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Steve Tomasula

Relevance: 100%      Posted on: January 31, 2012

Steve Tomasula is the author of the novels The Book of Portraiture (FC2); VAS: An Opera in Flatland (University of Chicago Press), an acclaimed novel of the biotech revolution; TOC: A New-Media Novel (FC2/University of Alabama Press); and most recently, IN&OZ (University of Chicago Press). Essays on body art, literature and culture can be found in Data Made Flesh (Routledge), Musing the Mosaic (SUNY), Leonardo (M.I.T.), and numerous magazines both here and in Europe. He holds a doctorate in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago and is on the faculty of the University of Notre Dame. In addition…

Languages of Fear in Steve Tomasula’s VAS, an Opera in Flatland

Relevance: 100%      Posted on: April 2, 2012

Square, the main character in VAS, is to undergo a vasectomy, as required by his wife who has gone through too many problems with pregnancy. His fear at the prospect of losing the highly emblematic reproductive function mingles with philosophical musings about the manipulation of bodies and technological advance, with its consequences on our relationship to space and time. Like most of his contemporaries, Square feels trapped in a whirlpool of acceleration, distances fading away as communication means develop. VAS – which possibly is the very novel that Square is writing – conveys a criticism of man’s illusory mastery and…

An Interview with Steve Tomasula

Relevance: 100%      Posted on: May 28, 2012

Kiki Benzon: Some contextualizing questions about TOC. What motivated you to move from the codex print narrative to a multimedia format? What were you trying to achieve there that you thought couldn’t be done in a conventional book? Steve Tomasula: It dates back to my earlier work. I was working on The Book of Portraiture and VAS was supposed to have been the last chapter of that book. To me it’s all one novel about the history of representation, so to speak. It starts off with writing in sand, the first surface, and ends up with writing on skin, the last…

A Video Interview with Steve Tomasula by Jhave

Relevance: 100%      Posted on: August 23, 2012

Steve Tomasula "is the author of the novels The Book of Portraiture (FC2/University of Alabama Press); IN & OZ (University of Chicago Press); VAS: An Opera in Flatland (University of Chicago Press), an acclaimed novel of the biotech revolution; and most recently, TOC: A New-Media Novel (FC2/University of Alabama Press)." In VAS, Tomasula weaves fertility concerns into a priapic future while using a very sophisticated visual layout that renders his prose as poetry. Tomasula's TOC, an interactive DVD, is equally ambitious, incorporating motion graphics into a meditation on thermodynamics, myth and temporality. http://www.electronicbookreview.com/author/steve-tomasula Conducted by David (Jhave) Johnson, this interview was…

The Archeology of Representation: Steve Tomasula’s The Book of Portraiture

Relevance: 100%      Posted on: August 13, 2013

The title of this paper borrows from Steve Tomasula’s own characterization of his novel in an interview; the central idea of his book, he suggests, is “the archaeology of human representation through layers of history that make up its chapters,”  and in which “pages appear as strata in an archaeological dig” (Tarnawsky 2011). Indeed, Tomasula’s phrase “the archaeology of human representation” resonates sharply, for the specter of Foucault hovers tantalizingly throughout one’s encounter with the book. Central to Foucault’s grappling with “the history of the present” – comprising an archaeological method and a genealogical critique – is the idea that…

&Now Conference Review

Relevance: 89%      Posted on: January 31, 2012

&Now Conference April 5-6, 2004 W: Compared to the Holocaust Conference going on up in Massachusetts this weekend, I think &Now was an especially fun place to be. The preisenters were freaks for the most part, freaks and Lydia Davis, from the fringes of word art. Those who write and have other people publish books of stories or poems were probably in the minority. There was abundant electronica, collaborative text-collage performance, multimedia performance fiction, text-image-sound, and even a critic. Compared to AWP in Chicago last month (4600 in attendance), the frightening barren gothic oppressively mirthless tornadoproof Cambridge WWII Air Raid…

Long Talking Bad Conditions Illinois Blues: A Report on &Now, A Festival of Innovative Writing and Art

