CFP: ELO 2021 Conference and Festival: Platform (Post?) Pandemic

ELO 2021 Conference and Festival: Platform (Post?) Pandemic
Co-chairs: Søren Pold, University of Aarhus and Scott Rettberg, University of Bergen

Dates
The academic conference will take place May 24-28th, 2021. Workshops will take place May 24-25 and the main conference will take place May 26-28th. The arts program will unfold over a longer span of time, with a series of events and exhibitions during March, April, and May 2021.

Submission deadlines:
Academic Proposals: Jan. 15
Full Papers & Posters: April 28

Exhibitions:
Post-Human Electronic Literature: Jan 8
Covid E-lit: Jan. 8

Platforming Utopias (and Platformed Dystopias): Feb. 1
Kids E-Lit: Feb. 1.

Performances: Feb. 1

Conference Theme

While international travel has become virtually impossible due to widespread restrictions, the pandemic has pointed to our global connectedness: this is an aspect of platformed culture we will embrace in this conference. For the first time, the ELO conference will not be constrained by orientation to a particular location or time frame, but will unfold over three days and be hosted by institutions in Scandinavia, India, and the United States in synchronous and asynchronous events taking place online around the clock, including presentations, exhibitions, performances, workshops, and social events.

Globalized platforms present new opportunities for writers and readers both because of their large audiences and the fact that new forms of electronic literary cultures are emerging around them. The current rise of global platforms and platform culture however challenge Electronic Literature’s history of developing independent, purpose-specific platforms, since commercial platforms are often closed formats with largely rigid templates for ‘content’. In this sense, forms of criticality are challenged by the fact that the platforms are typically owned, maintained and often quickly updated (and sometimes made obsolete) by global corporations.

Digital platforms are not new: gaming consoles operating systems, programming languages and the web itself were discussed as platforms before the current platformization. The integration of hardware and software in many platforms has been seen in gaming consoles, PCs, phones and tablets, and can be seen as a result of initiatives from the fields of ubiquitous computing, Internet of Things and business strategies leading to the design of walled gardens. With the combination of social media, apps, search engines and targeted advertisement, platformization has become increasingly dominant in digital media. The platformization of culture is highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic as physical platforms for art, culture and the public have become difficult to access at times where physical meetings, travel, public institutions and life in general have been challenged. Digital platforms have entered into our most private and intimate spaces, raising questions about surveillance, capture, and who’s reading our reading and writing. Connecting, meeting, working and reading on platforms have been defining moments for our contemporary life during the pandemic comparable to the way the clock defined industrialized life. What do digital and digitization mean now, and what is left out and missing when culture is streamed?

Globalization has become less seamless, as global trade and collaboration is affected, but we are more connected in our individual lives and worries. Furthermore, the big, rapid changes of culture and society during the pandemic have raised fundamental questions about other urgent challenges: the climate crisis, equality in relation to race and ethnicity, the social, and the liberation and equality of gender and sexuality. The pandemic situation has led to both hope and despair in relation to new and old political struggles such as the #metoo and #BlackLivesMatter movements, which have also been fought on and off platforms.

With this conference we aim to investigate how the future will be platformed: what will come after the pandemic and how can we explore this from the pandemic? The pandemic will not be over when we meet on the conference platforms, rather it is a condition from which to rethink and explore the future, and learn from how life has changed during this period: What has the pandemic crisis made us see that was not before apparent to us, and how do we build upon the lessons we have learned to develop a more sustainable and equitable future? We seek explorations and research into electronic literature that examines how we are platforming the future. What are the practices and poetics of contemporary electronic literature? How to thrive as electronic readers and writers within the constraints of platform culture? How to be critical on and of platforms? How to develop alternative literary platforms? What are the global dimensions? How do we connect and disconnect on platforms? What could and should platform e-lit be? How does platform culture relate to the traditions and history of electronic literature?

The conference theme can be addressed in several ways including the following:

  • Platform electronic literature: How does data and literary production, writing and reading practices converge in platforms? How does electronic literature inhabit platforms? How are new forms and audiences developed? How is electronic literature hosted, exhibited, archived, disseminated and cared for with and in platforms?

  • Platform history: Historical platforms and electronic literature, platform obsolesence, and the constant upgrade.

  • Platform determinism, dependence and criticism: To what extent does platform determine literary practice and genre? To what extent are the forms and genres of electronic literature limited by our dependence on particular platforms? And how can we best archive and preserve platform-dependent e-lit? To what extent do literary practices work against the grain of platforms or reshape them? How is electronic literature critical on and of platforms?

