ELO2021-EXHIBITIONS => Platforming Utopias (and Platformed Dystopias)
Platforming Utopias (and Platformed Dystopias)
Launch + Documentation
_V[R]erses_: An XR Story Series
Anders Visti + Malthe Stavning Erslev
• Aarhus Urban Operating System
Not For You
The Trajectory Cabinet (digital version)
Diego Bonilla +
León De La Rosa-Carrillo
Árboles de Mi Desierto: Wind Songs
Serge Bouchardon + Alexandre Truong + Loïc Husson + Louis Pineau + Lisa Colombani + Adrien Charannat + Sirine Ammar-Boudjelal + Alexandre De Balmann
A Web Odyssey
Still I Rise: Remix
Andréa Catrópa +
John Cayley + Daniel Howe + Allison Parrish + Rita Raley + Qianxun Chen + Samantha Gorman
LAOB The Language Art Observer
Me, Myself and I in Dystopia
A Platform to Come - Translated Bergsonism - Deleuze (TBD)
Ode to a Fallen Dialogue
David Thomas Henry Wright + Brett Griffin
The (auto)biography of 김정은
Six Themes: One Dispersed Exhibition
This is only one of many sites/portal/exhibition spaces that will appear in relation to the ELO2021 Conference.
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.
The following exhibitions will be part of the festival:
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.
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. MAY 2021.
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.
Platforming Utopias (and Platformed Dystopias): This will be the largest open submission exhibition, responding to the conference theme. MAY 24-28 2021.
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
The dra.ft team from their ==> WEBSITE
Agat Sharma - Theatre Maker. Educator. Designer.
Nanditi Khilnani - Technical Program Manager turned Arts Professional. Classical Musician. Live Coder. Co-founder, Ajaibghar.
Ambika Joshi - Museum Professional. Creative Coder. Certified Project Manager. Computational_Mama. Co-founder, Ajaibghar.
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.
ELO2021 Exhibitions committee:
Søren Bro Pold,
Samya Brata Roy,
(and Platformed Dystopias)
Curator Statement by Søren Pold and Scott Rettberg:
The Platforforming Utopias (and Platformed Dystopias) exhibition was planned as an open exhibition in response to the main theme of the ELO 2021 Conference and Festival: Platform (Post?) Pandemic. The selections process for exhibition was handled differently the other exhibitions in the festivals as the works featured here were not specifically curated by a small group, but were instead peer-reviewed by arts program committee as a whole, with each work getting three or more reviews. Claudia Kozak and Erik Loyer then reviewed these acceptances and rejections on behalf of the ELO board, and made the final calls on borderline submissions.
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 works featured in this exhibition all engage in some way with these questions — whether through the invention of new platforms for collaborative writing practices, the critique of existing platforms in enacted artworks or interventions, the relation of technological platforms to environmental dystopia, or the creative rethinking of platforms in the creation of new genres of electronic literature.
Description of the artworks by Carlota Megias:
Mez Breeze and Company | _V[R]erses_: An XR Story Series
Microstories from a variety of authors inscribed on 3D models created by Mez Breeze. Wander the surfaces of the statues/stories via direct manipulation of the XR platform’s 3D space; or let the stories’ numerically sequenced sections guide you up, down, and around the statues -- the XR platform enacts the texts’ language of movement.
Ben Grosser | Not For You An ‘automated confusion system’ designed to mislead TikTok’s video recommendation algorithm. It navigates the site without the user’s intervention, indiscriminately clicking on videos, hashtags, and creator profiles in order to break the filter bubbles endemic to social media sites’ infinite content feeds -- all while indicating their dependence upon the corporate collection of our personal data to be addictive.
Jason Nelson | The Trajectory Cabinet (Digital Version) A fully digitized version of a hybrid physical-virtual poem mapping the environmental destruction wrought by real estate developers in Brisbane, Australia, culminating in the 2011 floods that laid waste to large parts of the city. Use your keyboard to to project thirty-two different pieces onto the map, simulating the manual pushing-and-pulling of library catalogue drawers in the original. Discover an additional ten pieces by trying out different keystroke/drawer configurations.
Diego Bonilla and Rodolfo Mata | Big Data A non-linear, generative video poem about data aggregation and analysis. Thirty Mexicans living in Mexico City perform a different version of this fractal poem each time its program is run, according to specifications regarding its length in seconds and total number of lines inputted by the viewer. It emphasizes the human faces and acts of connection that undergird online databases’ highly commercialized statistical processing.
Serge Bouchardon, Alexandre Truong, Lisa Colombani, Loïc Husson, Louis Pineau, Adrien Charannat, Sirine Ammar-Boudjelal, Alexandre De Balmann | A Web Odyssey An interactive retelling of Homer’s Odyssey where Odysseus’ harrowing journey to return to his hometown, Ithaca, is paralleled in the user’s attempts to reconnect to a network called e-thaca. It establishes points of contact between key episodes of the epic poem and aspects of our contemporary virtual landscape -- among them, the narcotic oblivion induced by lotus flowers and infinitely scrollable social media feeds, and the twin calls of Sirens and streaming platforms.
