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"Kokura (with Matthew Derby)" by Mary Kim Arnold
A Japanese city that was the primary target of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. On that morning, Kokura was shrouded in bad weather, and the mission's commander decided to drop the bomb on the secondary target. -Kokura by Mary-Kim Arnold
About the Work
In 1999, Mary-Kim Arnold wrote Kokura with Matthew Derby (whom she later married.) A Hypertext piece hosted by Eastgate Systems, Inc., the work was very experimental at the time. The first page presents the title and authors of the work and its sponsor, Eastgate Systems. When the user clicks on the word Kokura, a paragraph appears saying “Kokura: A Japanese city that was the primary target of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. On that morning, Kokura was shrouded in bad weather, and the mission's commander decided to drop the bomb on the secondary target.” The paragraph lingers long enough to read before the page refreshes and takes the user to a new interface. From here, links comprised of binary code go to different passages within the work, while text detailing test missile locations constantly change at the top of the screen. Each passage contains a small fragment of text about the bombing on Hiroshima. Every time a new passage is viewed, the user is presented with three links to go to: the first details the life of a female metalworker, one provides facts and statistics regarding the bomb, and one is a compilation of journal entries.
About the Author
Mary-Kim Arnold is a poet and hypertext writer who graduated with an MFA in Fiction from Brown University. While there, she attended a fiction writing workshop led by Robert Coover and learned Storyspace. She had the opportunity to study with other well-known elit authors including Bob Arellano, Michael Joyce, Kathryn Cramer, Carolyn Guyerr, and Shelly Jackson. Having written mostly poetry and fragmentary prose, Mary-Kim Arnold found the workshop intriguing. She stated that “...Storyspace boxes felt very exciting to me -- a kind of freedom that my text didn’t have to fill a page, didn’t have to propel a traditional narrative. That I could make links between things that were purely associative or sonic.” (Rebooting Electronic Literature vol. 1).
Mary-Kim Arnold has published writing in The Georgia Review, Hyperallergic, and The Rumpus, and is the co-editor of Mixed Korean: Our Stories. She teaches in Brown University’s Nonfiction Writing Program and gives writing workshops. She also co-chairs the Board of Directors for Dirt Palace, and has one the 2016 Essay Press Prize for one of her more popular works Litany for the Long Moment.
This is the starting screen of "Kokura". The text below the title reads "A Hypertext by Mary-Kim Arnold and Matthew Derby. Sponsored by Eastgate Systems, Inc. Publishers of fine hypertext since 1982." Clicking on the title takes the user to the work.
This paragraph appears long enough for users to read before redirecting them to the work. It reads "Kokura: A Japanese city that was the primary target of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. On that morning, Kokura was shrouded in bad weather, and the mission's commander decided to drop the bomb on the secondary target."
This is the interface of the starting menu, presenting the user with six links to choose from (some of which are written in binary.) At the top of the screen, text detailing bomb testing sites constantly shift.
Each passage within the work contains a small paragraph and three links below it to choose from. The first link details the life of a female metal worker, the second gives facts and statistics about the bombing, and the third is a compilation of journal entries.
Links to the work
"Kokura" has been recorded in Rhizome's webrecorder. Additionally, it has been crawled by the Wayback Machine. A link to Mary-Kim Arnold's plate in The Progressive Dinner Party is also provided below.
View "Kokura" in the Webrecorder
View the web archive link
Arnold, Mary-Kim and Derby, Matthew. Kokura. 1999, https://web.archive.org/web/20010707110344/http://www.eastgate.com/Kokura/. Accessed 5 July 2019.
Grigar, Dene. “Email Interview with Mary-Kim Arnold.” Rebooting Electronic Literature, vol. 1, 2017 http://scalar.usc.edu/works/rebooting-electronic-literature/email-interview-with-mary-kim-arnold. Accessed 6 July 2019.
“Mary-Kim Arnold.” Eastgate Systems, Inc. https://www.eastgate.com/people/Arnold.html. Accessed 6 July 2019.
“Mary-Kim Arnold.” ELMCIP. https://elmcip.net/node/7248. Accessed 6 July 2019.