"Inanimate Alice, Episode 1: China" by Kate Pullinger and babel is a Flash-based narrative story following an eight-year-old girl's search for her father. The work combines text, moving and still images, instrumental music, and buzzing ambient sound to create the perspective of a young girl riding inside of a car. The girl, Alice, interacts with the world through her "player," which is a handheld device that's used for drawing, sending e-mails, taking photos, and as a GPS.
The story unfolds before the reader through nineteen different sections. The sections are in a fixed linear order that requires the reader to click a link to advance the story. The links generally come in the form of arrows at the bottom, but some appear as outlined images. Placing the mouse cursor over a link changes the cursor to a hand, informing readers they can click it to advance forward. The links appear only after each section plays through in its entirety. On the side of the screen, a vertical list of icons that link to the current or previous sections, are created as the reader goes through the piece. Readers can click these icons to go back to any section they choose, even while a section is still playing, but are unable to advance to not yet viewed sections in a similar non-linear order.
Alice remarks that "the sky hums up here, I don't know why, as though it's electronic." This is in accordance with the constant humming sounds heard throughout the piece, as if listening to the static of a dead TV or radio channel. When Alice is confused or scared, she wishes to turn on her player. Because this young girl interacts and relates with the world through her player, the humming electronic sky over her becomes menacing. The piece highlights the role that technology has in influencing children, and questions whether nature itself has become integrated or infected by these technologies.