Electronic Literature Authoring
Hold the Light:
Chercher le texte: the 2013 Conference of the Electronic Literature Organization Brings Electronic Literature to the Public in Paris, September 23-28
E-Poetry 2013, Kingston University, London in June; Program Features Presentations, Exhibitions, Performances, and a Pedagogy Colloquium
With a Theme of "Avenues of Access", MLA2013 Includes an Exhibition of Electronic Literature and over 60 Digital Humanities Panels
Remediating the Social, Edinburgh, November 1-3, 2012
Critical Code Studies
Belgrade Resonate Festival
2012 MLA Convention to Feature Elit Panels and Exhibition
Dene Grigar, Lori Emerson,
Elit Well Represented
A resource for teachers and students of new media writing, who are exploring what authoring tools to use, for new media writers and poets, who are interested in how their colleagues approach their work, and for readers, who want to understand how new media writers and poets create their work, the Authoring Software project is an ongoing collection of statements about authoring tools and software. It also looks at the relationship between interface and content in new media writing and at how the innovative use of authoring tools and the creation of new authoring tools have expanded digital writing/hypertext writing/net narrative practice in this vibrant contemporary creative writing field.
Featured Authoring Software Statement:
Dan Waber is a poet, playwright, publisher, and multimedia artist, whose work is predominantly language-based.
Waber's works of electronic literature include Strings, presented in Flash and published in the Electronic Literature Collection v. 1; the collaborative hypertext, that reminds me; and the brief, dense, fluxuating poems in his elegant collection cantoos.
a kiss, an innovative use of the freeware hypertext application Twine, was published in 2013 in Drunken Boat 17.
In his statement for Authoring Software, Waber explains that "You begin at the center of all things, the moment of a kiss and are able to move outward from that moment in several directions. Each choice leads to more choices, the further away you move, until at the outermost limit all possible choices lead back to the moment of a kiss."
Visit Dan Waber's Authoring Software statement on a kiss to find out more.
W riter/programmer Andrew Plotkin is the author of a series of award-winning works of Interactive Fiction,(IF) including Shade, Spider and Web, and Hoist Sail for the Heliopause and Home. An integral member of the IF community, he also helps support the software tools that underlie contemporary IF.
Plotkin has worked on game design and game tools his entire life, though mostly outside of the game industry and academic worlds. Currently creating Hadean Lands, an interactive fiction for the iPhone, he is pursuing in his words "a (perhaps chimerical) career as a creator of narrative interaction on mobile platforms.".
For Authoring Software, he writes about The Dreamhold. A tutorial that is also a work of Interactive Fiction, The Dreamhold offers an excellent introduction to the experience of classic Interactive Fiction
In his words:
"I've tried to create a game which rewards many species of adventurer: the inexperienced newcomer, the puzzle-hurdler, the casual tourist, the meticulous explorer, the wild experimenter, the seeker after nuances and implications."
Winner, of the Best Use of Medium 2004 XYZZY Award, The Dreamhold presents the reader, as do most IFs, with prompts that require input in the form of traditional IF commands. The process -- mediated by software (the parser) that understands and responds to certain natural language instructions -- is continually interactive; the reader navigates the story by entering text phrases at the prompts; the story responds:
Andrew Plotkin: - The Dreamhold
T he Dreamhold was my attempt to address the traditional accessibility problems of parser-based interactive fiction. Its goals were (1) to act as a tutorial for the IF parser; (2) to provide an old-fashioned adventure experience of exploration and puzzle-solving in a broad world; (3) to be narratively interesting. ...In that order.
The first goal conditioned much of the game design. In order to provide a simple starting environment, I had the player begin in an empty white cell with only one object available. The player is cued to read a description of common IF commands, and then try the most common ones -- "LOOK", "EXAMINE", "GO". Once the player manages to leave the cell, they are rewarded with a change from a spare environment to a lavish one; this provides an opportunity to exercise curiosity and delve into details. The player quickly runs into some locked doors, which are the first formal puzzle of the game. (Although newcomers might consider the parser to be the first puzzle of any IF game...) Passing a locked door gives access to the bulk of the map, with a range of challenges.
I wanted to introduce the player to IF conventions, even those that were (even at the time) considered old-fashioned or unnecessarily troublesome. Thus The Dreamhold has darkness, a "SCORE" command, a set of colored tokens to collect, bendy passages, a maze, (of sorts) and the possibility of death. On the other hand, in-game hints are available, and the game cannot be made unwinnable. (allowing for the option of "UNDO" after death). The possibility of irreversible mistakes is demonstrated with a single object -- the apple -- which does not affect any of the game's puzzles or endings.
Visit Andrew Plotkin's Authoring Software Statement on The Dreamhold to find out more.
J.R. Carpenter: The Broadside of a Yarn
J. R. Carpenter is a Canadian artist, performer, poet, novelist, new media writer and researcher,
based in South Devon, England. She began using the Internet as a medium for the creation and
dissemination of non-linear narratives in 1993.
Since that time, her work has been presented in
journals, festivals, and museums around the world, including the
Electronic Literature Collection, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art;
Montréal Museum of Fine Arts; Istanbul Contemporary Art Museum; The Art Gallery, Tasmania;
The University of Maryland; Jyväskylä Art Museum, Finland; Palazzo delle arti Napoli in Naples,
Kipp Gallery, Indiana University of Pennsylvania; E-Poetry, Barcelona, Spain;
the Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, England; and The Banff Centre, Canada.
C ommissioned by ELMCIP for the 2012 Remediating the Social exhibition in Edinburgh, The Broadside of a Yarn is a richly detailed 21st century locative broadside, in which a series of computer-generated narrative dialogues are accessed via QR codes.
One generator "is composed entirely of dialogue from Joseph Conrad's The Secret Sharer. Another contains lines of dialogue from Shakespeare's The Tempest," she explains in her Authoring Software statement. "Details from many a high sea story have been netted by this net-worked work. The combinatorial powers of computer-generated narrative conflate and confabulate characters, facts, and forms of narrative accounts of fantastical islands, impossible pilots, and voyages into the unknown undertaken over the past 2340 years."
Existing not only as a series of gallery mounted "map squares" of images found and/or created, in Edinburgh but also as a live many-voiced performance, The Broadside of a Yarn was/is in her words "a pervasive performative wander through a sea of sailors' yarns".
Visit J. R. Carpenter's Authoring Software statement on The Broadside of a Yarn to find out more.
B ill Bly is the author of the ongoing hypertext We Descend. Volume 1 of We Descend was published by Eastgate in 1997. Volume 2 was exhibited at the Convention of the Modern Language Association in January 2013 and 2014. His works also include Wyrmes Mete, a hypertext chapbook of poems, and, with John McDaid, he was awarded the John Culkin Award for Outstanding Praxis in the Field of Media Ecology for their music CD, Media Ecology Unplugged.
As a teacher, a founding member of the Hypertext Writers Workshop, and the recorder for the legendary Cybermountain Colloquium, Bill Bly has also been active in working with colleagues and students in the creation of electronic literature. He taught dramatic literature and theatre history at New York University (NYU) for 20 years, until he became interested in hypertext, which he taught both at NYU and at Fordham University. He also ran the writing program at Wagner College in Staten Island. Currently, he teaches Speech Communication at Northampton Community College in Pennsylvania.
In an Authoring Software statement about his densely layered work, We Descend, he sets forth the struggles and pleasures of creating hypertext. Beginning with reading Robert Coover's seminal article in New York Times Book Review, he describes how he ordered every title published by Eastgate; his Eureka moment with Stuart Moulthrop's Victory Garden while participating in Robert Kendall's online Hypertext Poetry & Fiction class at the New School; the creation of We Descend in Storyspace; and the creation of We Descend Volume 2 in Tinderbox.
"What started out in the early 1990s as a simple node-link hypertext has somehow turned into my life's work," Bly observes.
Visit Bill Bly's statement on We Descend to find out more.
Silvia Stoyanova and Ben Johnston
Figure 1.Paragraph View from the Zibaldone Hypertext Research Platform Website
S ilvia Stoyanova holds a PhD in Italian literature from Columbia University with a dissertation on Giacomo Leopardi. She has taught Italian language, culture, cinema and literature at Columbia University and at Princeton University, and is presently a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Digital Humanities at Universität Trier in Germany.
