The Sweet Old Etcetera is an interactive web project created by Alison Clifford that sets the poetry of E.E.Cummings against an imaginary landscape. Initially, the landscape is bare but through gradual interaction, poetry grows from the landscape’s soil and individual letters become protagonists of each story/ poem.
The poetry of E.E.Cummings is highly visual, playful and experimental. In his collection “Chansons Innocentes” the imagery is of children at play and throughout his other work he plays with language the way a child might break apart a toy and play with the resulting pieces. His breaking of syntactic structures makes some works appear more like computer code rather than conventional poetry and the rhythms he follows are those of speech and phonetics rather than metricality. Perhaps as a direct result of the fact that he was also a painter, his poetry must be read on a visual level with regard to both form and content.
It is this spirit of inventiveness and experimentation combined with a highly visual content that lends itself to interactive web-art.
Flash offers the possibility of making graphic, text and sound objects react to user’s mouse movements, creating a dynamic multimedia experience. Treatment of the poetry of Cummings in this way would remove it from the confines of the static printed page, offering a further level of engagement to the reader.
The project is a personal response to the poet’s work, aiming to capture the poems’ playful spirit in an interactive, experimental and highly visual way.
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