ELO Plugs into New Hub: MITH @ Maryland

The Electronic Literature Organization (ELO) has now established its new headquarters at The Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) at the University of Maryland, College Park. The move, which has been made possible by sponsorship from MITH, the English department at Maryland, the College of Arts and Humanities, and the University Libraries, was completed this summer.

Neil Fraistat, director of MITH, said of the move: “In moving from UCLA to the University of Maryland, the ELO will provide MITH with a unique opportunity for a truly comprehensive program in the Digital Humanities, one that focuses equally on migrating electronically the cultural artifacts of the past and the production of the cultural artifacts of the future.” Thom Swiss, president of the ELO, added: “The Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) at the University of Maryland, College Park, is internationally known and, together with the support of its campus partners in this venture, makes for the best possible home for the ELO because of our similar and now collaborative interests and ambitions.”

Founded in 1999 in Chicago, the ELO is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization made up of writers, scholars, educators, and technologists dedicated to exploring how computers can be used for literary expression, and how born digital work can use the computer and the network to build on and extend the tradition of literature. Landmark events in the ELO’s short history include:

* The launch of the Electronic Literature Directory, an acclaimed
database-driven resource of information about electronic literature
maintained by authors and visited by thousands of readers;

* Readings of electronic literature and outreach events in Chicago,
New York, Seattle, Boston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Providence;

* The Electronic Literature Awards, which recognized exemplary works
of poetry and fiction and rewarded winners with substantial cash

* The State of the Arts Symposium, which united over one hundred
international writers, scholars, and publishers of electronic
literature at UCLA for two days of panels and presentations and
produced hard-copy proceedings; and

* The Preservation, Archiving, and Dissemination (PAD) project’s
publication of two reports, Acid-Free Bits: Recommendations for
Long-Lasting Electronic Literature and Born-Again Bits: A Framework
for Migrating Electronic Literature.

The ELO has an international network of directors, literary advisors,
and members. The organization’s university partners include the
University of Iowa, the University of Illinois Chicago, and the
University of Pennsylvania. After the headquarters of the ELO moves to
Maryland, partnerships with these universities, and the partnership
with UCLA, will continue, as will electronic literature readings,
events, and activities across the country.

The partnership between MITH and the ELO will help both organizations
pursue their related missions. The ELO will work, with MITH’s help, to
further its programs and its impact, both internationally and on the
Maryland campus.

Jobs at Georgia Tech and UC Davis

Particularly promising-sounding jobs for electronic literature authors have just been posted by Georgia Tech (review begins October 15) and UC Davis (review begins November 15).

From the GA Tech announcement:

Georgia Tech’s School of Literature, Communication, and Culture (LCC) is seeking to fill 2-3 positions at the rank of Assistant Professor in the emerging discipline of Digital Media. We seek practitioner/theorists who combine technical expertise with a strong grounding in the arts and humanities. Candidates should be prepared to teach at the undergraduate and graduate level in LCC’s suite of programs in computational and digital media. A Ph.D. or terminal degree in an appropriate field is required, as is computational proficiency and a demonstrated capacity for significant original research/creative work. […]

Interactive Narrative: Practitioner/theorist of computational expression, with an emphasis on procedural approaches to interactive narrative in various media forms such as virtual/mixed reality, games, and interactive television. Specialties could include one or more of the following: interactive fiction, computational story systems, computational poetry, narrative and cognition, story generation, interactive documentary, narrative intelligence, and AI.

Applicants should send a letter with a statement of research interests and pedagogical approach, a CV, one or two pages of screenshots, and/or a pointer to an on-line portfolio. Applications should be addressed to Chair, Search Committee, LCC, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332-0165.