She is interested in exploiting the relational dimension offered by digital technologies for the dynamic mediation of modern fragmentary narratives, such as the intellectual notebook, and for the construction of knowledge sites. Since 2004 Silvia Stoyanova has been experimenting in private with hypertextual argumentative writing within the limits of Microsoft Word, i.e. with fonts, colors, diagrams, WordArt animations, hyperlinks, etc. She is optimistic that the current academic interest in technological approaches to the humanities will cultivate a fertile environment for scholarly hypertext.
B en Johnston is manager of Princeton University's Humanities Resource Center, founding member of the University's Digital Humanities Initiative, and Senior Instructional Technologist at Princeton's Educational Technologies Center. Johnston has worked with faculty from across the University to develop and maintain technology projects for teaching and research, and has taken a lead role in the development of several projects focusing on electronic databases for textual analysis and transcription such as the Princeton University Sefer Hasidim Database, (PUSHD) the Nationalism, Ethnicity and Self-Determination Index, (NESDi) and the Princeton University Geniza Project.
F or Authoring Software, Silvia Stoyanova and Ben Johnston discuss the creation of their Zibaldone Hypertext Research Platform, which migrates Italian poet and scholar Giacomo Leopardi's extraordinary hypertext precursor, the Zibaldone -- created in the 19th century over the course of 15 years -- to a web-based platform.
"In its larger scope", Stoyanova notes, "the project studies the structure of this fragmentary text and its author's techniques for its semantic organization as a model for adopting hypertext to mediate the phenomenological method and relativistic thought procedure at work in migrating similar research note collections into argumentative narrative."
Based on Leopardi's hypertextual organization of his notebook, Stoyanova and Johnston's innovative project also serves as a resource for potential uses of large databases to create hypertext literature.
Silvia Stoyanova and Ben Johnston: The Zibaldone Hypertext Research Platform
T he Zibaldone Hypertext Research Platform (which will be implemented in the summer of 2014 at http://zibaldone.princeton.edu ) is a digital reconstruction of the hypertextual design inherent in the research notebook (Zibaldone) of the acclaimed nineteenth century Italian poet and scholar Giacomo Leopardi. The project was undertaken at Princeton University in the Fall of 2010 by Dr. Silvia Stoyanova (French and Italian) and Ben Johnston. (Humanities Resource Center) Consultant: Dr. Clifford Wulfman, Coordinator of Library Digital Initiatives. The Zibaldone Hypertext Research Platform is currently being developed in collaboration with the Trier Center for Digital Humanities in Germany.
In its larger scope, the project studies the structure of this fragmentary text and its author's techniques for its semantic organization as a model for adopting hypertext to mediate the phenomenological method and relativistic thought procedure at work in migrating similar research note collections into argumentative narrative. This objective indeed recalls the original conception of hypertext by Ted Nelson as a medium for capturing the many possible trajectories in the course of developing an argument, instead of sacrificing them because of the limitations of the two-dimensional space of paper. It was precisely in an attempt to overcome the same limitations that Leopardi interspersed his notebook with thousands of cross-references, linking its apparently fragmented passages, creating the blueprint of a virtual hypertext.  [Figure 1]
Although its title and to some extent its contents reflect the humanist compiling of commonplace books, (in which readers and scholars extracted quotations from their readings) the Zibaldone is more akin to the modern intellectual diary and further exhibits features of the present-day academic blog, such as a date stamp and thematic tags for each entry. While Leopardi was noting down observations and commenting on books without an immediate objective in mind, at the same time he was also recording their connections to previous reflections and intended to eventually rework his material into formally cohesive discourses on a great variety of subjects -- from linguistics, to social mores, to aesthetic theory. For this purpose, he indexed his material thematically and added more cross-references between passages while re-reading.
Figure 2. 1827 Index is a detail of the beginning of the index Giacomo Leopardi wrote in 1827 for his Zibaldone. (as implemented on the Zibaldone Hypertext Research Platform) "1827 index" has about 800 themes and subthemes........................complete story
Hold the Light:
W ith panels on "Models of Narrative", "Troubadours of Information", "Writing and Riding the Net", "Philosophical Approaches", and "Literary Games"; a "Developing for New Platforms" Roundtable; fifty new works responding to the question: "What distinguishes Electronic Literature?"; and much more, the 2014 Electronic Literature Organization Conference will convene in Milwaukee from June 19-21. ELO2014, Hold the Light, is hosted at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee by electronic literature pioneer and Professor in the UWM Department of English, Stuart Moulthrop. Featured works of electronic literature will be exhibited at the Digital Humanities Lab and the Conference Room, both in the UWM Golda Meir Library.
"In addition to the conference's continuing concern with particular arts and ideas, Hold the Light invites thinking about what electronic literature can mean at a moment when all communications are touched by computation and digital networks," Moulthrop notes.
"It is a watershed moment in that the organization is giving out the first of two annual prizes, The N. Katherine Hayles Award for Criticism of Electronic Literature and The Robert Coover Award for a Work of Electronic Literature", ELO President Dene Grigar writes in a statement that accompanies Authoring Software's coverage of ELO2014. "Hayles will be present to give a keynote address and announce the recipient of Hayles award."
Keynote talks will also be given by Jill Walker Rettberg, University of Bergen, writer Illya Szilak, and Lane Hall, and co-founder of the Overpass Light Brigade. . "...Neither preserving nor directly opposing the conventions of print-lit, e-lit functions as a reflecting apparatus that unmasks language and meaning-making as machines through the revelation of its own machine-works," Illya Selzki notes in the abstract for her keynote. "Using multifarious examples from the work of Alan Bigelow, Mez Breeze, Emily Short, Jason Nelson, and others, I will show how these re-inscribe obstruction, glitch, error, randomness and obsolescence as potentiality... "
The Conference name "Hold the Light," was inspired by the Milwaukee-based collective Overpass Light Brigade, who use LED signboards to convey activist/community messages. such as the message PRACTICE PEACE at a vigil for Sikhs killed in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
Presenters in sessions that range from "A Feel for Algorithms" to "Children's Elit" include Sandy Baldwin, Kathi Inman Berens, Serge Bouchardon, Giovanna di Rosario, Carolyn Guertin, Lori Emerson, Dene Grigar, Leonardo Flores, D. Fox Harrell, Dominic Kao and Chong-U Lim, Marjorie Luesebrink, Mark Marino and Rob Wittig, Talan Memmott, Nick Montfort, Judd Morrissey, Kwabena Opoku-Agyemang, Jessica Pressman, Mariusz Pisarski, Aaron Reed, Scott Rettberg, and Anastasia Salter among many others.
Curated by Kathi Inman Berens, the exhibition Hold the Light includes artists from France, Poland, Australia, Denmark, Norway, Canada, Ireland, Slovakia, Hong Kong, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In addition to evenings of performance, artists will also present their work in demo sessions, where they'll talk informally with guests who traverse their works. "It's a rare convergence for so many elit artists to be in one place at one time", Kathi Inman Berens notes in her statement about the exhibition. "The point of gathering live when often we can access each other's work online is to curate not just works but also conditions for artistic and intellectual surprises."
"...what makes the work that the ELO does absolutely imperative in this 'Digital Information Age', as scholar Paul Ceruzzi calls it, is its leadership in developing methods for evaluating quality of 'digital' creative and critical works and its insights into cataloging a growing body of 'digital' fiction, poetry, and other literary forms..., President Dene Grigar writes in a statement for Authoring Software's coverage of ELO2014. "ELO 2014 Hold the Light provides us the opportunity to continue this important work together for three magical days. I hope to see you there."
EL02014 Media Arts Show:
Colorado native Deena Larsen has been a central voice in the writing and understanding of new media literature.
Her seminal hypertext, Marble Springs, about the lives of women in a Colorado mining town, was published by Eastgate Systems in 1993. Her work has also been published by the Iowa Review Web; Drunken Boat; Cauldron and Net; Riding the Meridian; Poems that Go; The Blue Moon Review; New River. and The Electronic Literature Collection. Her current work is the Rose Project which in her words "ascribes meaning to letters, adding nuances to language."
