Inanimate Alice is used as an example of “internet art” at the Art Gallery, University of Maryland. The Art Gallery’s “Slow Reveal” -collection of links to internet art sites – was just launched yesterday.

Some of the context of internet art:

“Once the Internet emerged as a mass global communication network in the mid-1990s, artists quickly recognized the possibilities for creative innovation as well as the opportunity to question and redefine the conventions of art. The original term net.art referred to a certain group of artists: Vuk Ćosić, Jodi.org, Alexei Shulgin, Olia Lialina, and Heath Bunting, who identified themselves more as on-line activists.[1] The Internet created an opportunity for them to address some of the most pressing social and ethical issues of the day. As with cable and video in the mid-twentieth century, these artists began inserting themselves into the framework of the Internet while removing themselves from institutional art spaces.” {[1] For more information on early Internet Art, see Stallabrass, Julien. Internet art: online clash with culture and commerce. London: Tate Publishing, 2003.}

Of the works the Art Gallery links to, they say:

“The creators of digital narratives and their audience are responding to the tools of our time, in an attempt to make meaning of our everyday experiences.”

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Teacher and Student Feedback

September 17, 2008


Recently we’ve been receiving some awesome feedback from teachers and students reading Inanimate Alice. The latest comes from Kris Fontez at Union City Middle School. He says:

“Alice,
My students are really enjoying your story! When will another episode be ready?”

That’s great new Kris! We’re glad your students are enjoying Alice’s stories.

Kris also encouraged her students to respond to Alice via e-mail! Here are some comments that Alice shared with us:

“Alice, I enjoy all the stories you have made so far. I wish you could finish all the rest of the stories because the stories are great. I really like the hand held player in the stories. Brody”

“I really liked your program and i cant wait until episodes 5-10 comes out please make them as good as the other ones. One thing i liked was the music. Thanks from your fan.”

“Alice, When will the next story be out? I like the music, sound effects, and the games you put on there. Hope you write back.
Thanks, Jaelynn”

“Dear Alice, I have been watching your shows in art class. I love how you make every thing sound so real. In episode 4 I think it shows that you should not do evrything your friends tell you to. I really enjoy these clips. I always look forword to art class each day because I like them so much. And I am very excited to see episode five. Kaylee”

“Alice, Hi I really like the stories. I think they are really cool. My fave thing about them is the stories are kinda like mysteries and i really like mysteries.I really like the player and the musterious music andalso I hope that the new one will be here soon. I really really like the games my friend and I try to get them finished in art class but dont have time to finish them but I really like the games. THANK YOU so much and i hope a new one will be out soon. VICTORIA”

“Alice, i really liked your story i thought that it was awsome i can’t wait for your next one. i liked the music and the graphics the best.thanks jacob.”

“Allice, Your story is very awesome. I love the way you use your player and how you made brad up!! I also like the way you use the music. It sounds like something scarry is going to come up when the musicstarts! I like all of your houses you have had in the last 5 episodes. I realy like your house with the pool because it looked like a HOT tubb. All of your freinds are cool excpecialy the friend that has the towel around her head!! The last thing i like about your episodes is your games and your player!!Michaela!”

“Alice, I like your stories. I like the music and I like your player. It is fun when I get to play the games. The stories are fun to read. I thought Brad was cool too. you should keep making more stories. Patrick”

“Alice I liked your stories. I liked the handhold player I thought it was cool. I also liked the music and the sound effects. I thought Brad was cool too.
Limas Wheeler”

“Alice, I enjoy the music,sound effects,and stories from inanimate Alice. I really mostly liked the hand held player and the games. thanks for the stories and I hope that inanimate Alice eposode 5 comes soon. thanks again. your viewer, Tyler”

“I really like all of the webasods i can,t choose one cause they are all apsalutly fabulas. I like to know when there will be more. i really like the grafics and music. Without them the story would not be the same your stoys have a lot of axpretion to them keep them coming.
your reader
Jill
P.S
any one who dose notlike your story are totaly WERD!”

“Alice, I really liked your story from Russia. I like the backround music you play because it makes me want to jump to the next slide to see what is going to happen.When is your next vidio? My favorite part was when you got to hide in the closet. Thank you, Nicole”

“Alice, I really really enjoy your story, i liked the music, and the player. I am excited to see your next story!! They are so fun to read. The part when Alice is in the closet, and your mom opens the doors is very scarry!! Do you know what your next one will be about? My class is very excited to see what you come up with!! Thank you, Jena”

“Dear, alice i really like your vidioes and your sound effects are almost like it is very scarey like someone is dieing or somthing.i really liked that you put a different color player every episode. why on number4 did you say that the kids in school are almost better than the ones that you would make on the player? anyways i think you were really creative with your things like with a friend that you could talk to that you made on your player.i think that you should actually make these a little bit longer and put them as a dvd or a vhs because they would be watched all the time because they are so very interesting you could even leave them how they are and put them on one of those things.why don’t you make it where we can see the people when they are talking and why don’t you let us see your parents when they are driving the vehicles.you are such a really good auther and if you could make some more because i would be on the computer every day just watching your stuff because you are so cool.how do you get the sound effects in there as you are typing. how can you make the sentences do the movements without not being able to see what you wrote.i would really like to be able to do the cool things that you do because it is just so cool.is there really a player by that name? Heather”

