New Maverick Award goes to Talan Memmott

The ELO is proud to announce the recipient of a brand new prize: The Maverick Award.  This first ever award goes to Talan Memmott.

The Maverick is awarded  to an independent spirit: a writer, artist, researcher, programmer, designer, performer, or hybrid creator who does not adhere to a conventional path but creates their own and in so doing makes a singular contribution to the field of electronic literature.

As founder of an alternative learning institution, creator of one of the first online journals of e-lit, author of celebrated works of e-lit, scholar of digital media, and an artist who challenged every medium he worked in, Memmott is a singular figure in the world of electronic literature.

Throughout his career, Talan Memmott has blazed a path in digital literature.   He is the author of over 40 electronic literary works, and the novel My Molly De parted (Free Dogma Press). His works, perhaps epitomized by Lexia to Perplexia, have been the subject of acclaim and extensive critical analysis.

Memmott is also the Founder and President of UnderAcademy College, an unaccredited undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate anti-degree institution.  UnderAcademy College situates itself as a shadow-academic environment offering alternative courses and anti-degree programs in a variety of subjects. This alternative site of education has offered one-of-a-kind courses, such as How to Read and Write Fake News: Journullism in the Age of Trump, which Memmott co-taught.

Memmott holds an MFA in Literary Arts/Electronic Writing from Brown University and a PhD in Interaction Design/Digital Rhetoric and Poetics from Malmö University.

Memmott has taught and been a researcher in digital art, digital design, electronic writing, new media studies, and digital culture at University of California Santa Cruz; University of Bergen; Blekinge Institute of Technology in Karlskrona, Sweden; California State University Monterey Bay; the Georgia Institute of Technology; University of Colorado Boulder; and the Rhode Island School of Design. He is currently Associate Professor of Creative Digital Media at Winona State University.

He has collaborated on many digital projects, including netprovs, such as, “I Work or the Web,” and the 2018 Congress of Fakes at ELO in Montreal.  He has served up computationally generated gastropoetic marvels with Scott Rettberg as part of ELO Cork and ELOrlando.

Memmott has  also given extensive service to ELO, having held a position on the Board, including Vice President.  He was a co-editor for the Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 2 (ELO). He was also a co-editor of the ELMCIP Anthology of European Electronic Literature.

During the award ceremony ELO Vice President Caitlin Fisher offered an origin story for the award: The idea came up at the wake for Damon Loren Baker for an award recognizing, the artists and scholars, like Damon, “amazing people, as part of the ELO Community, who are not likely to win the other awards because they are on a crazy, brilliant, genius path all their own.”

In the future, the Maverick Award is to be nominated and elected by the Literary Advisory Board. The award: $500 and a bottle of St. Germain.  Rettberg explained that the new award would go to someone “who took an unconventional path and who really colored outside of the lines, and of course, Damon is part of this prize, which is a bottle of Saint Germain, Damon’s favorite liqueur.”

Pressman’s Bookishness wins the 2021 N. Katherine Hayles Prize

Bookishness cover image

Winner:
Bookishness, by Jessica Pressman

Honorable Mention:
Antología Lit(e)Lat. Vol 1. by Leonardo Flores, Claudia Kozak, and Rodolfo Mata (eds)
.break.dance by Marisa Parham

ELO is proud to announce that The 2021 N. Katherine Hayles Award for Criticism of Electronic Literature goes to Jessica Pressman for Bookishness: Loving Books in a Digital Age (Columbia 2020).

Winner:
Bookishness, Jessica Pressman

From the publisher’s page:

Twenty-first-century culture is obsessed with books. In a time when many voices have joined to predict the death of print, books continue to resurface in new and unexpected ways. From the proliferation of “shelfies” to Jane Austen–themed leggings and from decorative pillows printed with beloved book covers to bookwork sculptures exhibited in prestigious collections, books are everywhere and are not just for reading. Writers have caught up with this trend: many contemporary novels depict books as central characters or fetishize paper and print thematically and formally.