For many years, Deena Larsen hosted forums and workshops for the eliterature community. She currently hosts the website Fundamentals : Rhetorical Devices for Electronic Literature, and her archives, The Deena Larsen Collection, are housed at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities at the University of Maryland.
Authoring Software encourages writers to document different approaches to choices and to the utilization of authoring systems and platforms. In her statement about Marble Springs 3.0, Deena Larsen presents a glimpse into the process she utilized to migrate the narrative framework for the hyperfictional Gold rush town, Marble Springs -- from HyperCard to the 2011- Wikidot version, Marble Springs 3.0.
"The first poem, 'Quilts', in Marble Springs added characters who demanded that their stories be told. So I then wrote 'Scraps' to show Sadie, and so on and so on. And there was no logical end point," Larsen explains. "So my vision of Marble Springs grew to an open-ended, never ending place-- a one-to-one map of reality as people came and went in the town. I wanted a place where readers could make their own marks on the town. In HyperCard, this was an ungainly, expensive programming nightmare that barely hinted at what a wiki could do automatically. Now, the Marble Springs wiki is a collaborative space where readers can easily join in. You can follow scandals on the Forbidden list, wander the maps and graveyards, and then add your own insights into this tightly intertwingled little Colorado gold rush town." ......more about Marble Springs 3.0
Regina Pinto, AlphaAlpha
365 instances of the letter "A"
April, 2014 begins with a replay of South American artist Regina Pinto's AlphaAlpha, for which she uses a variety of graphic art, animation, video, website design, and sound software applications to create a dynamic work of computer-mediated visual poetry. In this screen-viewed medium, where text can be encountered in a visual manner, AlphaAlpha focuses attention on the representation of the first letter of the alphabet, resulting in a work of collaborative literary art that, with its evocative connotations of "first letter", also imagines and illustrates how words and text can be represented on the Internet.
The AlphaAlpha project is a classic collaborative work in that participants were invited to create within the context of an interesting idea, and the producer incorporated their work in a framework that in this case includes texts and visual implementations of the letter "A". The project both alludes to the vibrant South American tradition of visual poetry and calls attention to how text can be represented on the World wide Web. Participants were from all over the world including Joesér Alvarez; (Brazil) Isabel Aranda; (Chile) Muriel Frega; (Argentina) Satu Kaikkonen; (Finland) Maja Kalogera (Croatia) Yuko Otomo; (USA) Isabel Saij; (France) Reiner Strasser (Germany) and Araceli Zúñiga. (Mexico) among many others.... ......more about AlphaAlpha
April Featured Interview: Mark Bernstein
Mark Bernstein is chief scientist at Eastgate Systems in Watertown, Massachusetts, where he develops new hypertext tools including Tinderbox, Twig, and Storyspace and publishes original hypertext fiction and nonfiction. In his interesting, informative responses to the interview questions, Mark Bernstein talks about the history of Storyspace and Eastgate. The interview concludes with his lively, educational, sometimes practical, sometimes provocative advice to new writers of hypertext narratives and with a look to the future of computer-mediated literature.
Judy Malloy: How did you get started working with hypertext literature?
Mark Bernstein: I met Ted Nelson in 1976. Ted was briefly flirting with an academic career. I was in college. Computer Lib had just been published, and Ted was working on what would become Literary Machines.
Years passed; I got my doctorate and went down to DuPont to help set up an AI research group. When that blew up -- DuPont wanted all its AI work to be done in FORTRAN IV -- I came back to Eastgate to work on electronic books. Even in 1987, it was clear that the future of serious reading lies on the screen. I wanted to be part of that, and this seemed to be a research area within the scope of a small, independent firm. We started to publish hypertexts after the second hypertext conference in 1989. In those days, everyone was desperate to know whether people would (or could) read hypertexts. Everyone in the field had built their own hypertext system; they wrote hypertexts themselves, assigned graduate students to perform evaluative studies,and recruited their own undergraduates to serve as test subjects. It was the very definition of a methodological problem, and it seemed a good solution might be to provide some well-known "standard" hypertexts.
And so we published afternoon, and Victory Garden, and then King Of Space and Quibbling and its name was Penelope.
These hypertexts helped focus discussion. For the first time, if you and I wanted to talk about the craft of hypertext writing, we could talk about a specific work we'd both read, a work with some ambition and scope, a work we could admire and with which we might disagree.... complete interview
March Featured Resource: The Electronic Manuscript
Cynthia-Beth Rubin: visuals, narrative
W ith their visual impact and their surprisingly beautiful emphasis on words, medieval manuscripts, are a cogent field of study and inspiration for the creation of electronic text. Focusing on manuscript-like uses of dense and/or visual text and on the creation of electronic manuscripts to be read aloud, installed in community settings, or web-situated in online community settings, a resource of selected different approaches is presented in an Authoring Software feature on The Electronic Manuscript.
"Committed", in her words, "to using and abusing new last technologies", Adriene Jenik is an award-winning media artist, filmmaker, and educator. Currently Professor and Director of the School of Art at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, part of Arizona State University, she has also been an active member of the Paper Tiger TV collective and Deep Dish TV.
She brings to her work -- which has been at the forefront of exploratory media and new media narrative and of public art using community-based wireless networks -- a knowledge of technology; an interest in creating new forms of literature, cinema, and performance; and a narrative sensibility that is sometimes community-based, sometimes addresses issues of gender and sexuality, and sometimes looks at the human connection in a technology-mediated world.
Adriene Jenik's narrative of the creation of MAUVE DESERT: A CD-ROM Translation, based on Nicole Brossard's le Désert Mauve, is a classic look at the process of creating a new media narrative. And -- as she continues to update the work, recently releasing a DVD documentation -- is also an example of how writers and artists work to keep their projects current in the face of changing platforms and applications.
"The beauty of words, the power of the desert, and the fears and fantasies of human evolution with technology are all still real -- and present and prescient in the work," she observes in her statement on Authoring Software. ....more
Detail: William Harris, "Armistice", n.d.
W illiam Harris (1926-2009) taught classics at Middlebury College in Vermont for thirty-two years. A sculptor, composer, and poet, when he retired in 1990, he worked with computers -- compiling an electronic Latin dictionary, Humanist's Latin Dictionary, that was published by Centaur, as well as a series of evocative electronic poems and image/text works.
"I want a poem to be meditated, not read through," he writes in his essay for Authoring Software. "So by taking it off the page and making it a variable field of words, I think we are trying something new and something possibly very interesting."
"Thus," he observes, "each poem is continually evolving out of its own internal history, which at times may give a very different appearance to the whole display on the screen. The first appearance will be even like any text. Next some lines will start to go in different directions, and some will have a different programmed speed while others re-speed themselves later. Later, as a surprise, groups of words may possibly arrange themselves to the right and left of the screen leaving the center empty, or they may all congregate centrally before starting to wander sideways. The interesting thing about this variability is that as the poem progresses, more of the text obeys the internal patterning generated by the running program, and less and less the initial pattern which I have set up."
A World War II Veteran, Harris, who had been battling cancer for several years, died at the age of 83 in February 2009.
To read his complete Authoring Software statement, visit William Harris: Hyper Poems
Pathfinders: Documenting Curation as Critical Practice
P athfinders: 25 Years of Experimental Literary Art, the exhibit that opens on January 9 at the Modern Language Association 2014 Convention, begins with the premise that curation is a critical practice born out of research and, so, constitutes a scholarly activity. While this sentiment is not a controversial one in fields like Fine Art, where curating works of art relies on deep knowledge of art, history, and culture; highly honed interpretative and evaluative skills; and a great deal of creativity, it is relatively new idea for the Humanities. The recent book, Digital_Humanities, however, makes a strong case for curation as a "fundamental activit[y] at the core of Digital Humanities. Just as in Fine Art, curation in Digital Humanities involves "the selection and organization of materials in an interpretative framework, argument, or exhibit" that "brings humanistic values into play in ways that [are] difficult to achieve in traditional museum or library settings" 
To make the connection between scholarship and curating absolutely clear, this exhibit is built directly out of Pathfinders: Documenting the Experience of Early Digital Literature, a digital preservation project led by Stuart Moulthrop and me and sponsored by a National Endowment for the Humanities Level II Start Up grant.
