Directional Pilgrim

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This poetic experience uses Twine and operates like a hypertext choose-your-own-adventure. The player must navigate a map to unlock clues about the nature of the landscape - a process called "medicating." Throughout this hellish roadtrip, the player's navigation depends on choices in cardinal directions, character interactions and even dictionary definitions. This work was created as one half of my graduate thesis. Collectively, the work on the page and the hypertext poem is known as Educational Materials for Mostly Mitigated Maidens. I completed this graduate program in 2019, obtaining a Masters in poetry. Since then, I spend my time writing, exploring other digital spaces, and teaching college composition at Solano Community College. Here is the link to Directional Pilgrim. It will launch in your browser and, for the full experience, requires speakers or headphones. Use the mouse to click and point - no other buttons are required. Google Chrome is recommended browser.

Utopia is a state which allows for a certain amount of resolution - a period or space which exists in equilibrium. Dystopia, then, is a state in which nothing can be resolved. A solution is needed, but every effort to balance opposing forces results in a renewal of already overbearing systems in control. To me, it is this repetition of effort that characterizes a dystopia. Landscape comes as an afterthought, and can take many forms. In 2018, fires ravaged the state of California. This was the space that I began my work in. Although the natural world around me expanded in all directions, the feeling was one of claustrophobia. Our yearly cycle revolves around our wildfire season - there is no way to avoid it, and each year it gets worse. This, coupled with my own anxieties surrounding mental health and addition, inspired the dystopian space of Directional Pilgrim. Just as medieval pilgrims circled Jerusalem, hitting holy waystations and reading (and therefore reenacting) the Bible passages relevant to the particular place, so does the player as pilgrim revisit the passages in this apocalyptic landscape. By redoing (and often repeating) these experiences, the player may come to find meaning in the journey itself - even though the resolution to the narrative remains elusive.

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Directional Pilgrim: One Loop

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Lene Tøftestuen