Between Page and Screen

Personally (and which seems to be the case from reading other blog posts), this week’s reading was a challenge. However, not in the traditional sense provided by previous texts. I didn’t find the content to be difficult to comprehend. Instead, the act of reading itself was extremely difficult for me.

Whenever possible, I avoid reading through a screen. In all cases, I prefer reading a physicalized copy over a PDF or webpage or even Kindle. For me, reading through technology’s interface makes it incredibly hard to focus on the content. What would have taken me an hour to read “Not A Case of Words” ended up being several hours, simply due to the fact I was reading something through a screen.

Reading “Between Page and Screen” proved the same challenge. At first, I was intrigued. The augmented reality was interesting, and instantly drew my attention to all the interfaces that were in play in order for me to able to see the words. However, once the “gimmick” disappeared, I quickly lost interest and found myself unable to focus. Moreover, the AR was quite finicky (which “Not A Case of Words” touches on). When it failed, I was instantly taken out of the world it attempted to create and I was drawn to notice its thingness. However, upon writing this, I realize this may be the point to BPaS. It uses multiple interfaces to deliver an interesting story, but it also seems to poke at those interfaces. Perhaps the awkward holding position and “unfinished” AR are parts of that?


All in all, this week’s reading – while being difficult to get through –  inherently shed light on everything we’ve been discussing throughout the semester. Which makes me think the readings did their job.

Between Page and Screen

This week’s reading was a unique experience, primarily because it was different. I really found it fascinating the way in which the book Between Page and Screen requires a computer to be able to access the content in the book. Though I must say that having access to the content in the book can be a hassle for those who are not tech-friendly, it provides a new perspective towards reading. This combination of technology with literature made me feel like I was experiencing something familiar but different for the firs time.

The content of the book was interesting as the author uses poetic language between the main characters. I really liked how the author used P and S to identify the protagonist of the book, in addition to representing the Page and Screen aspect of the title.  It’s really cool how the author literally named the book “between Page and Screen” -referring to the content in the book being a dialogue between P and S.  This was so creative, on top of using both paper and a screen to share this book, the author emphasizes the title through both the language and the platforms it requires to access the content of the book.




Between Page and Screen

This was the first time that I encountered with the physical book in such a fascinating way. The concept was brilliant and it’s very creative. With that being said, I was actually annoyed by having to go to a website, activate my camera and figure out exactly how to hold the book in front of the camera and still be able to read the screen. But once I figured out how it works, my mind was blown away by how cool this technology was. And I tried, I really tried to focus on the content of the context, but I failed… I’m not going to lie about this. I can’t help myself to think about how did they do it and end up googling it.

One page I found very interesting was the one where the words will change (sheer, shear, share, shares, she, hears, ear)  depends on the angle I’m holding the book. After reading it (took me a while to do that even it’s very short), I started to wonder why did the author choose to present a book in this way. Perhaps the author was trying to tell us how easily we get distracted when we read online books? Or the author was trying to say that physical book and the technology can co-exist, and there is no need to worry about the future of reading? Although I didn’t really enjoy the overall reading experience, the forced interaction between text, technology, and the reader was very joyful.

Reading Between Page and Screen

Reading (or viewing) “Between Page and Screen” was extremely interesting. I have to admit that I did look through the book at the beginning to the semester, before even knowing we had to use a website, and was trying to make sense of the strange symbols on the pages. The process of reading it was uncomfortable, having to shift the book around so that the camera could pick up on the symbol, and also not knowing what to expect. The words literally were between the physical page and the screen when looking at the camera feedback, which I found to be pretty cool. Overall, this is a great conversation starter for how technology and paper books can interact, but I still wonder why? Why format it this way? What was the purpose? Maybe to get us thinking that we need both the physical book and this internet/web-based access to get this information in front of us. Perhaps hinting at books and technology in general?

I also liked the pages where the words would continuously change and create new meaning: she, shears, hear, ears. It was almost as if the message was not reading correctly on the camera and resulted in glitching. The technology interpreting it in a different, but not necessarily the wrong way. Because if it was wrong, there would be an error.

I’m excited to see where the discussion takes us tomorrow!

Not a case of words?

Thus far, I have tried not to let my personal feelings about the reading affect my ability to construct a critical response, but with this week’s reading it seems unavoidable. Like Noelle, I found the Young-Hae Chang “readings” extremely grating and difficult to follow. And the actual content of Between Page and Screen was somewhat disappointing. I thought the entire idea—the multimaterial configuration as outlined by Ortega—was brilliant, but the content itself, while quirky and certainly tongue-in-cheek, did not provide me with much to take away.

For Ortega, it seems that the lack of substantive content is to underscore “the material configuration of the project…emphasi[zing] its process of mediation, and the eccentric enactment of the reading experience.” I totally get that, and that’s fine, but I just wish that the experiential aspect of the readings were doing some deeper work than just highlighting their own materiality. If page and screen both “share text’s fleshy network,” I suppose I was expecting more flesh, more text… more fleshy text. In House of Leaves, for example, the calls toward the text’s own materiality are working in conjunction with the story itself, so one’s experience with the interface does not overshadow one’s ability to make meaning of the story, and vice versa.

I wonder if my reactions mean I am fulfilling the type of reader that these texts seek to challenge. That may be true, but if so, what is the project here? I understand that every “textual environment produces its own meaning-making logic,” but I wonder if Between Page and Screen tries to resist meaning-making in a similar way to Pynchon or some of the other authors we’ve engaged with. This is sort of the only conclusion I can come to as to why the text itself is so sparse. Perhaps it truly is “Not a Case of Words” as Ortega utilizes as a foundation for her argument. But is it an effective act of resistance to make a reader do a bunch of “work” for no real payoff? And if so, what does this prove, other than working as an attempt to dispel the authority/fetishization of the written book object?

