December 19, 2014

NaNoGenMo 2014: A Look Back & Back

from Post Position
by @ 9:26 pm

There were so many excellent novel generators, and generated novels, last month for NaNaGenMo (National Novel Generation Month).

I thought a lot of them related to and carried on the work of wonderful existing literary projects — usually in the form of existing books. And this is in no way a backhanded complement. My own NaNoGenMo entry was the most rooted in an existing novel; I simply computationally re-implemented Samuel Beckett’s novel Watt (or at least the parts of it that were most illegible and computational), in my novel generator Megawatt (its PDF output is also available). For good measure, Megawatt is completely deterministic; although someone might choose to modify it and generate different things, as it stands it generates exactly one novel. So, for me to say that I was reminded of a great book when I saw a particular generator is pure praise.

December 16, 2014

A “Trope Report” on Stickers

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by @ 3:59 pm

Not literally on stickers, no. This technical report from the Trope Tank is “Stickers as a Literature-Distribution Platform,” and is by Piotr Marecki. It’s just been released as TROPE-14-02 and is very likely to be the last report of 2014. Here’s the abstract:

December 15, 2014

NEH to fund Dartmouth College – University of Maryland Crowdsourcing Workshop

from tiltfactor
by @ 10:00 am

Dartmouth College, in collaboration with the University of Maryland, has received an award for a cooperative agreement from the NEH’s Office of Digital Humanities to fund a workshop, “Engaging the Public: Best Practices for Crowdsourcing Across the Disciplines.”

This project will explore how “crowdsourcing” can encourage wide audiences to engage in humanities projects by participating in and contributing to research. The workshop is tentatively scheduled for May 2015; check the Crowdsourcing Consortium for Libraries and Archives’s website, crowdconsortium.org, for updates.

NEH Press Release
@NEH_ODH

December 11, 2014

My Reading from #! at Google

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by @ 2:15 pm

Video of my #! reading, which I did at Google Boston on December 2, is now online.

I actually forgot to present a few things. I’d wanted to at least show something from both Memory Slam and Renderings. Ah, well.

My Reading from #! at Google

from Post Position
by @ 2:15 pm

Video of my #! reading, which I did at Google Boston on December 2, is now online.

I actually forgot to present a few things. I’d wanted to at least show something from both Memory Slam and Renderings. Ah, well.

December 10, 2014

Renderings (phase 1) Published

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by @ 8:31 pm

For the past six months I’ve been working with six collaborators,

  • Patsy Baudoin
  • Andrew Campana
  • Qianxun (Sally) Chen
  • Aleksanda Małecka
  • Piotr Marecki
  • Erik Stayton

To translate e-lit, and for the most part computational literature works such as poetry generators, into English from other languages.

Cura: The Renderings project, phase 1

After a great deal of work that extends from searching for other-langauge pieces, through technical and computing development that includes porting, and also extends into the more usual issues assocaited with literary translation, the first phase of the Renderings project (13 works translated from 6 languages) has just been published in Fordham University’s literary journal, Cura.

December 9, 2014

Megawatt, the Paperback, Can Be Bought

from Post Position
by @ 7:53 pm

… from the Harvard Book Store.

And if it’s digital data you’re craving, it’s also available for free as a PDF and as an EPUB. And the code that generated these books is free software.

#! Reviewed in Galatea Resurrects 23

from Post Position
by @ 7:44 pm

Two pieces on my book #! have just come out in Galatea Resurrects (A Poetry Engagement), number 23.

John Bloomberg-Rissman’s review.

Eileen Tabios’s engagement.

December 8, 2014

Weekend with the Gallimaufry: University of Edinburgh Collection Added to Metadata Games

from tiltfactor
by @ 7:00 am

The University of EdinburghTiltfactor Lab: Game Design for Social Change!

Tiltfactor and the University of Edinburgh, Library and University Collections are excited to announce the addition of over 3,300 images from the University of Edinburgh to Metadata Games. This collection, a miscellaneous “gallimaufry” (a confused jumble or medley) of digitized items from Special Collections, displays the sheer variety and breadth of material held by the Centre for Research Collections.