Pathfinders, the project, is an unusual digital preservation scholarly activity in that its intent is to capture not just the work of art but also the user's experience with the work. In that regard, we have videotaped each of four electronic literature artists reading through their work. This reading we call a "traversal" because it leads a viewer through a work that is both interactive and multi-linear, from its beginning to some level of closure. We add to the artists' traversals, those by readers, some of whom have never experienced electronic literature before or who may not be familiar with early digital literature. Interviews with the artists and readers augment the information, which will be edited, collected, and eventually disseminated in a multimedia book. So, the first order of selection for Pathfinders came out of an overarching conceptual framework focusing on a particular artifact -- early digital literature --- and particular seminal works constituting experiments with digital texts that can no longer be experienced on current computing devices: Stuart Moulthrop's Victory Garden; John McDaid's Uncle Buddy's Phantom Funhouse; Judy Malloy's Uncle Roger; and Shelley Jackson's Patchwork Gir. In essence, they all comprise works that are quickly becoming lost works of literary art.
P athfinders, the exhibit, showcases the work that Stuart Moulthrop and I have, heretofore, completed on the project -- that is, all of the videotaping of the traversals and interviews for each of the four artists -- and extends it into current experimental work. In that vein, the exhibit is divided into two sections, with early experimental works organized at the front of the space and current work, beyond.
Thus, the exhibit opens with Station 1, entitled "Paths to Digital Literature", featuring four vintage Macintoshes from my lab (The Electronic Literature Lab, or ELL). Here visitors find an Apple IIe displaying Uncle Roger; the Mac Classic featuring Victory Garden; the Mac LC 575, Patchwork Girl; and the LC 580, Uncle Buddy's Phantom Funhouse. The addition of Bill Bly's We Descend to the exhibit, showcased alongside McDaid's work, hints to the next phase of Pathfinders-- a partnership with the University of Maryland's Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities, where Bly's work has been collected. Plans also include the collaboration with the University of Colorado Boulder's Media Archaeology Lab, led by Lori Emerson. As mentioned previously, these five works represent early experiments with digital literature, pioneering efforts by artists that are part and parcel of high art that parallel the impetus to experiment that also occurs in print literature. This particular argument lies at the heart of the exhibit, Electronic Literature & Its Emerging Forms, that Kathi Inman Berens and I curated at the Library of Congress in April 2013, where we showed, for example, the connection between concrete and kinetic poetry, cut up poetry and hypertext, among other ideas.
A t Pathfinders, accompanying each computer in Station 1 will also be an iPad displaying raw video footage from the traversals and interviews taken during the Pathfinders project data collection. This additional material will make it possible for visitors to experience the works, first hand, on the computer on which readers would have originally experienced the work when it was first released and, then, see and hear the artists traverse the work themselves and talk about the production of the work. Culturally and intellectually situating the works in this way aims to provide an enriched intellectual experience for exhibit visitors.
Past this section of the exhibit visitors find "Current Directions" where they discover contemporary experiments with digital literature. As Stuart and I point out at the exhibit website, it is our contention that just as hypertext authoring systems like Storyspace and HyperCard were seen as new technologies that allowed for highly experimental writing in the 1980s and 1990s. [Bolter,2] contemporary technologies like Leap Motion, augmented reality software, and other technologies also lend themselves for compelling experimental literary work.
The process of selection of this section of the exhibit centers on large categories of works and employs terminology that may be familiar to Digital Humanists visiting the exhibit. So, here we find stations entitled "Multimedia Books and Apps", "Immersive Environments", "Participatory Media", "Augmented Reality", "Physical Computing", and "Mixed Mediums". In all cases, we selected only one or a couple of works to highlight, aiming for a small amount of art to exhibit so that visitors can, ostensibly, experience all of the art during the convention. We also feature some new and upcoming artists, who may not yet be well known among those working in electronic literature as well include artists from outside of the U.S. to offer a global perspective. And finally, we have chosen some works that are so new, like Amaranth Borsuk, Kate Durbin, and Ian Hatcher's Abra, that they have come to us in beta versions.
A t Station 2 "Multimedia Books and Apps", visitors find Samantha Gorman & Danny Cannizzaro's PRY, Amaranth Borsuk, Kate Durbin, & Ian Hatcher's Abra, and Andreas Muller's "For All Seasons". Displayed on iPads, these works represent new forms of digital publication. While multimedia books can have close resemblances to websites, apps represent the first born-digital object with no corresponding print cognate. From this perspective, they constitute compelling objects of critical study, particularly as an environment for literary production. Station 3 "Immersive Environments" offers Christine Wilks and Andy Campbell's Inkubus, an interactive playable narrative that utilizes both 2 and 3D technologies for immersing readers in the work. Station 4 "Participatory Media" highlights Jay Bushman's tweeting of Mike Daisey's performance piece, The @gony @nd the Ecst@sy of Steve Jobs, and, so, represents a work of twitterature, the first featured at a MLA exhibit. At Station 5 "Augmented Reality", visitors will find Jacob Garbe's Closed Rooms, Soft Whispers, a work that brings together analog and digital into a haunting virtual experience. Station 6 "Physical Computing" hosts Josh Tanenbaum and Karen Tanenbaum's The Reading Glove. I experienced a version of this work at the International Digital Media and Arts Association conference in Vancouver, Canada in 2011, where, at the time, both artists were graduate students studying at Simon Fraser University. While the original offered a tabletop interface with which to interact with the objects, this portable version, created especially for the Pathfinders exhibit, utilizes a computer screen. Finally, Station 7 "Mixed Mediums" offers both Erik Loyer's Leap Motion experiment with physical gestures and digital narrative, "Breathing Room", and Jason Nelson's experiment with speech and text, Speech/Media_To_Text_Poetry_Translation.
W hile critical work in the Humanities has traditionally occurred in the context of an essay aimed at a print publication, the critical work represented by the Pathfinders exhibit is centrally situated in the context of an activity. In this regard, it is both showing and telling about one's research. In so doing, it places a heavy emphasis on empirical, direct experience with objects as they combine with other objects in the exhibit space, with other human observers experiencing the objects, and with objects' and observers' relationship with the physical environment in which they are found; writing that generates from this activity serves as documentation of that primary intellectual activity and articulates, scriptually, the theoretical underpinnings and methodologies used to produce and execute the activity that is implicit in the act of curation. In essence, what Pathfinders seeks to demonstrate is an important concept in Digital Humanities -- that doing is not separate from thinking.
Stuart and I hope if you are planning to attend the MLA 2014 Convention in Chicago that you will visit our Pathfinders exhibit and experience, firsthand, our research into past and present experimental digital literature.
1. Burdick, Anne, Johanna Drucker, Peter Lunenfeld, Todd Presner and Jeffrey Schnapp, Digital_Humanities. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012. p. 17 (my emphasis)
2. Bolter, Jay, Writing Space: Computers, Hypertext, and the Remediation of Print, Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1991. p. 23
Pathfinders: Documenting the Experience of Early Digital Literature
129th MLA Annual Convention
Digital Humanities at MLA 2014
Winter 2013 Featured Work:
J. R. Carpenter conducts the Hermit Crab Reading Choir, in which, members read Excerpts of the Chronicles of Pookie & JR in a round, at the launch of GENERATION[S], a collection of code narratives, published by Traumawien. Cabaret Fledermaus, Vienna.
J. R. Carpenter is a Canadian artist, performer, poet, novelist, new media writer and researcher, based in South Devon, England. She began using the Internet as a medium for the creation and dissemination of non-linear narratives in 1993.
