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Teaching and Learning Multimodal Communications

Alyssa Arbuckle, Alison Hedley, Shaun Macpherson, Alyssa McLeod, Jana Millar Usiskin, Daniel Powell, Jentery Sayers, Emily Smith, Michael Stevens, Authors

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Plaintext Performance: Formal and Forensic Materialities

Although the two media types in "Plaintext Performance" are both forms of text, JavaScript and HTML have very different functions in this piece. Formally, the JavaScript creates the scrolling movement that animates the text with an agency that renders audience involvement unnecessary, although still possible. The HTML text, on the other hand, imitates a number of generic forms familiar to most internet users. In addition to plain black and white text, the HTML text also forms text art, a popular trend from the early days of computing:

File lists, which should look familiar to most Windows users:

ISBN numbers:

And so forth.

The forensic materialities of these two media are more straightforward. Both require a computer screen, a browser (with JavaScript enabled), and a mouse or trackpad to facilitate user involvement with the piece. The Electronic Literature Collection is hosted at the University of Maryland.

Author: Alyssa McLeod
Word Count: 145
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