October 31, 2013

Nonstop Interactive Fiction in Boston

from Post Position
by @ 5:15 pm

Hello from Cambridge, Massachusetts, where I’m currently dressed as a grue. The streets are unnervingly lit up tonight for some reason and many people are about. Perhaps my quest to find a dark, quiet place will lead me to Fenway Park.

There is a lot of news about upcoming interactive fiction events, and the first part of a two-part article by Illya Szilak, “A Book Itself Is a Little Machine: Emily Short’s Interactive Fiction,” is just out in The Huffington Post.

October 29, 2013

Bill Gaver on “Guidance and Evaluation Methods” (Media Systems)

Bill Gaver’s group — The Interaction Research Studio — does design as a means of research into people and technology. At the Media Systems gathering he used examples from their work to illustrate a number of approaches to one of our major topics: “… guidance and evaluation methods from arts, design and the humanities.”

October 25, 2013

Fox Harrell’s Talk and New Book

from Post Position
by @ 4:02 pm

Fox Harrell’s talk on evaluation at the Media Systems workshop, in August 2012, was great, and I remember many things from it vividly. Fox really helped us see some of the absurdities of trying to apply the evaluation techniques from one domain (such as engineering) to another (such as the arts) — but also the potential of cross-cutting work for new insights. See “Matching Methods: Guiding and Evaluating Interdisciplinary Projects” on YouTube.

This is one of many Media Systems talks that have been uploaded so far.

Fox Harrell on “Matching Methods” (Media Systems)

In computer science, we often guide and evaluate work by metrics such as efficiency (of execution, of task performance, of maintenance, etc). But such metrics do not make sense for many types of computational media work. Fox Harrell’s talk at the Media Systems gathering, “Matching Methods: Guiding and Evaluating Interdisciplinary Projects,” suggests that, rather than there being one answer to evaluating computational media research, part of the work is in identifying values and goals, which can then point to the methods that might be appropriate.

Fox Harrell on “Matching Methods” (Media Systems)

In computer science, we often guide and evaluate work by metrics such as efficiency (of execution, of task performance, of maintenance, etc). But such metrics do not make sense for many types of computational media work. Fox Harrell’s talk at the Media Systems gathering, “Matching Methods: Guiding and Evaluating Interdisciplinary Projects,” suggests that, rather than there being one answer to evaluating computational media research, part of the work is in identifying values and goals, which can then point to the methods that might be appropriate.

October 23, 2013

Only the Staring from the Twilight Saga

from Post Position
by @ 8:26 pm

You can now watch a 26-minute supercut of all the instances of staring in all the Twilight movies.

I recommend it.

Yes, the framing is a bit corny, as if it were a video game or an educational video made to inform you about how much staring there was. Less could have been more.

There are earlier video art projects that do similar things, and more of them. One of my favorite precursors is the brilliant Every Shot, Every Episode by Jennifer & Kevin McCoy. Housed in a suitcase, it is an interactive installation that allows access to 10,000 clips from Starsky & Hutch which have been categorized in 300 ways — every extreme closeup, every yellow Volkswagon, every affirmative response, and so on.

October 22, 2013

Videogame Editions for Play and Study

from Post Position
by @ 4:20 pm

Now available: TROPE-13-02 – Videogame Editions for Play and Study by Clara Fernández-Vara and Nick Montfort.

We discuss four types of access to videogames that are analogous to the use of different sorts of editions in literary scholarship: (1) the use of hardware to play games on platforms compatible with the original ones, (2) emulation as a means of playing games on contemporary computers, (3) ports, which translate games across platforms, and (4) documentation, which can describe some aspects of games when they cannot be accessed and can supplement play. These different editions provide different information and perspectives and can be used in teaching and research in several ways.

Gamebooks and IF Conference at Villanova

from Post Position
by @ 8:37 am

Gamebook guru Demian Katz is putting on a conference on interactive fiction, print and online, in Villanova’s Popular Culture Series. The conference does have an academic focus, but also seeks to introduce new sorts of academics to IF.

