Individual Work
Lollipop Noose

Todd Seabrook's "Lollipop Noose" is a tongue-in-cheek exploration of the (lack of) relationship between genre boundaries, corporeality, and conceptualizing symbols, utilizing the familiar framework of the childhood game, hangman. In it, if one guesses all the letters correctly, one becomes "all language, no body." Therefore, "achieving non-corporeality is the highest achievement in hangman." Conversely, the more letters one is unable to guess, the more body one becomes.

Because the looping three-minute video is experienced passively, and letters appear and disappear as they would on a game of Wheel of Fortune, the piece blurs the boundaries of what can be considered a "video game" and raises several questions about games in general: Is interactivity an essential component to gaming? Can a game be unplayable? And in a larger sense, how much control do we have over the words we reach for when talking or composing sentences? How "interactive" is language?

The piece also problematizes category and language's general inability to tame corporeality: in one game, as letters, body parts, clothing, and other accessories begin to pile up and the completed body is hanged, The Artist Formerly Known as Prince symbol (the symbol whose existence was meant to highlight the arbitrary nature of names) suddenly appears as the correct "word."

Time-based media is often overlooked in the world of electronic literature. Books are timed based. Electronic and print literature have a long tradition of trying to undermine and confuse this timing (Beckett, hypertext, etc.), but new media in particular has often relied too heavily on this "experimental" tradition. That's why Seabrook's piece is refreshing and worthy of praise.