game, game experience

Recently, one of my creations, game, game, game and again game has gone viral. Meaning the artwork has had over four million hits. Wow is right. And the work is highly experimental, with a retro game interface for somewhat abstract poetry (words).

I bring this up because the comments people write on blogs, forums or send to me directly can be lumped into a few categories. 1. What drugs am I on (the sad cliche that equates drug use with creativity). 2. they dont understand it, but they like it and it makes them think 3. they hate it and find it arty (to the point of the occasional threat) 4. they like parts of it…but not all….and want to experience more.

And these comments signal that one of digital poetry’s powers, its draws, its allure, is that it offers people who would normally never read poetry, a place, a foothold, a bridge to jump into the poem. There are, as Davin says, feelings they can access immediately via sounds, or movement, or interface, or play etc…. and once that bridge pulls them in…they can explore the more experimental bits….maybe not understanding, but at least feeling and thinking and experiencing…hmm….that sounds good…if you want you can read some of the comments via a google search:

4 thoughts on “game, game experience”

  1. I’m interested in how other people here would locate your piece. Is it the piece itself, the google search of comments on the piece, or our metacommentary on the piece? What is the poem?

  2. is it too easy of an answer to say it’s all poem? Kenny Goldsmith sure wouldn’t have any problem turning the comments into “poetry”! And in fact I have no problem calling everything poem – it doesn’t make “poem” meaningless, it’s just that we learn more about the frame “poem” or learn about our framing mechanisms by which we know…maybe there is something too wishy washy in what I’m saying…

  3. I apologize for my late comments on “game, game, game and again game.”

    “car save us,
    car destroy us”
    (“Automotive afterlife Cars for the End and Highrises)

    I have used as starting point some of the last lines of the game-poem as I considered them relevant for the intended message of the poem as a whole, and here I would like to point out the selection of the antonym verbs “save” and “destroy,” which can also be perceived as representative for themes such as“life” and “death” or, in a game environment, for “winning” or “losing.”

    The title itself “game, game, game and again game” reveals the poem’s interactive nature and translates the poet’s desire to engage the reader in “the game of desciphering” the mechanism according to which it operates. Furthermore, this game structure of the poem organized by levels of challenges together with the last words of the game “so we know these are not fears—but rather open things”indirectly recall Umberto Eco’s concept of “open work,” or of “work in movement,” a work, which because of its very nature as it is actually a game, requires action on the part of the participant whose task is to follow the instructions and discover the used pattern at each level in part. In “game, game, game and again game” perceptions such as how the game’s algorithm functions enable the partaker to foresee how the poem progresses.

    Structurally speaking, the second level of the poem is wonderful both in terms of imagery and musicality.The line “Oxygen is regional”placed at the bottom of the image sends back to the title and the message of hymn “three hundred and one: renting outer space oxygen” from Nelson’s previous “Hymns of the Drowning Swimmer.” As regards the navigation through the third level there is a feeling of imprisonment, of being caught in your own attempt to move on with the same easiness as previously, and this happens for two reasons. First, there is a precise connection between the actual difficult movement and the warning that is given as the text itself says, “walls hide the frameless, . . . they open windows to brick and still” and second, the overlapped images with the apartments leave no room to breath and even make life impossible. A similar theme gets reiterated at the eigth level, where once the second step is left behind, you are told that “you will never reach anything” simply because “beyond this, there is no evidence that the world is linear.” In contrast with the lack of a potential linearity there is the tenth level of the game-poem called “Some confusing type of hell.” This time, the screen is loaded with black, dense threads and the movement is done with slowness.

    There is an implied sense of velocity imposed from the very beginning in the sense that the titles of each level of the game ( “obessively charmed by the sun,” “the faithful,” etc.) remain on the screen just several seconds giving a feeling of spontaneity just like the message of the game-poem says: “move around and think.” In this respect, the game structure of the poem tends to priviledge the active movement over the pasive reflection over its meaning(s). At the end of the poem what matters is simply the event in which one is taking part.

  4. If we think of Shelley Jackson’s Skin project with the description of Skin mission, which, in some ways, resembles a book’s table of content as it encompasses detailed information on the recruiting procedures; the project status reflected by the number of participants; one section entitled “letters to words,” in which “words” refer to Jackson’s labeling system for Skin’s participants; a map that helps locate her “words’” city of residence; footnotes on the partakers’ reflections or thoughts, then the literary form of her “mortal work of art” is not conferred by the text of the written, yet absent, short story, instead by the collection of several digital photos and the very explanation of the nature of the project.

    If we look at Jason Nelson’s “game, game, game, and again game,” this is made of the independent game-poem having its own entity and the additional google comments on the piece. And yet, since participants receive instructions about the movements throughout the game as the performative nature of the poem is essential, their later comments reveal the ways they experienced the game-poem in its full form: structure, procedure, images, music, and, accordingly, their remarks might become part of the poem itself. As Johanna Drucker acknowledges in Figuring the Word, “the ‘text’ of such books [with textual, visual, and tactile components] cannot be conceived of as delimited by linguistic content, literary substance; . . . Instead, the full interrelation of these elements in the production of a single textual system, a single articulate discourse, must be taken into account” (210).

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