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Traversal of M. D. Coverley's "Califia"
Video clips of the Traversal of M. D. Coverley's "Califia"
Marjorie C. Luesbrink (M. D. Coverley) gave a Traversal of her hypertext novel, Califia, on Tuesday, March 14, 2016 in the Electronic Literature Lab at Washington State University Vancouver. She performed on the Compaq PC running Windows 98 using the version of the work published on CD-ROM by Eastgate Systems, Inc.
Traversal of M. D. Coverley's Califia, Part 1The video begins with M.D. Coverley’s introductory of Califia. She notes that the work was published in 2000 with Eastgate Systems, Inc. and shows the Beta 1 version of it created in 1997. Next, she shows the 2.2 version that she produced in 1998 and also notes that the commercial version of Califia was published in 2000. The cover has pink, yellow, navy blue, and gold colors, which she says are also the colors of California. Coverley opens up Califia on the computer, and the files for the work appear. Next, the title screen for Califia shows up, and it matches the cover. She notes that the work has a lot to navigate because it contains 3000 screens, 2400 images, 30 soundtracks, and 6 architectures of different sections. She starts with the first section and mentions that “there’s sound accompanying many of the screens [and] the sounds are just as important as the images, text, and architectures [and] to the meaning of the story.” Coverley explains the first image and says she took the picture herself at Newport Beach. She added the footsteps onto the images, and the footsteps will continue throughout the story. A single footstep will be a linear way to go straight through without any linking. The next screen establishes The Voice of Augusta. The graphic of the house was the house owned by Coverley’s family in Hollywood in 1906. In the story, Augusta continues with her description of the dig in the backyard, and Coverley notes that where Augusta digs is important because the elements of the mines across California are patterned in a different shapes like the ones Augusta’s father had dug. On the next screen, we find The Voice of Calvin established. A fellow searcher begins Augusta’s journey to find the treasure of Califia, and the footsteps have now subsumed into a platform. An ancient medieval navigation chart appears, the image of which is also featured on the cover of the Beta 2.2 version. Coverley clicks on “information about Califia”, and the screen shows a full disclaimer, audio credits, acknowledgements, and contact information. She notes that the music was given to her freely by several noted Californian artists.
Traversal of M. D. Coverley's Califia, Part 2Coverley continues her Traversal through her work Califia. She returns to the previous screen after reading through the acknowledgements. She clicks on “Follow me”, and she is taken to the next screen. On the left hand side, there is a location bar, and the right hand side shows a page bar. On the screen there is a message to the reader from the three narrators: Augustus, Kaye, and Calvin. Coverley clicks “Follow me” again, and the medieval navigation appears talking about the journeys. Coverley notes that the reader is allowed to go in any of the four journeys or they can click on “Follow me” to find out about navigating Califia. She chooses to go to the navigation to show the structure of Califia. The next screen shows the road-head and more information about the project. Coverley mentions that the medieval navigation runs counter-clockwise because the story moves both forward and backward in time. Solar Navigation is associated with Augusta, who does the chronological journey through each of the directions. Celestial Navigation is associated with Kaye, who likes widgets. Dead Reckoning is associated with Calvin. It also provides a kitbag and is always available on any screen on “Path Name and Location”.
Traversal of M. D. Coverley's Califia, Part 3As she progresses through the work, Coverley notes that there’s information on how to navigate Califia because at the time she wasn’t sure if people were going to know how to follow the links. Next, Coverley divides the journeys in terms of the narrators. Augusta is a straightforward, organized, and linear person. Calvin is a strategic and sees things in artistic pictures. Kaye is mystical and communes with spirits. Sounds plays as she goes to the next screen. Next, Coverley explains the image on the screen, that of her father Jack Coverley with his best friend and her aunt, and how they all fit into the narrative. Coverley notes that Augustus’ path is the chronological narration, and Kaye’s path will always look the same. She also notes that each of the path has a color associated with the characters: Augusta is blue and white, Kaye is black, red, yellow and gold, and Calvin is pink and turquoise.
