Final Blog: Welcome to Pine Point

Welcome to Pine point was one of my favorite pieces to read. It did a great job of creating a sense of place of a small little mining town in Canada. The use of personal interviews, family pictures, videos of the landscape, and the music helped to recreate this dead community, which lives on in the hearts and minds of many of the former residents.

It is similar to traditional documentaries in that they get personal accounts of the place, but they don`t have that traditional interview point of view where the person is sitting there talking to the camera. I would say that is the only part that separates it from being a traditional documentary. For all intents and purposes I would qualify it as a documentary, because it is probably the largest collection of factual and first person accounts of the town of Pine Point.

Pine Point is the only collection of information on this abandoned settlement other than the Wikipedia page. Pine Point is significantly more extensive than that article though. It is the only page that includes the culture of the place so much. This makes it a niche, because it is probably the only website of its kind for such a place.

Pine Point records the transformation from a thriving suburb to ghost town through the eyes of the people who lived there. After the mine in the area was shut down most of the people left to live elsewhere, but the community still gets together to celebrate the existence of their community. Each person also tries to claim that they were the last person to do a certain thing there.

I do not think that the traditional objects of memorial is in conflict with the memorial of place. They work together cohesively to memorialize the town that was forgotten by the world, but not the community. (Although you can find it on google maps fairly easier. It`s just north of Alberta)

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Blog Post #10

The work Redshift and Portalmetal is a about the journey of a transgender woman to multiple planets seeking to find a new home. The work studies the effects of people on the environment, because the reason for having to move around is because the environment of the planet is failing. The work also takes a look at how people interpret the change to new environments and adjusting to their new home.  The narrator, after moving around a lot comes to the conclusion that home is where family is. The work is also a narrative on the struggles of the Native Americans who were forced out of their ancestral lands and forced to live elsewhere.

The adjustment to living in different environments is also strongly noted. The narrator begins in their home planet, which is assumed to be earth or a planet with a similar climate and then has to move to either the ocean moon or the ice planet. The difference in the environment to the home planet is significant in either case, which leads the narrator to different environments.

The author gives you choice throughout the work on how to proceed, but sometimes only gives the illusion of choice. This is most pronounced when given the choice to wait quietly or run after the narrator arrives at the ice planet. If you select the run option the story gives a short blurb on why it is useless to run before being forced to select the page for the quietly sit and wait option. Such tricks by the author are used to help cut down on work on the author`s part perhaps, but also to show that sometimes humans aren`t capable of taking action when we need to most. 

Blog Post #9

The Prosthesis audio poems are interesting, specifically The All-New. They sound like a robot with a speech impediment. The words he says sound like they could be entirely random with some improvisation. He pronounces the words in a different way than you would expect much like text to speech software. He says some words faster and other words slower than they are supposed to be pronounced as if he is changing the input on such software. For example he repeats “to” as if waiting for more input say then he says a flood of different words all trying to be processed at the same time. It is as if the he is projecting the sounds that the software is to try to feel what a machine could feel like trying to process all the words given, but not being able to complete the words he is being given to say. As you listen to the track it appears as if there are some words that software does not know how to pronounce and he shows that by repeating the word not saying the whole word or saying it correctly. At the the end of the work he pronounces every word perfectly as a human would say them, but still with a robotic voice he says “do you like this? I like this. I, nothing like I was, all new.” This reflects a sense of fulfillment saying that as if he has found peace through pronunciation.

Blog #8

‘”It’s not that I’m not social.  I’m social enough.  But the tools you guys create actually manufacture unnaturally extreme social needs.  No one needs the level of contact you’re purveying.  It improves nothing.  It’s not nourishing.  It’s like snack food…endless empty calories, but the digital-social equivalent” (134).

This quote comes from Mercer, Mae`s ex-boyfriend who her parents keep inviting over for her to see. Mercer`s job is making chandeliers out of antlers. He still lives in the small town Mae and Mercer grew up in and (according to insights from Mae) has not changed very much.

Mercer`s quote explains his frustration with modern social media. Sure it provides a place to converse and understand how your friends and family are feeling, but it also creates a demand for you to constantly check what others are saying and encourage participation throughout the day.

I can identify with Mercers apprehension to social media, because I am not a massive fan of it myself. I found it yet another thing to waste time on during the day. While its utility for staying up to date with friends and family for major events in their lives is undeniable. It can get annoying when all they do is ask you for virtual items for the cash cow games that Facebook provides for its users or post provocative political opinions that I frankly don`t want to hear about or case about. 

