Blog #5- Pieces of Herself

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http://elit.umwblogs.org/2012/02/23/pieces-of-herself-by-juliet-davis/

Piecing Together the “Pieces of Herself”

            Pieces of Herself by Juliet Davis captivates the awareness of feminism and gender identification through the unknown character’s eyes and the public’s eyes in multiple settings surrounding a person’s everyday life. This piece of electronic literature is described as “ironic” and “playful,” in which Davis uses interactive digital media to convey her message to the reader. This person remains nameless throughout the story in an attempt to reconstruct her lost identity using drag and drop to help “dress- up” the doll that appears only as a silhouette in order to maintain that idea of hidden emptiness.

When first entering Pieces of Herself, a text slowly popped up line-by-line, stating, “Her friends said she needed to “find” herself And sure enough, when she started looking, she found pieces of herself everywhere…” This line automatically made me realize that this piece of electronic literature would be more interactive with the reader more than anything else. The first place the story takes you to is the bathroom and as the screen appears there is an awful, loud sound that appears simultaneously. That sound is short, but undoubtedly grabs your attention from the start. Realizing this, I knew that sound/noise would be an essential part of this piece.

While exploring the rest of the story, I noticed that the overwhelming noises coming from different items I either scrolled over or clicked and dragged in order to move from the scene to the doll were beyond frustrating. Once listening closely to those sounds I came to realize not only of the importance of the meaning of each individual sound, but the fact that they looped around or played once and stopped was just as significant. For example, the floating journal scribbling’s represented heartbreak and the statements of her wishing her children to have the best and trying to hide herself at work in order to avoid harassment was a representation of regret. These repeating sounds, noises, and music all symbolize a complex, conflicting and distraught human being. What I found to be an unsatisfying experience was the attempt in listening to the different sounds, one would override another and it made it almost impossible to hear anything. I assume that is what the author wanted the reader to have to go through in order for the reader to understand the character’s emotional distress.

After exploring other readers from different sites, I have come to understand their viewpoint of certain aspects. There were a few different articles discussing the “ending” of this story. As one person described the ending, they stated that Pieces of Herself stopped when the reader collects and/or triggers all objects that appear in each scene. Another person argues that there is no true resolution in which no one truly understands himself or herself and people constantly change while facing new conflicts. A third person claims the story cannot be viewed as “singular” or as a clear picture, just as life itself. I agree with all of these opinions because when it comes to reading electronic literature or any literature for that matter, it comes down to the reader’s thoughts and views on that specific piece.

Generally, I would describe Pieces of Herself as an outrageous and overpowering piece of electronic literature. Davis was able to captivate the reader’s usual way of perceiving their normal, everyday scenery and rationalizing certain images of items from something so “outside of the box” and turning it into a relatable object. As the reader, I was capable of getting through this seemingly irritating and bothersome piece, in order to obtain my goal of understanding what Davis was trying to demonstrate. People living their everyday lives with their everyday friends/family, living in their everyday homes and showing up to their everyday jobs may come off a certain way, but on the inside may be struggling with who they really are or what they can really be. The goal is to explore everything around you until you find out exactly what does and does not work for you, just like in Pieces of Herself.

Blog #4- Inanimate Alice

inanimate-alice
https://padlet.com/embed/tl3o2nyw8joh

Inanimate Alice was probably my favorite Elit I have read so far. I love the flow of it and how you must get through one part in order to reach the next. Compared to other Elit pieces, this one was the least confusing and had a beginning, middle and end like most literature I read. I guess I am still in my comfort zone when it comes to a piece of literatures structure, but I am hoping by the end of the semester to come out of that comfort zone.

I believe the images/clips and sounds were the most important feature to this piece. The music would increase as the climax began to form and it would become silent at moments where you could picture Alice in this small, dark and scary place. The images basically told the entire story with only a few words when necessary and that is what I enjoy reading the most. I like when you can put a “face” to the “sounds.” I was a little confused as to why the story began with this girl who was about to die when the stairs collapsed as she was walking up them, but then I realized that when she started talking about her old life and discussing her new life, it was a flashback. I have always heard that right before you die you may see your entire life in a matter of seconds and that is what I thought was going on here. Alice was appreciating her past, even the parts that were not so great. She was especially fond of the present, well not the present of her almost dying, but the present of where her life was at at the moment.

