through I think keeping the cartoonish look compliments the overall story that is being told. The growth of 360 video and VR has progressed so much in the last few years, the gaming industry is especially furthering these technologies to create games that can be experienced in VR. Just think of playing a horror game or something like 5 Nights at Freddys (I know we all played this years ago) but play in in VR. the emotions that VR can pull from the reader/player is the closest will ever get to real-life interactions without the real life.

-Mason Sweet

Pearl Response

I thought Pearl was interesting because of the ability to move around throughout the video. Although you could tell the video was meant to be viewed in VR it was still interesting to move in a 360 motion. I think the story did a good job trying to portray the facial expressions of the characters despite the technological limitations. I do not think I would be able to watch a full movie in this type of format because I found myself looking at the different scenery instead of focusing on the story. I also wish the cuts between each scene change were smoother. The first person view and the camera work reminded me of the motion rides at Disney World or Universal Studios where you have a first person view, but have no control of the story. I think we will be seeing these types of movies more in the future, but they won't become the preferred method of film making.
Besides Pearl, I also saw the Google Spotlight video Help which was about an alien invasion. Unlike Pearl, Help used real-world actors, but it was harder to follow unlike Pearl because you are being taken to a subway and the streets which made it hard to follow the action. I think these types of videos will be mostly focused on one location instead of multiple locations because of the emphasis of exploring your surroundings.

Tim W
I think Pearl has been my favorite form of electronic literature we've "read" so far. It may not have been on paper but the story was relatable, easy to pick up on and the creativity and work that went into all the graphics made it really cool to follow. I have never used the 360 effects before but it gave us multiple points of view throughout the story which made me go back and continue to watch their lives from different seats in the car. I thought the whole storyline was really heartwarming. The transitions from when the girl was little and learning how to sing then moving on to having her own shows were awesome. I thought the main theme of the story was how we learn from the adults in our lives and despite circumstances, good or bad, they continue to follow us in life. I enjoyed watching this several times and putting myself at different perspectives.

Pearl Response

This was such a cool experience. I've never viewed a 360 YouTube video, but the ability to move around the scene made this short film so much more meaningful. The storyline is already extremely moving and sentimental and sweet, but feeling like I was sitting in the car myself made me feel connected with the story and made it personal. I love the relationship that this dad has with his daughter and even though there's very little dialogue or explanation throughout the plot is crystal clear. I loved all the small details like how the daughter holds her breath when she drives through tunnels or how you can see that the dad is a starving artist but all his daughter sees is a talented musician. I loved the role that the car played in the daughter's life and in her relationship with her dad. And I loved how the story was a wave of highs and lows but ultimately ended on a happy note (pun intended) that came full circle.

Even though this wasn't truly VR, I think that videos like this and other virtual reality experiences give viewers a deeper insight into the work they're looking at. While I was watching "Pearl," I got to choose which aspect of the video I wanted to focus on. Sometimes I would look out the window of the car to see where I was, acting as a passenger along for the ride with the dad and his daughter. Other times I would focus on the actions of the father and daughter and watch them like I would watch a movie. VR gives viewers the freedom to manipulate their interpretation of a piece in a way that is most meaningful to them. I really enjoyed "Pearl" and I hope to explore more pieces like it in the future.


Pearl Response

I found Pearl very interesting because it was different from media I normally view, however I don't think I would like to view a movie designed in the same way. I felt that the art was lacking in comparison to the sound which was so impressive. I was also frustrated by the angels, because it feels like you are the one sitting in the passenger seat for many shots, however that is not the case for all of them. When the camera is no longer in the passenger seat and it moves around, the point of view of the viewer gets very blurred. Am I seeing the story through a third person? An invisible character? The angle of the stereo itself? I don't really know. I don't believe a movie filmed this way would do well, but I did enjoy it as a short clip. I feel that as a music video it works best, because although it is designed to be VR, I found that the art style worked best as a 2 dimensional piece. When I watched the behind the scenes clip and saw how the creators intended their characters to pop out of the screen, they became less artsy and cute to me and more creepy. I'm not particularly sure why this is, but that was my reaction none the less.

Sabrina Brown

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Response to Pearl

The video was so cute and heartwarming! I kept expecting there to be a sad ending but I was pleasantly surprised. Throughout the video I kept wanting to look around, but I was worried I was going to miss something important. I also thought the sounds were really impressive! It sounded like I was in the car with them, and it I liked how at one point when the dad was singing outside of the car it sounded distant, like how it would sound if you were really there. It was a little strange seeing animations with such real sounding audio. I'm not sure if I would want movies to be like this because it would completely change the meaning behind the stories. Filmmakers use different angles and points of view to convey meaning and give the audience hints at what the characters are thinking. It would completely change the format of filmmaking. With VR, you have control of what you look at and could easily miss something important. I do think it could be used to help people empathize with others and see different points of view because it is so immersive. I definitely would not want to watch a scary or suspenseful movie with VR, I would just want to stick to light and happy stories.

