IV. High Muck a Muck

Tomorrow, we are going to hear about “High Muck a Muck”. Like last week, this piece dealt with a topic that I knew little to nothing about: Chinese immigration to Canada. This is a piece that doesn’t require as much interaction as some of them have. You can click through the collection of text, images, music and videos on your own pace and spend as much time there as you want to.

In general, I liked the atmosphere of the piece. It was very multi-dimensional and wonderfully put together – it was just like visiting a multimedia-installation in a museum. However, I have to admit that I did not have the most enjoyable experience at first. I think you need the right mindset for this piece. Anyway, the loud sounds and the changing images were a bit too much for me last night. But maybe that was also due to the order in which I clicked on the links – the first video kind of overwhelmed me. It showed the picture of an old man, which kept coming closer and closer, followed by the picture of a baby. The video was accompanied by intense, traditional music. It was unexpectedly hard for me to just lean back and listen or watch, I had to physically restrain myself from skipping the video, taking my phone or exploring the rest of the page.

Nevertheless, I very much enjoyed the following pages. I especially liked the little snippets of poetry that were included in some parts. Also, once I got accustomed to the sounds, I really enjoyed the soft, traditional Chinese music that accompanied the page.

A lot of the pieces made me think of another seminar I had at home: there, we talked about “Bookishness”, a term used by Jessica Pressman, whom we also heard about in this seminar already. Here, you can find the link to the text if you’re interested. She describes here how we are more and more drawn to “textuality and the book-bound reading object”. And even though she refers to more traditional forms of literature, I have found this to be true for a lot of E-Lit-pieces, too. It is amazing how many of them incorporate images of physical books, have you flip pages or aesthetically resemble picture-books. This is also true for “High Muck a Muck”; a lot of the charm of this piece comes from its specific aesthetic. On the background of what seems to be yellowed paper, we see amazing paintings of nature, beautiful drawings and the poems we encounter seem to be in handwriting, too. Even though we just sit in front of our screens, we have the urge to touch the piece, to smell the paper, to turn pages. It is very interesting to think about the piece with the Pressman-text in mind and to question how and why we are so keen on physical paper in this age of digitalization.

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