While some things are more significant to know about, such as a cousin`s engagement or pictures of a family gathering, there are some snack food like elements to social media. Do I need to get minute by minute information on whether or not my sister likes a cute dog photo or my mother reaches a new level in candy crush. I don`t believe I do especially when I`m trying to write a blog prompt for English homework.

Blog Post #7

So far in my reading of The Circle, the novel struggles with the ideas of privacy and transparency. The quote I chose to discuss was the second: “And those who wanted or needed to track the movements of consumers online had found their Valhalla: the actual buying habits of actual people were now eminently mappable and measurable, and the marketing to those actual people could be done with surgical precision.  Most TruYou users, most internet users who simply wanted simplicity, efficiency, a clean and streamlined experience, were thrilled with the result.  No longer did they have to memorize twelve identities and passwords; no longer did they have to tolerate the madness and rage of the anonymous hordes; no longer did they have to put up with buckshot marketing that guessed, at best, within a mile of their desires.  Now the messages they did get were focused and accurate and, most of time, even welcome” (22-23). This talks about the utility of transparency for advertising and how they allow people to see only items in which they are interested. While this technology already exists to a certain extent through Google`s ads and other pieces of tracking software like cookies in your browser. While technology like something similar to TruYou would be helpful to people struggling to remember passwords, it could also be harmful because having only one password for a user`s whole life online makes it easier for that user`s identity to be stolen. If a hacker only needs to hack one password to have access to someone`s entire life the consequences could be disastrous for the user`s life. Security risks aside this also gives the Circle (the fictional company) a monopoly on social media requiring all authentication to go through them in order to access other sites. Sure someone can create another social media site, but there will be brand loyalty to the Circle. Consumers may be resistant if there is no compatibility with the Circle and the developers of the website will probably end up selling their company to the Circle in order to cash out and avoid competition with the giant. While TruYou sounds like a nice idea there are still concerns about privacy, security, and a monopoly that would challenge the service in reality. 

My Body: A Journey Through the WonderCabinet

In the work, My Body, Shelley Jackson writes and reflects about how she feels about different body parts as well as different memories associated with these different body parts. The work starts at a home page with an image representing the author`s body covered with boxes and hyperlinks. When the reader clicks on a specific box with a hyperlink, they are taken to a page that tells the reader more about that body part. This could tell the reader about different events in the author`s life that this body part has experienced specifically and/or how the author feels about this body part. There are also certain phrases in each page that link that specific body part to different body parts. This is a journey of self-exploration and thought association through the author`s self-reflection on her life and body. Jackson uses hyperlinks to give more meaning to the text by providing insight through thought association.

On this journey through the work My Body we start at the home page with the image of the representation of the author`s body. The first thing we observe is that this image is made in the style of scratch art. Scratch art is made by covering a piece of wood with white clay and then covering that layer with black India ink. The image is made by using sharp knives and other tools to etch into the layers of ink and clay. This means the image is a better representation of the body because it was surgically carved from the medium much like a doctor can perform surgery on a real human body. This can be a metaphor for showing the amount of stress or importance of a single limb has received based on the texturing and etchings of a specific body part.

From all the parts on the image the hand is the one I chose to study. The first noticeable thing about this page is the contrast from the homepage; transitioning from black background with white and making the hand in the top center of the page stand out from the rest of the page. The first chunk of text is bold and thus draws attention to itself separate from the wall of text otherwise available to read. It describes the physical appearance of the hand as well as introducing the first instance of the author`s sexuality and creativity. The first instance of sexuality might have actually been the image of the author`s naked body on the home page, but the first written instance is when she mentions that she uses her fingers to masturbate. This piece of text “masturbating” (Jackson) is a hyper link that leads to more about the author`s sexual exploration. This is also the author`s first instance of mentioning her creativity. She talks about playing guitar and using magic-markers. The mention “magic-marker dots and dashes” (Jackson) on her hand is also another hyperlink which leads to a page about her different hair colors, which can be another indicator of creativity. The rest of the hands page describes the author`s experiences with her hands and how she feels about her hands. She talks about callouses she formed playing on the bars as a kid during recess. She talks about how she watches the hands of other people and animals and how you can learn so much from watching others` hands. The passage after this, talks about how the author can see the bones in her hands by holding her hand up to the sun. This reminds her of her mortality and the inevitability of death.  The phrase “the bones inside” (Jackson) within this passage also serves as a hyperlink to a passage in which she wonders what her skeleton is doing within her body. The next two paragraphs talk about her experience with breaking her baby finger, which most likely refers to her pinky, and the reactions others have to the cast that she wears as a result of this. She felt bad because the size of the cast did not accurately reflect the severity of the injury and felt the need to apologize to people who sympathized for her, because she did not hurt as much as others thought. In the last part of the hand page the author talks about her experiences with drawing hands. This last passage contains two hyperlinks which redirect the reader to the feet page with the quote “hands and feet were my most reliable artist`s models” (Jackson) and the nose page with the quote “I could hardly catalog them all.” (Jackson) The passage itself describes the struggles the author went through with drawing hands saying that instead of drawing hands or feet their hands were in their pockets or in high grass, but every so often she was able to draw it perfectly. Through the hyperlinks the author associates her hands to her sexuality, hair, bones, feet, and nose.