Info is up now at the vupop site, where you can read about the conference or submit a proposal. Or, if there’s enough light available, examine yourself/take inventory!

Aha – and the deadline for submitting something is November 1!

Metadata Games at DPLAfest

from tiltfactor
by @ 5:30 am

Come see Geoff and Max talk about the Metadata Games project this Friday at DPLAfest in Boston to get a first-hand look at the project’s newest games!

DPLAfest 2013

DPLAfest 2013 is a two-day series of DPLA-related workshops, discussions, and other hands-on activities that are free and open to the public celebrating the April 2013 launch of The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) – a platform that aggregates and disseminates “the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums.”

October 19, 2013

“Through the Park” in Polish

from Post Position
by @ 9:00 pm

My “Through the Park” is now available not only in Russian (thanks to Natali Fedorova) but also in Polish (thanks to Aleksandra Małecka).

And in Python as well as HTML/JavaScript, too.

The project presents versions of the Little Red Riding Hood story with a simple generative or degenerative rule.

October 15, 2013

Anne Balsamo on “Designing Culture” (Media Systems)

What would it mean to have “big” projects — bigger than a single investigator, lab, or even institution could handle — that are not arranged by science and engineering concerns, but by cultural concerns? In this talk from the Media Systems gathering at UC Santa Cruz, Anne Balsamo gives the shape of two major, ongoing digital humanities projects of this sort: the AIDS Memorial Quilt Browser and FemTechNet.

Michael’s Narrative Candy Store

from Post Position
by @ 8:51 am

Michael Mateas gave the keynote today at Intelligent Narrative Technologies 6. With reference (early on) to the Hero’s Journey, he presented a sort of “developer’s journey,” noting that indie developers (as seen at Indiecade) have been turning away from concern with structure and mechanics and toward narrative. He similarly encouraged those working in AI and narrative to turn from structuralist narratology and look at concrete traditions of narrative based in communities of practice.

October 11, 2013

New Article: From Traces to Collective Memory: Databases and the Development of the Field of Electronic Literature

from Scott Rettberg
by @ 3:53 am

I just submitted a revision of my paper “From Traces to Collective Memory: Databases and the Development of the Field of Electronic Literature” – my keynote talk for last year’s “The Digital Subject: Questioning Hypermnesia” conference at Paris 8 university. The essay considers how trivia and traces and databases are used to reconstruct memory and to develop the basis of fields, first by considering Paul Auster’s Winter Journal and D.T. Max’s Every Ghost Story is a Love Story, and then by considering the process of developing the ELMCIP Electronic Literature Knowledge Base. The essay will be translated into French and published bilingually in “The Digital Subject: Questioning Hypermnesia” to be published by by Les Presses du Réel in 2014.

October 9, 2013


from Post Position
by @ 2:51 pm

Will compounding words lead to compounding interest? Check out my word/name generator, Upstart, and see what you think.

Upstart, a company name generator

As always, you should feel free to develop a modified generator or name your company one of these terms.

October 8, 2013

RePlay Health at Harvard Medical School

from tiltfactor
by @ 2:06 pm

Yesterday team members Geoff, Max, and Joe reunited with Tilt’s former researcher Cote to play RePlay Health at the Center for Primary Care at Harvard Medical School’s 3rd Annual Innovation Conference with a group of community members, undergraduates, medical school students, and health professionals! Attendees took part in perhaps the zaniest workshop at the conference when they played our role-playing sport that models the U.S. health care system. “The Great Grabowski” was the name of the highest scoring group – they scored on average 23 points which is also an all time high score for RePlay Health sessions in general.

Mary Lou Maher on “Curious Dances” (Media Systems)

We can build a computer system that could generate a surprising event, and we can build a computer system that would recognize it.

When Mary Lou Maher said these words at the Media Systems gathering at UC Santa Cruz, she wasn’t talking about hypothetical systems working in sterile domains like block stacking. She was talking about the already-demonstrated power of computational models in rich areas of human creativity, like music and humor… creative domains in which strong expectation is key to our experience.