Relevance: 89%      Posted on: January 31, 2012

I been to Chicago and I been to Detroit But I never had a good time till I got up in Illinois - Skip James, "Illinois Blues" Chicago Self-Portrait You are watching me, runny nose and throbbing headache, wheel an 80-lb. suitcase (for which United Airlines charged me a $25 overweight fee on the flight from Buffalo - still cheaper and more trustworthy than shipping) down Halsted Avenue in Chicago on a brisk sunny April Tuesday morning. The suitcase is freighted with books, and the books freighted with just about every spare moment I've had from my college teaching job…

“You’ve never experienced a novel like this”: Time and Interaction when reading TOC

Relevance: 89%      Posted on: April 2, 2012

"You’ve never experienced a novel like this" asserts the publisher’s information for TOC (2009), Steve Tomasula’s new-media novel. This claim, presumably, is founded precisely on the new-media nature of TOC, its delivery of text, spoken word, music, graphics and animation all harnessed and combined in a computerised narrative. The publisher's information certainly makes some bold claims. TOC is "a breathtaking visual novel," "a multimedia epic"; "A new-media hybrid, TOC reimagines what the book is, and can be." And I find myself powerless to disagree. "You’ve never experienced a novel like this" speaks volumes, for experience is at the heart of…

Flatland in VAS

Relevance: 89%      Posted on: April 2, 2012

Steve Tomasula’s work, VAS: An Opera in Flatland, an imagetext developed with graphic artist and typographer Stephen Farrell, considers the role of eugenics, its history, and its impact on the body and biotechnology in a novel that serves as a visual digression of how such topics as genetics, reproduction, and body modification are culturally represented through text and image. The plot follows the thoughts of a writer named Square as he deliberates over whether to get a vasectomy (the VAS of the title) as his wife, Circle, wishes. All the while, Square’s mother-in-law, hoping for another grandchild, believes that if…

Tech-TOC: Complex Temporalities in Living and Technical Beings

Relevance: 89%      Posted on: April 2, 2012

At least since Henri Bergson’s (2005, 1913) concept of Duration, a strong distinction has been drawn between temporality as process (according to Bergson, unextended, heterogeneous time at once multiplicitous and unified, graspable only through intuition and human experience) and temporality as measured (homogenous, spatialized, objective and "scientific" time).  Its contributions to the history of philosophy notwithstanding, the distinction has a serious disadvantage:  although objects, like living beings, exist within Duration, there remains a qualitative distinction between the human capacity to grasp Duration and the relations of objects to it. Indeed, there can be no account of how Duration is experienced…

Pierre Menard with a Pipette: VAS and the Body of Text

Relevance: 89%      Posted on: May 16, 2012

Steve Tomasula’s VAS: An Opera in Flatland (2002) tells a simple story. Square considers having a vasectomy as his wife, Circle, has asked him to. When I tell others this, I usually have to pause at this point in my summary to allow the nervous titters to subside. In a sense, this laughter—whether at the mundane subject matter or at the mere mention of the penis outside of a strictly clinical or politicized context—is very much to the point. It is the fact that a vasectomy could ever be considered so commonplace, “that many people wouldn’t even consider it a…

The Importance of Being Earnest in Flatland

Relevance: 89%      Posted on: November 11, 2013

In earnest, I should flatly admit—and this is important—that my field of research is dandyism in nineteenth-century British fiction, which makes my contribution a somewhat wild(ean) one. Fortunately, it is not without its own logic, and can therefore embrace the fact that although VAS, Steve Tomasula's embedded "Pedestrian Story" (149), is set in a complex semiotic system, his "simple story/With a plot as conventional as a museum's base boards" (38), is found to stage in a rather geometrical way the reluctance of a would-be writer, Square, to undergo vasectomy, as agreed with his wife, Circle. This plot introduces a character…

An Emerging Canon? A Preliminary Analysis of All References to Creative Works in Critical Writing Documented in the ELMCIP Electronic Literature Knowledge Base

Relevance: 89%      Posted on: December 23, 2013

IntroductionEvery time contributors add a record to the ELMCIP Electronic Literature Knowledge Base, they have the opportunity to add references to creative works of other articles of critical writing referenced. This enables the formation of a network of critical relations, what we have described in the ELMCIP Knowledge Base project report as a “literary ecology.” Using node references and attached views in the databases, these cross-references automatically display on both the record for critical writing and creative work it refers to. Over time, this develops into documentation of the critical reception of any given work documented in the Knowledge Base.…

