July 15, 2006

Expressive Processing

by Noah Wardrip-Fruin · , 12:17 pm

With my early-summer plans completed, I’ve just posted a copy of my dissertation — Expressive Processing: On Process-Intensive Literature and Digital Media — at my revamped personal website. As I write on that page:

This work represents my initial take on a set of topics that I currently wrap up under the heading “expressive processing.” There are two things I particularly mean to get at with this phrase:

  • First, I’m pointing toward a sort of generalization of Michael Mateas’s Expressive AI. In essence, by this I mean that the definition of computational processes is an important aspect of the authoring of digital work (it is a site for authorial expression) and that undertaking this definition from an authorial perspective (rather than through a mysticism of the computer or a particular group of techniques) is a powerful approach.
  • Second, I’m hoping to make clear that the computational processes of digital works express things about their relationship to the wider society — and, especially, the subcultures and materials of science and technology — that simply aren’t visible on the surface. Given this, interpretation of digital works that focuses only on what is visible to (and experienced by) the audience misses an important avenue of investigation.

Right now I’m in the process of taking a step back from the ideas as formulated in my dissertation, as part of the process of putting together a book on this topic. Given that, I’m eager to hear any thoughts from GTxA readers.

Of course, I already have a number of ideas of my own about how the book will differ from the dissertation. For one thing, my own work as an author will play more of a role in the discussion. For another, there will be more discussion of interactive works (the dissertation largely brackets interaction in order to focus on process). I hope to post some draft book material over the coming months…