Serge Bouchardon and Vincent Volckaert’s Loss of Grasp was an interesting experience for a couple of reasons. When I first explored it, I was unaware of who created it, but half way through the text I realized its mechanics, its structure, and its subject of intimacy were all very familiar. I looked up who created it, and sure enough, Serge Bouchardon was also a creator of Touch.
There are a lot of similarities between the two texts and that made me wonder about a couple of things: 1) Do electronic artists develop a recognizable style like artists and writers of traditional methods do? and 2) How do we address an electronic artist’s body of work as a whole? The first question, I think we’ve already discovered to be true, as we saw with messof’s unique style and, looking at Andy Campbell‘s work, we see recurring dark overtones. Realizing I recognized Bouchardon’s style though, really solidified the fact that electronic artists are very much so of the same caliber as other artists. And I guess it mostly just made me realize my subconscious belief that I didn’t think they were. Not that I didn’t think what we’ve been encountering aren’t incredible pieces of work, by talented people, but rather that, while they were great pieces, a collection of them would not be as coherent and connected as a series or collection of paintings or essays or poems. Seeing as they do, though, leads me to think the world of electronic literature as this incredibly massive realm to be explored.
Okay, back to Loss of Grasp. If you haven’t played Touch, I encourage you to, as the similarities are abundant, and for that reason I’m going to focus more on what’s different about Loss of Grasp.
The biggest difference is the presence of a narrative voice as well as a plot. The story follows a man as he journeys from a state of optimism to one void of happiness and his fight to reclaim his life. I felt that the piece grew stronger as it progressed. Notice, it’s sectioned into six parts, just like Touch. The third and fourth sections deal with the narrator’s relationships with his wife and son. We see their interactions through his eyes which are attuned to reading the subtext of what his family is saying.
The fifth section uses your webcam to display you being manipulated by the movement of your mouse. This section served to invest the reader into the work more, and if I were a male, I think it would have been more influential in my thinking “Oh, is this my story?” I still reached that question, but I felt distanced from it, and I think because we hear the narrator’s voice earlier, and it is distinctly a man’s voice, also possibly foreign.