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Gathering Critical Code Studies Working Group 2020

This special gathering collects reflections of the Critical Code Studies Working Group 2020 (CCSWG ‘20), a biannual meeting to explore the intersections of humanistic inquiry and computer code studies. Coordinated by Mark Marino (USC), Jeremy Douglass (UCSB), and Zach Mann (USC), the 2020 Working Group was held online from January 20 to February 3. It brought together more than 150 participants from around the world to share ideas, populating dozens of discussion threads with hundreds of comments, critiques, and critical readings. The need to attend to code could not be more urgent. Code exerts a regulatory effect over society and […]
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Introduction to Critical Code Studies Working Group

[…]was originally published on the CCS website in January 2020 as “Week 1: Introduction to Critical Code Studies”.   Welcome to the first week of the 2020 Critical Code Studies Working Group. During this week, we’ll be introducing critical code studies in general by means of the introductory chapter to the forthcoming book Critical Code Studies (The MIT Press). We’ll also take this week as an opportunity to introduce newcomers to the field but also to take stock in where the field has come and to look forward to where it is headed next. Critical Code Studies (CCS) names the […]
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Critical Code Studies

[…]the way we might explicate a work of literature in a new field of inquiry that I call Critical Code Studies (CCS). Codework critics and artists have operated on the cusp of this analysis. Cayley’s emphasis, for example, is “the role of code in literal art” but not the role of code in all software objects, even those not intended to be literary. The focus of CCS is not literature made of code or code that is literature, although these may benefit from its techniques. Rather, I propose that code itself is a cultural text worthy of analysis and rich […]

Critical Code Studies Conference – Week One Discussion

[…]Stephen. Critical Code Studies 26 Oct 2009. Web. 8 Sept 2010. http://criticalcodestudies.com/wordpress/2009/10/26/tim-toady-bicarbonate/ Reiche, Claudia, and Verena Kuni. Cyberfeminism: Next Protocols. Autonomedia, 2004. Print. Russo, Julie Levin. thearchive2. LiveJournal. 10 Apr 2008. Web. 8 Sept 2010. http://community.livejournal.com/thearchive2/1465.html Young, Susan Elizabeth, and Dave Aitel. The Hacker’s Handbook: the strategy behind breaking into and defending Networks. CRC Press, 2004. […]
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Critical Code Studies and the electronic book review: An Introduction

Critical Code Studies starts here.” That was the tagline of the Critical Code Studies Working Group (CCSWG), a gathering of over 100 scholars from countries across the globe for an applied experiment in field formation. The Working Group met over the course of six weeks, beginning February 2010, to engage the work of Critical Code Studies. As we defined it in the early days of the CCS blog, Critical Code Studies is the application of hermeneutics to the interpretation of the extra-functional significance of computer source code. It is a study that follows the developments of Software Studies and Platform […]
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Critical Code Studies Conference – Week Two Discussion

In the second installment of a six-week discussion, contributors search for examples of Critical Code Studies “in the wild.” Instead of asking how code can be read critically, they examine how code is already being created and disputed by lawyers, programmers, and the general public. Editor’s Note: In the second installment of the discussion that took place in the summer of 2010, Jeremy Douglass leads the Critical Code Studies Working Group in exploring the practical challenges and constraints of reading code critically, with an emphasis on real-world examples. An introduction and overview for this week by Mark Marino and Max […]
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Critical Code Studies Conference – Week Two Introduction

Can Critical Code Studies overcome the divide between technology workers and technocultural theorists? Code matters. It matters to the many people who program it, and to those who allow themselves to be programmed by it. It makes a difference how the code is written. It makes a difference on which platform it is executed. It makes a difference who is reading it and what they know about programming. It makes a difference how the programmer imagined the ones who would read her code. Code matters. Its materiality is immaterial when discussing the ways in which segments of code circulate through […]
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Critical Code Studies Conference – Week Three Discussion

In Week 3 of a six-part series, Critical Code Studies contributors spelunk the mysteries of Colossal Cave Adventure, a seminal text adventure game. Delving into close readings of the original FORTRAN code, the group plots the twisty passages linking media theory, deconstruction and philosophies of programming. Group Code Annotation: Colossal Cave Adventure According to Donald Knuth, designer of the “literate programming paradigm,” Colossal Cave Adventure is the “ur-game for computers” (Knuth 1998/2002). Because computer games have, for decades, been a point of connection between the worlds of technology (from the Greek techne, “skill”) and art (from the Latin ars artis, […]
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Critical Code Studies Conference – Week Three Introduction

[…]of Crowther’s source code serve as the point of departure for the third week of the Critical Code Studies Working Group. In this week, Jerz led a new team on a second expedition to map the original source code of Colossal Cave Adventure. The project differed slightly from the previous two weeks in that the group attempted to collaboratively annotate Crowther’s original source code in conjunction with the usual discussion. Their contributions, following the ethos of Critical Code Studies, highlighted extra-functional content and offered historical, political, aesthetic, technical, and anecdotal observations. About thirty-five years ago, when Colossal Cave Adventure was […]
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Critical Code Studies Conference – Week Four Discussion

In Week 4, Critical Code Studies contributors kept the magic alive as they discussed Wendy Hui Kyong Chun’s “On Sourcery and Source Codes,” the first chapter of her forthcoming Programmed Visions: Software and Memory. Informed by Chun’s psychoanalytic reading and her awareness of the materiality of code work, the conversation deals with fetishism, gender, genetics, and performativity in ways both abstract and tangible. Week 4 of the CCS discussion began with a reading from the first chapter of Wendy Hui Kyong Chun’s recent book, Programmed Visions: Software and Memory. We are grateful to MIT Press for allowing us to share […]
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Critical Code Studies Conference – Week Four Introduction

[…]open up spaces of discovery. Nevertheless, it was our shared text for Week 4 of the Critical Code Studies Working Group – Wendy Hui Kyong Chun’s first chapter from her forthcoming book Programmed Visions: Software and Memory – that challenged me to rethink the anecdote of my dad’s fingertips in relationship to notions of ritual and magic that undergird so much of our technological practice. In this chapter, Chun introduces the term “sourcery” to signify what she sees as contemporary culture’s fetishism of source code. Software (source code), Chun claims, “is a magical force that promises to bring together the […]
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Critical Code Studies Conference- Week Five Discussion

[…]the spot. While something of a special case, then, livecoding raises broader issues for Critical Code Studies, especially questions related to the definition of programming and the visibility of code. As John Bell pointed out, livecoding further applies pressure to the valuation of “scripting” over “coding”: the former is not considered “real” programming because of the use of high-level languages for small tasks. The Ruby on Rails framework was promoted using an “amazing and carefully scripted series of demo magic tricks,” in Jeremy Douglass’ words: on a terminal window projected for an audience, a few scripts generated a basic but […]
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Week One: Introduction to Critical Code Studies

[…]to Critical Code Studies (Main Thread).” CCS Working Group 2020, http://wg20.criticalcodestudies.com/index.php?p=/discussion/57/week-1-introduction-to-critical-code-studies-main-thread. Marino, Mark C. Critical Code Studies › Electronic Book Review. 31 Jan. 2012, […]
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An Emerging Canon? A Preliminary Analysis of All References to Creative Works in Critical Writing Documented in the ELMCIP Electronic Literature Knowledge Base

[…]alone to define a given canon for an entire field of practice is taking a bold, or even arrogant, critical position. The critical reception of a work might be the one area in which we could hope for a clearly empirical measure of canonicity. Yet Ensslin asserts a particularly privileged position with regard to reception when she writes that: The research situation with most hypertexts is such that reviews and academic papers are written by hypertext supporters. Therefore, criticism tends to be rather opinionated and to emphasize the academically interesting sides of a hypertext rather than its cumbersome attributes. Evaluations […]
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Nature’s Agents: Chreods, Code, Plato, and Plants

[…]is a kind of agency revealed here that manifests most powerfully through the water. The poem, the code, and the reader are all very important, to be sure, especially within the context of media studies, which has tended to fetishize the technological at the expense of the natural.  For this the chreod offers a powerful lesson: it is the water’s pull that powers the text. Indeed, it is the “voice” of the water that is paramount when it comes to thinking about environmental fragility.  Communicating the contingent nature of ocean water is, according to Poets for Living Waters,  one of […]
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"These Waves …:" Writing New Bodies for Applied E-literature Studies

[…]and analytical tools of postclassical narratology, ludology, applied linguistics, critical code studies, and semiotics (starting around the mid-2000s). Spear-headed by pioneering early hypertext reader-response work done for example by David Miall and Teresa Dobson, and further refined by scholars like Anne Mangen, Adriaan van der Weel, Colin Gardner, James Pope, and, most recently, by the UK-based “Reading Digital Fiction” research group (Bell, Ensslin, van der Bom, and Smith; see also Ensslin, Bell, Skains, and van der Bom), a third wave of e-lit scholarship has been producing empirical insights into how readers perceive, process, and communicate experiences of multilinear reading, of […]
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Digital Creativity as Critical Material Thinking: The Disruptive Potential of Electronic Literature

[…]‘the humanities’ own methodological toolkits’ with theoretical insights from software, critical code and platform studies” (Pitman, Taylor 4). While I don’t disagree with the potential of this approach to DH, what I am suggesting inverts the traditional Humanities discursive order more radically, by situating making and materiality alongside or, even better, as conceptual undertaking, by taking the place of the immateriality of the rational logos. In order to avoid falling in the trap of instrumentalization, my e-lit framework does not “supplement” traditional humanities’ methodologies but inverts its rational order and asserts the importance of creativity over or, more accurately, within […]
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Critical Code Studies Week Five Opener – Algorithms are thoughts, Chainsaws are tools

[…]constructs indistinguishable from the ones that are built in.  In essence, a macro is a block of code that exploits homoiconicity by temporarily treating another code block as if it were data (before passing it back to the compiler as code). You are not expected to understand this. You know what would be really great?  If people took a piece of a live coding performance — this one or another — recorded their own live commentary over it, and then put that in the comment thread.  It’s easy!  Even the simplest video editor will let you do this.  And really, isn’t […]
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The Code is not the Text (Unless It Is the Text)

