Individual Work
Inanimate Alice Episode 1: China

With the help of Flash, Kate Pullinger and Babel created the amazing work that is Inanimate Alice. The first story intrigued many people and ultimately called for the creation of an Inanimate Alice series. The series is focused around a young girl that finds herself in some truly unique scenarios as her family travels the world. Years pass between episodes and every installment takes place in a different location.

Episode One of the Inanimate Alice series was set in China and focused around Alice's search for her father as he was lost in the Chinese wilderness. 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 with her mother behind the wheel as they search for the man they love. The work captures the way that an eight year old girl would interact with the world around her. The reader of the work acts as Alice and interacts with the world by drawing, sending e-mails, taking photos, and using her phones GPS. Much of the readers interaction with the story is through Alice's phone. Sometimes the user would need to click an icon on the phone and other times the user would use the phone as their cursor by dragging it over the screen in order to unlock new parts of the story.

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 button or other interactive aspect of the interface in order to link to the next section of the story. The links generally come in the form of arrows at the bottom, but some appear as outlined images. Interactions with the game enable the arrow buttons to be used. Placing the mouse cursor over a link changes the cursor to a hand, informing readers they can click it to advance forward in the story. On the side of the screen, a vertical list of icons that link to the current or previous sections of the story is displayed. The user could go back to any section of the story through this vertical navigation bar at any time they wish. However the reader can only go back to the sections that they have already passed through, so they are unable to advance to not yet viewed sections in the story line. Without the completion of the previous sections of the story line the later story sections would not make sense.

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 as time passes in the story. The piece highlights the role that technology has in influencing children, and questions whether nature itself has become integrated or infected by these technologies.

The video and audio was an interesting aspect of the work. The video gave the audience a sense of progression through the story. One of the ways it did this was through the color scheme. Little by little the colors on the screen grew darker. This gave the illusion that it was getting later in the day. The story was suppose to span hours which was made clear by the darkness of the color scheme at the end of the story.

Inanimate Alice offers a glimpse into the future. More specifically it glimpses the future of children's and young adult literature. With Alice using her technology devices to interact with the world she is relating to the target audience of the work. This work is unique by being easily understandable from a wide audience. Young children would be able to read this and relate to Alice, because in the future electronic literature could replace traditional literature.