“Ah”

Similiar to the form of Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industry’s Dakota, “Ah” by K Michel and Dirk Vis is a work of animated digital literature about singing in the shower. The work tells a story about a person singing and thinking while in the shower, pondering thoughts of Einstein.  Throughout the piece, words are constantly shifting, overlapping, and forming waves on screen. The words move at different speeds, and the order of them is often difficult to determine.

The piece seems to place some emphasis on the phrase “time passes but doesn’t exist.” These e-lit creators seem to have emphasized this idea through the use of variant movement and order. It is often difficult to determine which words, or even letters, are coming first, last, or if they are simultaneous. Often, it is impossible to read what is scrolling across the screen because of the overlaps. The reader takes in a few words here or there, which makes it hard to determine the plot and follow along. The lack of determination of what is happening now and what has happened before attempts to show a disregard for time, as well as a perceived lack of existence. There are a few instances of emphasis of lines of multiple words that stand out without overlap (“There’s lots you don’t know” for example), before being consumed into the rest of the work.

The waves of words like “ah” and “oh” follow an interesting pattern of breathing, as well as being representative of the singing. Despite the fact that this piece is about singing and breathing, the black words and letters on the white screen all move without any kind of sound (a big difference in comparison to pieces such as Dak0ta).

“Ah” is an interesting piece of digital literature to look at. It has no real user interaction (the words flow along without any help by clicks or mouse movements) other than the fact that the reader must play a sort of game to see what words can be caught and what order they can be placed in to create understanding. It’s a very intriguing piece and makes the reader think.

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