Traversal of M. D. Coverley's Califia, Part 4This video clip shows Coverley continuing to discuss her choice of features in Califia. She notes that her intent was to build an architecture that would be predictable enough that the reader could find a way to navigate through it in many different modalities such as the kitbag, the toolbar, and the pocket compass. Coverley continues by discussing how each character has their own backstory. She reads Augusta’s story and notes that her story is important. Augusta goes to Paradise Home, and the plot starts to grow. Paradise Home is where Augusta’s mother is currently residing, and it's also the house across the street of Coverley’s grandmother’s house. Coverley stops to play the sound because each sound is different depending on the story. Augusta goes to Paradise Home to visit her mother and doesn’t have enough money to pay her bills because she can’t find her stack of gold coins. She also doesn’t have access to her bank account since her father died. Next, Augusta gets a call from a man who wants to lease the land that Augusta’s father had owned and put windmills on it. Calvin and Kaye both show up to warn Augusta and talk about the gold mines.
Traversal of M. D. Coverley's Califia, Part 5In this video clip, Coverley continues Augusta’s story and the convergence of the three characters. At the end of the journey, Coverley notes that the reader can review what didn’t happen and what would’ve happen if they took a different character’s path. The reader can also return to any part of the story. Next, Coverley follows Calvin’s path and notes that the text from the paths start to overlap and becoming transparent and more layered. She plays the song that Calvin has on the screen before going to his home page. Next, Coverley goes to Augusta’s path and meets the same man.
Traversal of M. D. Coverley's Califia, Part 6In this video clip, Augusta, Calvin, and Kaye set off on the journey north. Coverley follows Kayes path and listens to the music that’s being played. She notes that the pictures on the screen are the ones she took in the mountains above Santa Barbara. Next in this journey, Kaye gets information from the spirits in the Japanese gardens.
Traversal of M. D. Coverley's Califia, Part 7In this video clip, Coverley uses Calvin’s kitbag to go to the convergence again to see what happens on Augusta’s path. Coverley notes that she can also look at Kaye’s path and that regardless which path she takes, they’ll all interact with each other. The characters are now going to the west, and Coverley starts with Augusta. Music plays as she reads through the work. Next, the layered images and texts show that these have come together to tell the story. The characters go to "fish camp" and find the rest of the blue blanket that they had been looking for. The blanket’s fabric held in the sunlight shows designs and constellations of a map that shows where all of the gold in California is. Next, the characters meet the man from Wind Power.
Traversal of M. D. Coverley's Califia, Part 8This video clip features Coverley final comments about Califia. She tells us that Augusta is arguing with Cramer about wanting to get the rights to the land and minerals, and the Wind Power man promises that his company will help with the development. Next, Coverley goes to back to the convergence and starts the journey west. She arrives at the navigation and returns to the shore, which marks the end of the work. Coverley also notes that the reader can revisit any parts of the work once they’ve reached the end.
Interview with M. D. Coverley about "Califia"
These are video clips of the interview held at the Electronic Literature Lab with M. D. Coverley about her hypertext novel, "Califia"
This Interview of M. D. Coverley's Califia took place on Tuesday, March 14, 2016 in the Electronic Literature Lab. It was conducted by Dene Grigar, the lab's Director. Documentation includes seven video clips.
Interview with M. D. Coverley about Califia, Part 1
The interview with M.D. Coverley starts off with Coverley speaking about how she feels about Califia. She says that “it’s an event to see it” and she feels a sense of joy because of how delightful it was to create the work such as writing the text, taking the pictures, and going on excursions to the Indian caves. Coverley notes that the work also brings back the remembrance of how fun it was to be involved with hypertext in the ‘90s. Dr. Dene Grigar brings up how it’s like a utopian vision because of how new and fresh the media is even after twenty years. Coverley agrees and discusses that computer-based electronic arts keeps rapidly evolving compared to film, television, and radio. Next, Dr. Grigar asks where the inspiration for Califia came from and if Augusta’s voice is actually Coverley’s voice. Coverley answers by saying that she isn’t Augusta’s voice, but in some sense it is her voice. She also notes that she always thought of herself as a writer and she was always interested in multiple voice narration and layering.
