Reading Project

By Jessica Pressman, Mark C Marino and Jeremy Douglass



Reading Project

Annotation -- Source Code levels

// start the "level" at 0

This comment in the code identifies the start of the levels.  Each "level" represents another display mode for Project.  The piece randomly cycles through these, which contain the effects you can easily observe, such as the white crosses or floating spheres.  In our book, we refer to these as the distractions, though they prove to be careful orchestrations of the reader's attention. 


From Reading Project
Project’s “distractions” are actually a multisensory arrangement of individual elements and display modes—clusters of settings which may change the work. In the code, there are seven “Levels” of distractions,
and they are constituted by a combination of a few basic elements: a background color, a color for the main text, a color for the subliminal text, a sound, and an animation (usually authored using the Flash GUI rather than the ActionScript code). Poundstone’s term “level” does not refer to a depth metaphor (since these elements are not actually stacked vertically atop each other), nor does it refer to increasing intensity (since higher number levels do not add more distracting elements than lower numbered ones). Instead, these “levels” operate as parallel planes of experiencing the work, theme, and variation of the presentation mode of the system. They are modes of engaging this multimodal work. I call these clusters of effects “distractions” because they primarily serve to disrupt the reader’s ability to focus attention on the continuous stream of text flashing at the center of the screen.
(Reading Project, 32-33)

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