León de la Rosa-Carrillo | Árboles de Mi Desierto: Wind Songs A recombinatory, Espanglish video poem delivered alongside the textures and colors of a dead tree -- uprooted and smashed into lumber by a windstorm, then rendered into physically impossible, panoramic collages -- in de la Rosa-Carrillo’s frontyard. Words work together with these images to inspire reflection on unnatural progress, growth, and upward mobility.
Christopher Odom | Still I Rise: Remix An interactive fight song blending code, video, sound, hypertext, image, and lyric together to inspire civic action for the #BlackLivesMatter social justice and change movement, based off of Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise.” In the spirit of the African philosophical concept of ubuntu, it encourages the reader to explore the interconnections between systemic racism, police brutality, political polarization, xenophobia, nationalism, and states’ failures to respond adequately to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Andréa Catrópa and Felipe Mariani | Oneirografia An interactive, 3D environment that encourages users to remember, reimagine, and share their dreams and nightmares. Visitors to the site explore a surreal, atmospheric landscape partially dependent upon their inputs to the interface, which they can then photograph, manipulate, and remix. The piece asks to what extent unforeseen, irrational elements -- such as those from our dreams -- can promote academic inquiry and artistic research.
John Cayley, Daniel Howe, Allison Parrish, Rita Raley, Qianxun Chen, Samantha Gorman | LAOB The Language Art Observer Features pieces tied to live-codeable notebooks published with Observable on a rolling basis, each dealing with computationally innovative language art or the aesthetics of language art more generally. These notebooks encourage asynchronous collaboration between artist and audience, permitting real-time editing and commenting by multiple users. LAOB hosts the original piece and links to its live notebook.
Cecilia Suhr | Me, Myself and I in Dystopia Part of an interactive survival game and visual-musical performance called “Humanity: From Dystopia to Survival,” this video explores how the pandemic has changed our conception of collectivity through Suhr’s performance of what it means to be alone in a dystopian society. Multiple shots of the artist’s photos, represented in outline, blur and morph depending on her microphone inputs -- sounds; air; words.
Brent Cox | A Platform to Come: Translating Bergsonism - Deleuze (TBD) A multimedia, intensive work of translation spanning a variety of platforms and mediums that captures the poetics latent in Gilles Deleuze’s Bergsonism. The artist’s annotations to the text are rendered as strange, quasi-living creatures endlessly performing the same, repetitive action, supplemented by a description of their movements. These will be collected in an online codex once the project is complete.
Elfie Nelson | Directional Pilgrim Part hypertext poem, part hellish roadtrip -- a Twine game in which the player-as-pilgrim visits and revisits points in an apocalyptic landscape inspired by the fires that ravage the state of California every year. Navigate via the cardinal directions, character interactions, and dictionary definitions; explore anxieties surrounding mental health and addiction; and find resolution not in the journey’s endpoint, but in the significance of the journey itself.
Angeliki Malakasioti | Ode to a Fallen DialogueAn ode to the struggles of human communication and the eroticism of digital experience. Using the poetics of weather phenomena, this interactive piece consists of approximately forty pages navigated by the reader via point-and-click triggers, some of which solicit the reader’s written input. It meditates upon the hardship of misunderstanding; the rise and fall of interpersonal connection; the agony of the stray meanings in our words; and the wonder of those moments when we successfully reach out to others.
David Thomas Henry Wright and Brett Griffin | The (auto)biography of 김정은 A seven-part experiment in propaganda delivery splicing together a variety of electronic literature pieces with text from Kim Jong-un’s speeches. Combining ‘found’ code and ‘found’ text, this site emulates the relentlessness of the North Korean indoctrination machine while showing how born-digital writing can be stolen and misused.
Jason Nelson The portal holding and showcasing these artworks is an artwork in itself, of itself, something itself.
Launch + Documentation
Video of the Platform Exhbition + Launch
Artists showcasing their works
Featuring the artists, curators and designs of the Platform exhibition
_V[R]erses_: An XR Story Series
Connection to Theme:
Editors John Darcy and Kira Homsher give a greater contextualization of the work in their introduction to the 2020 Fall Issue of The New River journal, saying:
“The three-dimensional aspect of these V[R]erses gives the audience a renewed perception of the possibilities of digital literature, marrying image and text to interpret microstories through the bodies of strange creatures and monsters. What then is to be made of these strange creatures? In a sense, they turn out to be a mirror for our times. As editors, we found a prescient association between these V[R]erses and our quarantined lives. These are monsters out there, surely. But Mez Breeze’s work tells us to look closer so that, if we’re lucky, we might be able to make something of the darkness.”
A V[R]erse is an example of an XR microstory, a platform developed and expanded during the COVID pandemic. Each story consists of a storybox that can be experienced in 3D via a WebXR enabled mobile device, desktop PC and in Virtual Reality. Each V[R]erse is created by different digital literature authors [text] and Mez Breeze [development and design, model and concept creation, audio].
Neutral Magazine: Critical Digital Culture and Media Arts describes this project as: “…[microstories] experienced through 3D rendered forms…The user can either control the sequence of text and the form position, but also leave it to an ‘autopilot’ mode. This work represents a novel association between the text and the image, as the three-dimensional space gives a new perception of the text and its possible sequences. Breeze assembles then a new type of digital literature reading environment, with an intriguing composition of form and texts.”
