Christine Wilks’ piece “Underbelly” was truly amazing. The tie between women carving stone is an interesting one because the connection between those mining and those sculpting for art purposes is wavering. While both occupations require the same basic action, the thought and purpose (as well as the end result) of the work is vastly different. In this sense the piece make a connection with literature as well. While writing in a digital space as opposed to print is essentially the same action (making words into something) the finished product and how the reader experiences them is completely different. Also, like mining when writing for the intention of print the author is limited in what the piece can become. On the other hand a sculptor has a blank canvas that may be carved to assume any shape; much like the creation of digital literature.
The viewer is transformed into a miner themselves as they chip away at the piece discovering new snippets and gems hidden beneath the surface. At first the varying information is overwhelming, but as I continued the discoveries started to take on a rhythm. I especially liked the history and video clips included. The piece definitely makes a statement about the versatility and openness of new age media because it changes the way literature is practiced. Instead of merely reading and letting the author guide the reader through the story, “Underbelly” gives the viewer control.
The images used in “Underbelly” were something I really enjoyed as well. In some moments I felt as if there were perhaps some sexual undertones with the imagery of female reproductive organs and the repetitive sound of the video. I felt a combination of repression and empowerment. On one hand there is the sense of enslavement of the female minors performing back breaking work within the earth, but on the other is the artist expressing and freeing themselves through the creation of a sculpture. To me this progression represents the odd path the act of chipping away rock has taken, and the pride in women taking something as ugly as doing some manual labor and turning it into an art form.
With so many layers of hidden themes, and combinations of media types, “Underbelly” is a prime example of the benefits of E-literature. The creation of it opens up millions of new possibilities and collaborations between artists/authors.