I also enjoyed the story inside of the story which discussed Alice’s game that she created. A lot of the icons were clickable and made this more interesting and interactive. After Alice got back to talking about the present situation she was in and having to go through this place in order to survive, I found myself frustrated by getting the pointed fingers wrong in order to get out. Unlike Alice, as the reader, we did have an easy way out. We could simple “ask Brad” for the directions in order to leave, but unfortunately that is not how life really works. I tried to be in the moment and do it on my own, but after a while I had to come back to reality so I gave up and let Brad basically take control of the situation.

Overall, I really enjoyed this piece and it helped me into thinking more about my own piece of Elit that I would like to put together. This gave me the idea or theme about life in general and how we really do not have control over what happens, but at the same time our decisions effect our actions and how things turn out.

So for my Elit piece I was thinking that because we do not get to choose the lives we are born into, but we get to choose the decisions we make in our lives, I would have this huge dice to start off my piece in which there are 6 different types of life you can get when clicking and rolling the dice, whatever you get is what you are stuck with throughout the piece. 6 choices because the dice is 6 sided of course. Throughout the piece sometimes you have to keep rolling the dice and others you must choose a path indicating that sometimes we do have choices and sometimes things happen by chance or by luck. There will be several ending points depending on the choices you have made throughout this piece or your “life.” One will be death, another will be higher education or maybe being homeless or even starting a family. Your choices will lead you down this path, but the key is to answer and do things honestly. Like the way you would in real life. I want to use images, text and maybe some sound, but nothing too overwhelming.

Blog#3- High Muck a Muck

high-muck
http://www.agentic.ca/work/high-muck-muck

One word comes to mind when thinking of “High Muck a Muck,” and that is confusion. This Elit piece was not easy to get through and I found myself stopping and coming back to it several times. I do believe that the authors did this purposely because its main genre is poetry and poetry is how you interpret the idea of the author or authors and what they are trying to express. In this piece the words from different poems would appear at a different pace. That pace would indicate how fast or slow the author intended the reader to get through each part. Some lines would appear and then disappear and others would appear and remain there until I decided it was time to move on. I also believe this showed the importance of the messages the authors were trying to portray.

This interactive Elit piece had me going all over the place which was a bit confusing, but that is what also made it entertaining. Nothing in this piece was predictable as to how it would appear on the screen. The authors used many types of ways to communicate to the reader with videos, images, sounds, text, etc.

My favorite part on “the body” also known as “the map” was Vancouver. I spent most of my time focusing on that part because there was so much and I knew picking a specific part was important in understanding the piece as a whole. While reading through the poems and listening to the noises that appeared from the small ear in the bottom left corner, I realized that I am only half understanding what is going on throughout this piece. But like I mentioned before, poetry is made to understand and interpret what you can. The reader may not always see what the author is trying to discuss. I noticed that every single person had their own story to tell and there were so many different types of people. The music playing in the background of each person would indicate the emotion surrounding each individual and help to explain the story being told.

Another interesting section was at the top, center of “the map” labeled “Everywhere and No where.” This piece had no text, just one video that was not too long, but felt as if it were never going to end. This video was of an old man which started from a distance and slowly went closer and closer up until it reached his eye. Once it got to his eye, the image changed to another eye and as the camera moved further from that image I noticed an infant. To me this was a symbol of life. The idea of someone from the end of their life moving onto the beginning of it. I am not sure why it went from old to young as opposed to young to old like the way we grow in life. It kind of gave me that idea Benjamin Button.

Another important thing discussed and what I believe was the main focus of this piece was the idea of racism. Each person, no matter what class they were in, felt a part of racism at some point in their life. Each person told their own story of what they have been through and as things appear and disappear, so do the emotions of the people who have gone through their own situations.

I feel like there was so much in this Elit piece and it was hard to capture the entire meaning of what was trying to be said. This was one of those pieces that did have an ending once you got through it, but it took forever to reach that ending. I went through it for about an hour and a half and didn’t even make a dent in it. I hope to learn more about this piece as we discuss it in class this Tuesday!