Here we transcribe an extended conversation between hypertext author Bill Bly and Ph.D. candidate Brian Davis that began in January 2018 at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH), home to The Bill Bly Collection of Electronic Literature. They discuss Bly's long-term electronic hypertext project, We Descend, Archives Pertaining to Egderus Scriptor (1997-present), as well as the history of electronic hypertext and hypertext theory, the technological challenges of born digital writing and archiving, book-archives and archival poetics, and the value of innovative writing and deep reading amidst the current century's "hodgepodge," "higgledy-piggledy" social media.
This essay has been reprinted from the journal CounterText (2.2) by permission of Edinburgh University Press.
In this essay, Janez Strehovec explores the literary from the “nomadic cockpit” everyday life in the 21st Century. More than merely being cocooned by screens, Strehovec’s metaphor describes the way in which our travel through the environment is layered with navigational data, environmental surveillance, communication systems, and tied into a dynamic feedback loop. From this vantage point, Strehovec considers a number of works of digital art and electronic literature that are written precisely to be read in motion, to explore the sensations of life in the nomadic cockpit.
Giorgio Agamben has identified the “State of Exception” as the emergent principle of governance for the 21st Century. Parallel to this crisis in politics, there is the increasing currency of the term emergence in literary criticism, media theory, and cultural studies to describe the general state of change. In this paper, Heckman considers electronic literature in the "state of emergency," as both a laboratory for formal innovation and a site of critique. Specifically, this paper takes into account the relationship between literacy, law, literature and criticism through a reading of Sandy Baldwin’s New Word Order, a work that reimagines poetry in the context of the first-person shooter game.
Taking recent writings-of-internet as test cases, Stuart Moulthrop demonstrates the folly of deploying modernist compositional models, even avant-garde theories of citational and conceptual poetry recently popularized by Kenneth Goldsmith and the Flarf poets, to read born-digital writing. Though it may be fun, it's ultimately futile to interpret the contingent output of an "interface in process" as a poem existing in a fixed, terminable state. Perhaps, then, interfacing with databases is becoming integral to not just electronic literature and digital poetics but all forms of literary study and practice?
Steve Tomasula in Conversation with Jhave. Recorded at the Banff Centre, Alberta, Canada. 2012-02-21.
The "cognitive entailments" of a reader, or "interactor," are where Katherine Hayles redirects the new aesthetics of electronic textuality.