From the hyperlinks available I chose “the bones inside” (Jackson), which leads to the skeleton page. This page has the same contrast as the previous page being completely white with black streaks. The author describes her skeleton as being a separate entity to herself. She interprets it as a separate living being within her that is waiting for her to die. She mentions that when she kisses someone else and their teeth touch, it is their skeletons touching. The hyperlinks within this passage are the quote “waiting me out” (Jackson), which leads back to the hands page, and the quote “teeth” (Jackson), which leads to the page about teeth. It makes sense that the hand page led to this page, because it led to the skeleton page. It is also a logical transition to the teeth page because teeth are bone and the hyperlink literally says teeth.

Next I selected the teeth hyperlink, so I do not go back to the page I came from. This page features the same contrast from the title page as the previous two pages, with the white background with black streaks and a picture of the teeth in white against a black background. The first passage has the first hypertext link, which leads to the page about orgasms from different activities. The first passage also focuses on how she interacts with her teeth. She does not talk about nice dental hygiene, but rather her tendency to floss or pick them until they bleed or to remove her baby teeth with a spoon. She described the sense of regret she feels after doing this saying “my gums swollen into caricatures, so sore I can hardly chew.” (Jackson) The second passage focuses on how teeth look as well as her struggles with drawing teeth and also contains the second hyperlink. The second hyperlink reads: “slightly short of the exact copy”(Jackson) and leads to the page about feet. This association makes sense however, because the previous link to the feet page was a description of her hands and feet as models. Since she is talking about drawing, it could be seen as logical to associate teeth to feet in this manner.

The work My Body is a great example of how humans demonstrate insight through thought association through Jackson`s use of hyperlinks to connect each of the pages to each other. Each reader can take a different journey through the thoughts and feelings of the author and her thought associations. This creates a unique interpretation based on the hyperlink path each reader takes. Interpretation of thought association is the real achievement here though, it can help the reader to understand what the author was thinking as they were writing, which is unique. This journey through Jackson`s work revealed connections she made between her: hands, sexuality, hair, bones, and nose; skeleton, hands, and teeth; and teeth, sexuality, and feet. Shelley Jackson`s My Body seeks to derive greater meaning from thoughts and feelings about the body through thought association with hyperlinks and scratch art.

Citations:

Jackson, Shelley. “My Body —a Wunderkammer.” My Body — a Wunderkammer. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2016.

Blog #6

Shakespeare uses extensive imagery in A MidSummer Night`s Dream. The character Puck speaks this imagery in his line in Act 5 Scene 1 line 357. "Now the hungry lion roars, And the wolf behowls the moon; Whilst the heavy ploughman snores, All with weary task fordone" (5.1.357-360). This imagery helps to set the mood for night-time. While the audience might not know what the roar of a lion sounds like, they are more likely to know what  a howling wolf sounds like. This imagery of the wolf alone sets the scene for night. Shakespeare goes a step further though by describing the heavy ploughman snoring. A ploughman`s job is to work all day in the sun plowing fields on a farm. This means imagery of a ploughman snoring with his work done and possibly sleeping again helps to set the scene at night. In the next part, Puck says: "Now the wasted brands do glow, Whilst the screech-owl, screeching loud, Puts the wretch that lies in woe In remembrance of a shroud" (5.1.360-364). The wasted brands are glowing charred logs in a fireplace. This imagery serves to remind the audience of a warm fire on a cold night. The next piece talks about a sceech owl (owls being nocturnal birds) reminding an old sick person about the onset of death. This is a rather sharp turn from almost romantic night imagery to death. Such was the reality of the time of Shakespeare with much shorter life spans than today. Puck then continue saying "Now it is the time of night That the graves, all gaping wide, Everyone lets forth his sprite In the church-way paths to glide" (5.1.365-368). This last piece of imagery is spookier than the rest telling about souls rising from the grave to glide across the paths of the church graveyard.