In Bookishness, Jessica Pressman examines the new status of the book as object and symbol. She explores the rise of “bookishness” as an identity and an aesthetic strategy that proliferates from store-window décor to experimental writing. Ranging from literature to kitsch objects, stop-motion animation films to book design, Pressman considers the multivalent meanings of books in contemporary culture. Books can represent shelter from—or a weapon against—the dangers of the digital; they can act as memorials and express a sense of loss. Examining the works of writers such as Jonathan Safran Foer, Jennifer Egan, Mark Z. Danielewski, and Leanne Shapton, Pressman illuminates the status of the book as a fetish object and its significance for understanding contemporary fakery. Bringing together media studies, book history, and literary criticism, Bookishness explains how books still give meaning to our lives in a digital age.

According to the prize jury:

Bookishness provides a provocative look at the status of the book in the post-digital age. Pressman’s formulation of “bookishness” offers a compelling heuristic for considering the role of the overdetermining power of the book amidst the media shifts of the 21st century. Rather than sequestering electronic literature, Bookishness integrates a discussion of the digital with print-based texts, ushering in a new moment in e-lit scholarship in expertly crafted prose.”

Jessica Pressman is associate professor of English and comparative literature at San Diego State University, where she cofounded the Digital Humanities Initiative.  Pressman previously won the N. Katherine Hayles award forcoauthor of Reading “Project”: A Collaborative Analysis of William Poundstone’s “Project for Tachistoscope {Bottomless Pit}” (2015), which she co-authored.  She is the author of Digital Modernism: Making It New in New Media (2014) and coeditor of Comparative Textual Media: Transforming the Humanities in the Postprint Era (2013) and Book Presence in a Digital Age (2018).

Honorable Mentions:

Leonardo Flores, Claudia Kozak, and Rodolfo Mata (eds). Antología Lit(e)Lat. Vol 1.

Front page of LiteLat

https://litelat.net/

The Latin American Electronic Literature Network (litElat) aims to bring together academics, researchers and artists who are interested in topics / works of electronic literature in the Latin American context. According to the jury,

Lit(e)Lat is an overdue and powerful anthology that brings to the forefront the crucial contributions of Latin American and Caribbean writers to electronic literature since the 1960s. Collecting and curating this body of work, Lit(e)Lat expands the canon of electronic literature and demands attention to and promotes discovery of the remarkable work of these writers.”

.break.dance by Marisa Parham

breakdance cover image

http://smallaxe.net/sxarchipelagos/issue03/parham/parham.html#about

.break .dance is a time-based web experience opened in response to a prompt for a Small Axe Archipelagos issue, launched by Alex Gil and Kaiama Glover, and guest-edited by Jessica Marie Johnson. In thinking through and against the machineries of commercial interface efficacy, this pocket intentionally shows its material and discursive seams. Rooted in a sense of anarchival play, it is designed for multiple engagements, changes over time, and assumes no one will take the same path through. In its interface and experimental performances, .break .dance begs temporal patience and playful engagement with digital space. Here, touching and playing and looking are important to thinking. You can also read the process piece that goes with this project here. Acccording to the jury:

“.break.dance offers a compelling model of criticism that is itself a masterful piece of electronic literature. The piece prompts electronic literature scholars to look beyond the genres of monograph, anthology, and journal article to consider how the innovative and experimental methodologies of electronic literature can rewrite the rules of scholarship as we know it, using digital systems to dismantle larger systems of oppression.”

About the Award

The N. Katherine Hayles Award for Criticism of Electronic Literature is an award given for the best work of criticism, of any length, on the topic of electronic literature. Bestowed by the Electronic Literature Organization and funded 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, with 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. One prize for Honorable Mention is awarded and consists of 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.

