Mike Matas: A next-generation digital book

Our Choice : the Sequel to an Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore    

link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LV-RvzXGH2Y

This ebook explores solutions to an inconvenient truth with interactivity ! It’s the first book that I have seen that respond’s to humans blowing into it !  The potential to further expand  human interaction with a heat sensing tool in the software is exciting. This  technology may  create wonderful interactive ebooks for artists ad writers and change the way content behaves with other types sensors that interact with proximity,temperature, sound as well as pressure

You can touch the pictures to scroll all the pages, zoom into a page to open it up. You can pick up the images and open them or fold them back into the book.  Al Gore animates  these very neat and colourful pictures. Who doesn’t want a story read to them ?  In this case, this is an especially wonderful personal way of communicating because the topic of climate change is so important to learn and act upon.  There’s a lot of writing in the book and documentary footage. I think that by involving all the senses , the message of climate change is re-iterated on many different levels. This helps the readers to be more engaged and to understand the topic better.  There are interactive maps in it to see  wind and solar potential graphics in different regions ! You can even blow into the screen to see how the wind energy is being used by a house.

It will be interesting to see how this technology will become available in our software programs ( it’s already out on ipad and iphone) and how it may be improved by adding other types of sensors into the program.


My Sketchbook is on-line !

Hello everyone,

I decided that I would like to put my drawings and painting into a sketchbook on-line so people can see the continuation of my art work. The link to see my sketchbook is www.sketchbookcommunications.ca. It’s in the Art Gallery section (in the sidebar)

I promise I will make more drawings and paintings and put it on-line for everyone to see for free. I hope you will like them.

all the best,

Susana Roque

The Future of the Book

I am writing about a talk given by Umberto Eco in 1994, entitled the Future of the Book, which you can read at  http://www.themodernword.com/eco/eco_future_of_book.html

We certainly do know enough about books (ceci) but less about books and computers (cela) together.  Books improve what we know, enhance our imagination and open the possibilities for more creative thought.  Computers organize and digitize our knowledge system within an instantaneous and massive virtual  space of communication. How would literacy change on the internet ?  Will cela tue ceci? Can computers really kill the way we enjoy our books ?

Since the time of Plato, there has been a concern  in Phaedrus, for example, that external devices will be used to dull the memory and thinking of the human mind. In Plato’s Phaedrus,  the alphabet and its extensions of words  frame and compartmentalize what we know on a semiotic level to make sense of the world, however there is a fear that with Hermes’ new invention, memory would be lost. This was said about writing. This concern had also extended today to adding animation and interactivity to our books. Many have wondered that if writers do not leave the spcace in between the lines to their imagination, whether they  would still enjoy the same freedom to think about what they are reading freely to the same extent ?

Computers allow authors to self publish. This means that they can create books using computer software. They also allow books to be circulted on a point to mass level that has nevel been so fast.  Books, in themselves, will always be written, printed and circulated better becasue of the computer… Some things are being replaced more and more by computers such as newspapers to keep down the cost and  increase the circulation. I welcome this change because it decreases our carbon footprint and the medium allows more interactive experiences such as videos and animated pictures.

We have yet to see what  three videos running together in an advertisement does to the way we interpret  what we are areading ?

Books, for the most part, are mostly being downloaded from one form of technology to another (an ipad to an iphone)Provided the ebook looks like a book inside, not much will change.  The music and videos may add more information  on another level, just the way pictures do.  They may frame the writing to a certain extent as well.  If you have a video beside a page with writing, they would both interact together so that  the meaning of both pages affect one another,  as if the video were a picture. In a sense, I guess ebooks would just ask us to relate textx with sound, movement and animation, instead of just pictures. 

The way we reflect and read our information from a book is still as important today as ever. An interactive ebook would just be a new way of reading using more of our senses.

However, when a reader begins to have unlimited hypertextual  and inteactive experiences with the ebook, then literacy may have new components related to the medium of the internet . This depends completely on the creator/s of the book. Computer definitely brings a digital aspect to the story. This means that it adds a code to the formula. Whether this code can be used to enhance the memory and imagination of the user, adding dance, animation, music or video,  is up to the creator of the book . Some ebooks will be descriptive while others will allow the world to open with critical thinking and education. Furthermore, the medium of the internet allowws for the possibility of an exchange of information between many different readers – the author would just need to create this space in the webpage where they have their book. As it is now, many software companies seem to have the technology to display interactive ebooks – but not many are out yet.

Interactive Storytelling !

This is a blog that I would like to make for  artists, writers, computer scientist and readers who are interested in interative ebooks. What’s that ? you may ask. This is  when  writing, photography, painting, drawings, sound, music, videos, animation and multimedia are brought together to tell stories on the web.

Let’s see how this develops in our world ! This is a space to ask question, exchange ideas and talk about it for artists, musicians, dancers, filmmakers, computer scientists, writers and graphic designers.

Here is my first ebook: The Elephant Tree at http://www.theelephanttree.com

I look forward to hearing from you and seeing which ones you will come up with !

Susana Roque:)