For this week, we were assigned two new electronic literature readings (Queer Skins / High Muck a Muck…). And as always these types of readings vary in form, shape, context, presentation, and even style. These two are not exception, with one being electronically based around hypertext and interactive literature sub-genres.
First, I started with the reading of Queer Skins (the interactive online-experience version), and I couldn’t help but to find it to be about a love story about a young gay man who dies of aids at the start of the epidemic. In addition, the work seems to be narrated by the parents of Sebastian (the gay physician). The work itself consists of layers of text, sounds, and images that come together to influence the experience of the reader, as he or she navigates trough it. I also felt there was a strong theme of death and love all over this work, which is strongly emphasized and showcased with the overall context of the story and work. I felt drawn into a world or realm surrounding this family, their home, and memories, as I listened to various short clips or soundtrack narrated by the parents and short personal readings about Sebastian.
Similarly, to the reading of Queer Skins, the electronic piece of High Muck a Muck uses various electronic interactive elements to affect the reading experience for the reader, as well as interpretation. But unlike the previous work, this one is in poetic form and style of literacy. The various poems themselves embedded in different image maps, are short yet powerful and effective in emphasizing a theme of Chinese culture and history. I noticed that they appear to be in Haiku form. What’s interesting about this is that Haikus are a Japanese form of poetry. But although they are known as being traditional of Japan, over the years this form of poetry has been used around the world, thus making sense of why they were used here (to help strengthen the Asian culture). In addition, I couldn’t ignore the soundtrack being played as I navigated myself through this work. It was very calm and soothing, and allowed me to experience the reading of poems as if I was being coated by Asian culture (in this case, Chinese).
Furthermore, my personal intake and experience in these two readings is one that left me both emotionally touched, as well as culturally mentality stimulated. The first reading appealed a lot to my emotions, and left me feeling a bit sad as I couldn’t help to remember a dear family member who I recently lost in the past 5 years. She was someone who also endured a lot of pain and battled for her life in her with a deadly disease. But thankfully, the next reading help soothe my mind almost into a meditating state, thanks to the music and various poems which I interpreted in my own ways. For the most part, I really enjoyed the readings since I felt emotionally stimulated, whether it was consciously or sub-consciously. And I have to say that it was the ability of interacting with the various electronic elements in the literature, that I was able to reach such synchronous state of mind, which reminds me again of how unique and powerful is this form of literature.