  • Pandemic platforms: How have the specific circumstances of the pandemic affected the production of electronic literature and the cultural practices surrounding it? What are our post-pandemic cultural platforms going to be?

  • Platform politics: Hashtag movements and platforms for change. Platforms as ways of organising political activity.

  • Platform utopia: speculative futures, alternative platforms, writing for difference.

  • Platformed globalisation and colonialism: How are new global and local forms of electronic literature emerging? How does electronic literature deal with globalisation and new forms of (post-)colonialism? E-lit in different continents, countries and languages.

  • Platform identities: Identification, profiling, identity politics, race & ethnicity, gender and sexuality.

  • Platform culture: (Dis-)connection: (anti-)sociality, (not)meeting, (un)care.

  • Platform performance: Literary programming, live-coding, algorave, and other forms of performance that take place within platforms.

  • Platform literacy: multisensory reading, mobile and spatial reading, reading contexts and voices, reading of generated, profiled and dynamic/streaming text, platform and narrative.

  • Digital literary audio platform: audio walks, ambient literature, site specific audio stories, voice assistants and other audio interfaces.

  • Platforms for digital literacy: What sorts of platforms and creative works best serve the needs of young digital readers? Platforms for children’s E-lit.

We will strive for maximum open accessibility in archiving and disseminating all conference outputs.

Keynote speakers will be selected by the conference committee to respond to the conference theme.

Types of Conference Submissions Accepted

  1. Full papers: 2,000-4,000 words. Full papers will be accepted via a two-stage submission process, with an abstract of 500 words for the first submission deadline and full papers due by April 28th. Full papers will be published open access on the conference site and the ELMCIP database. We will also strive to find journals who will consider selected papers for special issue publication. Full paper presenters will also participate in a live roundtable discussion of their papers (5-minute presentation plus discussion). Accepted abstracts will be grouped into peer panels, and peers will be asked to give feedback on each other’s papers.

  2. Panel presentations: Proposals for panel presentations including 3-5 presenters for a one-hour session. Panels may include a series of short presentations bound by a theme or may feature a roundtable discussion of a particular topic or project. Abstract submission max 500 words.

  3. Posters: We will accept submissions of one-page posters in PDF format (A4, A3, or A2 size) to illustrate a project or theme in visual format. Posters can include links to interactive, networked and dynamic content not hosted at the conference site. Posters will be displayed on the conference site and will be discussed in a virtual poster session with short lightning talks. Abstract submission max 500 words. Complete poster due by April 28th.

  4. Workshops: We will accept proposals for workshops based on live hands-on activities, demonstrations, tutorials etc. Abstract submission max 500 words.

  5. Virtual Engagement Events: sessions based on innovative strategies for creating engagement and connection. Abstract submission max 500 words.

    Submissions are accepted on EasyChair: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=elo2021

The primary shared language of the conference will be English, and abstracts should be submitted in English, though we welcome proposals for papers, panels and presentations in other languages.

Submissions are restricted no more than two per person.

Submissions to the academic program will be due Jan. 15th, 2021.

Accepted full papers and posters will be due April 28, 2021.

Exhibition Submissions

Exhibitions for ELO 2021 will unfold on an extended time scale from March-May 2021. All exhibitions will be fully exhibited online, though some will also include local physical exhibitions. Jason Nelson will be the main exhibition coordinator.

The following exhibitions will be part of the festival:

  1. Posthuman Electronic Literature. An online exhibition with a projection exhibition component focused on electronic literature and media art that addresses posthumanism. To be featured during European SLSA conference at the University of Bergen. Curated by Joseph Tabbi, Scott Rettberg, Jason Nelson, Eamon O’Kane. MARCH 4-7, 2021. Submissions accepted until Jan 8th, 2021.

  2. COVID E-Lit. An online exhibition of works that respond thematically to the pandemic and/or are produced within the specific context of platform culture during the pandemic. A library exhibition version of the exhibition will also be produced. Curated by Anna Nacher, Søren Pold, and Scott Rettberg. APRIL 2021. Submissions accepted until Jan 8th, 2021.

  3. Flashback: A special celebration of Flash and Shockwave e-lit held in the Electronic Literature Repository with artists on hand to talk about their work. Curated by Dene Grigar at Washington State University Vancouver’s Electronic Literature Lab. MAY 24-28, 2021.

  4. Platforming Utopias (and Platformed Dystopias): This will be the largest open submission exhibition, responding to the conference theme. MAY 24-28 2021. Submissions accepted until February 1st, 2021.