October 7, 2013

… is not a Horse, of Course

from Post Position
by @ 11:59 am

As you can see from articles in The New Yorker, Gawker, Daily Beast, The Atlantic, Gamasutra, and other discerning media outlets, the amazing robotic text generator Horse_ebooks has a person tucked inside. A sort of Trojan horse, I suppose, although a rather benign kind.

October 6, 2013

Sound Poetry in Cambridge & Boston

from Post Position
by @ 7:25 pm

I was fascinated to find that Non-Event, “a Boston-based concert series devoted to the presentation of the finest in experimental, abstract, improvised, and new music from New England and around the world,” will be bringing several sound poets to the area soon. Steve McCaffery and Christian Bök have graced my Purple Blurb series at MIT recently, and I am very much looking forward to the ululations and other sounds of other sound poets.

Vincent Barras and Jaques Demierre are coming to the misnamed swissnex Boston (it’s in Cambridge) Monday, October 7 at 6:30pm, for $10/$5 for students. That’s tomorrow.


from Post Position
by @ 5:47 pm

A new short, snappy, and expanding poem by Nick Montfort, Jerome Fletcher, Talan Memmott, Serge Bouchardon, Samantha Gorman, Leonardo Flores, Scott Rettberg, Jason Nelson, and Flourish Klink is now online.

It’s pop, an ELO 2013 anthology. It requires the use of arrow keys. And it was written at the Electronic Literature Organization’s 2013 conference, Chercher le texte, in Paris.

pop, an ELO 2013 anthology

Puzzle out the constraint that was used, and feel free to continue the project…

(I have the feeling that I’ve omitted the name of at least one contributor … please let me know if I left you off the list; I will gladly remedy that on this post and on the pop page itself.)

October 5, 2013

A Stray in the Woods

from Post Position
by @ 9:29 am
A Stray in the Woods, Alison Wilgus, 2013

A Stray in the Woods, Alison Wilgus, 2013. (I was given a review copy of this book.)

Here’s an intriguing feline adventure, pleasingly illustrated and narrated. This brings a lot together: It’s the Kickstarter-funded book version of a Web comic in which readers were asked to provide interactive-fiction- or tabletop-RPG-style commands for each situation; the one readers voted up was then chosen and the story proceeded from there. Perhaps I’ve been primed for this, but I thought the book’s presenation of this rather elaborate process was effective. I thought at first that page numbers would help, but perhaps these might have suggested a CYOA-style book, which this is not. While decisionmaking by mob is not always best, and can rule out nuanced plans, it works well enough in this case. And while the freely-available Web version of the story is good, the print presentation also sets the illustrations well. The text narration is consistently set on the recto, with commands below. Other IF transcripts (or the like) could be treated this way, too …

October 4, 2013

Ouliperrata and Palindromes

from Post Position
by @ 4:02 pm

The End of Oulipo? : An Attempt to Exhaust a Movement by Lauren Elkin & Scott Esposito (2013) claims that “Georges Perec … wrote a palindrome of over 5,000 words …” (p. 15, also mentioned on p. 25). However, this is wrong, unless these authors have access to an extraordinarily surprising never-before published palindrome of Perec’s. His long palindrome does not have this many words.

In 1980, Hachette published Perec’s La Clôture et autres poèmes, which contains “Le Grand Palindrome,” written in 1969. “Le Grand Palindrome” is also online; it is posted on another page without its title but with a declaration that the palindrome is 1247 words long.

October 2, 2013

Funk’s SoundBox 2012

from Post Position
by @ 5:47 pm

Chris Funkhouser’s SoundBox 2012 has been posted in the online gallery space of DDDL, which I believe stands for Digital, Digital, Digital, digitaL. Or maybe Digital Digital Digital Littérature? There is a rich array of work up there; Chris’s contribution blends sounds with the carefully-recorded speech that he has recorded across many conferences and beyond, providing a rich audio record of activity in electronic literature and E-Poetry. As the description of the work says,

October 1, 2013

A Science-Fictional Conversation

from Post Position
by @ 4:05 pm

Orly Airport from La Jetée

Yar's Revenge

Thanks to Chris Marker, Howard Scott Warshaw, and The Reel Todd.

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