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!

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

Posted in

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!

Tribute to the Flash Generation Dec. 31

A Toast to the Flash Generation
Thursday, December 31, 2020
10 a.m.-5 p.m. PST
Zoom: http://bit.ly/ToastToFlash
Hosted by Dene Grigar, Director, Electronic Literature Lab; Digital Preservationist, Electronic Literature Organization

Join us on New Year’s Eve Day to celebrate the genius of the Flash Generation when over 20 artists of Flash narratives, poetry, and essays will read and perform their works throughout the day. You are invited to drop in anytime via Zoom, experience the works, and participate in the chat and the Q&A.

The term, “Flash Generation,” coined by theorist Lev Manovich in 2005, captured the zeitgeist of a new era of cultural production when artists and writers discovered they could express their creativity through movement, images, sound, and words through Flash software. Online journals like Poems That Go, Riding the Meridian, The Iowa Review Web, Caudron & Net, BeeHive, and many others, emerged as leading publishing venues for this new form of born digital media. During the heady period of 1999 to 2009, Flash influenced the development of net art, interactive art, Flash games, and literature, not to mention personal and organizational websites. It wasn’t until the rise of the Apple smart phone at the end of the first decade of the 21st century that Flash’s dominance as a viable form of digital production waned. After December 31, 2020 Adobe will discontinue its support for Flash, and all of this output will be threatened with obsolescence.

This event––besides celebrating the end of an important creative period and showcasing the wonderful Flash e-lit collected by the Electronic Literature Organization in its Repository––also intends to document it for posterity. The recordings and chat we collect via Zoom will be held in the ELO Repository, made available on the Electronic Literature Lab’s Vimeo account, and published in Electronic Book Review.

During the event we will also provide information about the steps the Electronic Literature Lab is taking to preserve Flash works held in the Electronic Literature Repository and its own digital library.

At the end of the event, Leonardo Flores, Chris Funkhouser and Dene Grigar will lead the Toast to the Flash Generation. So, grab a glass of bubbly (or other favorite beverage), and join us in honoring the genius of the Flash Generation.

Below is the program of readers/performers, featured works, and URLs to the work as of 28 December 2020. Updates will be posted daily.

10:00 a.m.-10:15 a.m. PST
Welcome: Dene Grigar, Anastasia Salter, Mariusz Pisarski

10:15 a.m.-10:30 a.m. PST
Annie Abrahams (France) “Séparation,” ELC2
http://collection.eliterature.org/2/works/abrahams_separation/separation/index.htm

10:30 a.m.-10:45 a.m. PST
Dan Waber (US): “Strings,” ELC1
https://collection.eliterature.org/1/works/waber__strings/index.html

10:45 a.m.-11:00 a.m. PST
Tina Escaja (Spain, US): “Pinzas de metal” (Forthcoming to the Repository)
https://www.badosa.com/bin/obra.pl?id=n175

11:00 a.m.-11:15 a.m. PST
Kate Pullinger (CAN, UK): “Inanimate Alice: Episode 1,” ELC1
http://collection.eliterature.org/1/works/pullinger_babel__inanimate_alice_episode_1_china/index.html

11:15 a.m.-11:30 a.m. PST
Donna Leishman (Scotland): “Deviant: The Possession of Christian Shaw,” TIRW
http://www.6amhoover.com/xxx/start.htm

11:30 a.m.-11:45 a.m. PST
Reiner Strasser (Germany) & Marjorie Luesebrink “– in the white darkness,” ELC1
http://collection.eliterature.org/1/works/strasser_coverley__ii_in_the_white_darkness/index.html

11:45 a.m.-12:00 p.m. PST
Maria Mencia, (Spain, UK) “Birds Singing Other Birds’ Songs,” ELC1
http://collection.eliterature.org/1/works/mencia__birds_singing_other_birds_songs.html

