Introduction to Brainstrips: A Three-Part Knowledge Series
Brainstrips: A Three-Part Knowledge Series, featured in this issue of Blackbird, collects two new Alan Bigelow projects, “Science For Idiots” and “Higher Math,” as well as “Deep Philosophical Questions,” which was published previously in Hyperrhiz. The collected suite features text, sound, layered animations, and still images that shift and combine as the reader navigates the stories. Each section includes multiple vignettes that can be experienced in any order within each piece. The entire Brainstrips piece runs in sequential order accessed through a self-subtracting menu.
| Screen capture from Brainstrips | “Science for Idiots”
Alan Bigelow first came to Blackbird’s attention through discussions of his work in Virginia Commonwealth University’s Media, Art, and Text PhD program. Both professors and students use Bigelow’s pieces to illustrate issues of authorship and readership in new media studies. Bigelow’s work is particularly useful in these discussions as he is deliberately pushing the edge of what it means to be an author and a reader.
Figuring out how to read Brainstrips: A Three-Part Knowledge Series is part of its experience. Readers unfamiliar with digital fiction and new media pieces, however, might appreciate the following tips. Mouseover the title until a section turns red and then click to start the work. Once you have explored all the works in a section, Brainstrips will advance forward, or you can use the “Skip Ahead” button located at the bottom of the page to browse to the next section. Some of the vignettes continue over several screens and provide arrows or buttons to allow navigation between each screen.