Chemical Landscapes Digital Tales

Edward Falco, with photograms by Mary Pinto and design by Will Stauffer-Norris

Chemical Landscapes Digital Tales

A created photographic landscape, when clicked upon, yields texts: sparser lines at the level of the sky above, a denser paragraph below. Fading before they can be read, these texts can be summoned back by clicking again in the same spot, or the reader can go on to another text, reading pieces of each at a time. The texts, like the images, are abstract, mentioning an event or scene and inviting readers to imagine the characters and relationships involved.

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Author description: Chemical Landscapes is a series of photograms by Mary Pinto. The photos suggest landscapes but are created entirely in the dark room, using only chemicals and a flashlight. For this project, I've written a series of "digital tales" suggested by the particular chemical landscape. I hope the relationship of language and narrative to the "tale" parallels the relationship of light and chemicals to the "landscape." The piece begins with a title page that serves as a navigation page. By clicking at various places on the page you're taken to one of the eight chemical landscapes. Once you arrive at a landscape, the digital tale fades in and then out, and you may click on the screen at any point to jump back to the navigation page. I have tried to time the fading in and out of the text so that it is almost impossible to read it all before it fades away. My hope is that the reader will recognize the necessity of jumping around in the text, picking up pieces of the tale to read and ignoring other pieces, thereby creating a different experience with each reading. If you think of reading a traditional story as a journey with a beginning, a middle, and an end, then reading a hypertext is like walking through a field: readers begin at any one of several different starting points, wander around as long as they like, and then exit wherever and whenever they choose.

Instructions: Click anywhere on the landscape to read a text.

Previous publication: "Chemical Landscapes Digital Tales" appears for the first time here in the Electronic Literature Collection, volume 1.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.

This Flash work has been preserved with Ruffle by the Electronic Literature Lab in February 2021. When it launches, a play button may appear that you will need to click; after launching it, the work may take time to appear.