  5. Platform as a place of study – E-lit as already decolonised: A series of exhibitions, workshops and activities focused on Indian and Asian E-Lit that will unfold through Spring 2021. MARCH-MAY 2021. Call will be announced separately. Curated by dra.ft

  6. Kid E-Lit: An online exhibition of electronic literature for young audiences, and work work by young authors. Curated by Mark Marino and Maria Goicoechea. MAY 24-28, 2021. Submissions accepted until February 1st, 2021.

    Submissions are accepted on EasyChair: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=elo2021

Not all works submitted need to be designed specifically for the online context. Documentation of other sorts of work, such as material artifacts, printed materials, installations, may also be submitted, along with a plan to exhibit them online. Digital materials can also be exhibited in non-web formats, such as a VR space. Each of the open submission exhibitions have separate submission requirements.

Performance Submissions

Ian Hatcher will be the main curator of the Performance program. For performance submissions, we will accept both submissions for live virtual events and for pre-recorded events that have taken place in a live venue. Performance time for synchronous events. should be specified as short (up to 8 minutes) or long (up to 15 minutes). In addition, we will accept proposals for keynote performances (up to 30 minutes), for 2-3 slots that will be featured in the program. Recorded performance videos or other documentation of live performances may also be submitted for an asynchronous exhibition. Submissions accepted until February 1st, 2021.

Submissions are accepted on EasyChair: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=elo2021

Conference Fee

The conference fee will be $100 plus ELO membership for employed academics. The conference fee portion will be waived for independent artists and researchers without institutional support (by request). The conference fee will support technical infrastructure, development and costs related to exhibitions.

Division of Responsibilities

The leadership responsibilities for the conference academic program and arts program will primarily shared between Aarhus University (Academic program, led by Søren Pold) and the University of Bergen (Arts program, led by Scott Rettberg), working in close coordination. Two additional partners include Washington State University Vancouver’s Electronic Literature Lab (led by Dene Grigar) and the India-based dra.ft collective (led by Nanditi Khilnani).

We plan for the conference to unfold in multiple time zones with synchrous activities organized by the partners in India (dra.ft), Scandinavia, and the United States of America.

About the partners

The Electronic Literature Organization (ELO) https://eliterature.org is an international organization dedicated to the investigation of literature produced for the digital medium. Founded in Chicago, Illinois in 1999, the ELO now has a presence across North America and in South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa.  Our members hail from a wide array of disciplines and areas of study, including Art, Literature, Communication, Computer Science, Humanities, Digital Humanities, Media Studies, Womens’ Studies, and Comparative Media.

Aarhus University, Digital Aesthetics Research Center https://darc.au.dk/Digital Aesthetics Research Centre (DARC) functions as a shared intellectual resource that identifies, analyses, and mediates current research topics within digital art and culture; producing experiments, research projects, publications and public events. The aim is to create a space for critical reflection on digital cultural transformation. The centre was formed in 2002. The purpose of the centre is to bring together researchers at Aarhus University with an interest in digital art and culture (net., software, code, sound etc.). The centre organises invited talks, seminars and conferences like the seminal Read_me conference and Runme Dorkbot City Camp in 2004. DARC has hosted research projects such as The Aesthetics of Interface Culture, published working papers and dissertations on digital art and culture.

DARC maintains its focus on bringing together researchers at Aarhus University, forming research projects, collaborations and international networks. We publish newspapers and a journal, APRJA, arrange yearly international PhD seminars (with transmediale festival and shifting partners), internal research seminars, larger research conferences, and organize public exhibitions and events with digital media artists and researchers from around the world. Besides contributing analytically and theoretically to the field, DARC also engages in practical experiments (often in collaboration with artists and practitioners). DARC researchers have for example collaborated with Danish and international libraries for more than 10 years on promoting and exhibiting electronic literature.

University of BergenBergen Electronic Literature Research Group: The Bergen Electronic Literature Research Group (BEL), led by Professor Scott Rettberg, studies literary works created for digital media and related digital art forms. An important project for us is the ELMCIP Electronic Literature Knowledge Base, the most extensive open-access research database in the field. Our research often combines theory and practice, as in the award-winning VR narrative Hearts and Minds, winner of the 2016 Robert Coover Award for a Work of Electronic Literature. Members of our group frequently publish scholarship on electronic literature, including recently Electronic Literature by Scott Rettberg (Polity, 2018), described by prominent e-lit theorist N. Katherine Hayles as “a significant and important book by the field’s founder that will be the definitive work on electronic literature now and for many years to come” and the two volume Post-Digital: Debates and Dialogues from the Electronic Book Review (Bloomsbury, 2020), edited by Joseph Tabbi.