[…]computing and technoscience – and his explicitly chosen media keep him immediately allied with codeworking colleagues, Sondheim’s work must also be read against earlier and contemporary writers working within or with a sense of the formally and aesthetically innovative traditions of poetics, and not only the poetics which intersects with Burroughs and Acker. With the implication that Sondheim’s writing needs to be judged as such and should not necessarily be granted a special credit of affect or significance because of its instantiation in new media. In the necessity to read the work in both a programmatological context and in the […]
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Critical Ecologies: Ten Years Later

[…]“Oh, don’t worry, my Toby never bites!” every critic warms to his subject, feels what he studies or the way he studies it is good in the way belief. But I think the rest of us should be leery of Toby. He’s descended from wolves; it’s in his nature to bite. So there is something to be said for a critical stance that refuses to make nice right up to the bitter end, keeps its distance from that which it can’t help but admire. Anyway, the new physiocracy can take care of itself. Leave the note of hope to the […]

Forgetting Media Studies: Anthologies, Archives, Anachrony

[…]tension, which we might see at work in any number of fields, is particularly fraught for media studies. Critical anthologies within media studies necessarily raise questions of temporality along two axes, namely in terms of the institutional and the material parameters of the field. Around the turn of the twenty-first century, numerous critical collections appeared on the market with the implicit intent both to crystallize the contemporary intellectual, cultural, and political concerns of the then-emergent project of media studies and also, in the same gesture, to legitimize media studies as an academic field. These attempts at legitimization, efforts to ground […]
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Addressing Significant Societal Challenges Through Critical Digital Media

[…]a number of different types of voices. The six characters sort of represent different age groups, different socioeconomic groups, as well as different types of reactions to the events. Some of this was again based loosely on the documentary research that Rod and his students did. The voice of the fisherman character for example, and some elements of his story were adapted from interviews of longshoremen that Rod’s students found in union archives. The voice of the FEMA worker, in a way serves an expository role,  to bring in factual information about all of these toxic waste sites on the […]
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Experimental Electronic Literature from the Souths. A Political Contribution to Critical and Creative Digital Humanities.

[…]119, my translation) It is worth mentioning in this regard the call “for a de-Westernization of critical data studies, in view of promoting a reparation to the cognitive injustice that fails to recognize non-mainstream ways of knowing the world through data” (Milan and Treré “Big Data from the South(s)” 319). In their introductory essay for a special journal issue that explores “Big Data from the South”, Stefania Milan and Emiliano Treré acknowledge the valuable work done by many researchers over the past few years counterbalancing the “hyperbolic narratives of the ‘big data revolution’” (320), by interrogating on the cultural, social […]
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Critical Attention and Figures of Control: On Reading Networked, Software-based Social Systems with a Protective Eye

[…]Jesper. Games Telling Stories? Game Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, 2001, http://gamestudies.org/0101/juul-gts/, http://gamestudies.org/0101/juul-gts/. Kracauer, Siegfried. Cult of Distraction: On Berlin’s Picture Palaces. New German Critique, vol. 40, 1987, pp. 91-96, doi:DOI: 10.2307/488133, www.jstor.org/stable/488133. —. The Mass Ornament. translated by Thomas Y. Levin, Harvard University Press, 1995. Landow, George P. Hypertext the Convergence of Contemporary Critical Theory and Technology. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992. Latham, Alan. The Power of Distraction: Distraction, Tactility, and Habit in the Work of Walter Benjamin. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, vol. 17, no. 4, 1999, pp. 451-473, doi:10.1068/d170451, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1068/d170451. Mencia, Maria et al. Electronic […]
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How to Re-Hijack Your Mind: Critical Making and the ‘Battle for Intelligence’

[…]Jenny. How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy. Black Inc., 2019. Ratto, Matt. “Critical Making: Conceptual and Material Studies in Technology and Social Life.” The Information Society 27.4 (2011): pp. 252-260. Řehůřek, Radim, and Petr Sojka. “Software Framework for Topic Modelling with Large Corpora.” In Proceedings of the LREC 2010 Workshop on New Challenges for NLP Frameworks, Malta, May 2010, pp. 46-50. Roman Holiday. Directed by William Wyler, performances by Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, Paramount Pictures, 1953. Rozendaal, Rafaël. “Abstract Browsing,” 2014. http://www.abstractbrowsing.net Stiegler, Bernard. Taking Care of Youth and the Generations. Translated by Stephen Barker, Stanford University Press, 2010. […]
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British Poetry at Y2K

[…]by now why such poems by Fisher might be respected by poets from both the Cambridge and London groups, and indeed there are moments when he might be thought of himself as a member of one group — But it is precisely with a poetics of the sublime – and Keith Tuma’s original fisher by obstinate isles thought he might “maintain ‘the sublime’ / in the old sense…Unaffected by the ‘march of events'” – that I want to leave this Fisher of the latter-days and all but conclude this essay. I am not alone in thinking that A Furnace may […]

The Pleasure (and Pain) of Link Poetics

[…]“cheating,” operating against the implicit code of mystery-reading behavior. The implicit code of reading most types of fiction in codex book format favors starting at the first page and moving to the last. Hypertext readers rarely have such a developed implicit code of behavior to react with or against. A Storyspace hypertext generally provides the reader with choices to move from any given lexia only to those other lexias the author has linked. The link in any case is a predetermined avenue of navigation. Whether the link has been directly chosen by the author, randomly determined by the computer, or […]

Illegal Knowledge: Strategies for New Media Activism

[…]effective strategy of www.McSpotlight.org which is focused on research, outreach, and activist networking was never repeated on the same scale. Why not? Should we continue to make the distinction between good content and networking projects and “bad” criminal hackers? (No, but people still do.) Ricardo Dominguez: Geert’s breakdown of net.activism into a binary of good activism (www.McSpotlight.org), or digitally correct activism, vs. the bad hacktivism of the Electronic Disturbance Theater (EDT) strikes me as far too simple. EDT’s work was and is tactical theater; McSpotlight.org was a long-term strategic action. So to compare one with the other disregards the context […]
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Textual Events (3 of 5)

[…]to harass Web authors to remove images, corporate logos and even corporate names from websites critical of their activities. In order to highlight the absurd extremities to which IP police powers have been extended, McLeod took out a trademark himself–on the phrase “freedom of expression.”TM He owns it. You do not. The efforts of absurdist media pranksters such as ®TMark are the subject of Caren Irr ‘s essay, which seeks to describe ways in which their efforts to use the system of socio-ideological reproduction to send new messages can be linked to a more capacious opposition to dominant forms of […]

Free Labor: Producing Culture for the Digital Economy

[…]such as Cygnus have convinced the market that you do not need to be proprietary about source codes to make a profit: the code might be free, but tech support, packaging, installation software, regular upgrades, office applications, and hardware are not. In 1998, when Netscape went “open source” and invited the computer tinkers and hobbyists to look at the code of its new browser, fix the bugs, improve the package, and redistribute it, specialized mailing lists exchanged opinions about its implications. It is an established pattern of the computer industry, in fact, that you might have to give away your […]
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Patched In: A Conversation with Anne-Marie Schleiner about Computer Gaming Culture

[…]an interdisciplinary approach and a disciplinary approach. Gaming programs should integrate gender studies, film and television theory, computer science, sociology, digital art, and cultural studies into computer gaming curriculums, (and allow for different emphases.) We also need to discover what would be specific to a discipline of game design and gaming studies. Developing such an interdisciplinary and also disciplinary program would allow for a common language to be shared among programmers and artists, as well as informing gaming culture in general. There is much territory yet to be explored and we should prepare our students to better understand both the […]
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Women in the Web

[…]everyday life and working relations? As a very junior faculty member participating in a women’s studies faculty study group in the mid 80’s, when I tried to explain that I was investigating the politics of making distinctions between what has been called “the oral” and “the written,” a more senior historian impatiently insisted, “Something just is oral or written!” Although each feminist there cared about and taught the importance of denaturalizing cultural categories feminists critiqued, to no one was it obvious that orality and literacy were variations on nature and culture. When I was a postdoc in another university a […]

A Project for a New Consultancy

[…]frame for assessing the options available for meeting Bérubé’s goal of bringing critical studies knowledge to bear on policy making. Bérubé’s decision to work within the mode of journalism, the magazine medium, makes perfect sense in the apparatus of literacy. My response, however, is to reconsider this decision in the light of the shift in our apparatus from literacy to electracy. I am basing my speculations about the nature of electracy on a poststructuralist epistemology. …A further quandary for the poststructural consultant wanting to influence policy using the electronic media has to do with the dissolution of the communications model […]

Videogames of the Oppressed

[…]Design. London: Kogan Page Limited. Eskelinen, Markku (2001). “The Gaming Situation.” Game Studies 1, no.1 (July 2001). http://cmc.uib.no/gamestudies/0101/eskelinen/ Eskelinen, Markku, and Raine Koskimaa, editors (2001). Cybertext Yearbook 2000. Saarijärvi: Publications of the Research Centre for Contemporary Culture, University of Jyväskylä. Frasca, Gonzalo (1998). “Don’t play it again, Sam: One-session games of Narration.” http://cmc.uib.no/dac98/papers/frasca.html. —. (2001). “Videogames of the Oppressed.” M.A. Thesis: School of Literature, Communication and Culture, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta (2001). http://www.jacaranda.org/frasca/thesis/. —. (1999). “Narratology meets Ludology: Similitude and Differences Between (Video)games and Narrative.” Parnasso 3: 365-371. http://www.jacaranda.org/frasca/ludology.htm. Freire, Paulo (2000). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum. […]