From the UC Davis announcement:

The Program in Technocultural Studies of the University of California at Davis has a tenure-track or tenured Open-Rank Professor position available for a faculty member with expertise in media arts practice, preferably to teach in both studies and production, starting in Fall 2007. […]

We are looking for a media artist who can take a critical and creative approach to contemporary culture, technology and the arts, and who possesses a history or demonstrated potential for the high standard of achievement appropriate to employment in a tier-one research university in at least two of the following screen-based areas: interactivity, net, animation, programming, or performed media such as live video. Single-channel film/video makers and scholars are encouraged to apply if they also possess accomplishments in one of these areas. An MA or MFA is required; a PhD. is preferred. Teaching at undergraduate or graduate university levels or equivalent professional practice is required; the ability to teach both studies and production courses is preferred.

Please post (no email applications accepted) a letter of application, curriculum vitae, examples of work, by November 15, 2006, to: Associate Professor Bob Ostertag, Search Committee, Chair Digital Arts Position, Program in Technocultural Studies, One Shields Avenue, University of California, Davis CA 95616-8528. Referees will be will be contacted only for those short-listed candidates invited for campus visits: please include names, street addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, of four people from whom letters of reference may be requested. If materials are to be returned, a self-addressed stamped envelope. For further information, phone 530/752-0573 or check website at http://technoculture.ucdavis.edu

‘Broken Saints,’ a new DVD out this month

Edward Picot has provided a review of Broken Saints, by Brooke Burgess, Andrew West, and Ian Kirby. Broken Saints is an epic 24-part 12-hour-long Flash-animated comic book, which has been visited on the Web by more than five million people, and has sold almost 10,000 copies on DVD. A new DVD version, distributed by Fox, is published this month. The review appears on The Hyperliterature Exchange for August 2006.

Picot says this about Broken Saints: “Senecan tragedy is a useful point of reference for Broken Saints because it shares the same preoccupation with bloody violence, particularly violence within the family. At the end of Broken Saints a deranged father pulls out one of his daughter’s eyes, wires up her brain to the Internet and hangs her on a crucifix made out of computer monitors as part of his attempt to achieve world-domination: a climax so lurid and grotesque that even Seneca might have found it hard to outdo.” To read the whole review, go to http://hyperex.co.uk/reviewbrokensaints.php . The Hyperliterature Exchange is an online directory and review of new media literature for sale on the Web. More than 120 works are now listed. Please visit and browse at http://hyperex.co.uk.

Upgrade! Boston: Robert Kendall + Michael Sheridan, Sept. 26, 7:00 PM

If you are in the Boston area on September 26, 2006, be sure and try to attend UPGRADE! BOSTON, where ELO board member Robert Kendall will be one of the two main speakers. Full details follow.

WHEN: September 26, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
WHERE: Art Interactive, 130 Bishop Allen Drive, at the corner of Prospect Street, Cambridge. Free parking in the lot on the corner or take the T to Central Square and walk 1 block.


Robert Kendall has been writing electronic poetry since 1990. He is the author of the book-length hypertext poem “A Life Set for Two” (Eastgate Systems) and other electronic works published at BBC Online, Iowa Review Web, Cortland Review, Eastgate Hypertext Reading Room, Cauldron & Net, and other web sites. His electronic poetry has been exhibited at many venues in the United States, Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia, and he has given interactive readings of his work in many cities. Kendall has taught electronic poetry and fiction for the New School University’s online program since 1995. He runs the literary web site Word Circuits and the Electronic Literature Organization’s directory, and is co-developer of Word Circuits Connection Muse, a hypertext tool for poets and fiction writers.


Michael Sheridan’s videosonic art and documentary films deal with themes of survival, sustainability, and the tipping point between order and chaos. His interest in these issues arises from his experiences of families, institutions, and societies teetering on the verge of collapse or recovering from conflict and disaster. Sheridan’s artwork has been exhibited at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Boston CyberArts Festival and the GASP gallery in Boston. His work on documentaries has appeared on PBS, The Learning Channel, The Discovery Network and National Geographic TV. Sheridan has received numerous awards including those from the National Education Media Network, the Columbia International Film and Video Festival, the United Nations Association Film Festival, and EarthVision.

Upgrade! Boston is curated by Jo-Anne Green for Turbulence in partnership with Art Interactive. It is one of 22 nodes currently active in Upgrade! International, an emerging network of autonomous nodes united by art, technology, and a commitment to bridging cultural divides. If you would like to present your work or get involved, please email jo@turbulence.org.