BEL frequently organizes international symposia and workshops, such as the Electronic Literature Knowledge Base Symposium and EcoDH seminar in 2018 and welcomes international speakers and visiting researchers. In 2015 we hosted the international Electronic Literature Organization conference and literary arts festival. We embrace innovative forms of scholarly publishing, such as a four-part series of collaborative articles, conversations and interviews on the Metainterface and critical works of artistic digital media published in 2018-19 in the electronic book review. BEL has published annual reports documenting group activities since 2011, which are available in the Knowledge Base.

Washington State University Vancouver’s Electronic Literature Lab (ELL): Founded and directed by Dr. Dene Grigar, ELL is a media archaeology lab created for the advanced inquiry into the curation, documentation, preservation, and production of born digital literary works and other media. It serves as the site of digital preservation for the ELO and, so, manages the organization’s archives and repository. Additionally, ELL has hosted numerous post-doctoral scholars and has served as the site of numerous research projects, including Pathfinders(Grigar and Moulthrop, 2015) and Traversals (Moulthrop and Grigar, 2017); prominent exhibits of electronic literature at the Library of CongressInternational Symposium on Electronic Art, the British Computer Society, and other venues; five to seven Live Traversals of early born-digital literature each year; and an annual publication entitled Rebooting Electronic Literature that documents its many activities. It has been supported by grants, most notably from the National Endowment for the Humanities (2013) and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and through the university’s Lewis E. and Stella G. Buchanan Distinguished Professorship. Finally, the lab reconstitutes outmoded e-lit works, most recently Annie Grosshan’s The World Is Not Done Yet and Deena Larsen’s Kanji Kus. They are currently rebuilding Erik Loyer’s Strange Rain, Christy Sanford’s Red Mona, and Richard Holeton’s Figurski at Findhorn on Acid. Collaborating with Grigar on the conference will be Holly Slocum, ELL’s Project Manager; Nicholas Schiller’s ELL’s Associate Director, Mariusz Pisarki, ELL 2020-2021 Research Affiliate, Greg Philbrook, ELL’s Technical Specialist, and Kathleen Zoller, ELL’s Undergraduate Researcher.

dra.ft: dra.ft is a movement, a festival, a community, a long-term research project that explores emergent ideas of text and its future. It draws from the idea of poetic computation where the machine and author are collaborators. It is in these intersectional spaces that we can produce, perform and embody new meanings and develop new texts. The festival dra.ft encourages unfinished, work in progress, prototypes, tests (essentially drafts) of texts and text-making.

dra.ft was originally conceptualised as a 2-day festival in August 2020 to be held in Jaipur, India – host of the popular and well received Jaipur Literature Festival. dra.ft is now an active online community of writers, designers and creative technologists engaging through virtual events, meet-ups and online social spaces.

ELO Announces Recipients of Emerging Spaces for E-Lit Creations

The ELO Board of Directors is pleased to announce that it is funding two proposals for its 2020 Emerging Spaces for E-Lit Creations initiative. The two winning proposals are Filter by Sarah Whitcomb Laiola and Caleb Andrew Milligan and (RE)VERB by John Barber, Andrew Demirjian, Dahlia Elsayed, Jeremy Hight, and Henna Wang.

With this initiative, the Board seeks to encourage the creation of new spaces (zines) that curate, promote, and explore a greatly expanded set of works on social media and mobile platforms. Its goal is to stimulate and support the creation and dissemination of quality electronic literature in a greater variety of spaces with zines that reach and cultivate new audiences.

The Board is grateful for all the teams that submitted proposals and encourages those who were not funded to consider applying to future ELO initiatives.

Here are some details on the two awarded proposals.

Filter

An Instagram Collaboratory for E-Lit

Filter​ will be a critical-creative publication that welcomes a variety of works and materials to further the creation and circulation of e-lit both optimized for and disruptive of Instagram, as well as critical scholarly and pedagogical engagement with this developing genre. We embrace the creative and critical opportunities latent in specific features of Instagram; Stories, Boomerangs, Reposts, interactive stickers, 10-frame images posts, and short videos all offer opportunities to expand possibilities for e-literary creation and criticism.

Filter’s ​mission is to support the circulation and promotion of works of e-lit that are optimized for, engage with, and/or disrupt the poetics of that platform.

Filter’s senior editors, Sarah Whitcomb Laiola and Caleb Andrew Milligan, will be assembling an editorial team and an advisory board in preparation for launching the ‘zine.

(RE)VERB

an audio augmented reality zine dedicated to the interplay between sound, electronic literature, and the experience of environment

(RE)VERB is an audio augmented reality zine dedicated to spatially conceived electronic literature projects that explore the aesthetic possibilities of sonically delivered language engaging with the physical and corporeal experience of the environment. (RE)VERB will release two issues per year with the editorial board and guest curators selecting the most compelling pieces that engage global e-lit writers in this emerging medium. 

