If you have an announcement of a faculty job opening in digital media or want to mention an upcoming event (conference, workshop, or symposium), this is the place on Post Position for that. Just leave a comment.
July 9, 2009
Have any works appeared in digital media whose interest goes beyond novelty value? Not yet.
[xyz], a set of interactive poems about space, opened at the Strauss Gallery at Dartmouth College.
Consisting of Four computers / game engine / hardware / sound / custom code / text, the work presents as individual pieces the spatial metaphors inherent within virtual systems and on the grammatical and lexical notions in language itself.
In [xyz], the rules of game playing and the rules for language reside in the same location. Player-readers participate in the dynamic combination of new texts using the fundamental metaphoric system that governs the development of computerized spaces—namely, the 16th Century three dimensional Cartesian coordinate system, with axis lines x, y, and z.
July 8, 2009
Michael Mateas has been selected as the inaugural MacArthur Foundation Endowed Chair for the UC Santa Cruz campus. The MacArthur Chair was established in 2009 for the purpose of supporting research, public service, and teaching that promotes the objectives of the MacArthur Foundation, which include working to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society. Michael was selected for the chair based on his proposal, “Radically Expanding the Expressive Power of Serious Games.” Michael, an Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Santa Cruz, will hold the chair for five years.
The mammoth 10th anniversary issue of the online journal Drunken Boat is now out. I have a piece “Electronic Literature (in Performance)” in the DB Electronic Arts and Literature folio about the work presented at last year’s Electronic Literature in Europe conference, describing many of the works and including video documentation of many of the performances. Jessica Pressman also has an excellent essay, “Charting the Shifting Seas of Electronic Literature’s Past and Present” close reading e-lit from the Drunken Boat archives and discerning emerging genres, and there is a new hypertext poem, “That Night” by Steve Ersinghaus and James Revillini, among other delights. The other folios in the 10th anniversary issue of Drunken Boat include the Mistranslation project, with contributions from a number of digital poets, a huge collection of materials from Black Mountain College, 100 new poems, conceptual fiction, visual poetics, nonfiction, and a folio on arts in Asia. It is less a journal issue than an entire library of interesting literary production. I look forward to exploring it in more depth.
Literactiva is a new blog, in Spanish, about interactive narratives and literature of several types – interactive fiction, games, and digital poetry. Users can rate the different items that authors Grendel Khan and Depresiv have reviewed. Recent reviews brought to my attention a Lovecraftian, epistolary, online game called De Profundis (English page) and the IF Ofrenda a la Pincoya (which you can play online).
July 7, 2009
After some discussion this spring, the contributors to Grand Text Auto (including me) decided to make a change. We noticed that while Nick Montfort had kept up a steady pace of interesting contributions to the blog, the rest of us (four of whom have become parents in the last two years) have been blogging at a much more occasional pace, to the extent that it was no longer really fair to call it a group blog, since Montfort was pulling most of the weight. Nick started his own blog, Post Position, a couple of months back. This does not however mean the end of GTxA altogether. The format of the group blog has changed, and now has begun life as an aggregator of our individual blogs, including this one. We’re also keeping open the possibilities of doing other things as a group, such as the exhibition that was recently at the U of I and previously at the Beall, creative projects or distribution of creative projects, symposia and such. And I think the change from a group blog to an aggregator will be interesting. In the past I’ve used this space in a different way from my posts to GTxA. Maybe more idiosyncratically, or personally. The new GTxA will likely be a mash-up of individual blogging styles. I hope that, if nothing else, the new arrangement will inspire to blog here more than once or twice a year. I should at least be sharing some of the awesome links I share with my friends at facebook.
July 6, 2009
Grand Text Auto, for six years (May 2003-May 2009) a single blog with six co-authors (Mary Flanagan, Michael Mateas, your very own Nick Montfort, Scott Rettberg, Andrew Stern, and Noah Wardrip-Fruin), is now back as an aggregator of four blogs by the original GTxA authors, including this one. Check it out.
July 3, 2009
E McNeill, a friend to Tiltfactor and one of Dartmouth’s own, constitutes the only one-person game making ‘team’ at this year’s Imagine Cup, the world’s premier student technology competition!
He’s a finalist in the Game and Development competition. He is showcasing his game ALTERNEX in Egypt! Follow the proceedings here and follow on twitter at #ImagineCup.
Games are a global medium, and to theorists such as Lisa Nakamura at the Games, Learning, and Society Conference 2009, one cannot separate the construction of digital games into particular cultures and practices. Having one national “essense” or sensibility is entirely fictional, Nakamura notes, because games are very global in their production practices and marketing practices. Nakamura brings up theorist Martin Lister (New Media: A Critical Introduction, 2003 ) to support her position, as Lister notes that “the videogame is the most thoroughly transnational form of popular culture, both as an industry” and “content” such as characters and stories.
July 2, 2009
I’ve been meaning to write something deliberate and detailed about the May 3 Penguicon talk, “Rule-Based Programming in Interactive Fiction,” by Andrew Plotkin (a.k.a. Zarf). And I’m still waiting to do that. I didn’t want to wait any longer to mention the talk on here, though, since it is presented very well in its Web version and will be useful for many people. It’s an intriguing discussion of the other major idea behind Inform 7 – the one that isn’t “natural language” programming. The discussion of how to code interactive fiction is one I’ve been mulling over as I continue to work on Curveship. I think providing first-class representations of actions is very helpful in dealing with some of the problems Zarf addresses, although it doesn’t solve everything by itself. And I think that having representations, within actions, of atomic events (such as exerting force on something and thereby touching it) deals with another of the problems that Zarf mentioned. But I’ll have to leave the extended discussion of that for another post.
The First International Conference on Computational Creativity will be taking place in Portugal on January 7-9 2010. ICCC-X will follow on a decade of smaller-scale workshops and symposia. The call for papers lists the deadline of September 21 for papers, and promises:
The conference will include traditional paper presentations, will showcase the application of computational creativity to the sciences, creative industries and arts, and will incorporate a “show and tell” session, which will be devoted to demonstrations of computational systems exhibiting behaviour which would be deemed creative in humans.
July 1, 2009
Chris Klimas, the hypertext and IF author who runs Gimcrack’d, has just released free versions of Twine for Mac and Windows, along with documentation and several screencasts that explain how the system works and a command-line tool, called “twee,” for working with stories in Twine’s format. Twine is a system for constructing interactive stories using a visual map, not unlike Eastgate Systems’ Storyspace. While it lacks the august heritage of that piece of software, Twine is freely available and free to use for any purpose, even commercially.