Science For Idiots

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Description (in English): 

Science For Idiots is an older Flash piece resurrected using HTML5, CSS, and Javascript and now playable on multiple devices and browsers. Its resurrection is the first “education” offered to the viewer: a visit to the online source page is an instruction, via its example, of how a Flash work can be converted into a contemporary piece of electronic literature for the web.

The second “education” is within the piece itself. Science For Idiots takes us through some basic scientific concepts (evolution, global warming, elementary particles, and so on) and explains them in graphic form. The piece concludes with an interactive “Science For Idiots” quiz.

Source: ELO2022 Website

I ♥ E-Poetry entry: 
Pull Quotes: 

When I first encountered “Brainstrips, it was in the context of the Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 2, and because it was not identified as poetry in the collection, I chose not to cover it at the time. Now, having explored Bigelow’s work in the context of the ELO 2012 Media Arts Show, I return to this work because it challenges terms such as genre, form, and medium, resisting simple categorization.

This “three part knowledge series” dedicates each of its parts to a genre and area of knowledge. The first part uses comic strips to address philosophical questions, such as “What is art?” and “Does God Exist?” The second part, titled “Science for Idiots” has sequences of animated images and text on topics such as “global warming” and “Nuclear Fission.” The third is on “Higher Math” and it grounds mathematical principles such as “addition” and “subtraction” on stories of people going through situations that reflect ironically on the principle being illustrated.

Bigelow is clearly aware of the genre and medium he is working with in this work. For example, in the strip titled “Is color real?” not only are the characters aware of the frame for each panel, we can see the “reader’s” eyes reading the comic strip beyond the page. The quizzes and ads throughout are absolutely absurd, the results of which are designed to challenge the readers’ expectations. The narrative sequences or questions and answers designed to explain scientific topics provide ironic reflections on the topic.

How do we categorize the oblique approaches, subverted genre expectations, fourth wall demolitions, moments of absurd humanity, and precise language choices used in “Brainstrips?” In the light of Bigelow’s other poems discussed in this blog, I cannot think of this as anything other than poetry.

Source: (Description from the I ❤️ E-Poetry website

Technical notes: 

Depending on the browser this e-lit is viewed in, technical glitches might occur. For example, in Firefox part 3 of the e-lit crashes, reporting a database error code. In Chrome, however, the start of the e-lit and sequence of the parts was different, but this difference in sequence could be an intentional feature of the e-lit and not a browser dependent issue. In all tested browser, it appears that the animations are played too quickly. Some play at hyper-speed, which does not appear to be intentional, but rather the result of the conversion of the original Flash format the e-lit in which it was created into the current HTML5 form. Similar conversion effects can be seen in the animations and game play of games converted or emulated from its original Flash format.

Screen shots: 
A clip art style illustration of a white, male scientist holding a clipboard with the title above.
A clip art style illustration of another white, male scientist, as the opening splash to a quiz.
An illustration of an ape with text overlaid with the recommended diameters of a cage for it.
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Record posted by: 
Sven Svenson