404 Not Found

When you lose your way,

Directions: Use the Left and Right arrow keys to move the tuner and Up and Down to "listen" to the station and advance text. Inspired by Nakayama Masaaki's Kouishou Radio and cephalopodunk's "Silence Would Be Better." Made with Bitsy and Bitsymuse. Background sounds licensed to the public domain and taken from the Free Sounds Library. Credit: Vyshali Manivannan, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

Artist Statement: This "404 Not Found" mini-game imagines the fibromyalgic bodymind as a radio with 20 stations, 10 above and 10 below, to emulate the chaos and polyphonic order of a brain structurally altered by and misfiring due to chronic pain. Each station conveys a discrete message; all messages can be endlessly recombined across stations. Channel surfing has connotations pertaining to lack of attention or focus, and your channel surfing decisions determine the juxtapositions and meanings you create. It's easy for me to lose focus. I interrupt myself with poetic fragments, random ideas, prior experiences that demand to be revisited, stories and memories that unexpectedly resurface; in the process of writing, I become so enamored with my descriptions that I lose the thread. This mini-game is designed to similarly disrupt your "wholeness of grasp" (Chen, 2014), to make you conscious of your readerly decisions to tune in, change the station, or tune out by leaving the 404 page. You might listen to each station in its entirety before switching. You might jump around, engineering combinations or accidentally "hearing" meaningful juxtapositions. You might easily remember each text fragment and the station that broadcast it; you might remember them less the more you "listen." In its expansiveness, this game is claustrophobic: frustrating attempts to locate a single coherent argument, spatially confining you to left-right navigation along a narrow AM/FM band, stimulating and boring you with all the choices you can make. The game is meant to wear you down. To both conjure and distract from the question the FMS/ME patient is always asking — Where was I? — knowing that once you're this lost and unfocused, you'll never remember exactly where you came from. This game is cyclical and unending. Move the tuner until you feel the first lick of cognitive post-exertional malaise, until you recognize that this is a microcosm of the process of fibromyalgic composition and comprehension, and of this dissertation's nature.

(– Even though the destination escapes you.)