(RE)VERB will partner with Gesso, creators of an innovative mobile application that enables immersive location-based audio experiences to bring the peer reviewed creative visions of selected authors to life. The free Gesso app provides an interactive map with geographic coordinates, audio, images and video artwork. Readers, listeners, participants can engage with the contents either in situ or through recordings. 

The initial editorial board consists of artists and writers who work with language, mapping and space including John Barber, Andrew Demirjian, Dahlia Elsayed, Jeremy Hight and Henna Wang from Gesso.

Leonardo Flores, ELO President, had this to say about the initiative: “I’m so thrilled about these two proposals! Each ‘zine will focus on a different sense– sight and sound– and will create opportunities for people to publish quality electronic literature designed for three major platforms– Instagram, iOS, and Android– and will be able to cultivate audiences that have no idea what electronic literature is, but are creating it and consuming it. We have two great teams that will help us expand the field and learn valuable lessons from their experiences.”

ELO plans to award more grants to support e-lit publications in the coming years in fulfillment of its mission to support the development of digitally born literary works.

ELC4 Collective adds Lyle Skains

We are pleased to announce that the editorial collective of the 4th volume of the Electronic Literature Collection is adding a new member, Lyle Skains.  Skains will be bringing a broad sense of the field, especially through her work with Wonderbox.  Lyle will be joining Kathi Inman Berens, John Murray, Rui Torres, and  Mia Zamora.  The team is currently reviewing the submissions for the forthcoming collection.
Lyle researches and teaches Creative Digital Writing and Science Communication, conducting practice-based research into writing, reading/playing, publishing digital and transmedia narratives, and how these can be used for health and science communication. Her recent digital fiction includes No World 4 Tomorrow for the You & CO2 project, and Only, Always, Never for the Infectious Storytelling project; both works were designed to effect social change. She is the founder of Wonderbox Digital, a marketplace for digital fiction, aiming to explore innovations in digital and online publishing and creativity. Her digital fiction can be found at lyleskains.com; articles in ConvergenceDigital Creativity, and Computers and Composition; and books with Cambridge UP (Digital Authorship), forthcoming Emerald (interdisciplinary scicomm) and Bloomsbury (convergent evolution of mainstream digital fiction). She is currently a Senior Lecturer in Health and Science Communication at Bournemouth University.
ELO is grateful for her service in this key publication in our field.
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CFP: Emerging Spaces for E-Lit Creations

Call for Proposals: Emerging Spaces for E-Lit Creations

The electronic literature community has developed many online publications (‘zines and similar resources) that feature Web-based technologies and have typically taken the form of websites. The ELO seeks to encourage the creation of new spaces (‘zines) in which to curate, promote, and explore a greatly expanded set of works on popular social media spaces online. These might include video sharing sites, mobile platforms, or social media networks. The goal of our initiative is to stimulate and support the creation and dissemination of quality electronic literature in a much greater variety of locations.

We are looking for proposals to create new recurrent publication spaces that:

  • Are designed as fully integrated venues in app ecosystems and/or social media platforms. These publication venues can have a web component, but the primary means of distribution should be through these platforms.
  • Consider the promotion of creative work a priority but are open for creative/scholarly combinations.
  • Follow community credentialing standards, such as editorial oversight, peer review, juries, etc.
  • Have a marketing and social media distribution plan to build up their audience.
  • Publish at least two “issues” per year.
  • Are team efforts with a clear work plan.
  • Have an estimate of monetary needs.
  • Have a sustainability plan that considers three aspects:
    • Financial: explains how they will generate revenue to sustain operations,
    • Organizational: has a plan for continuing beyond its founding publishers,
    • Preservation: has plans for maintaining publication in the long term, and documentation of ephemeral works.

Interested? Send us a 500 word proposal that addresses all the points above by November 1, 2020. If you have any questions or seek additional guidance, please contact ELO President Leonardo Flores (leo@eliterature.org).

The ELO is prepared to fund one or more proposals in 2020-21, which will receive up to $1,000 in startup funds to cover licensing and developer fees, graphic design, software infrastructure, marketing, programming, etc. We can also help the team(s) with recruiting efforts, disseminating calls, and promoting it through our communication channels.

The winning team(s) will run the publication and prepare a report in which it shares its plans and processes, successes, lessons learned, and other insights from creating and running the publication. This report is to be presented in the ELO 2022 Conference.

ELO Board members are not eligible to apply to this initiative.

