Quick link — the pioneering electronic literature author Deena Larsen has been putting together a site for high school and introductory college teachers of electronic literature as a creative writing or rhetoric course called Fundamentals: Rhetorical Devices for Electronic Literature that does a great job of describing some of the basics of how the electronic media can change the way that literary artists communicate with their audiences. Nice tool for writing teachers of all stripes.
June 28, 2008
Last month UCSD hosted SoftWhere 2008 — the first software studies workshop in North America. It was a great experience compressed into a short time period, with one afternoon for an overview of the broad variety of work being done by participants and one morning for a set of focused discussions on the state of the field and possible future projects.
Now there are online videos available for a number of the presentations, each in a punchy “Pecha Kucha” style (under 7 minutes). They can be downloaded in QuickTime form at the workshop page and are becoming available on YouTube and in other forms.
June 27, 2008
Remember the Codework workshop at WVU – the one about the relationship between creative writing and programming? Maybe not, but my posts on on Emmett Williams’s IBM Poem and programs Ted Nelson likes were from there. Nineteen short position papers from the workshop are now available online in PDF. Although the index is somewhat uninformative, listing only the participants’ names, there is a good store of material for those interested in investigating what transpired at the workshop. I’m not up to playing favorites right now and suggesting any reading, and I’m certainly not up to writing a summary of all nineteen papers, but please drop a note on here if you find something particularly interesting in this pile. I’ll try to do the same as I revisit these in the future. I know from participating in the workshop that there are a lot of interesting arguments and discussions in there.
June 25, 2008
- Brown is raising Interrput 2008, an electronic literature festival that will run October 17-19.
- Henry Lowood’s article about the Machinima Archive explains some of the value of preserving records of player perfomance. Thanks to Matt Kirschenbaum for the link.
- A growing list of teaching projects that use Inform 7 appears now on Emily Short’s site. Short has been quite busy of late; she has a new biweekly column at Game Set Watch and continues to kick out the reviews for Play This Thing. Her game Metamorphoses has also been translated to Russian.
June 21, 2008
As part of his recent research, Edgar Huang of the Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis School of Informatics has posted a list of (currently) 170 new media programs in the US that offer a bachelor’s degree or higher. Any program that appeared to declare itself as a new media program was included. For whatever reason, I see that there are some interesting omissions, such as MIT’s Media Lab / Media Arts and Sciences Program and Brown’s Literary Arts program, with its fellowship each year for an electronic writer. (Additionally, in the MIT Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies, we have a digital media option for our undergraduate writing degree, which I suspect makes us a new media program, since a “BFA in Art with a Digital Art Concentration” warrants inclusion on the list.) But aside from the issue of omissions, which are inevitable in any large-scale attempt like this, it’s very interesting to see the range of programs represented, from those focusing on commercial multimedia production to performance-based programs and those growing from the visual arts. Even the term “computer science” makes appearances (two) on the list. Interestingly, given that Noah has spoken about this issue in years past, I can find only two program names on this list that refer to writing or the literary: Virginia Commonwealth University’s Media Art and Text Ph.D. Program, brought to you by VCU’s Department of English, and the Ph.D. in Communication, Rhetoric, & Digital Media from North Carolina State University.
June 13, 2008
On Wednesday June 4th, our Values at Play advisory board met to discuss year two of the VAP project:
Tracy Fullerton (USC, Co-founder and director of the EA Game Innovation Lab), Celia Pearce (Georgia Tech, Director of the Experimental Game Lab), Katie Salen (Parsons, Executive Director of the Gamelab Institute of Play), and Jesper Juul (video game researcher at GAMBIT, MIT), together with myself and Helen Nissenbaum (NYU) and students at the Tiltfactor lab. We discussed
A Review of Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination
Matthew G. Kirschenbaum
The MIT Press
Matt Kirschenbaum’s Mechanisms is an extraordinary investigation into the surfaces the computer writes upon – not screens and paper, but the surfaces inside itself, chief among them the whirling, capacious, and surprisingly robust hard drive. Mechanisms explains how we can see through the myths of digital transience and ephemerality, and through layers of software and hardware abstraction, to understand how bits in digital storage systems can be durable, highly descriptive of writing activity, and shaped by material and formal factors as well as the cultural and economic circumstances of their creation. While other storage technologies (RAM, floppies) and other material aspects of the computer (screen and teletype, data and program) are discussed in the book, the hard disk, pictured on the cover and discussed in historical detail chapter 2, serves as the omphalos of the argument, which continues to sweep across the floppy-disk-based works of digital writing Mystery House, Afternoon: A Story, and Agrippa and to enlighten us about how digital writing is written to disk and read into culture.
June 12, 2008
June 30th is the proposal deadline for “The Future of Writing” — to be held November 6th and 7th at UC Irvine. Proposals are sought for digital art works and electronic literature (there will be an exhibit), individual presentations / demonstrations (15 min), and panels (70 min). The organizers’ interests are broad — as the CFP makes clear:
“The Future of Writing” is a mini-conference (November 6-7, 2008) designed to bring together scholars across the UC system and a cadre of nationally recognized experts to explore how the new communications technologies, particularly the Internet, are challenging previous conceptions of what “writing” is.
June 11, 2008
October 31, 2008, in conjunction with ACM MM 2008 Vancouver, BC, Canada
… In the workshop we will investigate the application and practice of story to multimedia story creation, artificial intelligence and social networks. This workshop would be of interest to those investigating traditional multimedia research involving search and retrieval, content analysis, media summarization and semantics, as well as those researchers developing new forms of story expression, narrative based interface design and user-generated story-sharing platforms. Recent advances in artificial intelligence, knowledge representations, social networks, and technologies for interactive systems point to a reemergence of story models as useful tools for multimedia research. Mechanisms for navigating these representations and constructing and sharing stories from them provide new directions for multimedia, networks and human interface design. Building story systems that are aware of narrative contexts, social dynamics and cultural relevance offers the potential for computer assisted generation, sharing and understanding of stories that are purposefully connected to the lives and experiences of an active audience …
June 9, 2008
I’m pleased to announce that soon, for the first time, two of GTxA’s bloggers will be at the same institution. This summer I’ll be joining Michael in the Computer Science department at UC Santa Cruz!
Like Michael, I was recruited by a search committee headed by regular GTxA commenter Jim Whitehead — who was also the mastermind behind the UC system’s first computer game degree. As UCSC grows in this area, we’re looking forward to developing research relationships with other labs, groups, and companies, both in the SF Bay Area and beyond.
June 8, 2008
As Variety and The Hollywood Reporter relate, Paramount has just reached for its wallet after hearing a pitch for the movie Atari by writers Brian Hecker and Craig Sherman. Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company Appian Way will produce the film, which is to star DiCaprio as Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell. Gamers and others from the Internet comment on Kotaku and Digg.
Ian Bogost and I will be glad to help whip potential moviegoers into a frenzy with our book Video Computer System: The Atari 2600 Platform, which will be out by the beginning of 2009.