March 29, 2011

An Amazing Linked List

from Post Position
by @ 6:02 am

I strongly encourage those of you who haven’t seen it yet to check out Brian Kim Stefans’s Introduction to Electronic Literature: a freeware guide.

Right now it is “just” a list of links to online resources, from Futurism through 2010, that are relevant to understanding different important aspects of electronic literature – making it, reading it, sorting through different genres, and understanding its historical connects.

March 28, 2011

Practice Safe Public Art

from Post Position
by @ 7:23 pm


(Seen at a university in Cambridge, MA – not MIT or Lesley University.)

Keynote, Papers Announced for ICCC-11

from Post Position
by @ 3:50 pm

The 2011 International Conference on Computational Creativity will be held in Mexico City April 27-29. We now have information on the keynote address by Prof. George E. Lewis, “Improvising With Creative Machines: Reflections on Human-Machine Interaction.” And, there’s a list of accepted papers and demos. I’m looking forward to seeing those of you who are presenting at the end of April in Mexico City. And if any others with an interest in the field can make it to the gathering and be part of the discussion, attend the presentations, and learn about systems through demos, please do!

New Media history book launches

from tiltfactor
by @ 12:47 pm

The long awaited Context Providers, edited by Margot Lovejoy, Christiane Paul, and Victoria Vesna has just been released from Intellect Press! Context Providers explores the ways in which digital art and culture are challenging and changing the creative process and our ways of constructing meaning.

The authors introduce the concept of artists as context providers—people who establish networks of information in a highly collaborative creative process, blurring boundaries between disciplines. Technological change has affected the function of art, the role of the artist, and the way artistic productions are shared,
creating a need for flexible information filters as a framework for establishing meaning and identity. Context Providers considers the work of media artists today who are directly engaging communities through collaboration, active dialogue, and challenging creative work.

My Curveship Talk at PAX-East 2011

from Post Position
by @ 6:34 am

I gave a talk about Curveship in the “IF Suite” (actually an ordinary hotel room with a few upturned beds, not a suite) at PAX-East 2011 earlier this month. It was great to present to fellow IF author/programmers from around the world at this event, which was effectively the second annual Festival of Interactive Fiction. The IF Summit was organized by Andrew Plotkin, a.k.a. Zarf, once again this year. Thanks to Jason McIntosh, there’s pretty good-quality video (very good, considering the ramshackle setup) of the first 22.5 minutes of my talk:

Nick Montfort on Curveship at PAX-East 2011: Watch on Vimeo

March 25, 2011

La Muchacha y el Lobo

from Post Position
by @ 8:50 am

In 2001, Beehive was the first Web publication to print a creative digital media piece of mine, “The Girl and the Wolf.” I had written this story back in 1997 in Janet Murray’s Interactive Narrative class at MIT. (These days, I teach this class here at MIT.) It was strongly inspired by the readings of folk tales we had done in Henry Jenkins’s Children’s Literature class. “The Girl and the Wolf” is a very early creative piece of mine, but I remain pleased with the systematic concept and with what I wrote. It’s a simple arrangement of nine versions of a story, allowing the levels of sex and violence to be increased independently. With some contemporary references and a few other turns of phrase, I introduced only a few deviations from well-known folkloric versions of the Little Red Riding Hood story.

March 24, 2011

POX: Save The People is Launched!

from tiltfactor
by @ 8:56 am

Our new board game, POX, was officially released at the New Hampshire Immunization Conference in Manchester NH this week!

Sukie and Max

Tiltfactor project manager SukdithPunjasthitkul and our über intern Max Seidman were on hand to explain gameplay, playtest with educators and public health officials, and discuss the design process.

Max Seidman shows folks how to play POX

Our partners in the planning and design process, Mascoma Valley Health Initiative, was awarded the 2011 NH Dept of Health and Human Services / Public Health Service “Excellence in Immunization Partnerships.” Edward Ihejirika of MVHI picked up the award in person.

March 20, 2011

Death and the Powers Permieres in the U.S.

from Post Position
by @ 7:31 pm

Death and the Powers had a brilliant and resonant U.S. premiere on Friday at the Cutler Majestic in Boston. I’ve been looking forward to the opera’s completion, and then to its coming to the U.S., for several years. My mentor from the B.U. poetry program, Robert Pinsky, wrote the libretto, and my current colleague Tod Machover composed the opera. Congratulations to all those who put this production together, including Tod’s Opera of the Future group at the Media Lab. Death and the Powers is technically intricate and thematically ambitious, and all of that came together perfectly. (Image source.)

