a short story or the story of life?

Works of literature often have a message they aim to convey about life. Whether it be where you should, could, or would go in life or how to go about doing so, they give insight into what the author thinks life is for. These message can be interpreted in innumarable ways and are rarely interpreted the exact same way by two people. In the work Cruising, by Ingrid Ankerson and Megan Sapnar, the choice of how to go about life is given to the reader/user.

The work is created from a photo of a teenage girl applying lipstick, meant to symbolize the whole world of being a teenager and of growing up and maturing through early life. The actual literary work lies in the text that scrolls through the middle of the screen. The text itself tells a story of a few young teenagers who passed the time during the summer riding up and down the street in their small town looking for ‘love’. There is a narrator who reads the text aloud at a reasonable pace that doesn’t necessarily match up with the speed or direction at which the text scrolls. The user controls the text by moving the mouse around the screen — moving it t the right makes the text scroll to the left so one can read it from left to right and the further right the mouse is, the faster the text scrolls and the same is true but reversed if the mouse is moved to the left. The text can be zoomed in by moving the mouse upward in the window.

How the text is navigated (video) (if it will work)

The text of course, as it tells a story, represents a passing of time. To me, this passing of time, of which the user controls and manipulates symbolizes one’s choice of how to move through their own maturation. Either you can rush through it and hurry to the end, or you can move slowly and enjoy every word and moment. Some may even chose to move backwards, starting from the finish and working their way back to the beginning. The choices about how to experience the work presented to the user represent the choices one faces in how to experience their own life, and this I find incredible. Not necessarily the message itself, though it is important, but the way in which the author conveys it. It seems as though this is just a short story about the growing up of some random girls but once one connects their maturing to their own the true representation of the work is significant.

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