Pages and Screens and All In-betweens

I found the readings for this week incredibly disorienting. I’d never encountered anything like Young-Hae Chang’s work before; and Between Page and Screen turned out to be more difficult to access than I imagined–in a very material sense. My webcam is in an odd place on my laptop, for one thing (the bottom left corner, near the hinge between screen and keyboard), which made positioning the book awkward… and I ended up having to hold it upside down because otherwise the words were backwards and partially off-screen, like I was seeing them in a mirror (did everyone have this experience?). Because I didn’t know what to expect, I actually wondered at first if that was what I was supposed to be seeing, if it was more about being confronted with words as things than my ability to read the words. Then I read Ortega’s piece and realized that I was, in fact, supposed to be able to read the book. “Reading” thus became a constant negotiation of space, materiality, and interface. And who is reading the book, anyway? As Ortega notes, the codes in the book can be “observed” but not “read”–but they are seen by the webcam and then read by the program. In which case I am reading a reading of the book. Does this make what I read a translation? Or did I read at all?

My experience with Young-Hae Chang’s work was very different. I actually had to quit watching them eventually because they were making me so anxious and threatening to induce a migraine! The flickering screen, the fast-paced presentation, the substitution of 0 for o, the harsh contrast of the flashing black on white: all these things and others demanded attention. If you’re distracted for even a moment, you’ve lost the thread of the story and have to back-track, even though the story (or stream of consciousness) isn’t, I suspect, the point. Interestingly, I found that the more videos (?) I watched, the easier it was for me to catch every word that flashed momentarily across the screen, along with those that stayed fixed longer, as if I was being conditioned or trained to interact “successfully” with the medium. It was as if my brain figured out that if the text on the screen was in a certain shape, I didn’t have to move my eyes to read, but if it was in another shape, I’d have to read right-to-left, top-to-bottom in a more traditional manner. So, sometimes I would find that I knew what word had just been briefly exposed on the screen without having made any conscious effort to “read” it. So did I actually read anything? I’m not sure.

Which leads me to wonder: how much reading did I actually do (for this class) this week? I read the Ortega piece, but to what extent should I/we be understanding my/our interactions with the other two texts as reading?

Between Page and Screen, Interface

I remember Kathleen saying to try to pay attention to the actual words of Between Page and Screen….and I tried. But I could honestly not tell you much about the actual content besides that fact that I think it was a love story? and I think the characters of P and S were supposed to represent page and screen, but I have no textual evidence to back it up because the words are lost in the interface. Before I actually began reading I found myself just messing around with the cool effect–and it is cool. The actual reading of the book was difficult and I had trouble with keeping the words on the screen long enough to read and think about the text. It seems like an impossible text to close read without setting up some sort of way to hold the QR codes up to the camera, which is more work than a reader (me) would want to do. As an experience, Between Page and Screen was fascinating, and it was fascinating to truly interact with an interface. I think this book showed me how simple the interface of the book is, how it leads to us getting lost in the book, in the words, and forgetting about the material of the book while reading BPaS I was constantly thinking aobut the materiality, and the interface I was interacting with.


There are two quotes that have really stuck with me after reading the Elika Ortega piece. First and foremost it’s Ortega’s comment on Carrion’s reflection on a book’s existence”For him, a book needed to be created and read as a spatio-temporal entity in which language was complementary to the object, a part of a structure, in the process of creating meaning and, crucially, specific reading conditions.” This made me think a lot about Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of books in Thousand Plateaus where they say “A book has neither object nor subject; it is made of variously formed matters, and very different dates and speeds. To attribute the book to a subject is to overlook this working of matters, and the exteriority of their
relations” (3)

In his moment I finally had a way of understanding Deleuze and Guattari’s concept in a way that was only possible with Carrion’s concepts—which oddly enough makes me realize that the materiality of a book becomes easier to comprehend through layered meaning making, where books are understood only through other books even though they’ve never been in conversation with one another—materiality is inherently a spatio-temporal phenomenon, discursively and culturally produced, understood most clearly in the relations we build with those texts. Language just so happens to be one of the ways we understand the concepts of a text, there is a possibility then that texts could be understood in different ways… Which brings me to the second quote from Ortega:

“Multimateriality should be understood as the bringing together of different media and/or interfaces that guide specific reading conditions, and which cannot be broken down into its individual components without crippling the textual configuration of the work.”

If a book is formed by various matters—it is multimaterial—and it should be understood as a spatio-temporal object—then there might be ways in which we understand books as a set of relations and that new analyses which try and understand those relations becomes a new form of literary criticism? What does it mean to unpack and understand the materiality of the spatio-temporal traces of a book? I have no idea….But I think there’s something there, I’m just not sure what.

Between Page and Screen

Wow. So I am not one to usually be interested in this sort of thing, but I admit that this book was very cool to look at. I had never seen a book like this before, but it is a very interesting idea. I am not sure if I would like it as an actual book to read, but it was fun to mess around with. I do not think that I would like to read a book like this because it was SO much extra work. I had to flip the book all around to figure out how to get the words the right direction (upside down), and I had to really focus on holding the book still and at a good angle so that the words didn’t disappear. I have to say, I am not too sure what was going on in the text because I was so distracted by all of the other elements.

I also looked at the Young-Hae Chang works, this was less interesting to me. It is still cool, but it did not feel like a book. To me, it felt like a video I would be able to see on facebook or something. We have videos like this all over the internet. I think that is why I was less impressed with his work. And again, there was a lot happening that made reading hard to focus on the actual information. In both of these texts, I feel that the content is less emphasized because technology is a bigger focus. Whereas in a regular book, the readers can focus easily on the content.