Since that time, her work has been presented in journals, festivals, and museums around the world, including the Electronic Literature Collection, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art; Montréal Museum of Fine Arts; Istanbul Contemporary Art Museum; The Art Gallery, Tasmania; The University of Maryland; Jyväskylä Art Museum, Finland; Palazzo delle arti Napoli in Naples, Kipp Gallery, Indiana University of Pennsylvania; E-Poetry, Barcelona, Spain; the Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, England; and The Banff Centre, Canada. She is a two-time winner of the Quebec Short Story competition, recipient of the Carte Blanche Quebec Award, and recipient of research and production grants in literature and in new media from the Conseil des Arts de Montréal, Conseil des arts et des lettres du Quebéc and Canada Council for the Arts.
J.R. Carpenter's work is interesting and entertaining, creatively using software and narrative to take the reader on explorations of community, animal companions, and the lives of writers and artists. In Chronicles of Pookie and JR, she adapts a story generator, written in Python by Nick Montfort, to tell a story of hermit-crab human interactions, in this case her adventures with Ingrid Bachmann's hermit crab Pookie, also known as Pookie 14.
Story generators use a variety of computer-mediated composition systems to create poetry or narrative. For instance, they may generate plot or characters, or they may ask users to input text that is the systematically recontextualized, creating, as in Excerpts from the Chronicles of Pookie and JR, a software-mediated story.
For more about J.R. Carpenter and how this work was created, visit Excerpts from the Chronicles of Pookie & JR page on Authoring Software.
November 2013 Featured Work:
Aaron A. Reed is the author of award-winning works of interactive fiction, (IF) including Whom the Telling Changed (2005) and Blue Lacuna, (2009) an IndieCade finalist, and his new work includes 18 Cadence, an iPad storymaking platform. His work has been exhibited/published at the 2010 Electronic Literature Organization Conference at Brown University; the (dis)junctions Media Festival at UC Riverside; the UC Santa Cruz Digital Arts Research Center, and the Electronic Literature Collection, Volume I, among others. He is the author of Creating Interactive Fiction with Inform 7.(Course Technology PTR, 2010)
In his work, Aaron Reed continues to experiment with new forms of electronic literature and participatory storytelling, creating a series of new works that include his recent a full length IF novel Blue Lacuna. In his statement for Authoring Software, he describes the creation of Blue Lacuna, focusing particularly on levels of interaction and how they enhance the user experience.
"All of these levels of flexibility hopefully allow the story to be about different things to different people;" he writes, "readers should feel more complicit in the outcome of the narrative through realizing that they had a hand in shaping how things turned out. My hope is that work like this actively engages the audience in acts of self-reflection, creating stories that don't just talk at their readers, but listen, too."
For more about how Blue Lacuna was created, visit Aaron Reed's page on Authoring Software.
New Authoring Software Statement, October 2013
María Mencía is an artist-researcher and Senior Lecturer in New Media Theory and Digital Media Practice in the School of Performance and Screen Studies at Kingston University, London. Encompassing language, visual art, and sound, her work in digital poetics is experimental, textual, and generative. It has been presented, exhibited, and published internationally, including the International Symposium on Electronic Art; (ISEA) onedotzero; Electronic Language International Festival; (FILE) International Contemporary Art Fair, Madrid; (ARCO) Computers in Art and Design Education; (CADE) Caixaforum; E-Poetry 2013; Cherchez le Texte, the 2013 Conference of the Electronic Literature Organization, Paris; the TATE Modern; the Electronic Literature Collection; and the Anthology of European Electronic Literature.
In her words:
"As an artist academic for 14 years, I have been researching in the fields of digital art, digital poetics, language, and new media. My background in Fine Art and Linguistics has influenced my practice-based research and creative projects interconnecting language, art, and digital technology. It explores the area of the in-between the visual, the aural and the semantic. I am always interested in experimenting with the digital medium with the aim of engaging the reader/viewer/user in an experience of shifting 'in' and 'out' of language. This involves looking 'at' and looking 'through' transparent and abstract textualities and linguistic soundscapes."
In Birds Singing Other Birds Songs, she explores a translation process in which the songs of birds are translated into language and then translated back to bird songs via the human voice. In the resultant work, the viewer interactively sets animated bird shapes in motion. Creating an innovative user-controlled experience, they sing the sound of their own text, while flying across the blue-sky screen.
Visit María Mencía's
Featured Authoring Software Statement, October 2013
Megan Heyward is a digital media artist who works at the intersection of narrative and new technologies. Her electronic literature projects -- I Am A Singer and of day, of night of day, of night -- have been widely exhibited in Australia and internationally, including MILIA New Talent Pavilion; (France) ISEA02; (Japan) Festival of Cinema and New Media; (Canada) Electrofringe; (Australia) Contact Zones; (USA) Videobrasil; (Brazil) Viper; (Switzerland), Stuttgarter Filmwinter; (Germany) and ELO2012. (USA) Of day, of night was published by Eastgate Systems in 2005.
A Senior Lecturer in Media Arts and Production at the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia, Megan Heyward is currently working with narrative and locative technologies, as well as early stage development of a new electronic literature project for tablet devices.
For Authoring Software she describes the creation of her evocative new media narrative of day, of night.
"Conceived as an experimental digital narrative, of day, of night interweaves video, text, graphic and audio elements in a hybrid storytelling environment that moves between literary, cinematic and game-like approaches," she writes to begin her statement.
And she notes that "The work sought to be an enveloping, responsive, multimodal narrative -- one which responded to touch, made sounds, one where text would shimmer and undulate; as well as a work that made space, from a narrative perspective, for ideas of uncertainty, indecision, wandering and chance."
Visit Megan Heyward's statement on of day, of night to find out more.
On the October 2013 Authoring Software Twitter Page, listings -- of Twitter poetry, narrative and netprov -- include, among many others:
Jay Bushman: "Loose-Fish #1: The Good Captain"
The Twitter Page also documents Twitter resources, such as:
Adeline Koh, "Twitter in a Higher Education Classroom: An Assessment"
To find out more, visit the October 2013 Authoring Software
Chercher le texte:
S et in Paris, Cherchez le texte, the 2013 Conference of the Electronic Literature Organization, (ELO) will bring to the public and the International digital literature community a multitude of forms of digital literature presented in exhibitions, performances, documentation, and panels/critical discussion -- beginning with a session on French digital poetry and also including two sessions on "Electronic Literature as World Literature".
Dominant themes at the heart of the Conference are:
A desire to present to a large public the many forms of electronic literature that have developed internationally
The presentation of historic genres of electronic literature, such as hyperfiction and generative poetry, in conjunction with contemporary genres and platforms of contemporary electronic literature, for example, the touch pad works by Collectif i-Trace, Caitlin Fisher, and Erik Loyer that are included in the exhibition
And the lineage of electronic literature in relationship to the work of younger practitioners
Cherchez le texte, the first ELO Conference to be held in Europe, is hosted by the Laboratoire Paragraphe and the EnsAD. (Ecole nationale suprieure des Arts Décoratifs) The organizing committee is chaired by Professor Philippe Bootz, (Paris 8) who is the co-founder of L.A.I.R.E, a French collective in digital literature and Transitoire Observable, an international collective in programmed poetry.
T he official languages of the conference will be French and English. In their words:
"Au cours d'une semaine intense de débats, performances, conférences et expositions, la littérature numérique s'offre à lire, à voir, à entendre, à jouer et à toucher en divers lieux culturels parisiens."
"The ELO is a family made up of hundreds of people distributed around the world but united by a love of electronic literature and experimental writing," observes incoming ELO President Dene Grigar, Director and Associate Professor of the Creative Media & Digital Culture Program at Washington State University Vancouver. "And so what I like about ELO 2013 Cherchez le texte is that it introduces the idea of an annual conference. We can now come together more frequently to reconnect and to share our ideas and work. It is a celebration of our family in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, one with a rich tradition of experimental literature, where electronic literature will be completely at home."
ELO Vice President and Director of West Virginia University's Center for Literary Computing, Sandy Baldwin points out that the conference will also be an excellent showcase for French electronic literature, as well as for emerging writers and scholars.
There is a long tradition of e-lit, particularly generative and algorithmic poetry and narrative in France, with its own unique characteristics, he explains. "As to young scholars and artists: many of the presenters are new faces, doing brilliant work, and looking at e-lit in new ways. In the end, this is the most important thing a conference can do -- keep the field fresh."
