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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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Particularities of Electronic Literature - Introduction

For the Granulation exercise in English 507, I have chosen to focus on Nick Montfort's work Book and Volume. Set in the "planned city of nTopia," it is a "highly regimented" urban space. In the city, the operator/reader acts as "system administrator obliged to perform a series of rote and menial tasks." As an traditional work of "interactive fiction," Book and Volume is almost entirely text based. The upper left corner of the interactive screen provides a basic, eight-direction map informing the reader where you can move from the current location. The header also gives your location in words, usually in intersections, by placing you at an intersection (Eel & Seventh, Eel & Fourth, and so on).

Author: Daniel Powell
Word Count: 114
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Discussion of "Particularities of Electronic Literature - Introduction"

Experimenting with Format: E-lit Materiality

For the granulation exercise, I decided to begin experimenting a bit with Scalar's path function. Rather than having all content responding to a prompt appear on one Scalar page, I divided my response into sections, each of which was integrated in the "Granulation" pathway. Practically, this is one of two ways to divide related but separate chunks of content; the other is to have an initial page appear in the appropriate path and hyperlink to subsequent pages from the first through internal navigation.

As for the exercise itself, I found it useful both for the way it prompted me to investigate e-lit a bit more closely than I had previously and for leading me to more closely consider the the physical manifestation of digital literary artifacts. As an individual working in the early modern period, textuality and bibliographical techniques of analysis are normally and gainfully employed; those same concerns, however, are often occluded when digital works are considered. The difficulties I had when attempting to parse the media types and the formal and forensic materialities of the e-lit object, Book and Volume, reflect this lack of concern.

This lack of explicit concern with the materiality of digital objects is fascinating in comparison with the fashions in which codicological studies have progressed. An awareness of material textuality—types of paper, locating print shops, dating texts by their textual makeup, etc.—is integral to literary scholarship, especially in periods before the later nineteenth century. That those same concerns are difficult to address for electronic literature on account of the impenetrability of many digital objects is both fascinating and troubling.

Arthur: Daniel Powell
Word Count: 262

Posted on 9 July 2013, 11:23 am by Daniel Powell  |  Permalink

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