Critical Play Method

from tiltfactor
by @ 8:16 am

Yes, we’re using it! The Critical Play Method, culled from work from the Values at Play project and Mary Flanagan’s  work creating games that take on issues that need to be deeply and meaningful ingrained in a game. It is included in Critical Play, but here’s a succinct checklist to share!

March 18, 2011

At the British Library: Playtimes: A century of children’s games and rhymes

from tiltfactor
by @ 5:41 am

This is so cool:

About Playtimes: The Playtimes website is part of a wider Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project entitled ‘Children’s Games and Songs in the New Media Age’. The project is part of the AHRC’s ‘Beyond Text’ programme which seeks to highlight the importance of communication, sensory perception, orality and material culture within current scholarship and today’s digital culture. The ‘Children’s Games and Songs’ project aims to preserve children’s games and songs as an important aspect of our national culture; but also seeks to explore how they continue to be a part of the lives of children living in the age of computer games and the internet. What does this oral tradition borrow from the media; and how might it connect with the entertainment and information technologies of the age of new media?”

March 17, 2011

More on Moms

from tiltfactor
by @ 8:47 pm

I’ve been thinking about this post about Chris Trottier’s gameplay models as well as my own experience with casual games in general and Facebook games more specifically.

It has become reasonably clear, zeitgeist-wise, that at least the perceived demographic for most Facebook games is the mom demographic.  For many casual games as well (I’m willing to bet that is a big reason for the otherwise inexplicable rise of the “hidden object game.”  Highlights magazine is really sad they didn’t pioneer that genre and make a mint.)

Rettberg on After Parthenope

from Post Position
by @ 6:21 pm

If you’re interested in story generation or Processing, do check out Scott Rettberg’s new screencast describing the process he undertook in writing and programming After Parthenope. He goes through the nuts and bolts of the piece and how it rolls out language using a hand-crafted trigram model; he also explains some of the pleasures of authoring a system like this.

Magy Seif El-Nasr visits UCSC

Dr. Magy Seif El-Nasr will be giving a talk at UCSC this Friday. All interested are welcome!


Effective 3D Visual Design for Games: Integrating Artificial Intelligence Techniques, Results from Experimental Studies, and Artistic Tacit Knowledge

Time & Location:

March 18, 11:00 am, E2-599


March 16, 2011

Improviso is Out

from Post Position
by @ 8:40 pm

Jeff Orkin, of Restaurant Game fame, has just launched Improviso, a system that allows players to improvise (online) and make a somewhat corny science fiction film by taking the role of director or lead actor. Orkin developed the system with collaborating students at the Singapore MIT GAMBIT Game Lab. I was pleased to see an early version of the system this summer, and very glad that the project has now blasted off. If you do Windows, download Improviso and see what you can make of it and with it.

Context Providers Book Launch

from tiltfactor
by @ 6:41 pm

Please join the editors of Context Providers – Margot Lovejoy,
Christiane Paul, Victoria Vesna – and contributors Mary Flanagan and
Ellen Levy for a brief introduction to the book, followed by a
reception at The New School, New York.

Context Providers
Conditions of Meaning in Media Arts

edited by Margot Lovejoy
Christiane Paul, Victoria Vesna

Intellect Press, UK / University of Chicago Press

After Parthenope Authoring Screencast

from Scott Rettberg
by @ 9:46 am

I just prepared a screencast for Judy Malloy’s Authoring Software project, walking through the code of my generative fiction After Parthenope and explaining my process of writing and coding it in Processing.

After Parthenope Authoring Screencast from Scott Rettberg on Vimeo.

March 13, 2011

The IF Summit Peaks

from Post Position
by @ 9:39 pm

I had a great time showing Curveship, and explaining the motivation behind it, at the IF Summit next to PAX-East today. And it was generally a great weekend of catching up with the people who are continually discussing this system (and many other matters) with me online. My thanks particularly to Zarf, the main organizer of the IF suite, Dave, who set up us the conference room, and Emily, who ran the IF Demo Fair on Saturday night. And generally, hooray for interactive fiction and the People’s Republic of Interactive Fiction – I hope we have many other productive gatherings in years to come.

March 12, 2011

a Pox on Pax East!

from tiltfactor
by @ 10:27 am

Tiltfactor continues to represent and engage at Pox East this weekend!