Mez Breeze creates experimental storytelling, digital literature, VR sculptures and experiences, games, and other genre-defying output. In the early 1990’s Mez first started using the Internet to create digital works and she hasn't slowed since. In November 2019, Mez’s Virtual Reality Microstory Series ‘V[R]ignettes’ won the Queensland University of Technology’s Digital Literature Award, the “…world’s richest digital literacy prize”. In July 2019, Mez was awarded the Marjorie C. Luesebrink Career Achievement Award which: “…honors a visionary artist and/or scholar who has brought excellence to the field of electronic literature.”
Malthe Stavning Erslev
Aarhus Urban Operating System
Connection to Theme:
This work was commissioned for the 2021 ELO Conference and Festival: Platform (Post?) Pandemic. The work presents generative literature, in the form of e-literary bots, and sustains a productive friction between what has been labeled the second and third generations of electronic literature, equal parts handcrafted and based on the aesthetics of established platforms. Furthermore, the work reflects new perspectives on so-called locative e-lit, questioning what it means to sustain e-literary and aesthetic encounters with cities during a pandemic where a physical dérive is made impossible.
AAarhus Urban Operating System (AaUOS) is situated as a parasitic ‘flipside’ of the ELO 2021 conference website. On the AaUOS website, you’ll find a chatroom populated by e-literary bots that are trained to be connoisseurs of certain aspects of the city of Aarhus. The bots of AaUOS are based on equal parts handcrafted conversation trees and recurrent neural networks (RNN). Each bot is a character in a metropolitan drama, from the head of the tourist department to the local bog body, the Grauballe Man.
The RNN models are trained on texts about Aarhus as it is in its presents and pasts, as well as urban development plans that represent an increasingly gentrified future of Aarhus. The work furthermore entails multimedial content, from images to sounds. The sounds were recorded locally in Aarhus as part of an earlier version of the work, which this new chatroom-inflicted version is based upon.
By creating an interface that connects these generative corporate visions and city-imaginaries with a virtual conference on electronic literature, AaUOS sustains an e-literary encounter with emergent imaginaries of Aarhus, stemming collaboratively from local city developers, a machine learning algorithm, playful imitative writing practices, and an international community of scholars.
Anders Visti is an artist working with code. Founder and co-editor of the publishing house * [asterisk] from 2002-12. Founder and editor of the printed web publication ‡ DobbeltDagger and initiator of !=null and CodeandShare, two public forums for artists, researchers, developers and hackers using contemporary technology for creative expression and aesthetic inquiry.
Malthe Stavning Erslev is a PhD fellow at Dept. of Digital Design and Information Studies, Aarhus University. Erslev’s research project, Mimicry for Post-digital Literacy, revolves around the development of contemporarily needed literacies in and though practices of bot-mimicry, i.e. the e-literary act of imitating imitative software.
Not For You
Connection to Theme:
Not For You is an “automated confusion system” designed to mislead TikTok’s video recommendation algorithm, making it possible to see how TikTok feels when it’s no longer made “For You.”
The system navigates the site without intervention, clicking on videos and hashtags and users to find the nooks and crannies TikTok’s algorithm doesn’t show us, to reveal those videos its content moderators suppress, and to surface speech the company hopes to hide. Through its alternative personality-agnostic choices of what to like, who to follow, and which posts to share, Not For You should make the For You page less addictive, and hopefully steer users away from feeling like the best path to platform success is through mimicry and conformity.
Perhaps most importantly, Not For You aims to defuse the filter bubbles produced by algorithmic feeds and the risks such feeds pose for targeted disinformation and citizen manipulation.
Finally, the work stands in opposition to letting corporations opaquely decide what we see and when we see it, to their intentional crafting of addictive user interfaces, and to the extraction of profit from the residual data left behind by users. Ultimately, Not For You asks us to think about who most benefits from social media’s algorithmic feeds, and who is made most vulnerable.
Ben Grosser creates interactive experiences, machines, and systems that examine the cultural, social, and political effects of software. Recent exhibition venues include the Barbican Centre in London, Museum Kesselhaus in Berlin, Museu das Comunicações in Lisbon, and Galerie Charlot in Paris.
His works have been featured in The New Yorker, Wired, The Atlantic, The Guardian, The Washington Post, El País, Libération, Süddeutsche Zeitung, and Der Spiegel. The Chicago Tribune called him the “unrivaled king of ominous gibberish.” Slate referred to his work as “creative civil disobedience in the digital age.” Grosser’s artworks are regularly cited in books investigating the cultural effects of technology, including The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, The Metainterface, Critical Code Studies, and Technologies of Vision, as well as volumes centered on computational art practices such as Electronic Literature, The New Aesthetic and Art, and Digital Art.
Grosser is an associate professor in the School of Art + Design, and co-founder of the Critical Technology Studies Lab at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, both at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA.
The Trajectory Cabinet
Connection to Theme:
In 2011 floods destroyed wide areas of the city, most due to developers capitalising on a "hot" property market and thus creating developments in flood plains and destroying natural waterways.
The Trajectory Cabinet also invokes the physical and the idea that a digital poem can exist both on the screen and a physical object. It allows the reader to feel the movement of the poem and create their own combinations by the drawers they choose to open.
This is a Covid-safe, no touching, rethinking of the digital version of The Trajectory Cabinet, which, in physical form, transforms the 32 drawers/key presses of a library card catalogue into an interactive artwork. Pulling the drawers open and pushing them closed is how the work is read. And each drawer connects to a place on a map of Brisbane, triggering poetic elements.
