Wow, I am absolutely amazed at these two pieces of electronic literature. First off, Still Standing was found through the Electronic Literature Volume 2 page on our website and a direct link can be found here. The information about Still Standing can be found here. From the description, Still Standing invites participants to use their bodies as reading instruments. My mind was blown when I read this. This is LITERALLY interactive fiction and puts all other works to shame IMO. Although we are unable to do it ourselves, the best that I could find were videos of others working through it. Text Rain is another version and seems to be more interesting to me. The website for Text Rain can be found here. There is a video of Text Rain inside that link.
Okay, so Still Standing is basically this. You move in front of the screen and you move the text that is on the screen. If you stand still long enough, the letters copy your image and create a piece of a poem. It’s absolutely brilliant. Words cannot describe how amazing this is. You just have to check it out for yourself. A description of Still Standing is “the viewer must remain perfectly still, her stillness causing the video-projected text to assemble as if attracted to a magnet.” Text Rain is similar in that you interact with the letters on the screen but in Text Rain, the letters fall and actually stop on you or whatever you hold up to it. I can’t really explain it either. A description of Text Rain is “Text Rain is an interactive installation in which participants use the familiar instrument of their bodies, to do what seems magical—to lift and play with falling letters that do not really exist. In the Text Raininstallation participants stand or move in front of a large projection screen. On the screen they see a mirrored video projection of themselves in black and white, combined with a color animation of falling letters. Like rain or snow, the letters appears to land on participants’ heads and arms. The letters respond to the participants’ motions and can be caught, lifted, and then let fall again. The falling text will ‘land’ on anything darker than a certain threshold, and ‘fall’ whenever that obstacle is removed.”
My goodness that sounds like so much fun!
In the links above, I have provided ways to watch what is being done. I wish that I could do it from my computer and maybe someday I will be able to. It just seems like such a cool idea and, in my opinion, sets the bar extremely high for any other form of electronic literature. This takes the interactive and the electronic and crushes the two together to synthesize into something that is absolutely mind-blowing.
Here are two pictures that may help with what I am talking about. Still Standing is first and Text Rain is second.
Still, pictures do not do a justice. You HAVE to watch the videos. I believe that this sort of interactive aspect mixed with electronic literature is extremely important to electronic literature as a whole because of how involved it makes the user. Instead of interacting with something on a computer screen by clicking, you are literally interacting by moving. What’s neat about this is that words, sentences, phrases, and even entire lines from poems are being reconstructed through the act of either ‘standing still’ or holding the text long enough in Text Rain. It isn’t just letters moving around on a screen, there is actually substance to it and a poetic element that can’t be found elsewhere. In this instance alone, this form of electronic literature is crucial to the development of further electronic literature in the future. I’m not sure how to put what I have witnessed into words other than you need to watch the videos! They are about two minutes a piece and you really should listen to what they have to say about each of the works. I hope you gained as much from it as I have!