Jury: Elika Ortega-Guzman, Roopika Risam, and Mark Marino

Kate Pullinger Wins Marjorie C. Luesebrink Career Achievement Award

ELO is proud to announce the winner of this year’s Marjorie C. Luesebrink Career Achievement Award Kate Pullinger:

Kate Pullinger

Ben Langdon Photography

Kate Pullinger: https://www.katepullinger.com/about-kate-pullinger/

As a print, film, stage, and new media writer, Kate Pullinger has brought these worlds of literature together for over three decades. Early on, she taught online at trAce, and for years she has supported many critical initiatives to introduce digital fiction and digital literacy in schools in the UK and internationally. As a celebrated print author, including winning the 2009 Governor General’s Award, Kate has done much to extend awareness of electronic literature, while creating some of its most innovative projects.

She developed “Lifelines,” accompanied with teacher’s book and successfully used in many schools. She is also one of the creators of “Inanimate Alice,” a pedagogical blockbuster that has been translated into French, German, Italian, Spanish, Indonesian, Japanese, and Portuguese. Inanimate Alice: Episode Six – The Last Gas Station was the 2016 Honorable Mention for the Robert Coover Prize. She has been the driving force behind a variety of workshops, programs, initiatives, and more to support developing the future of e-lit. Pullinger developed Ambient Literature Project. She also co-wrote the 2020 scholarly book: Ambient Literature Towards a New Poetics of Situated Writing and Reading Practices. Pullinger has brought the concept of electronic literature to tens of thousands of people, including the UK Prime Minister, through the “Letters to an Unknown Soldier” Project.

Kate Pullinger has supported ELO conferences and has advised ELO throughout the decades. She is also an editorial director of “The Writing Platform” that since 2013 is a wonderful digital resource of knowledge about digital storytelling for writers.

Her most recent digital fiction, “Breathe,” a ghost story that knows where you are, is available for free on your phone. It was shortlisted for the New Media Writing Prize in 2019. She also wrote “Jellybone,” a novel for smartphones in 10 episodes.

According to the judges,

“Kate Pullinger’s fictional explorations of digital media for expressive purposes challenges the rhetoric of transparency in favor of a storytelling practice that brings together enjoyment and reflection. Her continued combination of poetic imagination and digital media education has achieved a broad public engagement with the constraints and affordances of electronic literature.”

She is Professor of Creative Writing and Digital Media at Bath Spa University as well as Director of the Centre for Cultural and Creative Industries (CCCI).

ELO is grateful to Kate for elevating and extending the art of digital writing, bringing it to new communities of readers and writers!

Call for Proposals: ELO 2022 Conference

The Electronic Literature Organization (ELO) seeks proposals to host the ELO 2022 Conference, Festival, and Media Arts Exhibition (ELO Conference, for short).

Given the progress made with vaccinations and addressing the COVID-19 pandemic the ELO Board of Directors wishes to consider proposals for its 2022 conference and media arts show as a hybrid conference and festival, with live face-to-face and synchronous and asynchronous online elements. We recognize the importance of maintaining the tradition of an event that brings together scholars, artists, and other people interested in digital language arts from around the world, whether they are able to travel or not, and with attention to accessibility and inclusion.

For next year, we wish to consider innovative proposals from individuals or teams from a single or several collaborating institutions that wish to host our conference. We are happy to consider conference proposals from anywhere in the world. We are also open to 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 brief pre-proposal or statement of interest outlining your ideas for the conference no later than May 2, 2021 for feedback and assistance in working towards a full proposal. We will share the ELO Best Practices for Conferences document with those who have expressed interest, and teams interested in hosting the conference will receive support and mentorship from previous chairs. The deadline for complete proposals is May 23, 2021. The Board of Directors will consider proposals and make a decision in its May 30, 2021 meeting.

Conference events, including both physical and virtual spaces, need to follow the guidelines and policies established in the ELO Code of Conduct.

ELO Conference Policies

Future organizers of Electronic Literature Organization events, including the annual ELO Conference and Media Arts Show, will be required to adopt a version of the ELO Community Code of Conduct, appointing an appropriate team to address any reports that emerge from the event’s physical and virtual platforms.