Overall, The Trajectory Cabinet tells the story of environmental destruction and consequences in Brisbane Australia. There are 32 drawers/key presses total, each with their own poetic/artwork element. And there are a further 10 hidden elements, generated by secret combinations of drawers.
Diego Bonilla + Rodolfo Mata
Connection to Theme:
While the advertising industry heralds the use of digital communication technologies as a form of individual empowerment and self-efficacy, people’s interactions with their devices are proving to also have significant negative effects on society. The poem is situated in the near future, when the collection of personal information will be achieved by individual activities online, by the contributions carried out by other people, and through sensors that are part of the Internet of Things.
The personal data, aggregated, will be processed at very high speeds with the assistance of artificial intelligence. As it happens in this generative video poem, unique pieces of audiovisual media will be created on-the-fly to achieve persuasive objectives based on individual profiles. The combination between the massive collection of personal data and its subsequent statistical processing, aimed at achieving persuasive objectives, will push us towards a terrible reality.
Ultimately, the logic of statistics will be used to define human existence individually and socially in a deterministic way and, unfortunately, it will be guided mostly by commercial interests.
Big Data is a term used to describe, in general, the gathering of vast amounts of digital information and its subsequent processing, through sophisticated computational techniques, with the purpose of obtaining knowledge. In the case of Big Data, the poem, the term refers to the massive collection of personal information communicated online and its processing for commercial purposes, especially for-profit endeavors related to a persuasion achieved through the detailed knowledge of individuals, a persuasion aimed to be invisible.
The poem is not situated in the present but in the near future, when the collection of personal information will be achieved by individual activities online, by the contributions carried out by other people and by sensors that are part of the Internet of things. The personal data, aggregated, will be processed at very high speeds with the assistance of artificial intelligence.
The combination between the massive collection of personal data and its subsequent statistical processing, with that emphasis on inferential statistics to achieve persuasive objectives, will lead to a terrible reality. In general, the logic of statistics will be used to define human existence individually and socially in a deterministic way. Big Data's resulting knowledge, the poem suggests, is equivalent to the omniscience generally attributed to deities.
Throughout his career, Diego Bonilla has engaged in artistic, academic and professional activities. Diego studied an MS in Media Management and a Ph.D. in Mass Media at Syracuse University. Diego has been invited to present his vision of modular filmmaking in England, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, and Ecuador. Diego currently teaches digital media literacy at CSUS and focuses his work on the development of literary and visual hypermedia works through the use of programming.
Rodolfo Mata holds a Ph D. in Latin American Literature from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). He is researcher and professor at the UNAM in Mexico. He has published several works on the Mexican avant-garde poet José Juan Tablada. He has published the poetry books Parajes y paralajes (1998), Temporal (2008), Qué decir(2011) and Nuestro nombre (2015); the electronic poem Silencio vacío (2014) and the plaquette Doble naturaleza (2015).
León De La Rosa-Carrillo
Árboles de Mi Desierto: Wind Songs
During the winter of 2017, a tree died in my front yard. Afterwards, a gale uprooted it and smashed it into lumber. But before the fire, new trees emerged. Árboles de mi Desierto: Wind Songs is a recombinatory video poem shaped by my dead tree as it was documented misusing a panoramic camera in order to generate impossible landscapes of bark, wood, assorted detritus and desert sand.
The words, sometimes fleeting and otherwise stark, work together with the images to create something akin to a palimpsest of reflections on the human penchant for unnatural progress, growth, vertical lifestyles and upward mobility. It uses espanglish as the lingua franca of the MX-US border where I reside in San Agustin, a small, very much under developed rural town outside of Ciudad Juárez.
León de la Rosa Carrillo is a pedagogue and remixologist. He teaches and researches audiovisual art at Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez. His poetry is typically audiovisual and his artwork is typically poetry-based. La frontera smashed him into shape.
Serge Bouchardon + Alexandre Truong
+ Lisa Colombani + Adrien Charannat
+ Sirine Ammar-Boudjelal + Loïc Husson
+ Alexandre De Balmann + Louis Pineau
A Web Odyssey
Connection to Theme:
A Web Odyssey deals with the navigation on Web platforms. It is based on The Odyssey and the figure of Ulysses trying to navigate back to Ithaca. The Greeks associated a mythological divinity with each phenomenon. They accepted not to be able to understand everything, and the gods often served as an explanation.
Centuries later, don't we have the same relationship with digital technologies, with which we sometimes have an almost religious relationship? Are human beings free to make their own choices or do they have to obey their Fate, the Greeks wondered. Are human beings simple pawns, constrained in their choices, or sovereign creatures with free will? When we navigate on the Web, especially on platforms, we can often feel the same tension as the one felt by Ulysses during his perilous journey…
This narrative, which articulates literary, educational and recreational dimensions, is available in French and English. It invites us to reflect on our digital milieu, social media, platforms… and more broadly on digital technologies.
A Web Odyssey is an interactive narrative which features the different episodes of The Odyssey (the Cyclops, Circe, the Sirens, the return to Ithaca ...). The goal of the user is to reconnect to the e-thaca network.
