II. Hobo Lobo of Hamelin

The second piece I have decided to write about is the “Hobo Lobo of Hamelin”. A little disclaimer first: I was not able to listen to the music when I first encountered the piece. So, this is a feedback on the visuals, the story and it’s general workings – I will try to read it with the music before class if I can.

The general aesthetic of this piece is amazing. When you first open the site, it just looks like a pretty picture-book-like illustration, but when you interact with it, it turns out to be so much more than that. The author has cleverly constructed a multi-layered piece that makes use of the new possibilities of digital art while still playing on the conventions of classic literature. It is easy to navigate and because it works from left to right, it feels like reading a picture book. Also, the effect of cut-out paper seems to be a vital part of the visuals. What struck me was the colour scheme: the contrasts were so well set and changed according to the narrative. This was not just pretty, but changed the whole experience of the story and added a new way of perceiving the narratological structure. For example, when the green changes into red, the connotation of violence and blood is obvious. And on page 5, the two colours are combined to mark the point where the Lobo’s attitude towards the mayor changes and he decides to take revenge. The colours subconciously influence the way we read the story and the way in which we generate meaning.

The most interesting question to me was: why is it so witty and funny? I think the author achieves this through two things. First, it is a clever mix between old and new. The story is so well-known that it serves as common ground for the reader and the author so that puns and references work without having to establish them first within the story. ¬†Interestingly, it still works as a fairy tale – it’s still “once upon a time” and probably “in a land far away”, even though people have TVs, newspapers and IKEA furniture. However, like “Redridinghood”, it calls the clear black-and-white distinction between good and evil into question that traditional fairy tales rely on. This leads me to the second point: it has a very clear political message. The “progressive Fascist-Calvinist coalition” that is in power turns out to be a dictatorship that has a part of it’s population assassinated. However, this is not really surprising – after all, the mayor is literally a Dick Mayor. This piece is a wonderful and clever tale about the importance of democracy, especially in a time where right-wing populism is becoming increasingly popular.

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