12:00 p.m.-12:15 p.m. PST
Christine Wilks (UK): “Fitting the Pattern,” ELC2
http://collection.eliterature.org/2/works/wilks_fittingthepattern.html

12:15 p.m.-12:30 p.m. PST
Claudia Kozak/Leo Flores: Ana Maria Uribe (Argentina): From “Anipoemas,” TIRW
https://www.elo-repository.org/TIRweb/tirweb/feature/uribe/uribe.html

12:30 p.m.-12:45 p.m. PST
Rui Torres (Portugal): “Amor de Clarice,” ELC2
http://collection.eliterature.org/2/works/torres_amordeclarice.html

12:45 p.m.-1:00 p.m. PST
Stephanie Strickland (US): “slippingglimpse,” ELC2
http://collection.eliterature.org/2/works/strickland_slippingglimpse/slippingglimpse/index.html

1:00 p.m.-1:15 p.m. PST Break

1:15 p.m.-1:30 p.m. PST
Claudia Kozak: Walkthrough of Regina Pinto’s “Museum of the Essential and Beyond That” (Brazil)
https://www.elo-repository.org/museum-of-the-essential/

1:30 p.m.-1:45 p.m. PST
Jim Andrews (Canada): “Nio,” Turbulence.org
http://turbulence.org/Works/Nio/

1:45 p.m.-2:00 p.m. PST
Alan Bigelow (US): “This Is Not a Poem,” (Forthcoming to the Repository)
https://webyarns.com/ThisIsNotAPoem.html

2:00 p.m.-2:15 p.m. PST
Serge Bouchardon (France): “Toucher,” ELC2
http://collection.eliterature.org/2/works/bouchardon_toucher/index.html

2:15 p.m.-2:30 p.m. PST Break

2:30 p.m.-2:45 p.m. PST
Rob Kendall (US): “Faith,” Cauldron & Net
https://elo-repository.org/cauldronandnet/volume4/confluence/kendall/title_page.htm

2:45 p.m.-3:00 p.m. PST
Leo Flores reads David Knoebel (US): “Thoughts Go,” ELC3
http://collection.eliterature.org/3/works/thoughts-go/index.html

3:00 p.m.-3:15 p.m. PST
Stuart Moulthrop (US): “Under Language,” TIRW
https://www.elo-repository.org/TIRweb/vol9n2/artworks/underLanguage/index.htm

3:15 p.m.-3:30 p.m. PST
Jody Zellen (US): “Disembodied Voices,” Turbulence.org
http://www.disembodiedvoices.com/

3:30 p.m.-3:45 p.m. PST
Erik Loyer (US) and Sharon Daniel (US): “Public Secrets,” ELC2
http://collection.eliterature.org/2/works/daniel_public_secrets/index.html

3:45 p.m.-4:00 p.m. PST
Jason Nelson (US, AUS): “Game, Game, Game, and Again Game,” ELC2
http://collection.eliterature.org/2/works/nelson_game_game_game/gamegame.html

4:00 p.m.-4:15 p.m. PST
Deena Larsen (US): “Firefly,” Poems That Go
http://elo-repository.org/poemsthatgo/gallery/fall2002/firefly/index.html

4:15 p.m.-4:30 p.m. PST
Mez Breeze (AUS): “_Clo[h!]neing God N Ange-Ls_,” Cauldron & Net
https://elo-repository.org/cauldronandnet/volume2/features/mez/clone/clonegod.htm

4:30 p.m.-5:00 p.m. PST
Conversation and Toast: Leo Flores, Chris Funkhouser, and Dene Grigar

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.

DEADLINES (Note Extensions)

Submission deadlines:
Academic Proposals: Jan. 15 Feb 1
Full Papers & Posters: April 28

Exhibitions:
Post-Human Electronic Literature: Jan 8 Jan 11
Covid E-lit: Jan. 8 Jan 11

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

Performances: Feb. 1 Feb. 8

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 Feb 1, 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 8th, 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 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.

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.