ELO 2020 Prize Winners

We are pleased to announce the 2020 ELO Prize winners.

The Robert Coover Award for a Work of Electronic Literature

  • 1st Place: The Library of Nonhuman Books by Karen Ann Donnachie & Andy Simionato
  • Runner Up: Déprise (Loss of Grasp) by Serge Bouchardon and Vincent Volckaert
  • Committee Members: Annie Abrahams, Giovanna di Rosario, Talan Memmott

The Robert Coover Award for a Work of Electronic Literature honors the year’s best work of electronic literature, of any form or genre. It comes with a $1000 stipend.  The Winner of the 2020 Award is The Library of Nonhuman Books by Karen Ann Donnachie & Andy Simionato

According to the judges: “With The Library of Nonhuman Books, Karen Ann Donnachie & Andy Simionato have produced a work that is perhaps best defined as multiple. Rather than a stand alone work of electronic literature, what we have here is a system that touches upon machine reading, the algorithmic manipulation of text, and authorship.  The “work” in this regard is in the production of a complex set of operations capable of producing endless texts. Though, the end result may in fact be a physical book, what is most interesting from an electronic literature perspective is the potential for a literary practice dominated by the machine.”

The Runner up for the 2020 Coover Award is Déprise (Loss of Grasp) by Serge Bouchardon and Vincent Volckaert

According to the judges, “Déprise by Serge Bouchardon and Vincent Volckaert is an intelligent and literary sophisticated interactive narrative that has contributed to spread elit around the world. Published in French in 2010, it has been translated in ten languages. Déprise is one of the many digital works that has experienced the obsolescence of programming software. However, Bouchardon migrated the text (and four translations) written in Flash into JavaScript to save his work.”

The N. Katherine Hayles Award for Criticism of Electronic Literature

  • 1st Place: Critical Code Studies by Mark C. Marino (MIT Press)
  • Honorable Mention: Adventure Games: Playing the Outsider by Aaron Reed, John Murray, and Anastasia Salter (Bloomsbury)
  • Shortlisted Titles:
    • “Creative Making As Creative Writing,” issue 4.1 of the Journal of Creative Writing Studies, edited by Kathi Inman Berens.
    • Playing Nature: Ecology in Video Games by Alenda Y. Chang.
  • Committee Members: Lai-Tze Fan, Jon Saklofske, Caleb Milligan

The N. Katherine Hayles Award for Criticism of Electronic Literature honors the best work of criticism of electronic literature of any length. Endowed through a generous donation from N. Katherine Hayles and others, this annual prize recognizes excellence in the field. The Prize for 1st Place comes with a $1000 award.  The 2020 N.  Katherine Hayles award goes to Critical Code Studies by Mark C. Marino is the recipient of the 2020 N. Katherine Hayles Award.

Critical Code Studies is an important and necessary book, staging an instructive, provocative, and creative interruption into the field of computer science and related creative projects.  Challenging fundamental assumptions and habits of critical practice, it argues for the political and cultural necessity of becoming critically lucid about this invisibilized layer of meaning, materiality, and process that is at the heart of every experience of electronic literature. Understanding code for its linguistic capacity and meaning-making flexibility, as a subtle layer of signs that communicate essential socio-political contexts, this book’s varied case studies are instrumental in unfolding the complexity and richness of CCS’ interventional possibility.

Honourable Mention: Adventure Games: Playing the Outsider by Aaron Reed, John Murray, and Anastasia Salter

Adventure Games is a collaborative work that mixes history, theory, close readings, and larger implications in a comprehensive analysis of the thoroughly e-literary genre of adventure games, braiding electronic literature into broader and more inclusive critical conversations.  Reaching out to audiences beyond academia, this volume identifies and counters marginalization and othering aspects of particular interactive experiences via a radical inclusion, collectively considering design elements, mechanics, and dynamics; choice and episodic structures; innovation in story, puzzle & exploration; walking simulators and the representation of space;  character and conversation focused games and queer modalities of play; and emerging technologies of perception and play.

The Marjorie C. Luesebrink Career Achievement Award

  • Winner: Judy Malloy
  • Committee: Matt Kirschenbaum, Perla Sasson Henry, and Jessica Pressman

The Marjorie C. Luesebrink Career Achievement Award honors a visionary artist and/or scholar who has brought excellence to the field of electronic literature and has inspired others to help create and build the field. Bestowed by the Electronic Literature Organization and funded through a generous donation, it comes with the following: a $1000 award that can go directly to the awardee or to a young scholar who would use the funds in support of developing content for online resources about the awardee’s achievements; a plaque showing the name of the winner and an acknowledgement of the achievement; and a one-year membership in the Electronic Literature Organization at the Associate Level.