This Puck then closes by stating that the fairies like Puck “follow darkness like a dream” (5.1.372) and are meant to disturb humanity.

 

Sources: Shakespeare, William, and Harold F. Brooks. A Midsummer Nights Dream. London: Arden Shakespeare, 2007. Print.

Blog Post #5

Blue Hyacinth is a type of digital literature called stir fry texts. The idea behind it is that if the reader`s cursor touches a certain phrase it changes that phrase and alters the meaning of the work. Swiping through the whole work several times reveals an entirely different work as there are three or four different text options per phrase. This means that the meaning of the work can change dramatically from the beginning of examining the work to the end based on how much the reader interacts with the content of the web page.

The text changes different colors based on the number of times the reader interacts with it. The text gets progressively lighter as the reader interacts with it showing, which shows the reader how much the text has changed to some extent.

There are four different default texts each shaded a different color. Interacting with the text mixes the texts together. The darkest shade is a woman who breaks in and out of a building leaving recording and scribblings every time with a man contemplating turning her in for these actions. The second darkest is about a woman held captive by a man wondering when he will come back and brushing her hair. The second lightest text is a woman contemplating horse racing and her gender identity before being interrupted from her thoughts by the cleaning lady who pockets a piece of trash the narrator doesn`t want. The lightest text is about a club owner who pays for a rival club to be set on fire so his own club will succeed.

When mixed and matched randomly by the reader, the reader can experience very different and unique stories generated by themselves. This provides a unique experience for each reader in interpreting their combinations of text.

Blog Post #4

Faith is not traditional literature that is simply read. It is electronic literature that changes as you continue to read. Faith starts after you press the begin button at which point it animates words moving across the screen before they settle in one place. After they settle the reader can process the new arrangement of words on the screen before pressing another button to progress further through the work. Each time the reader presses the button to continue through the word the text on the button which the reader presses changes. Each time it changes to a new statement that is seemingly the response of the reader to the text. The progression of the poem also sometimes stretches out existing words or places new characters in and around those words. Due to the nature of the poem changing multiple times multiple interpretations and messages can be absorbed by the reader.

 

The poem itself starts with “Faith logic can`t bend this” written in yellow scattered throughout the page with the word “so?” as the continue button. After pressing the button other text is dropped in the page to read: “I edge logic out. Can`t the mind press on around the bend to consummate this vision of the deep ‘or’?” written in red with “Maybe. But…” as the continue button. The next transition adds characters to existing words to change them and flashes other words on the page before solidifying into the block of text which reads: “I hedge. Oh red winking neon logic. No, I just can`t make the sunny side of my mind press the black button, think around the bend of theory to be only this consummate “o,” this visionary “r” of the deeper world” written in dark red with “Yet then…” as the continue button. After this the poem transforms to its most complete form written  in black with some phrases being greyed out with the word “Leap” covering the screen before being greyed out with the continue button saying “Now…” At which point all the words fall to the bottom of the screen except the phrase: “Just to sum up faith”

 

The final product if you look at it step by step looks like a conversation on the idea of faith and what it means to the author, which can be interpreted as that you can act illogically if you are takin a leap of faith.

 

Sources:

Kendall, Robert. “Faith.” Faith. Cauldron & Net, Autumn 2002. Web. 04 Oct. 2016.

Blog Post #3

I believed in practise, which was why one summer I walked barefoot every day on the neighbor’s gravel driveway, mincing and wincing in the hope of one day being tough enough to walk barefoot over the toughest ground without flinching, like someone in a book, an Indian tracker or a beggar girl in Calcutta, bare brown feet spreading comfortably on the earth, toes f l e x i n g and gripping. But the hard corners toothing my soles never ceased to be painful. The blinding stretch of white gravel was so wide I seemed to see the curve of the earth in its swell. The gravel squeaked underfoot. I lowered my weight slowly and the rocks shifted under me, dealing me new, unanticipated shocks. An stretch unproblematic to the shod became an epic to the barefoot, fraught with doubt. I rewarded myself with a stem of the bleached sourgrass that grew in the shade under the trees on the other side of the driveway, and stood there cooling my sore feet on the grass, dourly chewing the tangy cud while I plotted my way back.