Logozoa – the birth of textual organisms

ELO board member, Robert Kendall, is currently working on an exciting new project that seeks “to disrupt the conventional role of words in their day-to-day life.” Keep your eyes open for Logozoa living near you, and to learn how you can participate in this project, read the full description below.


Logozoa.com is a collaborative Web site intended to disrupt the conventional role of words in day-to-day life. It disseminates aphoristic texts as downloadable stickers and showcases photos of these stickers in unusual contexts from all over the world.

We put labels and signs on things to tame them — identify, categorize, explain, instruct, proclaim ownership. What if instead the labels could liberate the everyday world from the literal, proclaim rather than cover up the mysteries? What if they could become Logozoa — textual organisms that infest the literal with metaphor and give impetuous life and breath to meaning?

Logozoa (textual organisms, or word animals) take the form of aphorisms, anti-aphorisms, maxims, minims, neokoans, sayings, left-unsaids, proverbialisms, poemlets, microtales, instant fables, and other varieties of conceptual riffs. More than 375 of these creatures reside at Logozoa.com where visitors can download them in PDF format for printing onto standard label sheets.

The Logozoo at Logozoa.com provides a natural-habitat preserve and showcase for photographs of Logozoa stickers. Currently the Zoo holds over 475 photos contributed by numerous photographers from around the world.

And there’s more. An E-Dopt-a-Zoa feature allows you to paste an ever-changing virtual sticker onto your own Web site, and a pair of oracles provide Logozoa in response to your questions.


Conjoined twin birth announcement: HALF LIFE, by Shelley Jackson

ELO member Shelley Jackson, author of “Skin,” and The Melancholy of Anatomy, has published her first novel, Half Life. The novel tells the story of Nora and Blanche, “a two headed woman in a world where conjoined twins have their own subculture, slang, and self-help books.” When Nora decides to pursue a service called “The Divorce” in an effort “to take back her birthright: the first person pronoun,” only one person stands in her way: Blanche.
For more information on Half Life, visit http://www.ineradicablestain.com/half_life.html

Professor Neil Fraistat Appointed Director of MITH (ELO’s New Home)

Professor Neil Fraistat has been appointed as Director of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) beginning July 1, 2006. Fraistat is a Professor in the Department of English specializing in the Romantic era, textual scholarship, and digital studies. A recipient of the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Keats-Shelley Association and the Fredson Bowers Memorial Prize from the Society for Textual Scholarship, Fraistat is well known internationally for his scholarly editions of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poetry and for his work as co-founder and co-general editor ofRomantic Circles , an award-winning scholarly Website, now celebrating its tenth anniversary, that is published by the University of Maryland and devoted to the study of Romantic-period literature and culture.

Beyond his work on Romantic Circles, Fraistat has been an active and highly visible presence in the field of Digital Humanities, creating electronic resources, publishing on such topics as electronic editing, MOOs, and computer gaming; giving talks and running numerous sessions at major conferences; and sitting on the advisory board of several major electronic projects and journals, including Literary and Linguistic Computing, the premier journal in the field. He has just begun a second five-year term on the Executive Council of the Association for Computers and the Humanities, the field’s key professional organization. Neil has also served on an impressively large number of committees at every level within the university. He has been associated with the Dean’s Task Force on New Technologies and the Humanities (1993), with ARHU’s Committee on New Technologies, 1994-1996, and 2002-2004 (as Chair), and with MITH as both Chair of its Internal Advisory Board (1999-2005) and as Acting Director this past year.

Since its founding in 1999 through a major Challenge Grant from the NEH and under the directorship of Martha Nell Smith, MITH has become one of the most dynamic and exciting units on campus, as well as one of the most renowned institutes of its kind in the world. The coming year provides an auspicious start to Fraistat’s tenure: MITH will become the new headquarters of the Electronic Literature Organization, the premier professional organization for scholars and authors of born digital literature; it will add as Resident Fellows Merle Collins and Angel David Nieves, both working on fascinating multimedia archives involving African culture and history; and it will have as its new Networked Fellow the acclaimed hypertext fiction writer and conceptual artist, Shelley Jackson, who will be working on Skin: A Mortal Work of Art.

new forms review invites submissions to the Where We Create Project

The newly-built new forms review, a net art and digital literature portal/future peer-reviewed journal founded by Jason Nelson, invites submissions to its first major initiative, the Where we Create Project.