In addition, all ELO events will adopt the following practices to strive towards inclusion and parity.

  • Transparency and Inclusivity in Review Processes. The names of all reviewers and/or curators for any event should be publicly available prior to the submission process. Updates to the composition of the review team should be made public as soon as feasible as changes are made. ELO event organizers are responsible for working towards diverse review teams.
  • Double-Anonymized Review. Wherever possible, conference submissions should be made anonymous for peer review, and the names of specific reviewers on a work-by-work basis should not be made public during the review process. In the case of artistic work (particularly work that is iterative or previously displayed), full anonymization may not be possible; however, the omission of identifying information should be the goal wherever feasible.
  • Clear and Reasonable Deadlines. Deadlines for all stages of event submission should be communicated at least two months prior, with an emphasis on providing clarity and, whenever possible, translations of the call to circulate across the international community. While circumstances may occasionally necessitate closer deadlines, all consideration possible should be given to early communication to enable broader participation.
  • Support for and Compliance With the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Consideration of the status of any potential host country with regards to support for human rights, as documented by the United Nations, will be taken into consideration when choosing organizations to host ELO events to ensure that all members of the community feel safe and welcome in those locales. All conference organizers commit to upholding those values as annotated above.
  • Accessibility and Archiving. The shift to virtual conferencing has enabled the full participation of members of the community left behind by an emphasis on in-person events. Future ELO events should build on the inclusivity and accessibility enabled by virtual conferencing, prioritizing access in both physical and virtual venues, and following principles of universal design wherever possible. Events focused on physical participation should be documented, streamed, or otherwise made available through the ELO’s archival projects.

You can download a PDF of this CFP with this link.

Announcing: ELO 2021 Keynotes

ELO 2021 Conference and Festival: Platform (Post?) Pandemic
Conference Keynotes | May 26th – 28th • Aarhus University and the University of Bergen, Norway
#eloppp | https://eliterature.org/elo2021/

Lai-Tze Fan | Assistant Professor

University of Waterloo, Canada

Lai-Tze Fan Lai-Tze Fan [pronounced: ligh (“light” without the t) + chee] is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Waterloo, Canada, and a Faculty Researcher of the Critical Media Lab and Games Institute. Her federally funded research explores digital storytelling, media theory and infrastructure, research-creation and critical making, and systemic inequalities in technological design and labour. Fan is an Editor and the Director of Communications of electronic book review and a Co-Editor of the digital review. She is Co-Editor of the 2020 collection Post-Digital: Dialogues and Debates from electronic book review (Bloomsbury), Co-Editor of the ebr special gathering “Canadian Digital Poetics,” and Editor of the forthcoming special double issue “Critical Making, Critical Design.”

Archana Prasad | Founder & COO

Dara.network and BeFantastic

Archana PrasadArchana Prasad has been actively engaged with technology enabled participatory art practices for more than two decades. As Founder & CCO of Dara.network, she looks at taking her interest to foster creative cross-border collaborations further by helping change-makers and institutions build social capital. She engages public awareness of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals through BeFantastic, an international Tech-Art platform founded by her in 2017.

Olga Goriunov | Professor

Royal Holloway University, London, UK

Olga GoriunoOlga Goriunova is Professor at Royal Holloway University of London and author of Art Platforms (Routledge, 2012) and Bleak Joys (with M.Fuller, University of Minnesota Press, 2019). An editor of Fun and Software (Bloomsbury, 2014), she was a co-curator of software art platform Runme.org (2003) before the age of social platforms. She also wrote on new media idiocy, memes and lurkers. Her continuing interest in the intersection of aesthetics, computation and subjectivation has led to her current work on machine learning and subject-construction.

Addressing EDI in ELO

Please read this important letter from the ELO Board of Directors. You can download a pdf here.

