A Chicago native who now lives in Norway, Scott Rettberg is Associate Professor of Digital Culture
in the Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies at the University of Bergen.
Beginning with the collaboratively created The Unknown, his innovative works of fiction
and poetry have explored digital narrative structures, and he is the author or
co-author of novel-length works of electronic literature including in addition to The Unknown,
Kind of Blue, and Implementation. His recent work also includes Frequency poems:
poems produced with the Frequency poetry generator.
Scott Rettberg's work has been exhibited at the Beall Center in Irvine California, the Slought Foundation
in Philadelphia, and The Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois, among other online and
art venues in the United States and Europe.
Rettberg is the co-founder and served as the first Executive Director of the non-profit Electronic Literature
Organization and is currently Project Leader of the HERA-funded collaborative research project
ELMCIP: Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice.
Created for and presented at the 2011 Officina del Litterature Electronica exhibition in Naples,
Scott Rettberg's After Parthenope has a central focus on the myth of Parthenope, a story which
plays an important part in the culture of Naples. The work is generative, using artist-derived constructs,
grammatical mapping and randomization algorithms to create a poetic narrative that is never the same.
In the screencast above, which is his Authoring Software statement, he explains
how After Parthenope was created with Processing, an open source programming language
that functions both as an environment for learning computer programming in a visual context
and as a tool for the creation of new media works of art and literature.
In addition to showing the actual code, he details how -- working with information about the culture
of Naples and trigrammic phrases,
among other devices -- he wrote the poetic narrative data which is generated to
form After Parthenope.
In the future he might try do things that are more episodic, i.e. create a string of episodes
with the same framework, Rettberg notes, but he really enjoys working with this type of
You put a lot of work into programming, he concludes,
"but at the end of it when you've done the work, and when you've worked with the variables,
and when you come up with a sort of sense of what type of narrative experience you're prepared to
have, the work really surprises you..."
For more information about Scott Rettberg, visit his website at