Launched under the leadership of the Laboratoire Paragraphe, (Universitè Paris 8) the Excellence Arts-H2H Lab, and Laboratory Music and Computer Marseille, Cherchez le texte is one of the most important international events of digital literature ever to have been organized in France.
"A lot of the credit goes to Professor Philippe Bootz of the University of Paris 8. (Saint Denis) Bootz and his colleagues worked hard to schedule events at tremendous venues, and of course Paris is full of amazing locations," Sandy Baldwin emphasizes. "We're starting with performances at the Pompidou Museum, followed by a day of presentations at the Bibliothè que Nationale de France. (BNF) The main conference events are at EnsAD, with additional performances at Le Cube. In all, these are tremendous showcases for e-lit, and the organization is honored to be featured in these venues."
E LO 2013 will be followed by ELO 2014 in Milwaukee, and then the conference will return to Europe for ELO 2015 in Bergen Norway. "And hopefully we'll eventually hold conferences in Australia, South American, and elsewhere," Badwin notes.
Exhibitions and a Series of Performances Present Electronic Literature Throughout Paris
Les littèratures numèriques d'hier á demain
O rganized by le laboratoire Musique et Informatique de Marseille (MIM) in collaboration with le Labo BnF, (Bibliothèque Nationale de France François-Mitterand) and le labex ARTS-H2H de l'universitè Paris 8, among others, the exhibition Les littèratures numèriques d'hier á demain will open on September 24 at le Labo BnF and run until December 1, 2013.
The gallery will feature digital poetry created for the exhibition by Brian Barrachina, Douglas Duteil, Cassandra Ribotti, as well as Amaranth Borsuk and Brad Bouse's Between Page and Screen.
The concurrent virtual gallery includes an international selection of web-based works of electronic literature.
Illya Szilak: title page from Queerskins. The title page includes images by Illya Szilak and Pelin Kirca; graphic design by Cyril Tsiboulski who also created the interactive experience for Queerskins. Queerskins will be on exhibition in the Virtual Gallery, le Labo BnF, through December 1, 2013.
Among many other works, the web-based exhibition at le Labo BnF includes:
M.D. Coverley (USA) Tarim Tapestries
plus works by Mez Breeze and Andy Campbell, J.R. Carpenter, Loss Pequeño Glazier. Jean-François Gleyze, Mark Marino, Mark Sample, Illya Szilak and many others.
Festival Evenings of Performances
D uring Cherchez le texte, a series of elit-based performances will take place at venues including Petite salle du centre Pompidou; BnF François-Mitterand Grand Auditorium; Le Cube, Centre de crèation numèrique; and EnsAD.
Hortense Gauthier and Phillipe Boisnard will perform
Contact / HP Process at Le Cube:
Philippe Bootz will perform his Pong ping poème, a work which is part of his "little poems which are uncomfortable to read" series. In Pong ping poème, 50 texts are read in a random order. But the audio is controlled by a ping pong game, and the performer must win in order to be heard.
Social Media Community - The Resource Continues!
There are many different ways in which social media platforms can be used as authoring systems. They include An Xiao's performative Morse Code Tweets @ The Brooklyn Museum; how Jay Bushman used Twitter-based sequential storytelling to create The Good Captain, based on Benito Cereno by Herman Melville; how Antoinette LaFarge's Plaintext Players have used MOOs to improvise in real time, in her words: "creating a text that was partly written, partly performed"; how Mark Marino and Rob Wittig combined performance and narrative in their netprov Reality:Being @SpencerPratt; and how Dene Grigar used Twitter to produce the collaborative narrative, The 24-Hr. Micro-Elit Project.
Authoring Software begins the Fall 2013 season with a continuing look at the early history of social media platforms in the arts and humanities. .......complete resource
The August 2013 edition of Authoring Software's
Poetry Generators Resource
Looking at e-poetry through the lens of 27 years of creating electronic literature, I would like to celebrate the role of authoring systems as core components in the expression of individual vision -- not only for experienced practitioners but also for students. .......complete text
July 2013 Featured Work:
Writer and code artist Judd Morrissey is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Writing, Art and Technology Studies, and Performance, where he creates electronic literature, performance art, and site-specific installations.
Morrissey's work -- which includes My Name Is Captain, Captain (in collaboration with Lori Talley, Eastgate Systems, 2002) has been exhibited and published Internationally including Visionary Landscapes: the 2008 Electronic Literature Organization Conference, Vancouver, WA; The Iowa Review Web; Eastgate; E-Poetry 2005, London; Cerisy 2004, Normandy, France; Computers and Writing 2004; Language and Encoding, University of Buffalo; p0es1s: International Exhibition of Digital Poetry, Germany; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Rockford Art Museum; Chicago Cultural Center; Mobius, Boston, MA; and the DeCordova Museum. In 2006, Morrissey was a recipient of a Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers' Grant.
He is a founding member of the interdisciplinary art-making and curatorial collective, OPENPORT and an Associate Member of Goat Island performance group.
For Authoring Software, Judd Morrissey writes about the creation of The Last Performance [dot org], a poetic "evolving collaborative space" in which an array of generative text -- collaboratively composed in thousands of "lenses" -- assembles and reassembles in an elegant dome architecture structure.
The Last Performance is a constraint-based collaborative writing, archiving and text-visualization project responding to the theme of lastness in relation to architectural forms, acts of building, a final performance, and the interruption (that becomes the promise) of community.
This project was conceived in response to the work of the Chicago-based performance collective, Goat Island, (of which I am a part) and their decision, after 20 years of practice, to create a last performance. The electronic work is evolving over two years in parallel with the creation and performance of the company's final performance work, The Lastmaker.
The structure of the project is taken from my research with Goat Island into double buildings, a phrase we are using to describe spaces that have housed and survived multiple historical identities, with a specific concern for the functions of churches, mosques, and museums. The central structure of The Last Performance is a virtual dome, based on the cupola of a particular Croatian double building, a construction of circles within circles consisting of 4,680 glass lenses. The lenses of the cupola have been transposed as compositional spaces that will be populated until the dome is complete. The dome writings are also processed as source material to create a constantly evolving textual landscape. .....complete statement
E-Poetry 2013 to be Held at Kingston University, London in June;
F ollowing Festivals in Buffalo, West Virginia, London, Paris, and Barcelona, E-Poetry, a seminal International Festival of digital literature and scholarship, returns to London. Presented by the Buffalo-NY based Electronic Poetry Center, with the support of Kingston University London and the Watermans Art Centre, E-Poetry 2013 will take place from June 17-20 at Kingston University.
"This Festival is intended as a worldwide gathering, different perspectives convening at one time," the Festival notes. "We hope to build connections that are sustainable, energizing, and that reach across disciplines. More importantly, the 'poetry' in 'E-Poetry' does not signal a genre preference but an ORIGIN -- MAKING as a means of realizing art, a delight in digital literary invention. Our emphasis is on the multiple literary and artistic ramifications of digital media writing and its critical reception through extending modes and practices that transcend limits of genre or specific technologies. We celebrate new voices, emergent thoughtful articulation, performance, and cultural breadth in expression."
"every presenter is a keynote"
Poets, scholars and researchers who will present at E-Poetry 2013 include Amaranth Borsuk, Serge Bouchardon, Andy Campbell, John Cayley, Giovanna Di Rosario, Natalia Fedorova, Penny Florence, Leonardo Flores, María Mencía, Nick Montfort, Jason Nelson, Sarah Tremlett, Talon Memmott, Christine Wilks, and Jody Zellen, among many others. Conference presentations also include a pre-festival Pedagogic Colloquium hosted by María Mencía, artist-researcher and Senior Lecturer in New Media Theory and Digital Media Practice in the School of Performance and Screen Studies at Kingston University.
"Every presenter fits nicely and, as always, at E-Poetry -- every presenter is a keynote!" Loss Pequeño Glazier, Director of the Electronic Poetry Center and the E-Poetry festivals, emphasizes.
"Where else do you get so many keynotes, one after another?!"
