Connected Memories by Maria Mencia is chilling. She created this interactive electronic poem to highlight what it might be like for refugees living in the UK, specifically London. She took bits and pieces from interviews and placed excerpts in a blank screen that would start out with three words.
Getting started was tough, you have to download the app she created. I ran into the problem that my computer wouldn’t open the application because it was created by an unknown developer. I thought it was a bad application download so I started searching for another piece of electronic literature to use but I found that it would open anyway through the System Preferences. Easy fix! Anyway, once you open up the application, a few words pop up on the white screen.
Once you click on the word sentences or little paragraphs would come up with the word embedded in them. One paragraph said, “After 2 or 3 days I was allowed to stay in Britain with my wife and children and they gave me permission to stay and told me I had the right to apply for travel documents o I could travel again with travel documents but unfortunately they don’t work in the Arab countries.” the bold word is what I clicked on to reveal the paragraph. Additional words would pop up that I could click on, filling up the screen. After about 30 seconds the paragraphs would start to move creating these awesome animations. After the animations start the text would disappear.
After clicking a few words, the screen became cluttered and hard to read, especially when the animations started. It made me think about what it would be like to be a refugee coming into a foreign country. I became so overwhelmed with the cluttered screen that I wanted to start the poem over. Imagine that feeling, but as a refugee coming into an English speaking country when English is not their first language. Imagine how cluttered their mind must be trying to fully understand what was going on.
Overall I really enjoyed this poem. I like getting the different perspectives of refugees’ experiences coming into London and what they had to do in order to stay in the country.