First off,  a panel discussion on Friday with lab director Mary Flanagan on Getting the Most Out of Your Game Education.

Pictured here, playtest sessions for our nearly-released game POX: Save the People with folks in the long lines by lab researcher Sukimon. A great way to pass the time, save lives, etc!

March 9, 2011

March 15 in Philadelphia: OuLiPoLooZa

from Post Position
by @ 4:35 pm

[An announcement from Penn’s Kelly Writers House:]

We’re pulling out all the constraints for our OULIPOLOOZA next Tuesday,
March 15, at 7:00 pm. Organized by our own Sarah Arkebauer (C’11) and
Michelle Taransky, this celebration of all things Oulipo will feature five
experts and aficionados talking about the “Ouvroir de littérature
potentielle,” the highly-influential French school of avant garde poetry.
The evening will be rounded out by the launching “An Oulipolooza,” a
collection of new Oulipian writing, and a constraint-inspired reception.
This is one celebration you should not A Void!

The Kelly Writers House presents

March 14 in Philadelphia: Platform Studies, Material Computing, and the Atari VCS

from Post Position
by @ 4:34 pm

Platform Studies, Material Computing, and the Atari VCS

Nick Montfort, MIT

A presentation in the
Workshop in the History of Material Texts
University of Pennsylvania – March 14, 2011 – 5:15pm
Van Pelt Library, 2nd Floor

March 8, 2011

More about Dynamic and User-Generated Content

from tiltfactor
by @ 9:17 am

Brian Green (Psychochild) has a recent post over at his place about why he might be changing his mind about the possibilities of User-Generated Content that I think contains a very strong idea: that of [player] intent, and I think it relates strongly to something I’ve been talking about, including this post.

I think here it is worth dividing up two concepts that I have been lumping together somewhat:

Electronic Literature Research Group Events in March

from Scott Rettberg
by @ 7:34 am

Tuesday, March 15th 12:15-14:00
HF Building, Room 301
“Reading Chatbots”
Visiting Fulbright lecturer Mark Marino, Asst. Professor of Writing at the University of Southern California, will discuss his current book project: Reading Chatbots: Conversational Actor Networks: an interdisciplinary investigation into autonomous conversational agents drawing upon theories from Communication, the Humanities, and Social Sciences. The book demonstrates a methodology of software studies, reading chatbots with attention to their performance of race, gender, sexuality, and class.

Monday, March 21st 14:15-16:00
Sydneshaugen Skole, Room 304B
Media artist Brendan Howell is in from Berlin as a visiting lecturer at KHiB. Howell will present the “Exquisite_Code” project, and other electronic literature related projects. Exquisite_Code is an algorithmic performance system for heterogeneous groups of writers.

March 7, 2011

The People’s Republic of IF is Shiny

from Post Position
by @ 8:50 pm

As if polishing a statue of our glorious leader, the Web secretariat of the People’s Republic of Interactive Fiction has hoisted a fine new website. It has everything the old site had, but shiner and more expandable – which is important for a Cambridge-based group with a destiny that is manifest, a group that continues to share IF with the Boston area and the world.

Please do note that PR-IF will be at PAX-East 2011 with a suite and a conference room. All events are open to the public and do not require a PAX-East badge. I’ll hope to see some of you there.

March 3, 2011

The ELMCIP Knowledge Base is Online

from Post Position
by @ 10:24 pm

Interested in electronic literature, and a new large-scale resource listing works, authors, and more? The ELMCIP Knowledge Base is now available in beta form. Also, check out this screencast about the ELMCIP Knowledge Base.

By ELMCIP, we mean Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice, a research project that extends throughout Europe and is funded by the Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA) JRP for Creativity and Innovation. ELMCIP is a project to try to understand creative communities working in electronic literature. Among the many involved parties are friends and collaborators Scott Rettberg and Jill Walker Rettberg.

The Harry Dean Stanton Corollary

from tiltfactor
by @ 8:58 pm

Naomi Clark and I had a remarkably reasonable discussion in the comments section here the other day, and I’ve been mulling over it since.  The gist being I was saying I didn’t really see the point of describing labor mechanics as a specific thing, and Clark discussing (at length, to her credit) what that point was.  I think she’s the right one here, which I probably would have figured out earlier had I seen the talk, especially since so much of my thinking of late has been in terms of organizational/behavioral economics (specifically, relating a large social game audience to a large corporation conceptually.)

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