Community of People with No Time

[…]As Richard Coyne notes: “Information is thought to be the essence of life, as in the DNA code. To record and break the code is to have mastery over life” (Coyne 1995, 80). The most common organizational pattern identified in all systems is networking. All living systems are arranged in a network fashion. Since the 1920s, when ecologists began studying food chains, recognition of networks became essential to many scholars, in different forms. Cyberneticists in particular tried to understand the brain as a neural network and to analyze its patterns. The structure of the brain is enormously complex, containing about […]

Meditations on the Blip: a review

[…]matter. Fuller examines three types of software that represent useful interventions into software studies: critical software, social software, and speculative software. The first of these, critical software, is software that investigates software. Fuller describes two modes by which critical software operates. The first looks at evidence of normalized software in order to disclose how the process of normalization becomes manifest. Critical software works “by using the evidence presented by normalized software to construct an arrangement of the objects, protocols, statements, dynamics, and sequences of interaction that allow its conditions of truth to become manifest” (23). Critical software, then, engages the […]

Locating the Literary in New Media

[…]can generate these dreams (a trivial side product of the bodies’ real purpose, which is to go on working, and to expand their networking endlessly). We see it in The Sims and numerous other computer games, in which players conduct virtual characters through career choices, commodity purchases, and social networks. What we don’t get in these highly developed simulations is the cultivation of any capacity to imagine an alternative to the operations of simulation and commodity consumption. Hayles is of course right to point out how, since the telegraph technology of James’s late nineteenth century, information has penetrated ever further […]

Text, Textile, Exile: Meditations on Poetics, Metaphor, Net-work

[…]some poems, some mini-essays. One even sent a power-point presentation. This enactment of net-working across diasporic distance was a way to generate creative energy, which I find is most stimulated through conversation and interaction; hence the need for collaboration in the last decade or so. I asked specifically that they comment, if they could, on the “textuality” of the pieces: that is, how they could be “read.” But I also stipulated that any kind of response – a photograph or a drawing – would be acceptable. I got wonderfully varied answers from a range of poets, friends, and colleagues. Ed […]
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A [S]creed for Digital Fiction

[…]and Bell 2007) with an awareness of close reading as a historical medium specific practice. code: As critics primarily and coders peripherally, we recognize the importance of code in digital fiction, and we do so on a continuum. On the one end, the incorporation and recombination of elements of programming language, binary code, and mark-up conventions implicitly affects the semantic space of the text. On the other end, the same codestuff can be used explicitly, infecting and inflecting the text to defamiliarize the work of art. cybersomatics and corporeality: We believe that the reading of digital fiction involves a different kind of […]

Computers, Cut-ups, and Combinatory Volvelles

[…]Geomancy: The Kids of the Book Machine, The Collected Research Reports of The Toronto Research Group, 1973-1982 (Vancouver: Talonbooks, 1992): 60. * * * Around 1650, Georg Philipp Harsdörffer devised an ingenious ballet. It’s simple: first, give each dancer a board inscribed with a letter of the alphabet; then watch as new words or phrases emerge from dance. The very movement of the dancer’s bodies will act as a combinatory mechanism from which language springs.Jan C. Westerhoff, “Poeta Calculans: Harsdörffer, Leibniz, and the Mathesis Universalis,” Journal of the History of Ideas 60.3 (1999): 465. There is no evidence that Harsdörffer […]
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Finding the Human in “the messy, contingent, emergent mix of the material world”: Embodiment, Place, and Materiality in Stacy Alaimo’s Bodily Natures

[…]also links to a 37,000-page archive of chemical industry documents assembled by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a group that also operates the Human Toxome Project’s “Mapping the Pollution in People.” Links to this project provide users with a catalogue of particular toxicants found in human bodies all over the world. The project couples this chemical data with detailed portraits of real people who have tested positive for various toxicants and chemicals. Alaimo argues that such electronic literatures combine scientific data, medical narratives, and political calls to action to provide new practice of meaning-making for ordinary experts to use in […]
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Literary Texts as Cognitive Assemblages: The Case of Electronic Literature

[…]the functions specified by the program), and intentions (it intends to compile/interpret the code and execute the commands and routines specified there). Although the human writes the code (and other humans have constructed the hardware and software essential to the computer’s operation), he is not in control of the lines that scroll across the screen, which are determined by the randomizing function and the program’s processes. What is the point of such generative programs? I think of John Cage’s aesthetic of “chance operations,” which he saw as a way to escape from the narrow confines of consciousness and open his […]
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Language as Gameplay: toward a vocabulary for describing works of electronic literature

[…]Portrait(s) [as Other(s)]” and Judd Morrissey’s “The Jew’s Daughter.” I will introduce a critical vocabulary for examining these works, grouped around the following concepts: “The Holy Grails of Electronic Literature,” “Six Varieties of Crisis,” and the “Surrealist Fortune Cookie.” Respectively, these describe: the contradictions inherent between paradigms of science and paradigms of literature and how they have shaped motivations by creators; the manner in which writers of electronic works can provide “non-trivial” reading experiences in the absence of standard literary paradigms premised on apocalyptic (or simply “plotted”) narrative; and a concept of the basic unit of the sentence in an […]
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The Assimilation of Text by Image

[…]Lifeon Earth (2nd ed.). New York: W.H. Freeman. Marino, M. C. (2010, September 15). “Critical Code Studies and the electronic book review: An Introduction.” EBR : Electronic Book Review. Retrieved September 20, 2011, from http://www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/firstperson/ningislanded Matthew G. Kirschenbaum. (1997, 98). Lucid Mapping and Codex Transformissions in the Z-Buffer. Retrieved February 9, 2011, fromhttp://www2.iath.virginia.edu/mgk3k/lucid/ Mauler, H. (2004). The Zoo « ZEITGUISED. Retrieved September 20, 2011, from http://zeitguised.wordpress.com/2004/05/24/the-zoo/ Merleau-Ponty, M. (1962). Phenomenology of Perception. New York: Humanities Press. Mitchell, W. J. T. (1995). Picture Theory: Essays on Verbal and Visual Representation (1st ed.). University Of Chicago Press. Mitchell, W. J. T., & Hansen, M. B. N. (Eds.). (2010). Critical Terms for Media […]

Revealing Noise: The Conspiracy of Presence in Alternate Reality Aesthetics

[…]The group psychological meaning of secrecy is a relation between knowledge and ignorance: as the group configures its group dynamics around a secret, its cohesion depends on the maintenance of an illusion (42). In this lengthy passage, Krapp illustrates that digital technologies and the types of discourse that find growth in them essentially segregate themselves from anything outside its discursive regime. If one accepts that conspiracy theory is finding itself rooted in digital discourse, the truth object pursued by these theorists will forever remain outside of their knowledge, as that is the only way for the interested parties to sustain […]
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The Politics of Plasticity: Neoliberalism and the Digital Text

[…]writing was focused on the technology of books and print.  Implicit in its capacity to provoke critical thinking about the form of the book is the capacity to direct this critical attention to the broader tools of literary representation, including digital interfaces and code.  However, it is against the backdrop of network textuality that the fullness of this technical estrangement can be explored.  While Jakobson’s use of the word “ordinary” always carried connotations with the power to categorize, command, and declare, it is the prospect of the global, networked analytic process that produces the most potent realization of such “ordinary” […]
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Lift This End: Electronic Literature in a Blue Light

[…]of computational art (387)—projects that invite, if not require, attention to various forms of codeCode-core cybertextualism has undeniable virtues: it usefully drives innovation both in poetic practice and critical thinking, and it builds a detailed foundation for understanding, and eventually teaching, next-generation digital literacy. Long may its models and schemas endure. At the same time, concentrating on the core obviously does not help at the margins, where we confront more ambiguous encounters between writing and information systems. Beyond providing a dour reminder of forsaken rigor, hardcore cybertextualism sheds little light on my promiscuous confusion of récriture and database/interface poetics. […]
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Internet radio and electronic literature: locating the text in the act of listening

[…]of radio and art. Radio art is radio by artists. The third example manifesto comes from PizMO, a group of sound artists working in France for over 50 years. Thir manifesto reads, We create experiences and ambiances with audio architecture. We are an anonymous collective of artists and musicians experimenting w/ audio & radio. We reactualize a drifting theory thru post-radio, sound-systems and computers. We explore portable, mobile, temporary & immersive audio spaces and campings. We favor loading forms, immaterial works and time-based objects. We experiment with micro-forms & replicas & duplicatas [sic] & palimpsests. We develop social tactics & […]
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Futures of Electronic Literature

[…]in my approach to language, due to the sheer amount of time I’ve spent in front of screens and working with code. My memory and conceptions of space and time are imprinted with the logics of digital systems. That statement is most likely true for many in ELO, for many in our society, and investigation of what we might mean by literature that is “conceptually” electronic, imprinted somehow with the logics of digital systems, is a productive path to explore. It is not as clear to us that we should collect “conceptually” electronic work in an ELC publication if the […]

Cave Gave Game: Subterranean Space as Videogame Place

[…]the next time the game is played. For Woods, whose computing environment required him to add code that limited access to the game during working hours, if the cave closed today, it would open again tomorrow; the dynamite blast also invites the player to think of the cave, too, as transient – something that exists only within the digital world of the computer. Caves Before Adventure Gregory Yob’s 1972 game Hunt the Wumpus presents a very brief textual description of a cave (e.g. “YOU ARE IN ROOM 13 / TUNNELS LEAD TO 12 14 20”). The player is given a […]
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#clusterMucks: Iterating synthetic-ecofeminisms

[…]a flat or object-oriented ontology] what useful work does the concept of the hyperobject do?” (Critical Inquiry). Although there are rich intersections to be explored via such studies, it clearly becomes difficult to do justice to the many nuances in disciplinary differences between the sciences and the humanities. Science is the lingua franca of our current moment, but how well do academics minimally trained in the sciences translate it? As Bianco’s videos of the eco-disaster sites appear to ask, where does this increasingly anxious conversation turn into action? We can also look at early moments in the recent evolution of […]
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Text Generation, or Calling Literature into Question

