Loss of Hover: Re-implementing Director Vniverse as an App for Tablet

Critical Writing
Record Status: 
Abstract (in English): 

V appeared in 2002, distributed across an invertible two-in-one print book from
Penguin, V : WaveSon.nets / Losing L’una, and two online locations: the first, V:
Vniverse, a Director project with Cynthia Lawson published in the Iowa Review Web,
and the second, Errand Upon Which We Came, a Flash piece with M.D. Coverley
published in Cauldron and Net. The print book contained at its center, approached
from either direction, the url for the Vniverse site.

This print book is being re-issued February 2014 in a new edition by SpringGun Press
as V : WaveTercets / Losing L’una. The truncation from Son.nets to Tercets is driven
by limitations and affordances that Hatcher and Strickland encountered as they set
out to modify the Vniverse Director project to run as an app on a tablet.
The original Vniverse was created, not using Director’s timeline, but all in one frame.
This choice took advantage of the speed of imaging Lingo to control both animation
and interaction, permitting swift gestural command of the appearance of language
emerging without lag from “the sky.” Since mobile devices support an entirely
different suite of gestures, we needed to re-implement Vniverse as an app for a
smaller screen and a different gestural repertoire.

The re-education of hand and mind, the gestural translation, that such a project
entails is our focus in this talk which will address the loss of hover as gesture, the
loss of location—a point is no longer a place—and the loss of overview, or revelation,
as sweeping gestures no longer reveal, but re-scale. Emotional coloring is shifted
when exchanging a click for a tap imposes a required time-delay, when an expansive
swing-sweep of mouse is substituted by contractive pinch-zoom, or when legibility
can be gained only through granulation (losing the sense of fades between whole
poems against which active sky stars can be activated), or through text compression
and/or suppression (son.nets to tercets). These losses are in part compensated by
other gains.

(Source: Author's abstract)

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Elias Mikkelsen