Week 7: Mike Plett – Viewings

Highrise and Public Secrets are very immersive sites. I found myself lost for hours in both. (I ran into technical problems while attempting to navigate the Saving the Sierra site, so I didn’t get to really experience it.) The more engaging and accessible of the two was Highrise. This site was beautiful to look at, and I very much enjoyed exploring “History of Highrise,” which allows viewers to explore layers of additional information at any point in the video by a flick of the mouse.

This was reminiscent of what Public Secrets accomplishes with its pastiche of voices from women’s prison.  Public Secrets is truly a digital site because it literally consists of bits and pieces of data (conversations); as you click deeper into the site, you are exposed to more and more information that builds to create a portrait of life in these prison complexes. Public Secrets employs audio and text to create its community, but I can’t help but wonder if the site would have been more effective if it had used images, too. As pure audio, the different people interviewed come across as abstractions and not people.

As a whole, Public Secrets created an immersive but emotionally cold world, while Highrise has created a space where highrise residents can reimagine where they live and users can peer through windows to see how these residents live.

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