New ebr Interface

Relevance: 44%      Posted on: January 31, 2012

Joe, (I've copied this to Mark and Steve who might be interested in listening in on the discussion - Hi Mark! Hi Steve!) I had a fruitful and interesting discussion with Ewan yesterday. He's going to pull together some time estimates and costs for re-working the interface and building the database. You know, he's the perfect collaborative partner for this - he not only knows how to build the stuff, he thinks the dynamic activities through from a conceptual standpoint, and he's familiar with the issues involved with scholarly publishing. He's also attempting to create a hybrid practice that includes…

New ebr Interface (2)

Relevance: 44%      Posted on: January 31, 2012

Hi All, I just had to jump in here. What a courageous document / email "essay" this is. These issues of database construction, interface design and context, publication as active event, navigational cues, visual metaphors, environmental logic, reader-response "picture theory" etc., are crucial. So my first suggestion is that we archive these group emails as they evolve. We're definitely onto something here. A lot of these issues are coming up in the net/web art scene too. Calling into question how an online publication presents itself is similar to calling into question how an exhibition context emerges for net-specific works of…

Merely Extraordinary Beings

Relevance: 44%      Posted on: January 31, 2012

An "eighteenth-century" novel, Ingenious Pain seamlessly combines various cultures of eighteenth-century England: it features the medical world, with its progress in surgical and other techniques (not to mention some entertaining in-fighting among schools of both physicians and "psychologists"), but it also offers a background and foreground peopled with less "officially" recognized members of the cultural terrain - a mermaid, a cabinet of wonders, table-top-sized automata, and a hermaphrodite doctor who collects human oddities for medical experiment. With its combination of high and low culture, the novel presents a full and rounded eighteenth century, but does so with a wit and…

A Somewhat Legal Look at the Dawn and Dusk of the Napster Controversy

Relevance: 44%      Posted on: January 31, 2012

What follows is a transcript of a talk I gave on April 4, 2000 at a symposium held by the Science and Technology Law Center at Albany Law School. The symposium was called "Internet Crimes and Civil Violations"; I was asked to talk about music and the Internet in that context. I had been excitedly following the growth of the Internet, and particularly the implications for music and art. The invitation to speak gave me an opportunity to try to put a bunch of disparate ideas together. I'm pretty sure I failed in doing that (and I sure didn't talk…

The Language of Music and Sound

Relevance: 44%      Posted on: January 31, 2012

Editor's Note: Olivia Block and Seth Nehil are two sound artists who create music by integrating sounds from electronic sources, traditional instruments, field recordings and found objects such as old tape recordings or leaves, rocks, and pieces of glass. Collaborating together and at times with others, they are part of a world-wide community of composer/performers who are developing a new lingua franca of sound that puts the natural and the artificial into play with one another: composer/performers that blur genres of sound and music, as well as sound and silence. They extend the tradition of John Cage through their use…

Cybertext Killed the Hypertext Star

Relevance: 44%      Posted on: January 31, 2012

the hypertext murder case "Hypertext is dead - " declared Markku Eskelinen at Digital Arts and Culture '99 in Atlanta. "Cybertext killed it." No doubt, interesting hypertext poetry and fiction remains to be written, but - if we consider hypertext as a category that defines a special, valid space for authorship and criticism of computerized works of writing - Eskelinen is clearly right. The hypertext corpus has been produced; if it is to be resurrected, it will only be as part of a patchwork that includes other types of literary machines. One viable category today, perhaps the most interesting one…

Shopping for Truth

Relevance: 44%      Posted on: January 31, 2012

Adrien Gargett on Pierre Missac's unification of empirical biography and textual production, and the development of a "criticism of indirection" too often missing from Benjamin studies. Dartford, England: Like tourists in a world class museum, visitors swapped souvenir photos and packed marble halls in Europe's largest shopping centre. Bluewater, a complex of 320 shops and restaurants on the outskirts of London, is the most prominent in a series of regional mega-malls to open in Britain, where an increasingly mobile population has warmed to this most American of commercial concepts. Built in a former chalk quarry 15 miles east of London,…