The Artist or Scholar selected for this award should demonstrate excellence in four or more of the following categories:

  • Creation of opportunities for younger scholars
  • Publication of influential academic studies of electronic literature
  • Practice-based artistic research in the field, with significant presentations and exhibitions of creative work
  • Curatorial activities, particularly including editing and the organization of exhibitions, conferences, workshops, roundtables and research groups
  • Preservationist work, whether individual or institutional
  • Active participation in conferences and exhibitions, both national and international
  • Contribution to ELO as an organization, whether as a member of the Board of Directors or Literary Art Board or as informal advisor

We are delighted to announce this year’s winner of the Marjorie C. Luesebrink Career Achievement Award, pioneer in digital writing  Judy Malloy.

The judges offered the following celebration of Judy Malloy:

For the duration, breadth, and perhaps above all the constancy of her contributions to the field of electronic literature, we select Judy Malloy for the Marjorie C. Luesebrink Career Achievement Award. Since Uncle Roger, Its Name Was Penelope, and other pioneering works of first-generation e-lit, Judy Malloy has presented a striking and original body of creative work, programming, and scholarship in the field of electronic literature. Throughout her career she has written poems, narratives and essays that explore who we are, where we come from, and our relationship with others and technology. Her visionary creative and critical work as well as her teaching have inspired many. She has done all of this without benefit of a permanent academic appointment.

Malloy has been a particularly strong advocate for women in the field, as evidenced by her 2003 MIT Press volume on Women, Art, and Technology, one of the first of its kind. Like her later volume on Social Media Poetics, it is a “sourcebook,” collecting the writings of others for documentation and dissemination. That she has continued preserving her own earliest work, updating it for the Web and new platforms, speaks to her ongoing interest in reaching an audience; as does her long-running Writer’s Notebook on the WELL, a kind of blog avant la lettre. For all of these reasons, Judy Malloy is our unanimous choice.

ELO awards these prizes at its annual conference. The call for next year’s awards will be issued months before via ELO’s website.

A PDF of the press release is available here.

Announcing the 2020 ELO Fellows

ELO is pleased to announce the ELO Fellowship scheme into its second year, aiming to expand our scholarly activity, and our curatorial and creative practices with the appointment of seven graduate and early career fellows. In the spirit of protest, change, and justice, and in an attempt to further strengthen the Organization’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion framework, two of the fellows (one creative, one scholarly) were chosen for our new “Amplify Anti-Racism” scheme. 

Meredith Dabek (Ireland)
Malthe Stavning Erslev (Denmark)
Roberta Iadevaia (Italy)
Dani Spinosa (Canada)
Yohanna Joseph Waliya (Nigeria)
Margaret Rhee (AAR) (U.S.A.) – scholarly
Keith Wilson (AAR) (U.S.A) – creative

 The ELO Fellows are six graduate and early career Research Fellows for the academic year 2020/21, each of whom have been awarded a $500 stipend along with a one year ELO membership. Fellows help contribute to various ELO projects, including the Electronic Literature Directory and its alliances with partner organizations such as ELO. Each Fellow will be paired with a mentor.  “The Fellows program is critical to the sustained success and development of the ELO and its many projects, and it’s truly rewarding to be working with such a diverse and stellar group of scholars and artists, from so many regions around the world,” comments ELO Board Member Astrid Ensslin, who oversees the ELO Fellowship scheme.

 The AAR Fellows take two forms. The creative Fellowship is intended for a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and Persons of Color) identifying a digital creator whose work should aspire to use digital media in e-literary ways, but there is no technical skill requirement to apply. The Fellows receive mentorship and support. The scholarly Fellow will be undertaking activities in support of developing the ELO’s racially/ethnically inclusive and activist policies and projects. These may include, for example, identifying e-literature initiatives and creative works by BIPOC within ELO existing databases, curating the collection of works and criticism by BIPOC and/or related to racial justice and anti-racism, developing racially and ethnically diverse and inclusive ontologies for the ELO’s databases, and/or supporting the design and development of e-lit works promoting racial justice and anti-racism.

“We are excited to have this excellent group joining in ELO’s efforts to promote scholarly and creative work in electronic literature while working to create an inclusive and welcoming community,” said President Leonardo Flores when the Fellows were announced during the 2020 conference, which was held online this summer.

Call for Proposals for ELO 2021 Conference

The Electronic Literature Organization (ELO) seeks proposals to host the ELO 2021 Conference and Festival.

