King's Woods (2007)

King's Woods is a data-driven, networked hypertext poem that utilizes information about both the history and present of the city of Lorain, Ohio, and grows with each subsequent user's experience of the work. It's a poetic response to the city, and as such many of the work's features are dependent on it; the positioning, length, and opacity of certain elements rely on weather information about Lorain (the current temperature, the days until the next full moon, etc). The work's core engine is comprised of a series of freely-available, Open Source PHP classes, some third-party, and some original to the piece.

The poem is composed from three sources; original lines written by myself, several web pages on Lorain History and other topics of interest to Lorain, and user-submitted input. These sources are blended using pseudo-random methods, at times seeded by the environmental information about the city mentioned earlier.

Navigation through the hypertext is limited to one method; the user must enter a line of text into the available text field in order to proceed. Pressing the "Refresh" button on your browser will reload the piece as well, but in order to fully experience King's Woods, and to collaborate with and expand the work, users are encouraged to submit text to the engine via the prescribed method.

Most user-interface elements in King's Woods are draggable, to allow the user to reconfigure the interface and find new visual combinations of elements. In some cases, even elements within other elements are changeable this way.

The images used in King's Woods were culled from the Black River Historical Society's Images of Lorain archival photo exhibition, available online.

The images used to create the backgrounds for the work vary; they're a mixture of the archival images, photographs taken by my friend and fellow artist Michael Kapalin, and photographs by my girlfriend and fellow artist Mary Kay, as well as stills from various old horror movies (particularly those produced in the '60s by Hammer Studios).

The core engine of the work is written in PHP/MySQL, with the front-end interface written in XHTML, CSS and JavaScript.

Full Description

King's Woods is a data-driven, networked hypertext poem that utilizes information about both the history and present of the city of Lorain, Ohio, and grows with each subsequent user's experience of the work. It's a poetic response to the city, and as such many of the work's features are dependent on it; the positioning, length, and opacity of certain elements rely on weather information about Lorain (the current temperature, the days until the next full moon, etc). The work's core engine is comprised of a series of freely-available, Open Source PHP classes, some third-party, and some original to the piece.

The poem is composed from three sources; original lines written by myself, several web pages on Lorain History and other topics of interest to Lorain, and user-submitted input. These sources are blended using pseudo-random methods, at times seeded by the environmental information about the city mentioned earlier.

Navigation through the hypertext is limited to one method; the user must enter a line of text into the available text field in order to proceed. Pressing the "Refresh" button on your browser will reload the piece as well, but in order to fully experience King's Woods, and to collaborate with and expand the work, users are encouraged to submit text to the engine via the prescribed method.

Most user-interface elements in King's Woods are draggable, to allow the user to reconfigure the interface and find new visual combinations of elements. In some cases, even elements within other elements are changeable this way.

The images used in King's Woods were culled from the Black River Historical Society's Images of Lorain archival photo exhibition, available online.

The images used to create the backgrounds for the work vary; they're a mixture of the archival images, photographs taken by my friend and fellow artist Michael Kapalin, and photographs by my girlfriend and fellow artist Mary Kay, as well as stills from various old horror movies (particularly those produced in the '60s by Hammer Studios).

The core engine of the work is written in PHP/MySQL, with the front-end interface written in XHTML, CSS and JavaScript.

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