Parallels are then drawn between the oblivion caused by the lotos flowers and the infinite scrolling of social networks, the eye of the Cyclops and the webcam which monitors the Internet user (and which must be blinded or disabled), the Underworld and the Dark Web...
The ecological question is also addressed through the Sirens, which feed on human flesh, and the streaming platforms which consume a lot of energy and data and feed on the resources of our environment.
Serge Bouchardon is Professor at the University of Technology of Compiegne (France), where he teaches interactive writing. His research focuses on digital creation, in particular digital literature. As an author, he is interested in the way the gestures specific to the Digital contribute to the construction of meaning. His creations have been exhibited in many venues in Europe, America, Africa and the Middle East. They have been selected in various online reviews (bleuOrange, Hyperrhiz, SpringGun, The New River).
Sirine Ammar-Boudjelal, Adrien Charannat, Lisa Colombani, Alexandre De Balmann, Loïc Husson, Louis Pineau, and Alexandre Truong are computer engineering students at the University of Technology of Compiegne. Adrien Charannat, Lisa Colombani and Alexandre Truong are also UxD Master students.
Still I Rise: Remix
Connection to Theme:
Born out of a panoply of matches to light the proverbial powder keg, arose a counternarrative to toxic individualism and lack of empathy. Fueled by the affordances of platformization, digital activists moved people to the streets to demand social justice and social change for #BlackLivesMatter and numerous other hashtag movements and platforms for change in identification, profiling, identity politics, race & ethnicity, gender, and sexuality.
As the world first turned inward to social distance during the pandemic, digital activists bombarded people around the world with a narrative of marginalization, police brutality, systemic racism, and demand for change.
Post-pandemic, culturally the Still I Rise remix is not just a cry of pain but is also a message of hope. Amidst the diseases that spread throughout the world as sickness of body and sickness of mind, in the spirit of togetherness, still we rise together and shall overcome unified as one global voice for change. Through the embodied, embedded, enacted, and extended cognition of victims of police violence, such as #BreonnaTaylor, #ElijahMcClain, #AhmaudArbery, #TrayvonMartin, #GeorgeFloyd, #PhilandoCastile, and #TamirRice, the cultural narrative disseminated through digital activism on social media platforms shines a beacon of light for change amidst the storm of resistance.
Still I Rise: Remix is a visual, lyrical, digital interactive fight song for civic action for the #BlackLivesMatter social justice and social change movement.
Through multimodality and intertextuality, Still I Rise: Remix exploits the aesthetics of the digital interactive experience through multiple artistic forms of expression, including code, video, audio, and hypertext. This exhibition is a multimodal expression and declarative statement for the #BlackLivesMatter movement which embodies the spirit of change, inclusion, and social justice. “The medium is the message.” Experience Still I Rise: Remix.
Christopher C. Odom is a Texts and Technology, Digital Media PhD student in the at the University of Central Florida. His research area of focus is at the intersection of visual culture and digital activism. Christopher serves as a course director in the Creative Writing Master of Fine Arts Program at Full Sail University. He teaches graduate students screenwriting, video production, website production, and social media personal branding. Learn more about Christopher's research and work at http://cv.christopherodom.com.
Andréa Catrópa + Felipe Mariani
Connection to Theme:
The process allowed the idealization of Oneirographia, which is a 3D interactive online environment that is under construction and will be finished by the end of February of 2021.
In this work, the interactor can build or simulate his digital dreams with data input that´ll randomly create a sensory ambiance. First, the user fills a form and, then it will be possible to choose between a dream or a nightmare to define the atmosphere of the digital experience. After that, the user will navigate between images, words, and sounds, and, at any moment, he can choose to capture photographs of the digital dream to download or share them on the social media networks.
Dreams hold relevant messages and memories that we cannot access otherwise. However, its encrypted language makes it difficult to understand, and usually, during the wake, we quickly forget what we have dreamed of. Oneirographia aims to facilitate the remembering, reimagining, and sharing of our dreams. The work will be available in three different languages: Portuguese, English and Spanish.
Oneirographia is a project that started in March 2020, when the quarantine due to the Coronavirus pandemic began in the city of São Paulo, Brazil. The conceptual project started from a dream and proceeded, at first, with the help of Internet search engines and it was an encouragement at the critical moment of confinement and pessimism.
Somehow that fact so unique and different from other experienced dream phenomena aroused a series of sensations and reflections on the possibility of incorporating the unforeseen and irrational element as a means of promoting academic inquiry and artistic research.
The dream experience allowed a deviation in the search algorithms using private intuition. This methodology contradicts the rational tendency behind the “improvement” of the artificial intelligence of these mechanisms. This effort included bibliographic research and the creation of a web page called “Prague Dremiary” that contains more information about the work.
Andréa Catrópa holds a Ph.D. in Literary Theory from Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil (2013). She is currently a Professor in Design Master´s and PhD at Anhembi Morumbi University, where she also studied Brazilian concrete poetry and digital literature in her postdoctoral reserach. As a writer, she published poetry, short stories and a transmedia novel. Her multimedia works include audiofictions and a radio program about contemporary literature. As an artist, she is currently conducting her first experiments in digital poetry.
Felipe Mariani is a game designer who works with creative coding. He participated in the project "ExPaço", developed by Paço das Artes - a public art institution located in São Paulo, Brazil. He is interested in the relationship between video games and digital art.
