Revisiting Reconstructing Mayakovsky

Almost nine years old now and still going strong. Reconstructing Mayakovsky has been written about and taught on the university level as an example of experimental literature and narrative game.  Check it out if you haven’t yet–like all our stuff it is free!

Mechanism b which you can play with on the site

is a seriously playful investigation of the power of language. It is concrete poetry for the Twitter age–the novel in ten words–lovingly picked by me for their sound, meaning or remix potential then randomly chosen from that list of 500 or so words by the computer. In the parenthesis you see the number of times the word appears in the “novel.” Clicking on the word brings you into one of the chapters where it is found. The beauty and surprise of these poems comes from the peculiar combination of my own desires and the computer algorithm (a process which has taken over the entirety of writing Atomic Vacation)
SUCK PEACOCK and MUNIFICENT BITCH are the luck of the draw!

Atomic Vacation update

Reworking the script to accommodate the lure of haptics. We are still children in this world, we want to touch everything. To touch is to know–our bodily orientation and movements were the beginning of language. Lakoff and Johnson showed this beautifully in their amazing book Metaphors We Live By. I have been drawn to Japanese Noh for just this reason. I took a workshop on it and was excited to hear the performer call it literature through movement.  In my research on Noh (despite a valiant effort last summer, I can not speak Japanese so my reading is limited to a very small pool of writing about Noh in English) I found the perfect rhythm for Atomic Vacation which begins slowly with few objects and activities and builds stepwise to a chaos of activity that stops suddenly when the time is up. Last weekend, I reshot Tomi Heady playing Rae in her cell phone farewell to Shizuku. Originally, I had use postproduction filters to bring up the contrast almost erasing Tomi’s features so that her face resembled a mask. For this reshoot, I shot using bright light and shadow and the mask of her face is doubled by having the Noh mask in the background. I needed to add some  props that users will recognize in the Atomic Vacation environment to Rae’s farewell video. They needed to come from “real life.”  This is what plays in Shizuku’s “mind” when she cuts the feed to Earth. It is what prompts her search for and creation of a “living” memory of Rae. In my script it serves to ignite the same desire to know (to touch) Rae  in the user as well. You can see the video on our Facebook dev blog  Here are some stills. Astute manga loving players will catch the shout out to the kick-ass women at CLAMP.