A Little Rice

For my final checkpoint I decided to look at Rice  by Geniwate. Rice is a form of electronic literature that explores the journeys a white woman has when she explores post-colonial Vietnam. The pictures on the main screen serve as a table of contents for an ongoing story of Vietnam. “The images themselves present a curious mix of Vietnamese and English found objects, ranging from business cards to banners to merchandise packaging to various forms of identification.” Once you click on an image it is given a chronological number that tells the reader how to view this electronic literature. When the reader clicks one of the images on the main screen it takes them to a poem, image, or music dealing with the issues of poverty, war, culture, and colonialism. The author is able to perceive many different messages through the use of the background music, color of the text, and the images. This hypertextual work was really cool to look at. Originally I followed the poems in order to grasp the message the author was trying to illustrate. After looking at all the links I then revisited the ones that were the most interesting to me.

Each image has a different interactional style. The first image was very simple to figure out. The author just gave one stanza to read at a time. To get to the next part of the poem you had to click on the cigar box on the right side of the screen. This technique made the reader take in the individual lines more because they were not given the poem all at once.

The second image/poem was one of my favorites. This poem did not have any sounds or way for the reader to interact with the work. At first I thought this would have been a boring one to read, but in fact it made you appreciate the diction the author choose.

“The fff fff fff (link to poem) are the thongs on the concrete”

The third image was interactive through sound and clicking. For the forth poem the author used colors to describe the changes going on in the poem. The text started out red then changed to light pink and ended in purple. This represented changes that were occurring.

The fifth and sixth images showed how Vietnam was trying to be more Western by using the English language and particularly English slang. The seventh and eighth images were interactive through clicking. The pictures were constant, but new words would appear on the screen.

To look at the rest of Rice go here!

Alenda Chang writes in her blog, Consuming Rice, that, “cumulatively, the experience of navigating and attempting to comprehend ‘rice’ parallels geniwate’s creative struggle to capture or accurately portray Vietnam, hindered by the consciousness of her status as stranger and tourist.” I agree with this statement. At first Rice was very overwhelming but after looking at in a second time I started to grasp that the author was doing this on purpose to portray how Vietnam was.

Geniwate began her career in literature and writing through puppetry and audio in 1997. In 2001 she was shortlisted for an Electronic Literature Organization Poetry award for one of her works, Nepabunna. If you have some time to kill check it out!





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