Dawn by Reiner Strasser and Alan Sondheim

Dawn by Reiner Strasser and Alan Sondheim is a visual poem with text set against a nature-themed photograph and nature sounds playing in the background. This piece of electronic literature is made up of three major aspects: audio, pictures and text.

The piece begins with the poem’s title and author. Once the opening text fades out the first line of the poem fades in. This text effect is used for each line of the poem. The background images of this piece rotate between about five different nature and landscape photographs. The rotation of images happens randomly and does not seem to correspond with the break in the poems lines or stanzas. The audio of the piece is nature sounds that play continuously as background noise and do not change. All three of these elements are all in a loop and will continue playing until you close out of the program.

The poem as a piece of electronic literature was interesting compared to a plain text document, however I’m not sure if the extra features actually added anything to the quality of the piece. I enjoyed Dawn more as a poem than as a piece of electronic literature. I understand the correlation between the content of the poem and the nature theme of the audio and photographs however I don’t think this correlation justifies why these extra features are necessary. I found the audio to be distracting and the text difficult to read. The poem’s text is written in a font that is more aesthetic than actually legible. The text effect was also a hindrance because of how painfully slow each line appeared. I think this could be remedied if the piece were more interactive.

Currently after you click once to make the program begin the piece is not interactive in any way. Although there was a pause button, this feature only stopped the pictures and text from rotating the background. Even when the program was paused the audio still continued to play. There was no way to manipulate the appearance of the photographs, audio or text. If there was an option to pause the audio or increase the speed of the text effects I feel as though the entire experience could be more enjoyable.

  1 comment for “Dawn by Reiner Strasser and Alan Sondheim

  1. January 30, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    I enjoyed Dawn more as a poem than as a piece of electronic literature.

    So, what’s the difference? I mean, plenty of the examples we’re going to be looking at are generically poetry. The question of how (and even whether) electronic Literature works the same way as Literature is a relevant question, especially if we consider genrification to be a property of literary reception.

    So what do you think — in Dawn, do the uniquely electronic aspects make it less poetic?

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