The Tower of Jezik

Description (in English): 

Initiated during the 2014 Erasmus intensive program in Digital Literatures, The Tower of Jezik is a hyperfiction intended for teenagers that primarily questions language and its possible inefficiency. Set in an imaginary world which calls medieval times to mind, the reader follows a young boy chasing his cat over the rooftops of his small village. Through a window, the boy sees an old man brewing something in a cauldron and believes he is in fact a wizard about to cast a spell. The old man sees him spying and the boy falls from the window, hits his head and loses consciousness. When he wakes up, he can no longer understand what people are saying and, convinced that the villagers were indeed cursed by a powerful sorcerer, he sets out to find the mythical Tower of Jezik and bring language back to his people. The prototype for Tower of Jezik was originally developed in HTML to be read in web browsers. However, it is currently being remediated in ePub 3 by Émilie Barbier, as part of the Textualités Augmentées workshop at Paris 8 University. We were interested in this particular format because of its apparent similarities with HTML, but also - and mostly - because of the differences between them. Indeed, some of the strategies used in the prototype to thwart the reader's progression cannot be implemented in an ePub version. It is the case, for instance, with the invisible links scattered in the narrative which can only be seen when hovering over them. Such a process cannot work on a tablet or a smartphone because there is no cursor to move around. By remediating Tower of Jezik, we particularly wish to explore the constraints the ePub 3 format imposes on a work of digital literature. The project plays with the concepts of gamebooks and “choose your own adventure” books, where one has to make choices and find one's way through the story by solving riddles and performing actions. We wished to create a work that could fit in the standards of current publishing, all the while playing with various media and rhetorical devices specific to electronic literature, such as patterns of hyperlinks and text animation. More importantly, we tried to build a hyperfiction that still followed a storyline, yet resorted to other strategies to resist the reader.

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Tower of Jezik front page
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Record posted by: 
Maya Zalbidea