MIT to Host the Electronic Literature Organization

[Official Release]
MIT has long been a premier center of technological innovation. On July 1, a new locus for literary innovation will be added to the mix: The campus will begin hosting the headquarters of the Electronic Literature Organization (http://eliterature.org).

The Electronic Literature Organization, or ELO, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization composed of an international community that includes writers, artists, teachers, scholars, and developers. The Organization’s focus is new literary forms that are made to be read on digital systems, including smartphones, Web browsers, and networked computers.

ELO is coming to MIT with the support of MIT’s world-renowned Comparative Media Studies (CMS) program. CMS, which has an undergraduate major, a graduate program, and several large-scale research projects, is committed to the art of thinking across media forms, theoretical domains, cultural contexts, and historical periods. The program considers media change and the rise of new forms of writing in different eras, including our current one. ELO’s supporting and collaborating organizations at MIT include the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences; the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies; the Council for the Arts at MIT; Hyperstudio; the Literature Section; and the Singapore/MIT GAMBIT Game Lab.

There is already a great deal of work in electronic literature ongoing at MIT, including that being done by ELO President Nick Montfort and ELO Director Fox Harrell, who are both on the MIT faculty. The Boston area is home to several other ELO directors and to a great deal of digital art activity, thanks to organizations such as the Boston Cyberarts Festival, Turbulence.org, the AXIOM Gallery, the Upgrade! Boston series, and the People’s Republic of Interactive Fiction.

“ELO and MIT have already been successful in advancing the state of the art in electronic literature,” said Montfort. “Now, by working together, we have a chance to sustain ELO’s core operations and projects and to further MIT’s existing commitment to electronic literature. ELO’s coming to MIT will be an chance to find new opportunities for collaboration, here in Cambridge and beyond.”

ELO was founded in 1999 by novelist Robert Coover, electronic author Scott Rettberg, and Internet business leader Jeff Ballowe. The Organization was operated from an office in Chicago until it moved to UCLA in 2001. In 2006, ELO’s headquarters came to the University of Maryland’s Maryland Institute of Technology in the Humanities (MITH). “ELO’s relationships with its academic hosts have been extremely productive for the organization,” said Montfort. “We’re very grateful for the ways that UCLA and MITH have helped us to accomplish our mission, sustain and add projects, and develop as an organization. With work from ELO’s directors, members, and collaborators, we’re now going to try to establish a long-term home for ELO at MIT that will allow the organization and the campus to continue to benefit from their collaboration for many years.”

ELO’s main projects are currently a biannual conference, the Electronic Literature Directory, the Electronic Literature Collection (the second volume of which was released this past Spring: http://collection.eliterature.org) and the eliterature.org site.

Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 2 Launches

Announcing the publication of The Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 2.

ELO is excited to announce the publication of its 2nd collection of electronic literature. With its wide ranging forms, Volume 2 picks up where ELC1 left off, offering a diverse anthology of works from an international group of authors in a variety of languages and forms.

The independent board of editors for the second collection included Laura Borràs, Talan Memmott, Rita Raley, and Brian Kim Stefans, key e-lit artists and critics in their own rights. Their deep knowledge of the field helped them gather works that represent the breadth and variety of e-lit. Also, the addition of Borràs allowed the team to review works in Catalan, Spanish, and Portuguese.

The new collection includes 63 works drawn from (and extending beyond):

  • Countries: Austria, Australia, Catalonia, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, Israel, The Netherlands, Portugal, Peru, Spain, UK, US
  • Languages: Catalan, Dutch, English, French, German, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Formats: Flash, Processing, Java, JavaScript, Inform, HTML, C++

Like ELC1, the collection can be browsed by author, title, or keyword.

ELC2 speaks to both the continuity as well as the bright future of electronic literature. The works include many of the emerging categories of e-lit: mash-ups, geolocative, codework, as well as “traditional” and evolving forms such as hypertext, chatbots, and interactive fiction. The authors list presents readers with both veterans and newcomers to the field.

As with Volume 1, the editors have published a hard copy of the collection, though this time on a DVD rather than a CD. However, they have also added works that can only be viewed on computers with Internet access, such as Senghor on the Rocks, which uses geodata from Google Maps.