John Cayley + Daniel Howe
+ Allison Parrish + Rita Raley
+ Qianxun Chen + Samantha Gorman
The Language Art Observer
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LAOB The Language Art Observer will commission, edit, and publish language art that is made and documented in Observable. *LAOB* will house, introduce, and promote embedded outcomes and also link back to contributors’ notebooks. In practice *LAOB* will not restrict submissions or commissions to works made in or with Observable. Standalone web apps will also be welcomed, although even these would be linked back to live-codeable notebook documentation of such pieces.
The *LAOB* will also accept language art that is more or less devoid of programmatic computational affordances, but, in this case, only so long as it is prepared for publication using an Observable notebook, with some artist-authored commentary.
Commissions and submissions will be considered if their primary compositionally integrated medium is language, and the chief criteria when considering commissions and submissions for publication will be language-art aesthetic. A founding board member will provide initial modest seed-funding for the project from university-based research funds. Initial set-up and organization will be operated on a gift-economy model at the outset and then we will apply for grant funding in order to cover minimal operating costs and modest fees for commissions and published works. Setting *LAOB* up as a non-profit is anticipated. Submissions, commissions, and actual publication of individual works will all be on a rolling basis.
LOAB The Language Art Observer is an emergent Platform Utopia founded on another existing Platform Utopia which is [Observable](https://observablehq.com). The already existing platform is an infrastructure for live-codeable notebooks, flexibly addressing current web technologies. *LAOB* will be the first platform for the development, management and realization of a utopian web-based publication venue for computationally innovative language art. This Platform Utopia will be constituted and animated by artist-made notebooks.
In internet real time, the notebooks themselves will generate and animate works published as the *LAOB*’s public-facing website, a language art review, the contents of which will link back, seamlessly, to the very notebooks that are animating or otherwise dynamically manipulating what their readers experience.
John Cayley is a writer, theorist, and pioneering maker of language art in programmable media. Apart from more or less conventional poetry and translation, he has explored dynamic and ambient poetics, text generation, transliteral morphing, aestheticized vectors of reading, and transactive synthetic language. Today, he composes as much for reading in aurality as in visuality. A Professor of Literary Arts at Brown University, he co-directs a graduate program in Digital & Cross-Disciplinary Language Art. https://programmatology.shadoof.net @programmatology
Daniel Howe is an artist and writer who uses code as a medium to explore culture and politics. His work spans a range of media, including multimedia installations, artist books, sound recordings and software interventions. He currently lives in Hong Kong where he teaches at the School of Creative Media. https://rednoise.org/daniel @danielchowe
Allison Parrish is a computer programmer, poet, educator and game designer whose teaching and practice address the unusual phenomena that blossom when language and computers meet. She is an Assistant Arts Professor at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program, where she earned her master's degree in 2008.
Rita Raley’s research is situated at the intersection of digital media and humanist inquiry, with a particular emphasis on artistic practices, language, textuality, and cultural critique. She teaches at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and has held fellowship appointments in electronic literature and the digital humanities at UCLA, the University of Bergen, Norway, and the Dutch Foundation for Literature in Amsterdam. She is one of the co-editors of the Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 2.
Qianxun Chen is a media artist, programmer, and researcher. She works at the intersection of language, art, and digital technology, with a focus on digital textuality, generative poetics and the aesthetics of algorithms. She holds an MFA in Digital Language Arts from Brown University and a Bachelor degree in Media Arts from the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong.
Samantha Gorman is the co-director and co-founder of Tender Claws: a studio that walks the line between art, innovation and entertainment. She specialises in digital narrative, digital theatre directing, games and virtual reality. Tender Claws’ projects (PRY, Virtual Virtual Reality, Tendar, Under Presents) have received several awards and have partnered with most major immersive media platforms. Another project, Tempest, was a finalist for an Emmy in Innovation and Interactive Media. Samantha is also an assistant professor in the Games Program within Art and Design at Northeastern University.
Me, Myself and I in Dystopia
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Me, Myself and I in Dystopia is part of the large project called, “Humanity: From Dystopia to Survival” which is an interactive survival game and audio-visual music performance. Although the original concept of this project was to involve audience members to play the real-time interactive survival game, this version explores how the pandemic has shifted the sense of collectivity to individuality and depicts what it means to remain in a dystopian society alone by re-creating my own versions of self.
In this video, I take multiple shots of my own photos (represented as an outline of faces) and speak to the microphone to interact with the video in real-time. The voices and air that I blow to the microphone affect my own photographic representations in the video by blurring the image. I will be saying random words to the microphone and also exhale air as a gesture of meditation during the crisis. The interactive video will demonstrate how an individual yearns to survive dystopia as he/she struggles to fight the solitude, controls, and chaos of society. As each photo of myself is taken, it will also trigger a new sound file as a way to intensify the mood of being alone.
This work was created by an interactive design prototype for Max-MSP software (programmer: Martin Ritter), whereby I design how people can talk to the microphone and affect the visuals to symbolize saving one another and humanity as a whole. While demonstrated this work alone, it also powerfully suggests what it means to adapt in the constantly evolving covid era.
