December 27, 2012

Gap - A Navigable Poem

Gap - A Navigable Poem - A Screenshot
Gap is a navigable poem that explores American masculinity.

What defines a "man" in America? Clothes? Job description? Dominance, through physical force or weaponry? Culturally acceptable addictions (eg. beer, coffee, gambling, porn)? From where are we choosing to learn about masculinity? From our parents? From our churches? From TV? Who gets to tell us what makes an acceptable/ideal man?

Gap explores these issues via navigable text. Within the poem, the reader controls a letter "A," a supposed Alpha male, a boat that can navigate the waters filling the gap between what is and what is not a man. This water gap through which the reader navigates is represented by an intentional text river, white space that is typically re-aligned in text to aid in readability, that runs between two mountains of words that comprise the poem. By sailing through this text river, the reader's "A" completes words and phrases as the poem is read from bottom to the top.

When discovering what defines manhood, not everything is clear. The world of the poem is dark, unknown, and the reader's torch illuminates a limited view of the entire text. In fact, the reader will never be able to discover every word written. No one male knows everything it takes to be a "Man."

As gender gaps slowly close in America, it is hard for a man to know his place concretely. While socially men may be (at least at some point) equal to women, naturally and biologically we are markedly different, and that's okay. Women amaze me at their ability to celebrate their womanhood.

Men scare me.

To read this poem:
- download the entire .zip file from here:
- Open the file Gap.exe.
- Control the "A" boat with the arrow keys (up, left, right; there is no going back).

At this point, this poem is only for Windows. It was written in .python and therefore I'll technically be able to create linux and (ugh) Mac versions; I just haven't yet.



December 16, 2012

BUILD UP - A Playable Poem

BUILD UP is a playable poem about work, family, and the walls we build between them in just 8 hours per weekday.

BUILD UP is based on the classic game Breakout; or rather, it is an anti- version of the game, wherein you build up rather than break out, and is based on JavaScript by Nick Young (those web-nostalgic will love his link!).

Unfortunately, this poem only works in Chrome and Safari (looks smashing in Safari, actually). It will not work in Firefox or IE (sorry).

Click the alarm clock to begin, and use your mouse to play.

You may play it here: BUILD UP



December 10, 2012

And Sensibility Sense - A Novel of Cut-Up-Dialogue

And Sensibility Sense is a randomly generated novel based on Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.

Actually, it's pretty much the same novel, though each time the page is loaded, the dialogue within the novel is randomly selected from an array of all the dialogue in the original novel.

Let me give you an example:

From the original text of Sense and Sensibility (Chapter 9):
Sir John called on them as soon as the next interval of fair weather that morning allowed him to get out of doors; and Marianne's accident being related to him, he was eagerly asked whether he knew any gentleman of the name of Willoughby at Allenham. 
"Willoughby!" cried Sir John; "what, is HE in the country? That is good news however; I will ride over tomorrow, and ask him to dinner on Thursday."
"You know him then," said Mrs. Dashwood.
"Know him! to be sure I do. Why, he is down here every year."
"And what sort of a young man is he?"
"As good a kind of fellow as ever lived, I assure you. A very decent shot, and there is not a bolder rider in England."

Now here is the same excerpt from one run of And Sensibility Sense (Chapter 9):

Sir John called on them as soon as the next interval of fair weather that morning allowed him to get out of doors; and Marianne's accident being related to him, he was eagerly asked whether he knew any gentleman of the name of Willoughby at Allenham.
‘I sent you up the young man. Did not I do right?‚-And I suppose you had no great difficulty‚-You did not find him very unwilling to accept your proposal?’ cried Sir John; ‘I think, Edward,’
‘Colonel Brandon!’ said Mrs. Dashwood.
‘A very simple one‚-to be of use to Mr. Ferrars.’
‘you know that all this is an invention of your own, and that there is no such person in existence.’
‘I could meet him no other way. Eliza had confessed to me, though most reluctantly, the name of her lover; and when he returned to town, which was within a fortnight after myself, we met by appointment, he to defend, I to punish his conduct. We returned unwounded, and the meeting, therefore, never got abroad.’
An exploration of unintentional narrative, each reading will be quite unique, as the rearrangement possibilities are, while not endless, certainly more than I'm willing to calculate.

As Burroughs would have recommended the scissors, I recommend the javascript. Steal this work, and create your own.

Once again, here is the link: