Digital Performance


This week we engaged with Kate Pullinger’s Jelly Bone (on the OOLIPO app),
James Pullin’s, “Story Making Machines,”and Andrew Gallix’s article — “Oulipo: freeing literature by tightening its rules,”

The Information age could be defined by our personal smartphone or tablet devices. These nouveau devices confidently offer the public their main medium for reading (maybe not full novels per-say but articles and news undoubtedly). As suggested throughout this course, this change to digital from print-based sources has contributed to an array of new methods and styles to tell stories.  This week’s reading was ‘produced’ rather than ‘published’ by Oolipo — a German platform that is breaching the historic  boundaries of the cinema, literature and the new app world.

Kate Pullinger: a local British Columbian author of digital fictions is the genius behind the London mystery fiction Jelly Bone. Organized by a total of 10 ‘episodes’ on the main menu, the app has asked me kindly to “please use your headphones”, which initially made me wonder if this platform was just a hipster podcast platform. My theory was proven wrong when I noticed the episode annotations were not given in time but in file size — etiquette usually reserved for images or documents online.

This style of interactive fiction is very new to me but the platform reminded me of game-play narratives that I used to play in high school. The fact that the serial distractions from reading are conflated with the work’s text (I am mostly pointing to the fact that the Instagram posts included are real posts on the platform) allow for multi-platform or openly”multi-tasked” reading. Authorities on all levels have warned Millennial’s of this unfocused sin time and time again, but it continues to be a part of current culture. The awareness that Pullinger has for her audience and their style of smart-phone-mediated reading comes as an asset to her work, I found the piece fun to read and I was shameless when I closed it to do other things. Not only does the style reflect the modern young adult (or frankly most “proper” adults) but it also adds a layer of empathy for the main character that struggles with cellphone distraction (among other cellular issues…).

Pullinger’s introduction to Oolipo has engaged me in a way the”Young Adult” section used to feel like a vacuum. I will definitly be going back to the app to look for more stories. The rapid change in technology has allowed smartphone to house most of our intellectual property — that is they hook us up to “real” content like communication channels, news, and images. Oolipo is making fiction present, adding a glaze of believably that used to be found in written fiction, and made horror and suspense novels so enjoyable to read.

Episode Notes:


structure like social media platforms (scrolling)- Instagram, check in, internal monologue, likes, hashtags, chat massages, audio details (notifications, environment atmosphere

Walter Benjamin’s “act of naming”- my name is Flo, Florence, Florence Evans, Flossie, Floss, Nightingale, Nightie,


“exposure” unpaid experience, the framing of the line “People die of exposure”

*things* the stars, like in text massaging something out there (emdash) some *things* in fact

Family services bereavement counsellor (emdash) the same woman.. that we used to go see together the year after my mum died.

“back to her posh voice when she spoke to anyone else.” – used of font changes- scripted, like a scene from a play or theatre: objective, removed, external and out of control. “she always talked to my dad as if I wasn’t there.”

Latvian-Poles- “this can be useful.”

I know what I should do. I should be living within my means.

“I love her despite all this. Or maybe because of it (emdash) she’s honest. We disagree about most of the important things, but she says what she means to say. And she is kind to me.” does this imply she is not saying what she means to say? That she is not honest?

“She went along with it; she was impressed that I had a phone.”

“I have to work quite hard to make sure that I don’t reveal the truth about myself to Arjun. I dont want him to know how I feel.”

“Turns out nobody trusts a good-looking man…”

“then brought them back to our table as though it was perfectly normal.”

“It was like someone was trying to get through but kept getting cut off.”

Episode 2: Yadda Yadda Selfie Yadda Burger Sunset Shoes

Personal “truths” or subconscious? in hand written- personal, individual

“I tried not to tell him.”

“Sometimes the thing you feel in your gut sounds silly when you try to explain it. Thats why people don’t always trust their instincts. But you should always trust your instincts.”

‘140-character personal manifesto’

“Was there something i should do differently in order to get better at interpreting the messages?”

2 Replies to “Digital Performance”

  1. Great analysis on how this approach to eLit gives validation to the experience and way of life of millennials!

  2. I’ve never thought of that theory on why we have to use headphones for the story!
    I agree with your point about the Instagram posts! It definitely does makes us do the “multi-tasked” reading. I like your episode notes too! They really give me a better insight on the phrases you’ve pointed out from the first two chapters.

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