My feet rub each other under the covers at night or while I’m reading, sliding sensuously on each other. The ball of the big toe screws into the arch of the other foot, the toes fraternize, side slides by side. The pace steps up when I’m excited, the foot cranking around the ankle joint in slow circles, toes spreading and then squeezing together: a whole waltz under the covers, very comforting and secret and like company, like two small dachshunds rolling on each other. 

One summer I got swim goggles for the first time and became a lurker under surfaces, a spy in the underwaterworld. My eyes never tired of looking into that luminous space into which objects were abruptly born from above, sometimes only piecemeal: a leg punched in up to the knee seemed amputated, sutured to the elastic blanket of the undersurface, which was an oily, undulating sheet, a pewter-greasy blue. Bodies were restfully relieved of the burden of heads. They were cleansed of shadows and the hang of flesh. I hunkered at the bottom of the pool, bobbing a little on my bottom, where my swimsuit snagged slightly on the rough spots, bubbling in a controlled flow through my nose (a pleasant feeling like letting a string of pearls run bead by bead through my nose) and settling a little more surely the more I deflated, peering around in the satisfyingly curtailed and secret world. I knew I could be seen from above, a sketchy figure pulled apart by light, but I felt invisible. I waited for the jumpers and divers, hurled into being in a bag (like a kitten) of air and a sudden architectural column of bubbles. But what I liked most was the feet: all those problematic people, so firmly planted on slavish, characterless feet – like slabs of clay – were suddenly afloat like angels. Their feet swelled and softened. Their feet looked like fruit, like fleshy tropical flowers. They became expressive and gentle, even beatific – they kicked softly at nothing, sought the bottom, and no sooner found it than dabbed at it coquettishly and rebounded away: relieved feet, lucky, suspended as in amber, beautiful and whole and to be considered for their own merits as forms.

I am reconciled only to my own feet; everyone else’s are ugly and strange. I understand that they feel the same way about mine. Feet are alien, like a hoof or a wing. They are more like tools or furniture than like flesh, they are so sturdy and well-crafted and so serviceable. Maybe they are a little too far away from the heart to befriend, though at one time I could put my big toe in my mouth, and I aspire to do it again, though without much hope. Besides my own, likeable feet I got to know my mother’s from sitting beside her chair and I was quite censorious of the shiny pink callouses, the contorted baby toes. Allowing ugliness was, I thought, a practically moral failure.

I should mention that the glimpse of toe cleavage in women’s pumps aroused a passionate aversion in me when I was little, as did the crookedly bunched together two or three toes sticking out the little hole women’s shoes sometimes have at the tip. I disapproved of stockings when the tip of them was visible, binding the toes. I felt nervous about socks that had worked their way down so the empty toe flapped loose, and socks that were too big, so the heel stuck out in a bunch above the tops of the shoes. I pulled my own knee socks tight up over my calves, and took great satisfaction in their tight grip on the backs of my knees. My strong feelings about feet have lessened in intensity as I have put distance between myself and them.

In this passage of “My Body – a wunderkammer” Jackson explores how she feels about her feet. She first describes how walking with bare feel felt to her saying “I walked barefoot every day on the neighbor’s gravel driveway, mincing and wincing in the hope of one day being tough enough to walk barefoot over the toughest ground without flinching.” She thought by making her feet tougher she could be like someone out of a book or in another country where they don`t have shoes. She wanted to make her feet tough enough to be able to handle any surface without pain and this provided for her almost a sense of being exotic.

She then describes her feet when she`s trying to sleep saying they are “like two small dachshunds rolling on each other.” She has made trying to sleep into a dance her feet and toes perform with each other for a more sensual sleeping experience.

After this she described her feet underwater. They swell and become softer underwater. While she is inderwater her feet are not performing their given function, but are instead “kicked softly at nothing.” And upon touching the bottom of the thing she is swimming in gentley pushes off the bottom to propel herself upwards.

She speaks of them thinking existensially about the shape and function of the feet saying “They are more like tools or furniture than like flesh, they are so sturdy and well-crafted and so serviceable.” Describing feet as a not part of the body, but as a seperate entity made exclusively to help her stand sturdily.

Finally she speaks of toes and how she feels about women`s shoes. She disliked how her toes were bunched up and forced into the same little space. With some shoes exposing “toe cleavage” with little bits of the toes peeking out of the shoe. But she then says “My strong feelings about feet have lessened in intensity as I have put distance between myself and them.” which is almost comical because the feet are the part of the body farthest from the head, which makes it easy to distance herself from them.