Metadata Games is a free and open source (FOSS) crowdsourcing gaming platform that entices players to visit archives and explore humanities content while contributing to vital records. The suite enables archivists to gather and analyze information for digital media archives in novel and exciting ways. Metadata Games contains tens of thousands of media items from over 40 collections represented by 10 institutions.

December 5, 2014

Crowdsourcing Consortium for Libraries and Archives to Host Webinar on Funding

from tiltfactor
by @ 2:11 pm

Crowdconsortium.org

On December 11, 2014 at 12pm EST, the Crowdsourcing Consortium for Libraries and Archives (CCLA) will hold its second 1-hour webinar titled, “Scoping and Funding Crowdsourcing Projects.” This webinar, hosted in conjunction with the OCLC, will explore how researchers, as well as libraries, museums and archives, interested in studying or using crowdsourcing techniques can seek funding for their ideas.

Crowdsourcing in the humanities is an emerging new area for museums, libraries, and archives. The CCLA was formed with the goal to unite leading-edge technology groups in libraries and archives as well as humanities scholars and scholars from the sciences in a conversation about best practices, shared toolsets, and strategies for using crowdsourcing.

December 2, 2014

The News in Verse

from Post Position
by @ 11:29 am

Robert Pinsky writes the first installment, noting the recent death of poet Mark Strand.

I didn’t ever properly meet Strand, but I know many of his poems well and I went to one his art openings and saw him there. His work is mostly surrealist and nostalgic, not my usual cup of joe – and yet I found much of it quite appealing and memorable.

December 1, 2014

This Speculative Musing

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by @ 8:44 pm

Exists! The Trope Tank.

An idea about libraries...

(It’s from this book.)

Some Houses of Dust

from Post Position
by @ 7:37 pm

Zach Whalen pointed out that it would probably be interesting to compare the reimplementations of A House of Dust that he did early this year and that I did more recently. Whalen’s work to reimplement historical systems is really excellent, by the way, and I in fact showed his animated GIF of “Kick that Habit Man” when I premiered Memory Slam, including a workalike of Gysin and Sommerville’s program and my version of the Knowles and Tenney poem, at NYU ITP’s Code Poetry Slam.

Megawatt Incarnate

from Post Position
by @ 5:46 pm

Just as Pinocchio became a real boy, so Megawatt (my generated novel for NaNoGenMo 2014) has become a real book.

Megawatt bound (the proof)

Megawatt interior

The book will be for sale within a few days from the Harvard Book Store.

November 30, 2014

Z-Machine Implemented in Hardware

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by @ 9:25 pm

It happened to some extent with LISP, which certainly started out as a software programming language, and the LISP machines, which supported the language with hardware features.

Now, the Z-Machine, which was probably the first commercial virtual machine, developed in 1979 by Joel Berez and Marc Blank for Infocom, has been implemented in hardware using an FPGA. The Verilog code is available, so you can make your own if you like.

It all goes to show you … there is no software.

A Great Platform Studies Answer

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by @ 1:27 pm

To how software keeps getting better and graphics get better-looking on the same old consoles.

Note that for the Atari VCS / Atari 2600, only answers #3 and #4 apply, since developers didn’t use “engines” or even compilers, instead writing their code in assembly langauge. (Presumably the assemblers didn’t improve much over the years.) Also, the VCS had no firmware, flashable or otherwise; although refined versions of the hardware were produced over the years, such as the Atari 2600 Jr., such systems were optimized for cheaper manufacturing and didn’t improve performance.

November 29, 2014

#! Coverage at MIT – Next Reading at Google

from Post Position
by @ 8:56 pm

Arts at MIT has a nice new article about my book #!, one that is very aptly titled. It’s by Sharon Lacey. I read from the book at the List Visual Arts Center at MIT on October 22.

My next reading, on December 2, will be at Google in the Authors@Google series.

News Flash: Flash News!

from Post Position
by @ 1:27 pm

There’s a nice article up at The Atlantic about Flash, written by the two authors of the new Platform Studies book, Anastasia Salter and John Murray. Their new book, I’ll remind you, is Flash: Building the Interactive Web.