[…]is not in the textual output which is always changing and generated through the execution of the code by the computer. It may perhaps be located in the code, which Montfort, like other practitioners of digital poetry, makes available for free for others to hack, copy, manipulate and use in different contexts and in the case of this work, countless remixes over the years. But even here, the code has to follow the scripting rules of the programme used, in this case Python, and the code needs the computer to be executed that creates the language. This brings me to […]
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Electronic Literature Translation: Translation as Process, Experience and Mediation

[…]that includes the remediation of forms, remixability, human computer interaction, software and code studies, narratology, trans-lingual, intersemiotic approaches, and multimodal studies in conjunction with the creative practice, and with translation as a creative practice. 3.1 The Poetry Machine One of the platforms we have explored is The Poetry Machine (PM), which is an interactive, participatory, digital literary installation (Woetmann et al. 2012).Peter-Clement Woetmann, Ursula Andkjær Olsen, Martin Campostrini, Jonas Fritsch, Ann Luther Petersen, Søren Bro Pold, Allan Thomsen Volhøj, et al., The Poetry Machine, http://www.inkafterprint.dk/?page\_id=45, 2012-. CAVI & Roskilde Libraries. PM is designed to make people affectively engage with, and […]
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Electronic Literature in Ireland

[…]noted, practitioners in the games industry who might call what they do something else, scholars working in predominantly critical capacities, the most prolific of which is arguably Anne Karhio. The point that I am making here is simple: Maguire was, for a long time, Irish e-lit’s only representative, and whatever small community we now have owes a considerable debt to his pioneering efforts—to borrow from Grigar and Moulthrop—as I often do—Michael Maguire is Ireland’s pathfinder. When we assess Maguire’s contributions to the field, we need to look beyond what he did as an instigator: not only did he start a […]

Descending into the Archives: An Interview with Hypertext Author Bill Bly

[…]Review. August 29, 1993. Delany, Paul and Landow, George P. “Hypertext, Hypermedia, and Literary Studies: The State of the Art.” In Paul Delany and George P. Landow’s (Eds) Hypermedia and Literary Studies. Cambridge, MIT Press, 1991, 3-50. Derrida, Jacques. Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression. Trans. Eric Prenowitz. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1996. Foucault, Michel. The Archaeologies of Knowledge. Trans. A.M. Sheridan Smith. New York, Pantheon, 1972. Grigar, Dene, and Stuart Moulthrop. “The Interview with Bill Bly about We Descend.” Pathfinders, http://scalar.usc.edu/works/pathfinders/bly-interview. Kirschenbaum, Matthew G. Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination. Cambridge, MIT Press, 2008. Landow, George P. Hypertext 3.0: Critical […]
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Suspended Poetics: Echoes of The Seven Odes in Arabic E-Literature

[…]of poetry by imprisoning the verbal and social elements of poetry within a relatively static codex. Poets working in the age of print were, certainly, aware of how print had transformed the possibilities of their art, leading to experiments like typographic poetry in which the formatting of the words on the printed page make a shape emblematic of the theme of the poem. Nevertheless, poets like Adonis, Mahmoud Darwish, and Fatima Naoot continue to practice poetry as a verbal, social, and ritualistic art form. What Adab and websites like it do is to return even modernist poetry back more squarely […]
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Our Struggle: Reading Karl Ove Knausgård’s Min Kamp

[…]“I got nothing out of the poetry I read,” that for him “It was as if poems were written in code,” (Knausgård, 2018, 422), and then he goes straight into this very rigorous and fascinating, in fact virtuoso reading… Joseph Tabbi: But that massive lack is real. And the way that he accesses Celan is more like what Scott described. He reaches up and takes a book off the shelf. I think the essays are some of the best parts in the corpus actually. But one reason they’re some of the best is that we’ve got the writer reflecting on […]
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Digital Writing: Philosophical and Pedagogical Issues

[…]Jussi, « New Materialism as Media Theory: Medianatures and Dirty Matter », Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, vol. 9, n. 1, 2012, p. 95-100 Peters John Durham , The Marvelous Clouds – Toward a Philosophy of Elemental Media, Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2015. Petit Victor, « Internet, un milieu technique d’écriture », in E. Rojas (éd.), Réseaux socionumériques et médiations humaines. Le social est-il soluble dans le Web ?, Hermès-Lavoisier, Paris, 2013, p. 155-173 Pignier Nicole et Mitropoulou Eleni (dir.), Former ou formater ? Les enjeux de l’éducation aux médias, Editions Solilang, 2014 Simondon Gilbert, Du mode d’existence des […]
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Electronic Literature Experimentalism Beyond the Great Divide. A Latin American Perspective

[…]introduction to the work. The usual code for punch cards at the time was EBCDIC (Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code). Comparing the card perforations and the printed text of the poems in the same cards, the use of EBCDIC is demonstrable. El canto del gallo is a visual poem book, designed in an IBM MT72 composer. When explaining in an article how best-selling novelist Len Deighton composed in 1968 also with an IBM MT72 his novel about World War II, titled Bomber, Mathew Kirchembaum poses that Deighton’s was the first novel ever written on a word processor. He also […]
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At the Brink: Electronic Literature, Technology, and the Peripheral Imagination at the Atlantic Edge

[…]after another, adopt multiple voices, and carry a mixed assortment of messages and cargo. The code may not be the text – or all of the text – but here a glance at the work’s code helps illustrate the variety of locations, experiences and materials involved. Transmissions have numerous points of departure and arrival; they are situated in specific material locations or places of personal significance: [‘Canada’,’England’,’Ireland’,’Scotland’,’Wales’,’Cornwall’,’New Brunswick’,’Nova Scotia’,’Cape Breton’,’Newfoundland’,’Labrador’,’the Maritimes’,’the Scilly Isles’,’the Hebrides’,’the Orkneys’,’the New World’,’the old country’,’home’] Each message is not only geographically situated, but also embedded in a system of communication that has a technological and material, […]
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Collaborative Reading Praxis

[…]had been working in collaboration with Jeremy on developing the initial practices of critical code studies, the application of hermeneutics from the humanities to the interpretation of the extra-functional significance of computer source code. That practice involved examining source code as a cultural text in order to discuss its cultural meaning. He models these methods in his new book Critical Code Studies. Together we three scholars set out to read a work of digital literature together using the methods we had been developing separately. The result was a collaborative reading experience that changed the way we saw the digital object […]

Lit Mods

[…]Pressman, Mark Marino, and Jeremy Douglass, in Reading Project (2015), or Marino in Critical Code Studies (2020). Literary and artistic works that are written in digital systems cannot be fully understood and explored without the praxis of their processes and interfaces. This approach is fully embodied in creative-critical code practices such as Montfort and Strickland’s “cut to fit the toolspun course” (2010, 2013), a version of annotated code that expands the possibilities for essay-writing in form and content. Their elegant annotations were published in the comments of the source code of the work itself, Sea and Spar Between. In the […]

Building STEAM for DH and Electronic Literature: An Educational Approach to Nurturing the STEAM Mindset in Higher Education

[…]thank the students whose work was featured here. We are grateful to the Creative DH Frameworks Working Group. Works Cited Aarseth, Espen J. Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997. Accessed 7 July 2020. Akazawa, Chloe. “Individual and Group Final Projects – DIGHUM 101.” GitHub Repository, 2020, github.com/chloeaka/Digital-Humanities-Project. Accessed 1 Sept. 2020. “Akazawa Video 2020.” Akazawa, Chloe. Google Drive, 2020, drive.google.com/file/d/1Nn3rEaQyZsBxCFoVYJlSOCjrnj2jkS2E/view. Accessed 1 Sept. 2020. “Art Up Close”. Akazawa, Chloe, 2020, artupclose.wordpress.com/. Accessed 1 Sept. 2020. “Art Up Close Blueprint 2020.” Akazawa, Chloe. Google Drive, 2020, https://drive.google.com/file/d/1gUaGubLdqVp-J9ZGzQ2l9En5MwdSPKz2/view. Accessed 1 Sept. 2020. “Berkeley News.” Public Affairs, UC Berkeley, […]
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When Error Rates Fail: Digital Humanities Concepts as a Guide for Electronic Literature Research

[…]Story People. Blood & Laurels. Linden Research, Inc., 2014. Marino, Mark C. Critical Code Studies: Initial Methods. MIT Press, 2020. Mateas, Michael. “Procedural Literacy: Educating the New Media Practitioner.” On The Horizon. Special Issue. Future of Games, Simulations and Interactive Media in Learning Contexts, vol. 13, no. 1, 2005. Mateas, Michael, and Andrew Stern. Façade. Microsoft Windows. Procedural Arts, 2005. Maxis Software, Inc. The Sims. Microsoft Windows. Electronic Arts, Inc., 2000. McCoy, Josh, et al. “Prom Week: Designing Past the Game/Story Dilemma.” Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, Society for the Advancement of the […]
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Excavating Logics of White Supremacy in Electronic Literature: Antiracism as Infrastructural Critique

[…]of projects that demonstrate how Western subjectivity is contingent upon BIPOC labor, like Black Code Studies, Liquid Blackness, or Lisa Nakamura’s “Indigenous Circuits,” in which she excavates how Fairchild Semiconductor exploited and racialized indigenous Navajo labor to establish a foothold in Silicon Valley. Such histories are also a part of e-lit’s, though direct connections have yet to be made. Aesthetically, antiracism recuperates imagination from the logic of white supremacy and resituates it among a dynamic array of material and symbolic structures. My attempt, then, is not to say anything new, as novelty is complicit in the colonial wanderlust for expansion, […]
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Documenting a Field: The Life and Afterlife of the ELMCIP Collaborative Research Project and Electronic Literature Knowledge Base

[…]that we are sorely in need of more input from electronic literature authors and researchers working in critical race studies, both to bring in documentation of works and criticism of e-lit that addresses race and diversity, and to tag records in the database that already address these matters. The Knowledge Base has “controlled vocabularies” for core bibliographic information, but not for themes and content descriptions. In this case, we use a folksonomic “tagging” system that is idiosyncratic precisely because it is open – each individual contributor tags the records they contribute or develop using an uncontrolled vocabulary. In my course, […]
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“the many gods of Mile End”: CanLit Print-Culture Nostalgia and J.R. Carpenter’s Entre Ville