Meg Champagne

Tuesday, March 31, 2020


"Read" PEARL, 2017 Oscar nominated for "Best Animated Short Film":

& Behind the scenes:

I know we can't view it in VR, but you can scroll around like in a 360 image & this gives you an idea of what's up in this medium. You'll also maybe be making something like this in Scene or can explore street views in Google Earth this week.

& reply with your thoughts on this story (music video?), 360 texts, VR, maybe what's coming in film...

This is a collection of Google Arts & Culture augmented and VR experiences: 

Chapter 7

In Chapter 7, the final chapter of “Electronic Literature,” Rettburg discusses the importance of hypertext in the digital age and why electronic literature is not a “replacement” for print literary culture, but instead a form of “extended storytelling” that creates new experiences suitable for digital culture. As he discusses throughout the book, Rettburg reinforces that genres of electronic literature are interchangeable, serving as “building blocks for other forms to follow them” and relying on interaction to function. This interaction is known as “play” and it’s what we’ve been doing every Thursday in this class. Rettburg defines this “play” in Text Rain as “conversation, imagined as a physical act.” I really like this definition of the way readers understand electronic literature. When I think about my major and the study of literature, “physical” is one of the last words I would use to describe English, but electronic literature does require movement, manipulation, and intention in order to be fully grasped. I think it’s a really interesting form of media and I’m glad that I was introduced to it. One of my favorite quotes from the reading was the last line, “Never forget that. Always remember the fun.” It made me appreciate the “play” aspect of electronic literature more and try to not find “meaning” in every piece of work that I look at and instead enjoy the exploration of the work before me.

Rettburg notes that “As technologies complicate the distinction between the map and the territory, and as we increasingly live in a reality in which our movements are virtually mapped and monitored, these locative works provide us with tools to reflect on the meaning of mapping in our everyday lives.” Something that I took away from this quote is that the media reflects the age, meaning that new technologies influence the thoughts and ideals of a society. Rettburg remarks that, because of this, we need to preserve electronic literature in the same way we preserve books in libraries. I find it very interesting that databases with the history of electronic literature exist on the Internet to preserve the timeline of advancement in the field, and I’m curious to see what forms of media will exist in future years that will also be preserved for future generations to study.



This chapter discusses other e-lit genres consisting of: locative narrative, digital literacy installations, virtual and augmented reality narrative and interactive + combinatory cinema. Each of these genres builds upon one another to build a narrative.
Virtual reality is very interesting to me so I decided to take a deeper look at the work by David Blair called, "Wax or the Discovery of Television among the Bees". This film project involved using hypertextual database logic that produced an interactive cinema experience. Mixed digital animations, live action and found footage was all put together to create this film. It was an interesting psychedelic fable that was shot from an imagined perspective. It had very positive reviews on the New York Times and was the first film to be streamed on the internet. I like how this story takes you along a unique adventure and draws you in right away. This story is described as historic since it was so different from what anyone had ever seen before and managed to be considered a milestone for "Internet Art". It is one of the earliest examples of digital cinema which was released in 1991. Taking a look at this showed me how all of this started and gave some background on the earliest forms of digital cinema.

Sofia Borea

Ch7 & Text Rain

In Chapter 7 of Electronic Literature, Rettberg discusses divergent streams. Rettberg opens up this chapter by introducing locative narratives and technologies, stating how every smartphone nowadays has a GPS installed in it allowing the phone to give its current location. Rettberg states the benefits that come with our technology knowing our location, like traffic and weather updates. However, this access to our individual locations does come with cons; a surrender of privacy. However, Rettberg brings out good points about how locative technologies can benefit narrative and poetic experiences. Today, radio frequency identification (RFID) and QR codes have allowed us to tag stories on locations. For example, Snapchat. Snapchat allows us to take a picture and enable a geotag that includes the current location of the individual.

Text Rain is an interactive component that requires the individual to give body movements to interact with the falling letters. Sometimes the individual can catch enough letters, leading the letters to transition into actual words or phrases, usually about the body and language. This is interesting to me because it seems very interactive, and doesn't work to its ideal extent unless the individual actually interacts with it. This is demanding more from the students than just a raised hand, this requires the individual to actually interact with it.

Ryan Donahue

Monday, March 30, 2020

Chapter 7 and Camille Utterback

In Chapter 7 Rettberg discusses and focusses on divergent streams, he mentions how there are many different genres of e-lit that still aren’t really discussed today and that he didn’t really discuss in his book. He also talks about how these other genres that aren’t really mentioned can influence or help other genres, they all have the opportunity to build off of each other like bricks. The evolution of technology has also impacted literature greatly. The inventions of QR codes and other digitally intelligent tech has created many different ways to read text. Locative narratives utilize these designs to create ever-changing stories and new interactive ways to follow text.

After viewing Text Rain I became more intrigued, the technology utilized to create something so eye-opening in the 90’s is crazy to me. To this day I thought this technology was and is still being studied to create something that works flawlessly. Another thing that’s interesting is that the letters are not random and can read as sentences even with the interruption of human interaction.

