Tap Essays: Native Internet Art

I think these kinds of animation work well in an online viewing situation for the same reason as the tap essays – limited screen size.

I enjoyed this short essay promoting Lauren Leto’s book. It’s honest and (I assume) true to the book it seeks to promote.

It’s also presented in an interesting manner, native to the digital world. I wonder if would be as engaging if it were on a couple of pages (either printed or HTML). Probably not.

This type of presentation is not new. Last year Robin Sloane created a ‘tap essay’ called Fish that was published as an iPhone app. Like Leto’s essay, there is no back button, which (according to this Wired review by David Dobbs) provokes the reader to read more closely.

I would say this is another type of native Internet art… although the tap essay format is analogous to picture books that have few words to a page, or stylised essays like Marshall Mcluhan’s The Medium is the Massage.Also, it is not unlike the exploding genre of ‘kinetic text animation‘ that has been around for several years, an example of which is below.

I think these kinds of animation work well in an online viewing situation for the same reason as the tap essays – limited screen size. Large walls of text on a small screen (or, a regular desktop monitor for that matter) make for difficult reading. The larger fonts you can employ in a tap essay make digesting the message a much more pleasant experience. The same is true with the text animations, although I think they arise for budgetary reasons – they are cheap to create, compared to CGI or live action.

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