“Dear Alice, I relly like your short movies. And espcilly epsode 4 hometown and how. brad helps you.And the design of the player. we love your movies Alexis”

“Dear Alice is thar ever going to be a stoe wen you aer 18? I hope you do.
Your frend ron”

“Dear Alice, when are you gonna make a new show they were really awsome exspecially when you get to play the games. How do you even make them I mean that will be hard,you must take alot of time. Thanks,Marissa”

“Dear Alice, I love your shows. When will your new episode be ready? I like that it was a little scarey cuz I like scarey things. I have alot in common with Alice because I move alot too. Thanks
Maryfrancis”

“Alice, I like your skits and I like the last skit and the games the most.The music is cool I like how the music matches the culture. I hope the other books are good as the ones we have already read. thanks, sam”

Inanimate Alice

NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED
19 February 2008

The nominations for the 2008 Learning on Screen Awards, which are organised by the British Universities Film & Video Council (BUFVC), have been agreed by the panel of twelve distinguished judges.
The winners will be announced at the Learning on Screen Awards ceremony on 18 March at the National Science Learning Centre, University of York.”

Inanimate Alice has been nominated for the “GENERAL EDUCATION – Interactive Production” award!

More information is here.

On Sun, Dec. 16, 2007 the Philadelphia Enquirer (online) ran this story:

“Art, film or game? ‘Inanimate Alice’ redefines ‘publish’

There’s a question that sometimes comes up in conversations about interactive fiction: Is it literature, or a game?
I’ve wondered myself, as I’ve joined animated characters on their journeys and tried to fit their narratives into a preexisting slot in my mind. But recently, as I watched Inanimate Alice – an adventure story told through a series of 10 Flash-animated films – I began to think there might be a better way to look at it.

Alice’s story begins when she is 8 years old and living in a remote part of China with her parents (and her imaginary friend Brad). The second and third episodes are set in a villa in Italy and an apartment in Moscow, and in each place Alice finds herself alone, thinking her way out of a scary situation or just keeping herself company. It’s a sophisticated piece of storytelling that makes use of digital imagery and sound, haunting electronic music composed by cocreator Chris Joseph, and of course interactivity. The viewer is also a user, who participates by making the stories move forward and by solving puzzles as Alice introduces them. The third chapter gives users the option to only watch and read the story, or to “play” it.

As the story progresses Alice will grow up to be an artist who, in a nice bit of self-reference, designs characters for a computer game company. The series is still in creation by Kate Pullinger and Joseph, who both teach in the area of digital media arts at De Montfort University in Leicester, England. The fourth episode is due out this month.

Such digital fictions – whether they’re experimental or take a more traditional approach – have tended to be of interest to a somewhat narrow audience. But Alice has found reception in different realms. The available episodes have been translated into Spanish, Italian, French and German, and currently Alice is a featured project in the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008 (http://www.interculturaldialogue2008.eu/). It has been exhibited as a piece of digital art in several countries, and also screened at film festivals.

[…]

Pullinger, who has published novels and collections of short fiction in addition to creating other digital pieces, said she and Joseph did not set out to make Alice a children’s story. But the first several episodes take place during the character’s childhood and adolescence, and the series’ producer, Ian Harper of the Bradfield Co., saw the potential for Alice to be used as an educational tool.

He hired Jessica Laccetti, who did the story’s Italian translation, to create supplemental educational materials, which are available on the site (http://www.inanimatealice.com/education) as a free download. The idea is that pieces like Alice could both engage reluctant readers and acclimate students to “reading” within digital formats – as well as help teachers and parents get a feel for the kinds of technologies their kids are using.

“Teachers have responded incredibly well to Alice, but as with any new form, it’s difficult to find and expand the audience – [though] this is changing already,” Pullinger said.”

Read more here.

Today at the EU Commission Building in Brussels at 11:20 GMT marks the launch of the Inanimate Alice Education Portal!

Right now we’re in the throws of conducting a pilot project looking at Inanimate Alice in the classroom. Thanks to a group of teachers we’ll soon be sharing their experiences and feedback here on this blog.

“Today we seem to face a quandary. On the one hand there are anxieties about the reliability of internet sites and concerns of how to educate students to make informed online decisions. On the other hand we have the National Curriculum in England and Media Literacy outcomes in Canada as evidence of the important role technological skills play in all sorts of learning environments. But how can teachers successfully integrate new media literacies into classrooms? I have found Inanimate Alice as an exemplar new media fiction that is easily assimilated into learning environments. With its use of multimodality (images, sounds, text, interaction) students have the opportunity to see storytelling in a new, multisensory light. Being able to interact with the fiction and explore and critique how all the modes interact has given students an opportunity to develop their new literacy skills. As one of my students said after reading Episode 1 for the first time: “Inanimate Alice is a very innovative way of telling as story.” In my teaching experience Inanimate Alice has proven to be an excellent new media fiction which allows students to develop multiple literacies (literary, cinematic, artistic, etc…) in combination with the highly collaborative and participatory nature of the online environment.”

iTeach Inanimate Alice pack - cover

iTeach Inanimate Alice Education Pack

Teachers who are interested in using Inanimate Alice in their classrooms are invited to download an education pack full of lesson plans and student resources. Register here and then download.

Come back soon.