"....twists and turns with dazzling treats at the end of gorgeously honed paths"
Poet Loss Pequeño Glazier, who is a professor in the Department of Media Study, SUNY Buffalo, is also enthusiastic about the breadth and the open format of the program. "It's got range, style, diverse conversations, threads, themes, motifs; a stunning range of innovative performances; ...it presents twists and turns with dazzling treats at the end of gorgeously honed paths; it's rich with UK presenters; it includes special panels from Russia, on Latin American digital poetry, presentations from Slovenia, Poland, Romania, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Australia, a special guest winging it from Hong Kong, plus we also include Western Europe and North America. Lots of newcomers all around!"
The program also includes presenters from Peru, Iran, Mexico, Greece, Puerto Rico, Latvia, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Norway, Sweden, France, Australia, Canada, and the US. "I am especially excited about the number of women artists and scholars and younger participants, who appear in the program in highly visible places," Glazier notes.
A Pre-Festival Pedagogic Colloquium
E-Poetry 2013 will begin with a pre-festival Pedagogic Colloquium, produced by poet and Kingston University Professor, María Mencía.
Among the professors, poets, and researchers in electronic literature, who will address the practice and theory of electronic literature in the classroom, are:
Serge Bouchardon, University of Technology of Compiègne, France
Other presenters include Amaranth Borsuk, University of Washington, Bothell; Antonella Castelvedere, University Campus Suffolk; Maria Engberg, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden; Zuzana Husárová, Comenius University and Masaryk University, Slovakia; and Talan Memmott, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden.
Words Unstable on the Table
In her words from the catalogue:
"The works in the exhibition touch upon a variety of themes, literary, cultural, social and historical aspects such as; nature, identity, gender, multilingualism, reading, remixing, translation, evanescence, online-communication and digital culture. And they do so by combining different software, programming languages, mobile technology, network possibilities and new media tools, to produce a wide spectrum of creative practice in the form of game like structures, videos, digital-poems, net.art and language new media art." ........ complete story
Taroko Gorge by Nick Montfort
Detail: Nick Montfort: Taroko Gorge
It wasn't too long afterwards that Scott Rettberg appropriated Nick's authoring system and created the urban intervention "Tokyo Garage". Scott was followed by J.R. Carpenter, whose "Whisper Wire" transported the landscape to the age of technology.
And an electronic literature community tradition had begun.
There were subsequently a series of works that in response, Nick lined through. (although they were still visible)
They included, among others:
Offering the potential for student exploration of the uses of an elegant authoring system,Taroko Gorge -- rooted in landscape description, constantly changing -- succeeds because Montfort carefully planned the flow of the work and created meaningful data sets (allowing, for instance, for transitive verbs and imperfect verbs) and in the process created a resonant, contemporary poetry array that inspired collaborative response.
The resultant eliterature community works have been reviewed by Leonardo Flores at http://academic.uprm.edu/flores/transmogrify.html, accompanied by his own remix of the poets and the process.
And/or, visit Taroko Gorge by Nick Montfort et. al.
Detail: Judy Malloy:
Scholars Contemplate the Irish Beer
Below are archived statements create during the 2008 Electronic Literature Organization Conference and during the 2008 Seminar on Electronic Literature in Europe Many of these statements will be retooled with separate pages in 2014.
Swiss new media artist/researcher Stefan Müller Arisona works with real-time multimedia systems and live multimedia composition and performance software. His audio-visual performance narratives have been shown and performed internationally. Currently a post-doctoral researcher at the Chair for Information Architecture of ETH Zurich, Switzerland, his research includes the development of the Soundium multimedia performance platform; (with Steve Gibson) as well as mathematical modeling for the performance of musical gestures and interactive software systems for urban design and simulation. He is co-editor, with Randy Adams and Steve Gibson, of Transdisciplinary Digital Art - Sound, Vision and the New Screen
The work he performed at the 2008 Electronic Literature Organization Conference in Vancouver, WA is a 21st Century reenactment of The Exploding Plastic Inevitable a seminal multimedia work that was originally created and performed by Andy Warhol with Lou Reed's The Velvet Underground and Nico in the 1960's.
More information: San Francisco Performance of Exploding, Plastic & Inevitable at Swissnex
Exploding, Plastic & Inevitable
Since Steve Gibson and I are going to present the Exploding, Plastic & Inevitable show (also accompanied by a live audio and visuals workshop) during the conference, it might be best to give some background for the software used there.
Authoring tools we're using
audio: Ableton Live
Steve may have to add a few things, he did a lot of custom stuff for other projects, such as Virtual DJ.
At this point I can give more information about the custom software Soundium:
Soundium is a research multimedia authoring and processing framework. It has been used for many live visuals performances and several digital art installations. However, it is not really an "end user product" and requires a quite a bit of multimedia processing knowledge in order to use it.
written in java and c++, and based on open source software: linux, gcc, x11, ffmpeg, etc.
available for free download
Alan Bigelow combines images, text, audio and video to create interactive web-based digital fictions that address contemporary issues including philosophy, religion and the uses of mass media.
His work has been published and/or exhibited at Turbulence.org; Los Angeles Center for Digital Arts; Freewaves; Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center; The New River; and E-Poetry 2007.
A Professor in the Humanities Department at Medaille College in upstate NY, he was recently a visiting online lecturer in Creative Writing and New Media at De Montfort University, UK
What They Said
What They Said (2008) is an online work which is a commentary on mass media and its use of authoritarian messages, both outright and subliminal, to influence culture and political will. The work is created in Flash and uses a synthesized combination of text, images, video, and audio; its interface is a hybrid of television and radio visual elements intended to enhance the user experience and require their participation in the viewing of the work.
What They Said is meant not just as a commentary on mass media, and how it is used, both intentionally and by media programmers' blind acquiescence to current political paradigms, to distort meaning and manipulate citizens worldwide. It also suggests our own culpability, as the ones who turn on the media devices and listen to the messages. We bear some responsibility for the perpetuation of these messages, and we are the ones, if we have the will, to turn them off.
To progress through What They Said, the viewer must first turn on the media "device." They then use a slider, reminiscent of an old-style radio channel indicator, to "read" the various messages. These messages--instructions for work, family life, cultural beliefs, and aesthetics--are archetypal in nature and use a linguistic double-speak favored by many governments, present and past. The viewer's choice of messages is random, snatched, using the slider, from the static ether visually (and auditorially) presented in the piece. When the last message is read, the piece automatically generates a short closing visual followed by a subtitle. Total viewing time is approximately five minutes.
This work, like all my other work, was created in Flash, with imported files that were edited in Sound Studio and Photoshop. Flash is a very resilient and robust application that is relatively easy to learn and remarkably obedient to the unusual demands of digital storytelling.
Right now, the most interesting challenge to me (other than creating new work!) is how to move online Flash works into the mainstream of gallery shows. In the United States, at least, it appears that many galleries are not used to considering online works as representative material for exhibitions; when asked, though, many are intrigued and ask to see the work, even when it is not within their usual call for submissions.
Part of their reluctance to accept web works/Net Art is the difficulty of pricing such work for sale. Rhizome.org has a revealing interview with Aron Namenwirth of artMovingProjects on this topic
Steve Ersinghaus is a digital artist, fiction writer, and poet. He is the author with of 100 Days: 100 drawings 100 poems; (with Carianne Mack) Stoning Field; The Life of Geronimo Sandoval; and the hypertext poem That Night. (Drunken Boat, Spring 2009)
Steve Ersinghaus earned his Masters in Fine Arts from the University of Texas-El Paso. He teaches writing, literature, and new media at Tunxis Community College in Farmington, Connecticut.
The Life of Geronimo Sandoval
The Life of Geronimo Sandoval, a novel in hypertext, took approximately four years to complete. I had originally begun the work with a fairly conventional plan: to write a book-based novel. I began with an image, two people talking by a river in southern New Mexico, and quickly realized that the novel and its characters wanted a differentform: the novel needed a form appropriate and implicit to the voice of its first person narrator/hero, Ham Sandoval.
I found the form with the help of Eastgate Systems' Storyspace. The initial image of The Life of Geronimo Sandoval became not merely a place to begin writing the novel but an episode within a larger narrative that could appear at any appropriate time given Ham Sandoval's method of storytelling. Storyspace because the appropriate tool to explore Ham Sandoval.