Interview with M. D. Coverley about Califia, Part 2The Q&A interview with M.D. Coverley continues. Dr. Dene Grigar and Coverley discuss how hypertext worked better for the work than print would have. Coverley notes that she taught herself everything she could to do the work such as photoshop and sound editing. Next, Dr. Grigar asks what Coverley is doing now with the new affordances such as virtual reality. Coverley says that she sees all of the affordances as the same because they all have something in common than electronic literature does with print. The new technologies also still requires the same kind of vision and thinking to create art and a story.
Dr. Grigar asks how many hyperlinks Coverley remembers making. Coverley answers by saying that there’s about over 90,000 links. Next, Grigar asks Coverley if she would’ve used a different tool to create this work. Coverley answers by saying that she started using Storyspace before switching to ToolBook. Coverley adds that ToolBook was a useful system for database retrieval narrative authoring system, but by the time Califia was released, ToolBook was sold to another company and the company didn’t have a backward compatible version of ToolBook; therefore, Coverley wouldn’t be able to re-save her works.
Interview with M. D. Coverley about Califia, Part 4In this video clip, Coverley discusses her experiences with multimedia hypertext in the mid 1990s. She notes that when Califia first started, she could only use 256 colors. Next, Grigar asks how Coverley planned out the schema in Califia. Coverley answers by saying she has been thinking about doing it for a long time. She mentions that there are always making recursions and re-telling old stories, and her stories that related to California inspired her to make Califia such as gold, airplanes, and land-buying. Next, Grigar asks about the parting images of the moving footprints going out to the shore and how it relates to accepting the way things are. Coverley answers by saying that it represents making your own path and that it was very hopeful.
Interview with M. D. Coverley about Califia, Part 5The Q&A interview continues and Coverley notes that people loved Calvin the most out of the three characters. Next, Grigar asks about the moon and the Big Dipper, and how the Western culture sees craziness involved with the moon. Coverley answers by saying that she associates Kaye with the Sun, moon, stars, and that Kaye has the new age of California wisdom. Next, Grigar mentions the colors associated with each of the three characters, and Coverley adds that each of the journeys also had a different color: the journey west had gold, the night of the bear had a dark purple, the journey east had a light purple, and the journey south had a blue. Next, Grigar and Coverley discuss about the innovation with multimedia and having to re-think textuality and finding new ways to make things work.
In this video clip, Coverley notes that it is much harder to establish the authenticity of a voice in electronic media than it is in print because we already have a disbelief. She also notes that it was hard for her to distant herself from the characters as the authorial presence. Next, Coverley discusses how Deena Larsen influenced her writing and she hopes that her own writing influences others. Grigar asks about having an audience reading Califia and Coverley answers by saying that she was lucky to have sympathetic and supportive readers. She also mentions her smart and intuitive editor who made a lot of changes between the 2.2 and final version of Califia.
Interview with M. D. Coverley about Califia, Part 6
Interview with M. D. Coverley about Califia, Part 7In the final clip of the Q&A interview with Coverley, she states that without Dr. Grigar’s lab and Pathfinders, she wouldn’t have been able to access the digital copy of Califia. Grigar notes that authors of printed works get to cheat death and that it’s harder for authors of digital works to cheat death unless they find a way to archive and preserve their works. Next, Coverley says that when she started using ToolBook to write Califia, she thought more people would be using it. She also mentions that both preservation and archiving need to be pursued. Dr. Grigar asks her last question to Coverley about how Califia relates to paradise and the bittersweet sides of California and Coverley answers by saying that one thing that she loves about California is that one hardly can go to California without hearing that they just missed out on paradise.