[…]City. McGill-Queen’s UP, 2006. Smith, A.J.M. Introduction. The Book of Canadian Poetry: A Critical and Historical Anthology, edited by Smith, W.J. Gage, 1943, pp. 3-31. Spinosa, Dani. “Toward a Theory of Canadian Digital Poetics.” Studies in Canadian Literature, vol. 42, no. 2, 2018, pp. 237-255. Starnino, Carmine. Introduction. The New Canon: An Anthology of Canadian Poetry, Signal Editions, 2005, pp. 15-36. Waber, Dan. “On First Screening.” First Screening, by bpNichol, edited by Jim Andrews et al., vispo.com, 2007. http://vispo.com/bp/introduction.htm. Warner, Michael. Publics and Counterpublics. Zone Books, 2005. Wunker, Erin, and Travis Mason. Introduction. “Public Poetics.” Public Poetics: Critical Issues in […]
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Reconfiguring Flatness on Screen: A Short History of Cover Designs for Chinese Web Novels

[…]E. Lewin, Cambridge University Press, 1997. Greenberg, Clement. “Collage.” Art and Culture: Critical Essays, Beacon Press, 1961, pp. 70–83. —. “Modernist Painting.” Modern Art and Modernism: A Critical Anthology, edited by Francis Franscina and Charles Harrison, Westview Press, 1982, pp. 5–10. Gunning, Tom. “The Cinema of Attractions: Early Film, Its Spectator and the Avant-Garde.” Early Cinema: Space Frame Narrative, edited by Thomas Elsaesser, British Film Institute, 1990, pp. 56–62. Hayles, N. Katherine. “Print Is Flat, Code Is Deep: The Importance of Media-Specific Analysis.” Poetics Today, vol. 25, no. 1, 2004, pp. 67–90. Higgins, Dick. Horizons: The Poetics and Theory of […]
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Post-Digital Debates and Dialogues from the electronic book review

[…]just started my first real job; I was still kind of really full of all these ideas from critical code studies – the project that Mark Marino had been developing; and my work as a grad student with Rita Raley, and thinking about ‘Z-space’, was something that occupied my mind for a good chunk of time. One thing that I take from that experience is that what is so great about ebr – what ebr offers that no other journal that I’ve ever worked on really offers – is the opportunity for improbably improvisational criticism, on-the-fly conversations, real-time responses to […]
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Researching Writing Technologies through the Speculative Prototype Design of Trina

[…]Press, 1992. Polyani, Michael. The Tacit Dimension. Doubleday and Co., 1967. Rosner, Daniela. Critical Fabulations: Reworking the Methods and Margins of Design. The MIT Press, 2018. Ruecker, Stan, et al. “Drilling for Papers in INKE.” Scholarly and Research Communication, vol. 3, no. 1, 2012, p. 5. Schön, Donald A. The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think In Action. Basic Books, 1983. Simon, Herbert A. “The Science of Design: Creating the Artificial.” Design Issues, vol. 4, no. 1/2, 1988, p. 67. Crossref, https://doi.org/10.2307/1511391. Sterling, Bruce. “Made Up Symposium Keynote, January 29, 2011.” Made Up: Design’s Fictions, Art Center Graduate Press, 2017, pp. […]
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“Is this a game, or is it real?”: WarGames, computer games, and the status of the screen

[…]Perspectives on Ergodic Literature. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1997. —–. “Computer Game Studies, Year One.” Game Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Research 1.1 (2001). www.gamestudies.org. Accessed 1 Mar 2018. Atkinson, Paul. Computer. London: Reaktion Books, 2010. Beck, Melinda and David C. Martin. “A New View of Nuclear War.” Newsweek 18 Aug (1980): 39. Accessed 26 Jan 2018. Blackford, Holly. “PC Pinocchios: Parents, Children, and the Metamorphosis Tradition in Science Fiction.” In Sherman and Koven, eds. 74-92. Brand, Stewart. “Spacewar: Fanatic Life and Symbolic Death Among the Computer Bums.” Rolling Stone 7 Dec 1972. https://www.wheels.org/spacewar/stone/rolling_stone.html. Accessed 24 Dec 2020. […]
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Speculative Interfaces: How Electronic Literature Uses the Interface to Make Us Think about Technology

[…]Álvaro Seiça’s “lit mods” (Seiça 2020a; Seiça 2020b), or in the insistence of critical code studies that we must look at the underlying code, as well as at the interface and the content (Marino 2020). Traditional speculative fiction, in the form, for instance, of a science fiction novel or television series, involves world-building, and proposes new possible worlds and societies for readers to imagine and think with and through. afternoon and many other early works of electronic literature tell completely realistic stories, with no science fiction or fantasy or other speculative elements. Their speculation is all in the interface, in […]
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The Metainterface Spectacle

[…]33) – or perhaps, another ‘godless cult’ in the words of Kracauer. This characterization of code makes sense not only in relation to the role of code in computing, but also in the everyday use of computers – and not being able to understand the functioning of large global platforms, even from the inside or through reading the code. The mass perspective of profiling: the Nooscope Following both a history of minimalism and computationalism, we see that a central difference between the metainterface spectacle and former spectacles lies in particular instrumentalist hiding of the production of the mass perspective. To […]

TL;DR: Lessons from CCSWG 2020

The Critical Code Studies Working Group 2020 (CCSWG ‘20) was another watershed moment for this burgeoning field. On the one hand, it celebrated 10 years since the first Working Group. On the other hand, the fact that we were still convening working groups meant that scholars still needed help finding their way through code. Notably, we were also hosting this Working Group the year that MIT Press published Critical Code Studies. We took the opportunity of the book launch to spend Week 1 introducing Critical Code Studies (CCS) to the participants in a new way. While the Working Groups always […]

Week Two: Indigenous Programming

Main thread: http://wg20.criticalcodestudies.com/index.php?p=/discussion/70/week-2-indigenous-programming-main-thread Despite being taught around the world, programming languages are written primarily in English. Why is English our default? While an increase in support for the international text encoding standard Unicode has allowed developers to create computing languages in their native tongues, their widespread adoption is far from the norm. In Week Two of the Critical Code Studies Working Group, Dr. Jon Corbett (a Cree/Saulteaux Métis media artist, computer programmer, and sessional faculty at the University of British Columbia), Dr. Outi Laiti (a Sámi Associate Researcher at the University of Helsinki’s Indigenous Studies program and project manager at […]

Week Three: Feminist AI

Main Thread: http://wg20.criticalcodestudies.com/index.php?p=/discussion/87/week-3-feminist-ai-main-thread According to its 2019 fourth quarter earnings report, Google nets $15 billion US dollars annually, and the building block of its revenue is ad sales from Search. As the internet began to expand in the early 1990s, the need to search its uncatalogued environment became a critical building block for digital interconnectedness. Two approaches to the logic of searching the internet emerged: American investor Bill Gross promoted search results as sites to be auctioned to the highest bidder, while Larry Page and Sergey Brin vehemently opposed advertising and developed an algorithm. These two search logics (algorithm or […]

Platforms,Tools and the Vernacular Imaginary

[…]journal. Vernacular by default, the early web was made of half-finished homepages, alien looking code, broken links and error messages. It was also a period of creative possibilities and utopian dreams for free personal expression in networked groups. With few large hubs to connect people, islands of communities formed around trying to figure out what the web might be. Lialina’s own innovative digital art, as with the “net art” movement in general, was made in the context of this emerging web folk culture. She writes: “…although I consider myself to be an early adopter–I came late enough to enjoy and […]

New Media Studies

[…]is intended to give its reader some sense of what we talk about when we talk about New Media Studies. Matthew Kirschenbaum reviews what is undoubtedly the most important publication in New Media Studies released this year, The New Media Reader, published by the MIT Press and edited by Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort. The Reader is an 800-plus page tome (with CD-ROM) that aggregates articles, papers, and creative work developed in the formative years of the new media from the 1940s until the development of the World Wide Web. The Reader ‘s publication is an important event, as it […]

Virtuality and VRML: Software Studies After Manovich

[…]always situated within absolute zones of material and ideological circumstance. What is software studies then? Software studies is what media theory becomes after the bubble bursts. Software studies is whiteboards and white papers, business plans and IPOs and penny-stocks. Software studies is PowerPoint vaporware and proofs of concept binaries locked in time-stamped limbo on a server where all the user accounts but root have been disabled and the domain name is eighteen months expired. Software studies is, or can be, the work of fashioning documentary methods for recognizing and recovering digital histories, and the cultivation of the critical discipline to […]
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The Politics of Information: A Critical E-Book Under Way

[…]the essays also touch on earlier threads, in particular “Writing Postfeminism,” “Critical Ecologies.” Recalling that Donna Haraway’s Cyborg was never meant to be a wired, blissed-out bunny, Bousquet and Wills recover the political dimension in socialist-feminist thought. “The Politics of Information” brings class back into cultural studies, considers the Web as crucial to the expanding “informatics of domination,” and recovers the cyborg as a key figure for an entire world of labor and lifeways. The authors in this wide-ranging collection, most of them pioneers in the development of Internet content, address the concerns not only of designers and users, but […]
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Dovetailing Details Fly Apart – All Over, Again, In Code, In Poetry, In Chreods (with an Introduction by Joseph Tabbi)

[…]Cayley, Raley, Marino, and others, “Dovetailing Details Fly Apart – All Over, Again, In Code, In Poetry, In Chreods” by Strickland and Lawson Jaramillo carries the debate into the analysis of specific poems and poetic practices, both written and spoken, graphic and sonic, alphabetically and digitally coded. The essay also introduces a new reference for the debate – namely, the work of Gregory Bateson, who is cited not just as a supporting ‘theory’ or philosphical framework, but in the spirit of differential discourse that distinguishes Bateson’s work. This essay-meditation is itself ‘poured over code’; like several image/text collaborations featured in […]
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“The dead must be killed once again”: Plagiotropia as Critical Literary Practice

