Climatophosis is a digital poem that deals with the topic of climate change. It is created by Yohanna Joseph Waliya, a Nigerian digital poet and writer. He is also a graduate assistant at the University of Calabar in Nigeria. A little description about Climatophosis, it's a visual poem whose background consists of a map of the world. The background is a live heatmap with colors that move across the screen. This is accompanied by Waliya’s kinetic poetry which is both in English and French. Essentially, the poem hopes to bring awareness to the damaging effects of global warming. For instance, Waliya's poem mentions problems such as rising temperatures, melting glaciers, plastic and carbon pollution. All these ideas showcase how we as humans are continuing to exploit our earth, without realizing the grave consequences.
Waliya's work is easily accessible through The New River electronic literature database. It is free and open access for anyone that wants to view it. Nevertheless, there are also other ways to find the project. It can be found on a few other websites with a simple Google search.
Climatophosis requires the reader to be actively engaged with the work in order to understand it’s message. As previously mentioned, Waliya's work falls under the category of kinetic poetry. This is because several elements of the poem physically shift before the reader's eyes. The background itself is constantly moving and shapeshifting. On the other hand, the poetry itself is formed in a unique way. Various lines of the poem are all scrambled in different directions, and they only come together for a few seconds. While the poem is physically together, the viewer must quickly try to read it. It’s a tough task to comprehend the entirety of the poem all in one go due to the time constraint. The bilinguality of the poem even further complicates this task if one is not fluent in French. As a result, the poem may need to be watched several times over, which causes a lengthy visual engagement with the work. I would also argue that Waliya's poem is multimodal. This is because Climataphosis uses two different but also significant mediums to get its message across. This is undoubtedly seen through the live background and the shape shifting text. They are both nontraditional methods of interpreting text. Thus, Waliya’s work is a representation of engaging with new strategies and possibilities within electronic literature. Nevertheless, both mediums that Waliya uses purposefully combine as a means of eliciting a strong message to the viewer.
The media format of Climataphosis helps to emphasize the serious nature of the work's message. The methods through which Waliya constructs his work is a direct parallel in how the world is being changed by global warming. The work’s movement acts as a direct metaphor for how humans are affecting the world's landscape. Temperatures are shifting, glaciers and animal species are disappearing, and pollutants keep spreading. I believe this is exactly what Waliya hopes to convey with his kinetic poem. The poem's movement leaves a much stronger impression amongst the viewer, as opposed to if the poem was completely still.
My personal engagement with Climatophosis was a positive one. I found the work to be greatly interesting and unique. It caught my eye immediately, and I was able to understand what Waliya is doing under the surface. I also enjoyed the interactive component of Waliya's work. He purposely makes you "want" to interact with the work because he capitalizes on your curiosity. This is because you do not absorb the entirety of the poem with one view. As a result, you curiously wait for the poem to flash again in order to read the previously missed lines. I also found the poem to be very visually pleasing. The use of moving colors and the heatmap instantly attracts the eye. Overall, I found Waliya's digital poem to be intriguing with a strong message behind it.
Climatophosis: this will be linked