Dear Members of the ELO Community,

As the recent letters addressed to our community and the open forum hosted by the ELO Board of Directors have both highlighted, members of our community have questioned the ability of the ELO organization to effectively address issues of equality. We acknowledge an urgent need for our organization to foreground inclusivity by extending support of marginalized colleagues and by amplifying their roles within ELO governance and activities. As members of the Board of Directors, we pledge to center this work and to respond to the community discussions with action.

This year, the ELO Conference is being organized by a three-part international collective for the first time. The goal of this effort is greater inclusivity and accessibility across time zones, as well as increased visibility for the global work of the field. However, we recognize that this new organizational structure has brought with it communication challenges, and the work that has been most visible at this first stage has centered white and male curatorial contributions. While the overall exhibitions themselves showcase the art and energy of diverse creators, and we do not wish to render that significant art and labour invisible, we take responsibility for not making this diversity more visible to the community.

The conference organizers have taken proactive steps in recommending ways for the Board to improve the inclusivity and transparency of the 2021 conference. To support the distributed teams in their efforts, the Board has asked ELO Vice President Caitlin Fisher to serve in a new role as Global Conference Coordinator. In this role, she will work to facilitate clearer communication and transparency in the Conference moving forward. Additionally, the Board is assisting efforts to diversify Conference review committees: Claudia Kozak and Erik Loyer are joining the Platforming Utopias curation team, and Caitlin Fisher and Anastasia Salter have joined the program committee. We recognize that the circumstances of the pandemic have created unequally distributed consequences for participation and submission in the conference processes this year. The Board will work to assist the Conference team in reaching and centering diverse voices in Conference keynotes and events.

Institutionally, we note that the organization has outgrown its current models for governing structures. To that end, the Board will be conducting a review of the bylaws and working towards a new process for governance that will involve the full ELO community in the process of selecting its leadership body. Rather than asking a dedicated group to work on these challenges, we view it as a central challenge that the Board can and will address to ensure accountability and transparency to the community on all future decisions. We hope to continue to build on the progress we’ve made in initiatives such as the Electronic Literature Collections, the ELO Fellows program, and the ELO Awards in order to craft inclusive collectives and transparency in editorial and award processes.

We also note that the inclusivity and accessibility of our 2020 conference was greatly increased by reliance on digital platforms. The challenges of the pandemic presented an opportunity to address this long-standing community concern, and we commit to continue building on this success. The call for conference hosting in 2022 will ask for proposals for a hybrid conference, to enable both a return to in-person community (with significant attention to accommodating disability of any sort) and continued access for those seeking to participate virtually. We hope these efforts will enable the community to grow not just in scale, but in inclusivity. We will strive as a Board to lead conscious reflection and institutional change by committing our resources to this work.

For the sake of transparency and accountability, the ELO Board commits to dedicating time during its First Fridays and Town Hall meetings to ongoing discussion and updates for the community on our work in progress concerning equity, diversity, and inclusivity in our community. Our goal is to have a sustained, constructive dialogue with our community that leads to positive change. We will also publish and enforce a code of conduct based on the one we used in our 2020 conference (https://elo.cah.ucf.edu/conference-behavior/) to all our social media platforms, conferences, and events. We hope our community will engage in collegial, good faith, even generous discussions with the Board, with Conference organizers, and with other members of the community to help us achieve that goal.

We conclude by expressing our gratitude for the people who have volunteered their time, money, and talent to building this organization and community over the last 20 years. We thank the team for the 2021 ELO Conference for their hard work to make this virtual, global meeting a gathering place for all of our community. And we thank our community members, who by expressing their concerns have placed their trust in our ability to listen and do better.

And we will.

Sincerely,

The ELO Board of Directors

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E-lit as DH Book Launch Feb 9

Book Launch at Electronic Literature Organization Salon Electronic Literature as Digital Humanities: Contexts, Forms, and Practices by Dene Grigar and James O’Sullivan

Join us as we celebrate the exciting launch on Feb 9 at 11am EST (1600 GMT) with special guests from the ELO and Electronic Book Review editorial boards.

Join us via Zoom!