Megawatt

from Post Position
by @ 11:13 am

The fruits of my National Novel Generation Month (NaNoGenMo) labors are now online; the Megawatt generator is available as a single 350-line Python file, while the novel it deterministically generates can be obtained as a PDF, megawatt.pdf or in epub format, megawatt.epub. From the program’s docstring and from the preface to the book:

Megawatt is the title of both a computer program, the source code
to which you may be reading, and the output of this program, which in
many ways like a standard novel and which you may instead be reading.
This note appears at the beginning of both.

November 27, 2014

A Gysin & Sommerville Question

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by @ 11:30 am

I recently released Memory Slam, a set of four reimplementation of classic text generators. I did them over in JavaScript and in Python in the hopes that people would easily be able to play around with them, modify them, and understand them better through this sort of use. I’ve seen a few cases in which this has been done already, but first off, please let me know if you’ve posted modified versions of these, as I would love to see more. The license terms do not oblige you to do so, of course, they are licensed as free software. I’m just asking.

November 26, 2014

World Clock Punches in on The Verge

from Post Position
by @ 2:45 pm

Some kind comments about World Clock and NaNoGenMo in the article “The Strange World of Computer-Generated Novels” by Josh Dzieza.

Nick Montfort’s World Clock was the breakout hit of last year. A poet and professor of digital media at MIT, Montfort used 165 lines of Python code to arrange a new sequence of characters, locations, and actions for each minute in a day. He gave readings, and the book was later printed by the Harvard Book Store’s press. Still, Kazemi says reading an entire generated novel is more a feat of endurance than a testament to the quality of the story, which tends to be choppy, flat, or incoherent by the standards of human writing.

November 24, 2014

Faculty Job in Games Research at UCSC

I’m pleased to announce that the newly-formed Computational Media department at UC Santa Cruz is advertising an open-rank faculty position in interdisciplinary computer games research. As the official job flier puts it, our ideal candidate is someone “connecting novel technology research with practices of design and/or interpretation.”

I’m excited by the great community we’re building around games research, and computational media broadly, at UC Santa Cruz. This includes two key hires in the Arts this year (Robin Hunicke and Susana Ruiz) and the founders of the new MS in Games and Playable Media (Brenda Romero and John Romero) hired last year, as well as the pre-existing CM faculty (Arnav Jhala, Michael Mateas, Sri Kurniawan, Marilyn Walker, Jim Whitehead, and yours truly) and other faculty in the Center for Games and Playable Media (e.g., Brenda Laurel, Soraya Murray).

November 23, 2014

Interactive Fiction Meetup at MIT, Again, Tomorrow

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by @ 12:27 pm

The People’s Republic of Interactive Fiction meets once again tomorrow (Monday 2014-11-24) in its regular meeting-place, the Trope Tank. We meet at 6:30 in MIT’s room 14N-233.

There is much to discuss and celebrate, such as the conclusion of the IF Comp – congrats to Sean M. Shore for his 1st place game Hunger Daemon, and to all the other winners. Besides that there’s the recent release of Hadean Lands by PR-IF stalwart Andew Plotkin. And, today there’s a front-page New York Times article about IF, and Twine games specifically. I’m sure I forgot some things we have to celebrate, so come by to see what those things are.

November 19, 2014

#! in San Antonio Fri 11/21 – #! in Austin Sat 11/22

from Post Position
by @ 12:58 pm

I’m doing two Central Texas readings from my book of programs and poems #! this weekend:


San Antonio: The Twig Book Shop

Friday, Nov 21 at 5pm
The Twig Book Shop
in The Pearl (306 Pearl Parkway, Suite 106)


Austin: Monkeywrench Books

Saturday, Nov 22 at 4pm
Monkeywrench Books
(110 N Loop Blvd E)

ATNE Salon Today in Boston: Reditions of Artworks

from Post Position
by @ 12:47 pm

Today I’ll offer a discussion of porting and translation in computational art and literature at the ATNE Salon, Boston Cyberarts Gallery. The event’s at 7:30pm; the gallery is in the Green Street T Station, on the Orange Line in Jamaica Plain.

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