Given the uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic the ELO wishes to protect its community by planning its 2021 conference as an online conference and festival. We recognize the importance of maintaining the tradition of an event that brings together scholars, artists, and people interested in digital language arts from around the world. This year, we had to pivot from a traditional conference to an online, virtual one, and are grateful for Anastasia Salter and her team’s resiliency.

For next year, we wish to consider proposals from individuals or teams that wish to host our conference and are designing it to be online from the outset. We are open to consider innovative proposals from individuals or teams from a single or several collaborating institutions that wish to host our conference and are designing it to be online from the outset. We are particularly interested in conferences hosted outside North America, possibly located in two distinct time zones, or teams interested in running one aspect of the conference, such as the academic presentations, the arts festival, or the social spaces. We are also interested in joint conferences with organizations whose interests overlap with ours, such as ACM Hypertext, SLSA, and others.

Interested parties should contact the ELO President, Leonardo Flores (leo@eliterature.org), for guidance on developing a proposal for the conference. We encourage sending a pre-proposal no later than August 31, 2020 to help develop it into a full proposal. The deadline for complete proposals is September 30, 2020. The Board of Directors will consider proposals and make a decision shortly thereafter.

Next year, we will reassess the state of the Covid-19 pandemic and decide if we continue with online conferences or return to a face-to-face modality in 2022. Those interested in hosting the 2022 conference (be it online or face-to-face) should also contact Leonardo Flores to discuss options.

Here’s a link to a downloadable PDF of the Call for Proposals.

ELO 2020 Conference: Live Events

As we prepare to launch this year’s online conference, we would like to invite our community to support the ELO with their 2020 membership dues ($50 regular membership, $25 for unaffiliated scholars, independent artists, and students).

Take a look at all the amazing content in this year’s conference:

The content of the conference is free and open access. Even if you don’t register, you’ll be able to access talks, papers, and EVENTUALLY the recorded Zoom sessions. To participate in or access the Live Program, you will need to be a member of the organization and register for the conference.

The Electronic Literature Organization is committed to free and open access to all the resources and collections it creates, year round. And the way you can support these initiatives and publications is by renewing your membership dues every year.

Go here and renew and register!
https://elo.cah.ucf.edu/registration/

For your convenience, here’s the Live Events Calendar in a Google Calendar.

ELO Amplify Anti-Racism Fellowships (June 21)

In the spirit of protest, change, and justice, and in an attempt to further strengthen its EDI (Equity, Diversity, Inclusion) framework, the Electronic Literature Organization invites applications for two dedicated Fellowships aimed to Amplify Anti-Racism: a creative and a scholarly one.

In line with its other five 2020/21 Fellowships, the two AAR Fellowships will be a one-year opportunity for early career applicants with strong interests in the area of anti-racist electronic literature and/or digital arts.

The creative Fellowship is intended for a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and Persons of Color) identifying digital creator whose work should aspire to use digital media in e-literary ways, but there is no technical skill requirement to apply. The successful applicant will receive mentorship and support. The scholarly Fellow will be undertaking activities in support of developing the ELO’s racially/ethnically inclusive and activist policies and projects. These may include, for example, identifying e-literature initiatives and creative works by BIPOC within ELO existing databases, curating the collection of works and criticism by BIPOC and/or related to racial justice and anti-racism, developing racially and ethnically diverse and inclusive ontologies for the ELO’s databases, and/or supporting the design and development of e-lit works promoting racial justice and anti-racism.

Both Fellowships will come with a $500 stipend and a one year ELO membership. The awardees will be announced during the virtual ELO conference in July.

One page letters of application, and short CV’s can be sent to the Fellowship committee chair, Astrid Ensslin (ensslin at ualberta.ca). Applicants for the creative Fellowship are further encouraged to include a portfolio link to samples of their work.

Deadline to apply: June 21st, 2020.

Call for ELO Research Fellows 2020/21 (May 31)

Call for ELO Research Fellows 2020/21
Deadline: May 31st, 2020

The ELO is expanding its scholarly activity, creative, and curatorial practices with the appointment of six graduate and early career Research Fellows for the academic year 2020/21, each of whom will be awarded a $500 stipend along with a one year ELO membership. Awards will be announced during the virtual ELO conference in July. In the coming months, we’ll be welcoming applicants who will be working with established ELO scholars and practitioners on a variety of ELO projects, such as the Electronic Literature Directory (http://directory.eliterature.org), CELL (www.cellproject.net), The Digital Review (http://www.thedigitalreview.com), the electronic book review (https://electronicbookreview.com), and the ELO Repository (https://elo-repository.org).

One page letters of application, and short CV’s can be sent to the ELD project director, Astrid Ensslin (ensslin at ualberta.ca).

Deadline to apply: May 31st