Cecilia Suhr is an intermedia artist and researcher, multi-instrumentalist (violin/cello/piano/voice), painter, improviser, and author, working at the intersection between art, music, and interactive media. Her work has been exhibited and performed across the U.S. and overseas in U.K., Australia, Greece, France, Russia, Portugal, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, etc., through galleries, biennials, museums, conferences, and festivals. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Humanities and Creative Arts and an affiliate professor of art at Miami University Regionals, OH. She is a recipient of the MacArthur Foundation, Digital Media and Learning Research Award (2012).
A Platform to Come
Translated Bergsonism - Deleuze (TBD)
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First, I read Deleuze’s Bergsonism and filled the margins with drawings, graphs, and diagrams of my reading. Then I photographed the drawings, and isolated and manipulated them in photoshop (there are about 240).
This yielded an Henri-Micheaux like set of hieroglyphics — an asemic translation of Bergsonism. Then I digitized each drawing in Photoshop, creating an infrathin space between the haptics of the hand and the smooth surface of the screen. Each drawing was then animated according to its inner logic of movement using After Effects. These animations (.movs) were translated into .gifs, then placed in small gatherings of about 6 or so at a time, which were posted to twitter, and subsequently gathered into Google Slides.
Each set resembles a strange living creature endlessly performing its repeated action. Together, they are like a murmuring surface of matter underway. The next step in the process is to write descriptions of each animation, thus performing an odd form of translation. A strange re-writing of Gilles Deleuze’s Bergsonism will emerge from this process. These animations and their paired poems, something like medieval emblems, will be gathered on a website that will allow a user to click each one and hear its story. This is where TBD ends for now, but it will continue in search of a utopic platform to come that it has yet to discover.
TBD is a work of intensive translation that understands translation not as an activity bound to building bridges between languages, but as an immanent material act on the way to utopia. The work began with a reading of Gilles Deleuze’s Bergsonism and continues to persist in a cross-platform evolution searching for a utopic platform to come. As it moves, it takes on new phase-states according to the affordances of a variety of media and platforms.
It begins with the codex, but has moved through digital photography, photographic manipulation, After Effects animation, Twitter, Googleslides, .gifs — and it will continue to evolve, leaping from one platform to another, binding disparate materials and platforms to its identity even as it transforms into something else, in search of perfection. Informed by an implicit poetics latent in Deleuze’s book, it is also an outgrowing line from it.
Brent Cox is a PhD candidate in University at Buffalo’s Poetics Program. He is a writer, artist, and poet working in language, the moving image, sound, and collaborative activity. Recent work has appeared in the Denver Quarterly’s inaugural digital companion, FIVES. He hosts a podcast on Poetics called “Buried Text” with Courtlin Byrd, Simon Eales, and Zack Brown, and he is the founder of the Topological Poetics Research Institute (TPRI) and co-founder of the Ecopoetry Workshop.
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Utopia is a state which allows for a certain amount of resolution - a period or space which exists in equilibrium. Dystopia, then, is a state in which nothing can be resolved. A solution is needed, but every effort to balance opposing forces results in a renewal of already overbearing systems in control.
To me, it is this repetition of effort that characterizes a dystopia. Landscape comes as an afterthought, and can take many forms. In 2018, fires ravaged the state of California. This was the space that I began my work in. Although the natural world around me expanded in all directions, the feeling was one of claustrophobia. Our yearly cycle revolves around our wildfire season - there is no way to avoid it, and each year it gets worse.
This, coupled with my own anxieties surrounding mental health and addition, inspired the dystopian space of Directional Pilgrim. Just as medieval pilgrims circled Jerusalem, hitting holy waystations and reading (and therefore reenacting) the Bible passages relevant to the particular place, so does the player as pilgrim revisit the passages in this apocalyptic landscape. By redoing (and often repeating) these experiences, the player may come to find meaning in the journey itself - even though the resolution to the narrative remains elusive.
This poetic experience uses Twine and operates like a hypertext choose-your-own-adventure. The player must navigate a map to unlock clues about the nature of the landscape - a process called "medicating." Throughout this hellish roadtrip, the player's navigation depends on choices in cardinal directions, character interactions and even dictionary definitions.
This work was created as one half of my graduate thesis. Collectively, the work on the page and the hypertext poem is known as Educational Materials for Mostly Mitigated Maidens. For the full experience, use speakers or headphones. Use the mouse to click and point - no other buttons are required. Google Chrome is recommended browser.
Elfie Nelson is a poet and recent graduate of UC Davis, where she obtained an MA in creative writing. She now works as an English instructor in the Bay Area, California. In her free time, she focuses on the creation of experimental poems and translates Latin texts.
Ode to a Fallen Dialogue
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This work is an ode to the struggles of human communication. It reflects on the hardships of unfortunate dialogues, the splendor of reaching to the other side, the rise and fall of human connectedness, the agonies of stray meanings and words. Expressed through the poetics of weather phenomena, this conceptually driven interactive work represents the mental landscape between two lovers, a parallel metaphor for the contemporary digitally mediated condition. Early cyberspatial theories referred to an erotic ontology of digital experience.
Michael Heim described the platonic dimensions of an augmented Eros. Roland Barthes on the other hand described language as the skin with which we struggle to touch the 'other'. In this game-poem, senses, meanings and ideas appear to be all permeated by the ‘spell’ of technology, a rhetorical as well as an erotic act of mediation through different worlds. The reader/player is asked to become part of the dipole, to meander through poetic texts and tormented emotions, at times linear, other times bifurcating, while exploring a dialogue ‘atmosphere’ inspired by visual poetry. Endeavoring to reach the 'other side' through the use of spoken language, this piece of work is an affective journey to the tempests of a fallen dialogue.
