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ELO 2015: The End(s) of Electronic Literature

Gateway to the World

Maria Mencia (Kingston University, UK)

End(s) of Electronic Literature Festival Exhibition
Wednesday, August 5 • 17:30 - 19:00 (University of Bergen Arts Library)

Gateway to the World is a mobile application designed to run on an iPad2 / iPad mini or later models. This work was created specifically for the SILT exhibition, hosted in Hamburg, Germany in June 2014.

I took this exhibition as an opportunity to research the city of Hamburg and discovered that it had one of the largest ports in the world; its name Gateway to the World (GttW) seemed like a great title for the app. The vast and busy port served as a metaphor for the immensity of the Internet, the flow of information and its meaning of openness and outreach to the World Wide Web.

The aim of the app was to use open data from the maritime databases to visualise the routes of the vessels arriving to and from the Port of Hamburg, as well as have the vessels’ names mapped to Wikipedia entries. As the vessels move they act as writing tools to reveal a string of text creating calligramatic forms of information pulled from Wikipedia entries about the name of the vessels.

The information gathered from these entries generates a remix of text going from presenting factual information about vessels (containers, cargo ships, tankers, high speed crafts) to describing their names connecting them to characters in literary works, plays and mythological stories.

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