Storyspace is hypertext authoring software. I would also call it an authoring framework. It provides not just the requirements of a word processor or a means of reading and presenting hypertext, but an environment for creating, organizing, revising, visualizing, and distributing hyperlinked works. I could also write the previous sentence this way: Storyspace can be the proper tool for works of art that demand hypertext as an implicit form. What Storyspace provided for Sandoval was a means of finding the voice and logic of the narrative.
In Storyspace's work environment I could find sequences and sections swiftly and accurately and work with multiple writing spaces simultaneously. With Storyspace, the writer may employ a variety of link types to the text as well as control how links behave under certain conditions. Storyspace provides map, chart, and outline views that provide flexible means of examining narrative space. Keyword assignment, search facility, and the ability to import other digital media into the environment make Storyspace a powerful creative tool with ample aesthetic possibilities not just for the study of technology but of the human lifeworld.
Susan M. Gibb holds an A.S. degree in English from Tunxis Community College and is currently supplementing with courses based in Creative Writing, and New Media. She is a writer of fiction as well as non fiction and poetry, has served as editor of otto, the Tunxis literary journal, and has produced and edited a traditional archery magazine sold in the U.S. and abroad. Her workshop session on "The Hypertext Effect: The Transfiguration of Writing and The Writer" was presented at Hypertext 2008 in Pittsburgh, PA.
She is always working on hypertext projects using Storyspace and Tinderbox software and exporting for presentation online, has published some work on her website, Hypercompendia, and is currently participating in 100 Days: Summer 2009, a collaboration of individual artists producing a work each day for 100 days. Susan Gibb also writes online on her websites dedicated to Literature, Writing, Hypertext, New Media forms, and life's "story moments."
My introduction to hypertext was in a contemporary fiction course, and there was a bit of resistance to what appeared to be a jungle of story. However, it intrigued me enough as a writer to want to master not only the reading but the writing of narrative into the hypertext environment.
With the Storyspace program offered by Eastgate Systems in mind, I prepared by planning out what I felt was the perfect story to be told in hypertext. Paths is a story of a couple who fell in love in college and who may or may not have ended up together. What other medium could so entwine the coulda's, woulda's, and shoulda's of such a basic choice in life?
Once I got the Storyspace software, it was a matter of transferring what were basically four paths of stories into the format. Very, very easy to do. Even though the manual is one of the best I'd ever encountered in its pointed instructions and illustrations, the software was so well arranged that it wasn't necessary to consult except for specific maneuvers.
I soon realized that the structure I had envisioned for the story was not using Storyspace to its optimum performance capabilities with its opportunities for exploration into time and character. The excellent Map View was the best to work into as it enabled the placement of the parts within the whole. All the originally planned links were severed and I let the stories flow into each other from more natural intersecting points. Past and present have no certainty in this narrative and the interplay of memory and perspective opened a playground for true character development. 75 writing spaces -- or text boxes -- stretched into 300, all because the event of hypertext invites the author to tarry in an area of the mind that might otherwise be kept from the reader.
I am working on more in the Storyspace software and find that as with the first effort, the format focuses on what is vital to a very small portion of story without hindering the creative flow. Particularly in editing, I've found that the writing improves as it seeks the most concise yet imaginative manner of telling a tale; each box of words being self-contained and asking the writer, as much as the reader, to linger a bit, just as does the form of a poem.
The full journey of writing in Storyspace has been documented in my Hypercompendia weblog and can be read at Storyspace Index
I'll write a poem using pen, paper and beer. I'll use Sound Forge, Soundtracker Pro or Audacity, depending on reverb, to make an MP3 recital. I'll assemble a videocast using the recital, photos processed in Studio Artist (I like it), text in Paint Shop Pro (windows fonts) or the Gimp (unix fonts), in GarageBand (simple) or Final Cut Express (complex). The videocast is posted using iWeb.
Except for videocasts, I prepare web pages using Windows Notepad, because it doesn't exclude things its designers didn't expect.
Ian Hatcher is a writer, musician, and programmer from Seattle. His work has been presented at the 2008 Electronic Literature Organization and Electronic Literature in Europe conferences and published by Counterpath Press.
He is the primary composer for the Chicago-based contemporary dance ensemble The Moving Architects, with whom he performs live.
As of 2009, he is a graduate student in Literary Arts at Brown University.
Signal to Noise, Opening Sources
Some software I've found useful:
Aptana, a free and open-source development suite.
MAMP/LAMP/WAMP, free virtual server software. Indispensable when coding in PHP.
TextMate , unfortunately not free, but the best text editor available for OSX.
Inanimate Alice by Kate Pullinger and Chris Joseph
Photoshop, Premiere, Sound Forge, Acid, Flash
Digital writer Chris Joseph, aka babel, creates electronic literature, multimedia, and interactive art.
Flash; XML, X-Lit
Software: Flash, Sound Forge
Poetic Game Interventions [V.1] [from the Twittermixed Litterature Series]
Twitter and World of Warcraft
Ethan MillerAustralian-based net.artist, Mez Breeze has been creating of Internet-based code poetry and poetic game interventions for fifteen years.
Narrative Units -- http://ethanmiller.name/projects/narrativeunits/:
Code based, networked data visualization
Software tools used: Written in the Python programming language,
Nick Montfort -- http://nickm.com
Lost One: Curveship, Python
Alexander MoutonOne of the first creators of new media literature and a distinguished new media writer, digital artist, and scholar, Baltimore, Maryland native Stuart Moulthrop is the author of the seminal hyperfiction Victory Garden, (Eastgate, 1992), a work that Robert Coover included in the "golden age" of electronic literature.
Flash, HTML, Java Script, Photoshop, Final Cut, Logic, QuickTime
Working with photography, video, bookmaking, sequenced images, and sound, Alexander Mouton creates artists books and electronic works online and in performance and installation situations.
Flight Paths by Kate Pullinger and Chris Joseph
Jim RosenbergBorn in British Columbia and based in London, Kate Pullinger writes for print, digital media, radio, and film. Her recent work includes the multimedia graphic novel Inanimate Alice and the networked narrative Flight Paths.
Stephanie Strickland and Cynthia Lawson JaramilloInteractive poetry pioneer Jim Rosenberg has been working with with non-linear poetic forms since 1966, and his Diagrams Series 4 was published on the seminal Art Com Electronic Network on the WELL. His visually elegant, word-dense, spatial hypertexts -- including Intergrams and The Barrier Frames and Diffractions Through -- are published by Eastgate.
Vniverse - http://vniverse.com/
slippingglimpse - http://slippingglimpse.org/
Hello World: travels in virtuality
Print book: http://www.rawnervebooks.co.uk/helloworld.html
Free download: http://www.rawnervebooks.co.uk/helloworlddownload.html
LamdaMoo: telnet://lambda.moo.mud.org:8888 type 'co guest' to connect
Born and based in England, writer/new media writer Sue ThomasEugenio Tisselli
Screen: Cave Writing;
Role Playing Games
Joel WeishausNewmedia writer and scholar Noah Wardrip-Fruin is a co-creator of Screen, a virtual reality narrative on the walls of a room-sized space. "Memory texts appear on the Cave's walls, surrounding the reader. Then words begin to come loose. The reader finds she can knock them back with her hand, and the experience becomes a kind of play - as well-known game mechanics are given new form through bodily interaction with text." he writes to describe this work in Screen (2002-present).
The Way North: Dreamweaver; Photoshop
Mirror site: http://www.cddc.vt.edu/host/weishaus/North/Intro.htm
Nanette WyldeBorn in New York City, writer, critic, digital artist Joel Weishaus has lived and worked in the West -- the San Francisco Bay Area, Taos, Albuquerque -- for many years. He now makes his home in Portland, Oregon.
The Qi Project, 2008
Flash, Final Cut, Perl, CGI
Born in California, Nanette Wylde lives in Redwood City and Chico, California. Her language-centered work includes artists books, interactive net art, and audio-visual textual narrative.
last update July 1, 2014
Writers and Artists
Silvia Stoyanova and Ben Johnston