The Where We Create Project “is designed,” says Nelson, “to connect digital artists and writers (and analog creators as well) through a website featuring photos and descriptions of where artists/writers create. Our geographies and external landscapes are instrumental in altering and forming the creatures we create.”

To contribute to the project, send the following to Where We Create:

1. An image or two, 300 pixels X 300 pixels jpg, of where you create. This could be your office, your backyard, some coffee shop–whatever image depicts the physical space(s) where you work;

2. Some text about the place and its meaning to you, your work, your life, or whatever you feel represents the world in which you create; five to seven sentences maximum;

3. Your name, any other brief biographical information, and where the places you are talking about are geographically located;

4. A few urls so people can see the work you create in that place.

Shelley Jackson at University of Maryland, College Park

The John and Bebe Petrou Foundation, the Department of English, and the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) are very pleased to announce the 2006 Bebe Koch Petrou Lectures on NEW MEDIA STORYTELLING at the University of Maryland, College Park. There will be two speakers associated with this event, coming to campus on separate days. All events are free and open to the public.

The first will be SHELLEY JACKSON on Monday, April 17th. She will present “Shelley Jackson’s Interstitial Library” at 3:30 in Susquehanna Hall 1120. There will also be a more casual colloquium discussion at MITH (McKeldin Library, B0131) earlier in the day at 11:00, which all are welcome to attend. Jackson is an internationally recognized writer, electronic artist, and theorist and practitioner of new performance media. Her work includes Patchwork Girl (published in 1995 by Eastgate Systems, it is a hypertext refashioning of Frankenstein, told–in part–from the vantage point of the female monster). “Perhaps the true paradigmatic work of the era,” writes Robert Coover, “Shelley Jackson’s elegantly designed, beautifully composed Patchwork Girl offers the patient reader, if there are any left in the world, just such an experience of losing oneself to a text, for as one plunges deeper and deeper into one’s own personal exploration of the relations here of creator to created and of body to text, one never fails to be rewarded and so is drawn ever deeper, until clicking the mouse is as unconscious an act as turning a page, and much less constraining, more compelling.” More recently, Jackson has gained notoriety for “Skin,” a short story “published” as individual words tattooed onto the skin of hundreds of willing participants. She has written experimental Web-based texts, including “My Body–a Wunderkammer” (available at http://www.altx.com/thebody/) and “Stitch Bitch” (http://web.mit.edu/comm-forum/papers/jackson.html). She is also an illustrator of children’s books. Jackson teaches at the New School.

SCOTT McCLOUD will visit on Tuesday, May 2. Watch for further details.

MITH Announces Spring Speakers Schedule

The Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities at the University of Maryland, College Park—ELO’s host institution as of July 1, 2006—is pleased to release its Spring Speakers Schedule. Between our weekly seminar series Digital Dialogues and a variety of special guests we are bringing to campus in partnership with other campus units, we are able to offer speakers and events in the digital humanities and electronic literature every week of the spring semester.

Alongside of showcasing a diverse array of current research by MITH’s Fellows and College Park faculty, MITH will host or co-host talks by such distinguished visitors as Jerome McGann and Johanna Drucker (University of Virginia), Alan Liu (UCSB), Joseph Tabbi (UIC), Scott Rettberg (Richard Stockton College, and co-Founder of the Electronic Literature Organization), Shelley Jackson (author of Patchwork Girl and Skin), and Scott McCloud (author of Understanding Comics and Reinventing Comics).

MITH is located on the basement level of McKeldin Library. Unless otherwise noted, all talks are Tuesdays at 12:30 in the MITH Conference Room and are free and open to the public.