In every step of this interactive game-poem find the point-and-click trigger, to make the dialogue evolve. The game consists of approximately forty screens/events, which you may read or explore until you get to the end. Some times you may be asked to write down an intimate thought. All answers typed and submitted by players are collected to create a collective think-tank of the overall game experience.
Angeliki Malakasioti is an interdisciplinary artist, researcher, and Assistant Professor at the Department of Audio & Visual Arts, Ionian University. She has studied architecture in the Department of Architecture, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. She has received her Doctoral Thesis "Anatomy of the Digital Body - Spatial Aspects of the Self and the Immaterial on the Web" with honors and she has recently completed a post-doctorate research on the "Architecture of Melancholy - the Case of Video Games".
Her interests emphasize on the fields of digital image and composition, cyberspatial experience, new technologies and digital media, audiovisual representations, speculative design and creative methodologies, digital culture and its theoretical dimensions. She has multiple international publications, she has participated in international conferences, art and film festivals and exhibitions, and she has received prizes of experimental film making, photography and "art as research" contributions. She has been teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses since 2009 in different Universities in the fields of Architecture, Digital Media, Atmospheres and Audiovisual Arts.
David Thomas Henry Wright
The (auto)biography of 김정은
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The (auto)biography of 김정은 is a conceptual 'found' artwork. It combines found code with found text. Multiple 'found' computational pieces have been modified with vocabulary drawn from multiple speeches delivered by the current North Korean Leader, Kim Jong-un/김정은. In addition, vocabulary and phrases from journalism critical of the North Korean regime are also incorporated into these generative works.
This work represents a ‘dystopic platform’. On the one hand, this work is an experiment in propaganda delivery: it emulates the relentlessness of the North Korean indoctrination machine and shows how born-digital writing can be stolen and misused; in so doing, it reveals digital literature's power. As part of this process, a Kim Jong-un 'poetic robot' has been created to demonstrate how such propaganda might be delivered/forced upon a populace. This work also seeks to capture the perspective of a curious, intelligent yet powerless North Korean citizen and demonstrate how they might (struggle to) engage with local culture.
The (auto)biography of 김정은 is a conceptual 'found' artwork in VII parts. Multiple 'found' computational pieces have been modified with vocabulary drawn from multiple speeches delivered by the current North Korean Leader, Kim Jong-un/김정은. In addition, vocabulary and phrases from journalism critical of the North Korean regime are also incorporated into these generative works. Part I takes for the pool players at the Golden Shovel by Lillian-Yvonne Bertram and injects it with vocabulary taken from text of a speech delivered by Kim Jong Un at the military parade held in celebration of the 70th founding anniversary of the KPA, as reported and translated by the Korean Central News Agency and North Korea: no liberty, humour, irony ... no love by Christopher Hitchens.
Part II takes US by Nick Montfort and fills it with vocabulary taken from text of a speech delivered by Kim Jong Un at the grand banquet hosted by Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People on March 28, 2018, as reported and translated by the Korean Central News Agency and The Aquariums of Pyongyang: Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag, by Kang Chol-hwan and Pierre Rigoulot. Part III takes If Jupiter had turned into a Star by Everest Pipkin and corrupts it with phrases taken from Kim Jong Un's 2019 New Year Address and North Korea: Everything you need to know about the country by the BBC. Part IV takes Thermodynamics by Sebatian Bartlett and pumps it with vocabulary taken from the Joint Statement of President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea at the Singapore Summit and When North Korea Falls by Robert D. Kaplan.
Part V takes Rise by Angela Chang and infects it with phrases taken from the Panmunjeom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula and Tall storey? North Korea's infamous 'Hotel of Doom' to open shortly, maybe by Justin McCurry. Part VI takes ((((0)))) by Eugenio Tisselli and stuffs it with vocabulary taken from The Feats Performed by the Great Victors Will Remain for Ever and Kim Jong Un has quietly built a 7,000-man cyber army that gives North Korea an edge nuclear weapons don't by Ellen Ioanes. Part VII proposes a 3D-printable Kim Jong-un/김정은 robot, that can be built and used to deliver the propaganda directly.
David Thomas Henry Wright won the 2018 Queensland Literary Awards’ QUT Digital Literature Prize and 2019 Robert Coover Award for a work of Electronic Literature (2nd prize). He has been shortlisted for multiple national and international literary prizes, and published in various journals. He has a PhD (English and Comparative Literature) from Murdoch University and a Masters (Creative Writing) from The University of Edinburgh, and taught Creative Writing at China’s top university, Tsinghua. He is currently co-editor of The Digital Review, an international consultant for the forthcoming Electronic Literature Collection, and Associate Professor at Nagoya University.
Brett Griffin is a professor of robotics at Humber College and is the owner operator of Griffin Prototyping in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He received his undergrad from the University of Western Ontario, his Master’s from King’s College London, and Advanced Diploma in Automation and Robotics from the Humber College. Prior to Humber, Brett taught at Tsinghua University and the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing, China.