“Flight Paths” (http://collection.eliterature.org/2/works/pullinger_flightpaths/index.html) is a form of participatory media that allows the audience to not only interact with but create text for the project. It is a “networked novel” detailing the story of two lives both literally and figuratively colliding together. A man who is trying to escape Pakistan falls from a plane onto the car of a woman who is grocery shopping for her family. “Flight Path” describes the different paths that these two characters take (and their paths ultimately collide), yet alternatively illustrates and symbolizes the different paths the story can take based on the reader’s input. The authors include contact information in this series of stories where readers can send their own stories or memories to be added to the ongoing project.
This interactive project speaks to the theory that words constitute meaning through which reality is created. The message or the rhetoric of the piece changes based on the words audience members choose to add to the project. In essence, the audience creates the rhetoric or the meaning of this electronic literature through the stories they input. The authors compile reader’s stories into a coherent message of text, images, and sound for the audience to be fully engrossed in the rhetoric of the piece.
As this project details the narrative of the Pakistani immigrant, the design and music are somewhat dark and foreboding. The images are muted tones of grey, yellow, and black, illustrating the impending incidence. In the next scene, detailing the woman grocery shopping, the images are much brighter with vivid colors. The two stories slowly merge as the man’s text is on one side of the screen and the woman’s is on the other, demonstrating how their paths are about to cross. “Flight Path’s” authors show a proficient understanding in the use of text, sound, and images to create an overall tone, mood, or meaning for the piece as a whole. The rhetoric that is created by the incorporation of text, sound, and images illustrates the inevitability of human paths crossing and the different courses these encounters can take. Ultimately, the audience determines the rhetoric of this project by choosing the course of such encounters and determining the route each character takes.