[…]intertextuality, dialogism and parody. Despite having articulated all these concepts, the critical-ludic-transgressive attitude of Portuguese poetry involves, in her opinion, an enhanced “operation of translation in the sense of a critical rereading of tradition” (20). To creatively explore the plagiotropic relationships between Helder and Brandão’s work, we have engaged in our own plagiarian experiment in the creation of a third work.  The text generator, also entitled Húmus, draws upon its predecessors as databases, allowing readers to, once again, re-read the tradition and conceptualize the links between its historical forbears. 1. Re-reading, Re-writing The topic of critical rereading of tradition is […]
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Being the Asterisk: Noah Wardrip-Fruin and the Future of Game Studies

[…]of value and justice (Eskelinen, 387). The cultural turn is expressed most strongly, though, in studies like Flanagan’s Critical Play, Mia Consalvo’s Cheating, and Miguel Sicart’s Ethics of Computer Games, which created frameworks for a new generation of cultural game studies. The most recent exemplars include Stephanie Boluk and Patrick Lemieux’s Metagaming, Shira Chess’ Ready Player Two, Bo Ruberg’s Video Games Have Always Been Queer, and Melissa Kagen’s Wandering Games. Again, there are no absolute distinctions. The culturalists are often keenly engaged on a formal level – Boluk and Lemieux, for instance, operationalize their theories through conceptual levels and mini-games […]
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Applied Media Theory, Critical Making, and Queering Video Game Controllers

[…]Through Reflective Game Design Practices.” Game Studies, vol. 18, no. 3, Dec. 2018. Game Studies, http://gamestudies.org/1803/articles/marcotte. Murphy, Sheila. “Controllers.” Routledge Companion to Video Game Studies, Routledge, 2013, pp. 19–24. O’Gorman, Marcel. “Broken Tools and Misfit Toys: Adventures in Applied Media Theory.” Canadian Journal of Communication, vol. 37, no. 1, 2012, pp. 27–42, doi:10.22230/cjc.2012v37n1a2519. O’Gorman, Marcel. Making Media Theory: Thinking Critically with Technology. Bloomsbury Publishing USA, 2020. O’Gorman, Marcel. Necromedia. University of Minnesota Press, 2015. Pullin, Graham. Design Meets Disability. MIT Press, 2009. Raley, Rita. Tactical Media. University of Minnesota Press, 2009. Ruberg, Bonnie. Video Games Have Always Been Queer. NYU […]
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Restoring the ‘Lived space of the body’: Attunement in Critical Making

[…]Future work could specify and nuance our considerations, drawing on insights from domains like critical race studies, gender and sexuality studies, disability studies, labor and working class studies, and geography and area studies. Developing attunement also means being attentive to the specific context of your making project, campus, and makers. We have gestured to our own specifics in the examples above, but asking similar questions about your own contexts may lead you to very different answers or even entirely new questions. Notes Tech fields have a long history of these exclusionary practices, especially when it comes to questions of gender […]
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Review: Conceptualisms: The Anthology of Prose, Poetry, Visual, Found, E- & Hybrid Writing As Contemporary Art, ed. Steve Tomasula. Alabama UP, 2022

[…]sections, Bigelow lists the code for “the Cage text,” which you need to cut and paste into a code converter Bigelow links to. For your labor, you see that the code repeats this sentence over and over: “I have nothing to say, and I am saying it.” The point of all this work isn’t to get to Bigelow’s subjective interior—it’s an homage to Cage’s own play with expectations, dramatizing the mental framework we bring to bear when we an encounter aesthetic object. It also prompts thinking about the work we don’t always realize that we do when we process language […]
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Cybertext Killed the Hypertext Star

[…]of MUDs (environments that have received a good deal of attention from the perspective of cultural studies and computer mediated communication), the semiotics of an arcade-style computer game (a form seldom discussed even by game designers, which so far lacks even a critical vocabulary), and the nature of the “cyborg author” Katherine Hayles reviews Diane Greco’s ‘Cyborg’ and Eliza -descendent Racter (representative of an underexplored form, but one that has benefited from the examination and development done by Janet Murray). These discussions are useful, although not strikingly insightful. The chapter on MUDs, for instance, does not convincingly describe these environments […]

Printed Privileges

[…]– seems unlikely. The mass media, finally, a “super-system” (N. Binczek) with a “super-code” information/non-information working against the cherished functional differentiation at the heart of Luhmann’s theory? At times, Luhmann himself implicitly seems to point in that direction. Acknowledging the similarities of the proposed code to the new/old distinction (information is new only once; its consecutive redundancy insists on newness!), he discusses the almost neurotic longing for innovation and “the new” as a general trait of modernity. He even proposes new/old as a possible code for the system of art. Thus, newness, innovation, information, actuality – the sheer temporality of […]

Media, Genealogy, History

[…]– ought to be a key element of any historical method, genealogical or otherwise, that critics working in new media studies bring to bear. Let me suggest that the start-up work of theorizing digital culture has by now largely been done, and that serious and sustained attention to archival and documentary sources is the next step for new media studies if it is to continue to mature as a field. Freidrich Kittler’s Discourse Networks 1800/1900 already does some of this work. And we could also do worse than Internet Time for a summation of the pace of scholarship in new […]

Re-Clearing the Ground: A Response to Linda Brigham

[…]fathom the stakes of the argument, both for my own critical-theoretical agon and for the agon of critical theory itself in this technological era. By describing the book as a “working through” of poststructuralism, Brigham astutely characterizes its “function” for my own intellectual development in a way that foregrounds its particular situatedness; she also finds words to represent what, for me, cannot but remain in some sense or other a lived “drama” of apprenticeship. Brigham’s invocation of the Freudian vocabulary of working-through, trauma, and translation recalls to me my time in graduate school, when I was very much under the […]
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Poets Take On Guess Inc.: Poets Win

[…]a critical talk about this “fire poetry,” including my own work, at the 1991 American Studies Association Conference. San Francisco poet Carol Tarlen showcased this “fire poetry” in a reading commemorating the Triangle Fire in March, 1996; I was one of the poets who read. At the reading Tarlen announced there was a small storefront sweatshop three blocks away in Chinatown. Listening to her, I felt I could no longer just write about the past as a poet or a critic. I felt I needed to act in the present. Returning to Los Angeles, I joined Common Threads, a women’s […]

Old Orders for New: Ecology, Animal Rights, and The Poverty of Humanism

[…]it can be passed on to the next generation. Thus we find that while the various chimpanzee groups that have been studied in different parts of Africa have many behaviors in common, they also have their own distinctive traditions. This is particularly well-documented with respect to tool-using and tool-making behaviours. Chimpanzees use more objects as tools for a greater variety of purposes than any creature except ourselves, and each population has its own tool-using cultures. One can only imagine that Ferry’s response to this would be to raise the bar once again, so that only those who have read all […]
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Cultural Criticism and The Politics of Selling Out

[…]of the unborn. I want to point out that this little exercise in rhetorical analysis and critical legal studies was undertaken not by a cultural studies theorist, nor by someone dependent on the knowledge industry run by bourgeois sellouts like me, but by an ordinary citizen of these United States, operating in extraordinary circumstances not of her own making. But more important, I want to pass along to you what this exchange has taught me: first, that sometimes, the cost of selling out to the discourses of policymakers is too steep to bear, particularly if it means disavowing the languages […]
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Reforming Creative Writing Pedagogy

[…]of the writing and/or (college) teaching profession. Such discussions can address issues of working conditions, salaries, and job availability, issues that I, as part of the sub(if you will)-professional class of English studies in the university, find especially relevant. In the university, I am a Writing Associate laboring under one Director of Writing Assessment and one Writing Center Director. Both PhDs and both men. We (three women) Writing Associates have a “(.50 FTE), academic year assignment” with “a salary of $7,972.20 plus benefits” – reason enough to continue to seek full employment. Still, it’s the first time my family has […]

Interferences: [Net.Writing] and the Practice of Codework

[…]what we see in most codework writing and art practices is less code per se than the language of code: codework that integrates elements of code into natural languages and brings code to the surface as a medium for literary, artistic, and experimental composition. The codework practice of “netwurker” Mez, which again involves the use of a made-up code language as a mode of artistic composition and everyday communication, is paradigmatic. An overview of Mez’s work can be found in her recent JavaMuseum solo show (February 2002), commemorating her nomination as “Java Artist of the Year 2001.” For a sample […]
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Metahistorical Romance

[…]That Scott complicates these historiographical assumptions with a romantic nostalgia is well-trod critical territory, Elias notes, but what’s important for her argument is that in doing so, the historical romance summarizes and anticipates this tension within many postmodern novels. Whereas Scott had his sights set on the historical real but stumbled over romance, the postmodern metahistorical romance has its sights set on romance, but sometimes stumbles over the real. There are other issues at work in the book, and one of them is that postmodern writers are as influenced by contemporary historiography as Scott was by the historiography of his […]

9/11 Emerging

[…]I believe to make of Ground Zero what they could. A photograph, a mark, a memory, a silence. A group of groups of which in many respects (certainly from the limited point of view of the terrorists) I am a part. Crowds passing under my window. Many from overseas. Yet mostly they are terrorist’s Americans I know alive or dead; still more really they have been, when they reach the ramp, more like Robert Frost’s people on the beach, who “cannot look out far…/ [and] cannot look in deep./ But when was that ever a bar / To any watch […]

A User’s Guide to the New Millennium

[…]greatest gift, however: the published volume also comes packaged with a CD-ROM, which contains “working versions of some of the most important new media artifacts ever created…games, tools, digital art, and more — with selections of academic software, independent literary efforts, and home-computer era commercial software.” I had an opportunity to preview some of this material along with my advance copy of the Reader, and it is indeed an embarrassment of riches: Spacewar!, Weizenbaum’s Eliza, Will Crowther’s Adventure, Atari and Apple games (Karateka, anyone?), early hypertext including lost poems by William Dickey, an anatomy of Stuart Moulthrop’s “Forking Paths,” the […]

Metadiversity: On the Unavailability of Alternatives to Information

[…]So does the Web’s ability to draw into interaction communities from many different language groups, including groups whose languages have not been part of the standardization process but who nevertheless wish to use the network to speak in other registers. See Crystal, Language and the Internet. To some extent, then, what seems on the surface least political about the Web may be what is most important: providing raw bandwidth to those whose voices and languages have been pushed away by standardization. (However, the relative difficulty of sustaining broadcast media technologies in nonstandard languages such as low-power radio and television stations […]
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The Censoring of Burn!