ELC2 is published under a Creative Commons license, which means the collection can be freely shared, non-commercially, between individuals, libraries, and schools, provided that appropriate attribution is maintained and the works are unmodified.

ELC2 is ready for your syllabi and reading list. As a complement to our Electronic Literature Directory, and a continuation from Volume 1, this collection offers an anthology of works that pushes through the boundaries of literary forms, creating new kinds of experiences for interacting readers.

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New Scientist Discovers Electronic Literature

Members of the Electronic Literature Organization no doubt remember the first time they heard about electronic literature. That exhilarating moment wrapped around a sense of possibility and a desire to get their hands on either the tools of creation or the mind-blowing creations or both. Over the past month, the popular science journal New Scientist has been publishing posts marking its discovery of electronic literature in a series called Storytelling 2.0.

The posts mention ELO and ELO co-founder Robert Coover along with works by Jay Bushman and others. There’s even a mention of ELO-President Nick Montfort, alluding to his work on his IF platform Curveship.

Check out the posts and join the conversation as New Scientist readers discover e-lit.

The posts:

Electronic Literature Videos

Bringing electronic literature artists and critics into your classroom can be as easy as a quick jog through YouTube or Vimeo.

Here is the beginning of a playlist of videos of varying lengths discussing electronic literature. Please send us links to videos you nominate for the list.

Currently we are featuring:

  • E-literature Explains, Mark Marino, a very short introduction to the idea of e-lit (87 secs)
  • Exploring Interactive Fiction, Nick Montfort, introduction to the literary form of IF (6 minutes)
  • N. Katherine Hayles, herself, extended interview on electronic literature (30 minutes)
  • Dr. Fox Harrell at the UBC Centre for Cross Faculty Inquiry, himself, discussion of emergent storytelling forms (9 min.)
  • “The Time of Codework,” Rita Raley, discusses codework and e-lit. (8 minutes)
  • “Regards Croisés: Perspectives on Digital Literature,” Sandy Baldwin, introduces his collection of essays digital literature, co-edited with Philippe Bootz (5 min.)
  • “Noah Wardrip-Fruin,” NWF introduces his perspectives on software objects in Expressive Processing (8 min, but part 1 of 4)
  • “The Gameshelf #8: Modern Interactive Fiction ,” Jason McIntosh, introduction to contemporary IF

These titles represent just an initial list.

We are also compiling lists of videos of readings/performances of works and walk-throughs. If you have any favorite videos of or about electronic literature, please refer them to us via email or Twitter @eliterature or #elit_videos. We also encourage you to make them and tag them e-lit.

This is just the beginning of a growing set of resources we are building to facilitate incorporating electronic literature into your classroom or the many informal educational spaces online. Stay tuned.

New ELO Officers & 3 New Board Members

With the 4th International Conference, ELO announces its new officers and board members.

Taking over the reins from Joseph Tabbi will be incoming President Nick Montfort and Vice President Dene Grigar. Also, ELO announces 3 new members to the ELO Board of Directors: Fox Harrell, Carolyn Guertin, and Jason Nelson. Sandy Baldwin will take over as Treasurer and Mark Marino will continue as Director of Communication.

The term of the ELO President is three years.

Below you will find bios:

Nick Montfort, President

Nick Montfort writes computational and constrained poetry, develops computer games, and is a critic, theorist, and scholar of computational art and media. He is associate professor of digital media in the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He earned a Ph.D. in computer and information science from the University of Pennsylvania.

Montfort’s digital media writing projects include the group blog Grand Text Auto, the ppg256 series of 256-character poetry generators; Ream, a 500-page poem written on one day; Mystery House Taken Over, a collaborative “occupation” of a classic game; Implementation, a novel on stickers written with Scott Rettberg; and several works of interactive fiction: Book and Volume, Ad Verbum, and Winchester’s Nightmare.