I looked more into Camille Utterback's installations and enjoyed Entangled that she released in 2015. This installation takes 3 panels of fabric with projected color/images and as someone moves around on the other side of the installation images, colors, and transitions change on the other side. This makes me think of the saying “there’s always two sides to the story” when someone on one side does something someone on the other may do something similar but it turns into a different outcome. And that’s what happens when humans fight over issues and the “two sides” never make an agreement. This installation is beautiful to see and take interactive art to the next level.

-Mason Sweet

Divergent Streams

This chapter focused on topics that needed more unpacking than was able in the 5 genres that were outlined. Rettberg also mentions that the five genres of previous chapters often intermingle although they seemed to have been outlined as separate genres of E-Lit. This chapter looked at aspects such as Locative Narratives and Interactive Installations. As well, Rettberg also covers aspects of collecting E-Lit and consideration for the future of E-Lit to finish off his chapter. Essentially this chapter encompasses elements of spatial interaction and can be looked at in more physical terms such as geographic location (like the GPS in Smartphones). This is probably why we are doing location mapping and geographic spaces for our play assignments...I looked into TOC: a New-Media Novel by Steve Tomasula which expresses more of a game-like quality. It includes discovering pieces of writing and unlocking parts of the story to read. It does have a base-focus on writing and a bit of a cinematic quality just as Rettberg mentions. The trailer that I watched gave off mad Twilight Zone vibes and the next video that I saw showed how to navigate the space within the piece. You can download it as an App (even as an iPad app wow) and read the story in unique spaces like a sciency future glass ball. TOC: a New-Media Novel.


Chapter 7

In the final chapter of electronic literature, Rettberg briefly covers the previously uncovered kinds of e-lit. He makes it known that these are most certainly not the least interesting, but maybe just the newest and least covered types of e-lit. The final four types of e-lit he focuses on are locative narratives, expanded cinema, virtual reality and augmented reality. Locative narratives are m favorite because it involves real movement throughout the world, as well as technology to experience the story. A story experienced through scannable QR codes at real locations to describe a scene sounds amazing. It also reminds me of certain black mirror concepts. If these concepts were used in a more lighthearted and humane way, would be incredibly innovative. Virtual reality and augmented reality are things I’ve experienced a decent amount already, so I get less excite about it. I kind of expect it now. All in all, this boo just hyped me up for a potential cool future with lots of new media, but also scares me because we could lose a lot of our roots.
I investigated Pry by Danny Cannizzaro and Samantha Gorman. It is an app that creates expanded cinema, aka, kinetic e-books. These seem like e-books with pages you can rip and scenes you can watch on a different page. Could be cool.


Chapter 7: Divergent Streams

Chapter 7 of Electronic Literature by Scott Rettberg is focused on the topic of divergent streams and areas of e-lit that were not easily explainable throughout the other chapters of the text. Examples of this include performance art, art installations, digital installations, virtual reality, film and many other sub-genres. An example of this that we have all experienced personally could include the art installations we visited in the PCAC earlier this semester. While reading this chapter I became interested in the topic of locative narratives. I did a web search and stumbled across the locative narrative "Somebody" by Miranda July. It's described as an "app that asked strangers to deliver messages between friends." It was launched with a companion film and supposedly had a lot of traffic on the page. Here is the website that holds a lot of the background information. It seemed like an interesting concept and from a few reviews I was able to read, a lot of people really liked the idea. I don't believe it is still available for use but you can find screenshots and user messages easily.
Our last chapter in Scott Rettbegrs, "Electronic Literature" is about the topic of "Divergent Streams" Going into this final chapter, I had no idea what that meant. According to Rettberg, it includes other genres of electronic literature that do not get as much attention as the other five we have discussed thus fsr. Divergent streams are the extension of literature into the physical world and also include how they expand into different disciplines. The chapter discusses new technology and how that has connected itself to literature over time. Systems such as GPS, QR codes and radio frequency allows stories and locations along with writings. One of the examples of technology along with local projects was the "Yellow Arrow Project." Christopher Allen allowed participants to order yellow stickers int the shape of an arrow, place them in public and each one would allow for people to text a number and receive a short narrative depending on location. 

chapter 7 divergent streams

Chapter 7 goes in to discuss topics that weren't yet covered. Rettberg describes them as "some of the most interesting current practices in digital writing." He briefly describes how other genres of digital writing have been developed and can help build upon genres of other categories.

I thought the part about locative narratives was an interesting take oh contemporary smartphones. Smartphones can be more useful than texting and phone calls but also the use of maps and GPS. "Our interactions with contemporary social networks and online shopping sites are not only based on who we are and what we do, but also where we are and the situations of the world around us." He points out that the use of smartphones can sometimes depend on where we are in the world.

I saw a news article today that talked about Poland using selfies to track COVID-19. They download an app called "Home Quaratine." It is mostly for people who have just traveled abroad, but they must download this app that measures how long they self quaratine (must be 2 weeks at least) and users must send in a selfie to prove they're not outside. If a selfie isn't received within 20 minutes they will be tracked by authorities.

This seems like one good example of using contemporary technology and putting it to greater use during this pandemic.

Cassie H


HAPPY GRADUATION to the VERY first class of TBD majors!!! (I wish we could celebrate in person!)