[…]I. Schiller in the early seventies. Reflecting its origins, the department had a reputation for critical studies and support of free speech. The courses utilize texts such as Paolo Freire and Robert McChesney which emphasize the need for community empowerment and access to communications resources. Those very issues were to come home in late spring of 2000, as the department became embroiled in a struggle around freedom of speech that put to the test some of the theoretical concepts regularly featured in the midterm exams of undergrads and dissertation drafts of the graduate students. This struggle was over the Burn! […]

Prospects for a Materialist Informatics: An Interview with Donna Haraway

[…]Yes, it does, and it seems to me to explain why your work has been taken up particularly by critical studies of technoscience, people who are working in English, or rhetoric, or cultural studies. D      Or performance art. L      Performance art, exactly. D      Yeah, I get taken up much more by artists in the broad sense, who often get what I’m doing both critically and in terms of more life-affirming stuff, not that criticism isn’t life-affirming, but that it isn’t the whole story. I get much more taken up by artists in that double way than I […]
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The Information University

[…]faculty intellectual property rights in “the coming battle.” Few people seriously engaged in critical information studies would necessarily jump to the conclusion that defense of faculty IP rights can serve as a core strategy for combating informationalism, This is not to suggest that there aren’t circumstances where the notion of intellectual property rights, as in the struggle to resist the exploitation of indigenous knowledges, can’t be mobilized with great tactical effectiveness (Coombs). but the real issue is the sudden swiftness with which Noble’s informatic struggle seems to have opened and closed. If academic informationalization isn’t just another Hundred Days’ War, […]

What’s Left: Materialist Responses to the Internet

[…]we have learned from the Frankfurt School how devastating the culture industry is for working class and other democratizing movements, it behooves us to understand the potentials of the technology, to learn how they may be deployed in constructing cultural forms more appropriate to a democratic lifeworld, and not to become obsessed with every outrage perpetrated by the ruling class. Such an attitude of creative appropriation is encouraged by the discourse of cultural studies and by countless artists and creators across the globe. Certainly cultural critics need to attend to the moves of the establishment, but we must equally be […]
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The Digital Downside: Moving from Craft to Factory Production in Online Learning

[…]expectations, however, are insurmountable obstacles in changing the nature of online learning. Working in new registers of medium-scale, team production or large-scale, corporate production undoubtedly can transform the current understandings of job control, working conditions, and career development shared by many academics toiling away in contemporary research universities. The development of disciplinary-software systems, such as Mathematica, Web CT, and Blackboard Course Info are leading to a curricular economy that is no longer one tied to handicraft work. Instead, these corporate innovations suggest that distance and distributed learning will become embedded in more factory-like, industrial organizations, involving integrated teams of labor, […]
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Resistance Through Hypertext: ACTing UP in the Electronic Classroom

[…]can act to change the world – the question of agency. Employing theories from both cultural studies and media studies, we problematize the mass media’s role in the ideological side of social control and investigate possibilities for resistance. Students study the media’s techniques of persuasion and manipulation, as well as activist attempts to use the media’s own conventions (such as those in advertising) for subversive ends. Course assignments build upon one another throughout the semester and all assignments contribute elements to the creation of the final project hypertexts. The course is structured so that we address its two threads – […]
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The Fan’s Desire and Technopower

[…]what we know as the discipline specialist, prefaced here by the parenthetical but increasingly critical prefix, multi. Without going into too much detail here, I want to suggest that the role of the unidisciplinary specialist is in many ways uniquely tied to print culture and thus imperiled in this `late age of print'” (120). The fan site is the first new form of scholarship to appear on the Web and provides us with a guide for how to transform our students into active researchers. The fan occupies a marginal position in popular culture and is often represented as a socially […]

The Florida Research Ensemble and the Prospects for an Electronic Humanities

[…]in the U.S. and abroad. Forming the FRE grew out of dissatisfaction with the old “reading group” approach to collaboration. I had always participated in one reading group or another, organized around theory. The practice is familiar: an interdisciplinary group of scholars would agree on a list of books, usually works of French theory, and we would meet regularly to discuss and argue. I learned a great deal from these sessions, and if anything they died of their own success, in that the groups tended to become too large. The chief source of dissatisfaction, however, was the homogeneity of the […]
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Notes From the Digital Overground

[…]would be delighted to see the manifesto on the World-Wide-Web and to go ahead and mark it up (i.e. code it for hypertextual interplay). He probably regrets ever having sent me that message and agreeing to do it, because now, as Alt-X’s site manager, he helps me encode and design an average of 300k worth of new data (not including images) every month! By the Fall of 1994 things were moving very fast in the global vaporware market (otherwise known as the new media industry), and this caused some real critical reflection on my part. Being digitally-networked seemed to provide […]

Virtual Communities?: Public Spheres and Public Intellectuals on the Internet

[…]“are two important ways of being public…but what I want to call for is a practice of cultural studies that articulates the theoretical and critical work of the so-called public intellectual to the movements of public policy” (12). Bérubé is right to criticize “cultural studies theorists of the left [who] often express outright disdain for the policy implications of their work” (11), and to locate the source of this disdain in our tendency to value most in our intellectual work and indeed in ourselves whatever we assume is so unconventional, transgressive, or “cutting edge” that it can be used to […]
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who is michael bérubé and why is he saying these terrible things about us?

[…](in general, i mean), i think he does an excellent job in his article of demonstrating why english studies has become anguish studies, and what english faculty might do about it – that is, how to act without repression, and with a sense of solidarity… but what happened next was, in retrospect, to be expected… ———– Subject: Re: Poetry and the Academy i really do think that the alternatives are not simply the “professional” as currently construed over and against the “hobbyist”… and although one may locate oneself outside of academe per se (thankfully) the reality is that academe per […]
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What Remains in Liam’s Going

[…]Marie-Laure. “Beyond Myth and Metaphor: The Case of Narrative in Digital Media” in Game Studies, volume 1, issue 1, July 2001, http://www.gamestudies.org/0101/ryan/ Simon, Herbert. “Literary Criticism, A Cognitive Approach,” Stanford Electronic Humanities Review, volume 4, issue 1: “Bridging the Gap,” Updated 8 April 1995, online at http://www.stanford.edu/group/SHR/4-1/text/simon1.html Trippi, Laura. “Networked Narrative Environments,” Oct. 2003. […]

From Work to Play

[…]they probably do not see the same outcome for this struggle. Indeed they should not, if game studies have any critical value. Do Not Immerse Murray’s approach to new media seems both culturally and technically conservative; for some indeed this may be its main virtue. Like the design theorists she most admires, Laurel and her mentor Donald Norman, Murray assumes that new media should provide highly efficient, minimally obtrusive tools. She seems to agree with Norman that the best computer is an invisible computer, at least where narrative is concerned: Eventually all successful storytelling technologies become “transparent”: we lose consciousness […]

Representation, Enaction, and the Ethics of Simulation

[…]Tom Ray’s Tierra attained early notoriety. Around the same time, some robotics researchers were working with emergent paradigms of robot behavior; many of these were grouped around Luc Steels in Belgium and Rodney Brooks at MIT. Since the late 1980s, the notion of semi-autonomous software entities has proven a rich catalyst for experimentation in both the fine and the applied ends of the electronic arts. In recent years, complex autonomous entities called agents have been a subject of much excitement, and subgenres of research such as “socially intelligent agents” have arisen. In my presentation at one such gathering, the 1997 […]
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Schizophrenia and Narrative in Artificial Agents

[…]and evaluation, which includes the explicit and implicit goals of the project creating it, the group dynamics of that project, and the sources of funding that both facilitate and circumscribe the directions in which the project can be taken. An agent’s construction is not limited to the lines of code that form its program but involves a whole social network, which must be analyzed in order to get a complete picture of what that agent is, without which agents cannot be meaningfully judged. 2. An agent’s design should focus, not on the agent itself, but on the dynamics of that […]
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Card Shark and Thespis

[…]machine, simulated on the reader’s computer, which the reader must learn to operate and decode. All three approaches received substantial critical applause, a lasting following, and (perhaps most importantly) have inspired numbers of subsequent hypertext artists. Joyce’s lyrical hypertextuality finds recent echoes, for example, in Chapman’s (2001) Turning In, Strickland’s (1998) True North, as well as Arnold and Derby’s (1999) Kokura. Moulthrop’s hyperbaton is key to Coverly’s (2000) Califia, Cramer’s (1993) “In Small & Large Pieces,” Eisen’s (2001) “What Fits,” and Amerika’s (1997) Grammatron. McDaid’s artifactual approach, dormant for some years, finds recent expression in Bly’s We Descend, Malloy and […]

Game Design as Narrative Architecture

[…]Markku (2001). “The Gaming Situation.” Game Studies 1, no.1 (July 2001). http://cmc.uib.no/gamestudies/0101/eskelinen. Frasca, Gonzalo (1999). “Ludology Meets Narratology: Similitude and Differences between (Video) Games and Narrative.” http://www.jacaranda.org/frasca/ludology.htm. Fuller, Mary, and Henry Jenkins (1994). “Nintendo and New World Narrative.” In Communications in Cyberspace, edited by Steve Jones. New York: Sage. Gunning, Tom (1990). “The Cinema of Attractions: Early Film, Its Spectator and the Avant Garde.” In Early Cinema: Space, Frame, Narrative, edited by Thomas Elsaesser with Adam Barker. London: British Film Institute. Jenkins, Henry (1991). What Made Pistachio Nuts?: Early Sound Comedy and The Vaudeville Aesthetic. New York: Columbia University Press. […]