Montfort, with Ian Bogost, wrote Racing the Beam: The Atari Video Computer System (MIT Press, 2009), the first book in the Platform Studies series. He wrote Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction (MIT Press, 2003), and, with William Gillespie, 2002: A Palindrome Story (Spineless Books, 2002), which the Oulipo acknowledged as the world’s longest literary palindrome. He also edited The Electronic Literature Collection Volume 1 (with N. Katherine Hayles, Stephanie Strickland, and Scott Rettberg, ELO, 2006) and The New Media Reader (with Noah Wardrip-Fruin, MIT Press, 2003). His current work is on narrative variation in interactive fiction and the role of platforms in creative computing.

Dene Grigar, Vice President:

Dene Grigar is an Associate Professor and Director of the Digital Technology and Culture Program at Washington State University Vancouver who works in the area of electronic literature, emergent technology and cognition, and ephemera. She is the author of “Fallow Field: A Story in Two Parts” and “The Jungfrau Tapes: A Conversation with Diana Slattery about The Glide Project“, both of which have appeared in the Iowa Review Web, and When Ghosts Will Die (with Canadian multimedia artist Steve Gibson), a piece that experiments with motion tracking technology to produce networked narratives. Her most recent project is the “Fort Vancouver Mobile Project,” a locative / mixed media effort that brings together a core team of 20 scholars, digital storytellers, new media producers, historians, and archaeologists to create location-aware nonfiction content for mobile phones to be used at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. She serves as Associate Editor for Leonardo Reviews

New Board Members

Fox Harrell:

Fox Harrell is a researcher, author, and artist exploring the relationship between imaginative cognition and computation. He and his laboratory, the Imagination, Computation, and Expression [ICE] Lab/Studio develop new forms of computational narrative, gaming, and related digital infrastructures and technical-cultural media with a basis in computer science, cognitive science, and digital media arts. He is an Assistant Professor of Digital Media in the department of Literature, Communication, and Culture at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Carolyn Guertin:

Carolyn Guertin has a dual appointment in new media. She is Director of the eCreate Lab and Assistant Professor of Digital Media in the Department of English at the University of Texas at Arlington. She is also a faculty member at Transart Institute in Berlin, Germany and Linz, Austria, an international low residency MFA program in new media at Danube University Krems. She is curator of the celebrated collection Assemblage: The Online Women’s New Media Gallery out of the U.K., and was Senior McLuhan Fellow at the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto, where she was SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow from 2004-06. She has been a Literary Adviser to the Electronic Literature Organization since its inception, is a member of the MLA Committee on Information Technology, and is an editorial board member of Convergence.

She earned her PhD with a study of cyberfeminist digital narrative and the technologies of memory in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta, Canada. She has taught, exhibited and published internationally, and does theoretical work in: cyberfeminism, hacktivism, born-digital arts and literatures, (global) film futures, information aesthetics, postliteracy and the social practices surrounding technology (especially social networking and participatory culture). She is working on a new book on new media art, authorship and the politics of creation in our digital world.

Jason Nelson:

Born from the computerless land of farmers and spring thunderstorms, Jason Nelson somehow stumbled into creating awkward and wondrous digital poems and interactive stories of odd lives. Currently he teaches Net Art and Electronic Literature at Griffith University in the Gold Coast’s contradictory lands. Aside from coaxing his students into breaking, playing and morphing their creativity with all manner of technologies, he exhibits widely in galleries and journals, with work featured around globe in New York, Mexico, Taiwan, Spain, Singapore and Brazil, at FILE, ACM, LEA, ISEA, ACM, ELO and dozens of other acronyms. But in the web based realm where his work resides, Jason is most proud of the millions of visitors his artwork/digital poetry portal http://www.secrettechnology.com attracts each year.

ELO Archive and Innovate underway @ Brown

With the start of Deena Larsen’s workshop, E-Lit 101, the 4th International Conference & Festival of the Electronic Literature Organization is underway at Brown University where both ELO, literary hypertext, and hypertext itself ostensibly began.

The workshop, attended by approximately 150 electronic literary scholars and artists, marks a look back at the foundational work of Robert Coover and the continuation of the ELO PAD project (ARCHIVE) and an the group’s visionary glimpse at the future of electronic literature.

Conference details can be found here.

Twitter stream is tagged: #ELOAI streaming from @eliterature

Among with readings, performances, screenings, and critical panels, the conference will also announce the Electronic Literature Directory 2.0 and the Electronic Literature Collection, volume 2.

