Rebooting Electronic Literature, Volume 2: Documenting Pre-Web Born Digital Media

Reader Traversal of M. D. Coverley's "Califia," by Amber Strother

This Traversal of M. D. Coverley's Califia by Amber Strother took place on xxx in the Electronic Literature Lab. [Fix this :It was performed by Nicholas Schiller, Associate Director of the lab and faculty in the Creative Media & Digital Culture program at Washington State University Vancouver. The Traversal documentation includes three video clips of the performance itself along with introductory comments and the question and answer session with the audience that followed the performance. For the performance we used a Macintosh SE (circa 1987) running System Software 6.0.7 and a copy of the work from Grigar's collection. Schiller rehearsed during the weeks leading up to the event. Handling the technical setup on YouTube was Greg Philbrook, the Creative Media & Digital Culture program's technical and instructional assistant. All four of the four research assistants––Vanessa Rhodes, Mariah Gwin, Veronica Whitney, and Katie Bowen––oversaw the social media engagement and photographed the event.]

Traversal of M. D. Coverley's Califia, by Amber Strother, Part 1
Amber Strother begins her traversal through M.D. Coverley’s Califia. The work begins with an ocean scene with footprints. She clicks on the footprints and reads the poem on the screen, and is invited to join the character, Augusta, on her journey to find the treasure of Califia. Next, the four different journeys of north, south, east, and west are revealed and Strother picks the journey south. Strother looks through the kitbag and it tells what each of the three characters, Augusta, Kaye, and Calvin, roles are during the journey. In Calvin’s kitbag, Strother can decide what to use and what to leave behind. She also gets the choice of either getting a full tour or going directly to the story. Strother picks the story and between the three character’s paths, she chooses Kaye’s path.

Traversal of M. D. Coverley's Califia, by Amber Strother, Part 2
In the second part of the traversal, Strother continues on Kaye’s path in the journey south. As she reads through, she clicks on “movie stars” and an animated picture of a movie star appears. Strother notes the music being played in the background.

Traversal of M. D. Coverley's Califia, by Amber Strother, Part 3

In the last part of Strother’s traversal of Coverley’s Califia, she clicks on “timeline” which brings up a starry screen with a cosmic timeline. In 1492 C.E., the western land was invaded by tribes from the east. In 1822, the control of California passed from Spain to Mexico. In 1917, there was a Chinatown fire. It ends with 1997 when Augusta, Kaye, and Calvin take up the trail population of Los Angeles’ 32 million. The video ends with a map of the constellations.

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