The conference features a number of tributes to Robert Coover, including artwork and panels that re-explore the work that continues to fascinate and drive this digital avant-garde.

PhD studentship at the Edinburgh College of Art

Announcing an  opportunity for an electronic lit-related Ph.D. in Scotland!
eca
edinburgh college of art

PhD Studentship.
£13,290 per annum maintenance will be provided, and course fees will be paid for three years.

Research proposals are invited from applicants who wish to undertake a practice-based PhD researching networked, distributed and collaborative authorship in electronic arts and literature practices and the subsequent implications for how creative communities form and creative practice emerges. The PhD research project will explore questions through employing theoretical and practical methods within the context of a larger European wide research project.

Developing a Network-Based Creative Community: Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice is a 1 million Euro, three year research project funded by the Humanities in the European Research Area Joint Research Programme. The project involves an academic consortium, including Edinburgh College of Art, University of Bergen (Norway), Blekinge Institute of Technology (Sweden), University of Amsterdam (Nederlands), University of Ljubljana (Slovenia), University of Jyväskylä (Finland) and University College Falmouth (England). Focusing on a particular creative community, of electronic literature practitioners, the project inquires into how creative communities of practitioners form within transnational and transcultural contexts, within a globalised and distributed communications environment, seeking to gain insight into and understanding of the social effects and manifestations of creativity. Creative communities can be regarded as microcosms of larger communities. Within networked culture creative communities tend to be international and yet reflective of cultural specificity, acting as a lens through which social change can be observed. Such communities exist as local and global phenomena, in ‘creative cities’ and ‘global networks’, and appear to draw value from this conjunction of opposites. Whilst creativity is often perceived as the product of the individual artist, or creative ensemble, it can also be considered an emergent phenomenon of communities, driving change and facilitating individual or ensemble creativity. Creativity can be a performative activity released when engaged through and by a community and can thus be considered an activity of exchange that enables (creates) people and communities. Understanding creativity as emergent from and innate to the interactions of people facilitates a non-instrumentalist analysis.
Read more PhD studentship at the Edinburgh College of Art

Poemas no meio


by Rui Torres. Poemas no meio do caminho, written in Portuguese, is a poetry project that offers the reader different reading possibilities, depending on her navigational decisions. There are two available versions: the horizontal and the vertical. The horizontal version is a 3D panorama including video that the reader can drag; the vertical version uses html to allow the reader to read and play with the texts in a more conventional and simple way. One of the key aspects of Poemas no meio do caminho is that the reader can decide whether she wants to keep her reading path – that is, keep her poems in the middle of her road. Automatically, then, the poem that every reader has created has a stabilized form in a blog where other readers can share and debate the collection of poems.

Experience the piece

Featured in the Electronic Literature Collection Volume 2

Tailspin



by Christine Wilks. From birdsong to video game music to the ringing sounds of tinnitus, sound is at the core of Tailspin as both theme and structural device. A story of intergenerational conflict unfolds through sound as a woman negotiates between her father, who was “nothing more than an aircraft fitter” during WWII, and her children, who are often absorbed by their games and frightened by his anger at the noise that they make. Metaphorically associating imperfect hearing with imperfect communication, Tailspin is an elegant exploration of the different intensities, waves and frequencies of familial affect.

Experience the piece

Featured in the Electronic Literature Collection Volume 2

Entre Ville



by J.R. Carpenter. Entre Ville is J.R. Carpenter’s affectionate and keenly perceptive homage to her former Montréal neighborhood, Mile End, and its many inhabitants. With poetic text framed by videos documenting the texture and sounds of the back alleyways, Entre Ville is a richly layered and sensorial exploration of the entre ville, the interior city. Some of the visuals are superimposed upon maps of her neighborhood, the flattened, putatively objective Cartesian view of space punctured by the subjective eye of the handheld camera, its unsmoothed movements suggesting a perspective from/of the streets. The heart of the piece, though, concerns the relations between (entre) neighbors, what Carpenter names as “an intimacy born of proximity.”

Experience the piece

Featured in the Electronic Literature Collection Volume 2