White Noise/White Heat, or Why the Postmodern Turn in Rock Music Led to Nothing but Road

[…]from the urban ghettoes, Rose’s study was one of the first, and still probably the best, critical studies of rap. Sobchack, Vivian. Screening Space: The American Science Fiction. New York: Ungar, l988. Zorn. John. “John Zorn on his Music” [Liner notes]. Spillane. Electra/Nonesuch, 1987. ____________. The Big Gundown: John Zorn plays the music of Ennio Morricone. Icon Records (Electra/Nonesuch), 1976. Lester BOWIE. I borrowed the term “avant-pop” from the title of a 1986 album by Lester Bowie, the great jazz trumpet player and composer best known for his work with the wildly inventive Art Ensemble of Chicago. Listening to the […]
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Confronting Chaos

[…]kind, with constant interruptions, embedded interfaces requiring attention, requests for response, codes to remember, and the constant need to back up and track versions of the document being read, composed, or read-as-composed. The electronic disturbance is creatively disruptive, to be sure, but not in the way that literature is disruptive. Writers seeking to break from established forms and hierarchies have always, it is true, worked against the “line” of print. In postmodern fiction nonlinearity (of plot, design, and sentence construction) has been the rule rather than the exception, as Conte points out (following George P. Landow in Hypertext 2.0: The […]

Anti-Negroponte: Cybernetic Subjectivity in Digital Being and Time

[…]Current political analyses of digital being cannot even figure out how to apply existing criminal codes to Internet MUDs, or intellectual property laws to ordinary software piracy. Historical awareness of digital beings, even if one adopts the omnipresent pose of De Landa’s robot historian, clearly pales next to their anonymous proliferation in the workings of informational society. Perhaps some future historical preservationists will unpack the hard drives of old PCs to chronicle the doings of digital beings as telecommuting, cybersexed, hyperreal-estated lifeforms. Perhaps they will work to save the codes of some major personage’s PDA as his or her biotronic […]
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HYPER-LEX: A Technographical Dictionary

[…]lays out all the textual loops for the bit-player to click through in advance. To fabricate a critical ecology in the context of hypertext writing, one seeks to maintain a certain duplicitious relation to the medium. On the one hand, one manufactures the critical ecology according to some of the rules of the hypertext game. (It is especially necessary to simulate the medium when the text is appearing on the Net, of course.) On the other hand, the critical ecology comes designed with an infrastructure that enables it to play itself out of some of the hypertext game’s constrictions. The […]

Warren Sack responds in turn

[…]critical technical practices: it entails having one foot in an AI Lab and the other in science studies or cultural studies. I.e., the other foot needs to be in an area that can give one perspective on the limits of what one is doing back at the lab. Perhaps, following Noah (Wardrip-Fruin and Moss, 2002), one needs three feet to participate in a critical technical practice. That may be the case, but my point is simply that those of us who right now call what we do a critical technical practice have all, at one time or another, found our […]

If Things Can Talk, What Do They Say? If We Can Talk to Things, What Do We Say?

[…]translates the universal flashing LED, the lingua franca of the peizo electric squeal, the date code, the bar code, the telephone ringer adapter that translates that familiar ring, the tingling insistent trill of an incoming call, into “a well-known phrase of music”Patent #5014301 (May 7, 1991). (an approach that has since become popular in cell phones, where this function is useful in differentiating whose phone is ringing), or the unrelated patent that translates the caller identification signal into a vocal announcement. Within the translators there are distinct attitudes; for instance, the impassive reporting, almost a “voice of nature.” This is […]
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Feminism, Geography, and Chandra Mohanty

[…]studies over the last two decades. Originally from Mumbai, India and today living and working as a professor of Women’s Studies at Hamilton College in the United States, Mohanty has added much to the debates on feminist epistemology and the politics of location. I enjoyed re-reading many of these texts, and their collection in a single volume is highly illustrative of the contribution and the challenges Mohanty has made to cross-cultural feminist scholarship. The arguments in these texts will be familiar to many feminist researchers, whether they are re-reading them or encountering them for the first time. Indeed, at times […]

From Cyborgs to Hacktivists: Postfeminist Disobedience and Virtual Communities

[…]Theory and Cultural Forms. London and New York: Routledge, 1997. Critical Art Ensemble. http://www.critical-art.net/ Critical Art Ensemble Defense Fund. http://www.caedefensefund.org/ Cassel, David. “Hacktivism in the Cyberstreets.” AlterNet. 30 May 2000. 16 June 04. http://www.alternet.org/story/9223 Griffis, Ryan. “Tandem Surfing the Third Wave: Part 3, interview with subRosa.” YOUgenics. 2003. 16 June 04. http://yougenics.net/subRosaInt.htm Haraway, Donna. “The Cyborg Manifesto.” Simians, Cyborgs and Women. New York: Routledge, 1991. [1985] 149-181. Harmon, Amy. “`Hacktivists’ of All Persuasions Take Their Struggle to the Web.” New York Times on the Web. 31 Oct 1998. 16 June 04. http://www.thehacktivist.com/archive/news/1998/Hacktivists-NYTimes-1998.pdf Hayles, N. Katherine. How We Became Posthuman. Chicago: […]
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Towards a Loosening of Categories: Multi-Mimesis, Feminism, and Hypertext

[…]and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge, 1999. de Lauretis, Teresa. Ed. Feminist Studies/Critical Studies. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986. Derwin, Susan. The Ambivalence of Form: Lukács, Freud, and the Novel. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992. Docherty, Thomas. After Theory. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1997. Eliot, George. Adam Bede. Ed. Stephen Gill. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1980. Frye, Joanne, S. Living Stories, Telling Lives: Women and the Novel in Contemporary Experience. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1989. Geniwate. “Language Rules.” Electronic Book Review. 28 Jan. 2005, 3 March 2005. Genette, Gérard. Narrative Discourse. Trans. Jane E. Lewin. Oxford: Blackwell, […]
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Free as in Free Culture: A Response to Francis Raven

[…]viruses, spyware, or other threats. By comparison, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is closed-code. Only Windows employees are allowed to see the code that makes the browser work and as such only a limited number of individuals are able to make improvements to the code. While one might think that the open-source Firefox is more vulnerable to attack than Explorer (because hackers have access to the code), this study by Brian Livingston on the website TechRepublic demonstrates the speed with which Firefox is able to respond to perceived threats as opposed to the glacial pace that Microsoft addresses security flaws in a […]
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Notes from the Middleground: On Ben Marcus, Jonathan Franzen, and the Contemporary Fiction Combine

[…]and external (the marketing), might just as well be found in a larger subset of bibliographic codes (copyright notices, author photos, margin size, etc.), since blurbs, of course, migrate craftily onto covers, and, in certain trade paperbacks, to the inside leaves. Let us now jump quickly from “blurb” to “font,” another impossible nexus place of crass intention and pure meaning. The word ‘font’ derives from the Middle French fonte (think: fondue): a melting together in both the casting of type and the smelting of external occurrence with internal transmission. In the space of the “font,” the real and the unreal […]
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Modernism Reevaluated

[…]and critical practices; as such, both books add to the on-going conversations in American Studies and American literary studies. Along with recent scholarship such as Brent Hayes Edwards’ Practicing Diaspora, Penny Von Eschen’s Satchmo Blows Up the World, and Scott Saul’s Freedom Is, Freedom Ain’t, Soto and Martinez’s books confront the centrality of ethnic and racial experiences to the narratives that make up American identity. Rather than erasing those experiences, they examine the crucial role that race and ethnicity play in our understanding of the Lost and Beat generations and thus the role that both play in our cultural identities. […]

The Riddling Effect: Rules and Unruliness in the Work of Harry Mathews

[…]stuck in an inextricable web of intrigues, whereby he apparently becomes the plaything of radical groups both on the left and the right who, in the apparent knowledge that he is a fake spy, try to scapegoat and even eliminate him to equalize their mutual debts (or is all this a pathetic joke of his Paris friends?). His life as a double agent, his supposed grand scheme which was going to dispel the idea that he was working for the CIA by paradoxically exposing his intelligence activities, eventually entirely robs him of the possibility of individual agency. “My game had […]
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The Way We Live Now, What is to be Done?

[…]retrieve a realist attitude”: To retrieve a realist attitude, it is not enough to dismantle critical weapons so uncritically built up by our predecessors as we would obsolete but still dangerous atomic silos. If we had to dismantle social theory only, it would be a rather simple affair; like the Soviet Empire, those big totalities have feet of clay. But the difficulty lies in the fact that they are built on top of a much older philosophy, so that whenever we try to replace matters of fact by matters of concern, we seem to lose something along the way. It […]

Illogic of Sense | The Gregory L. Ulmer Remix: Introduction

[…]to enable U to see what she sees, and vice versa. Craig Saper, in The Two Ulmers in e-Media Studies: Vehicle and Driver, ingeniously interprets Ulmer as an object of study, as both a vehicle and driver of signification. Ultimately Saper’s goal is to offer a critical approach to understanding Ulmer’s work, particularly in relation to its historical development. How he does this is an act of invention that adapts Ulmer’s peripatetic ‘philosophy over lunch’ motif (also glimpsed in Jon McKenzie’s piece) as a way of analyzing Ulmer as Ulmer analyzes his subject matter. Written in the style of a […]
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From Mystorian to Curmudgeon: Skulking Toward Finitude

[…]files. I spent my year as a Creative Writing student assembling infinite hypertext networks of critical theory quotes in which nearly every word was “hotlinked,” as we said back then. SCULD: [n] Goddess of fate: Future. See also: Norn. My education in theory, then, was classical, acquired by a word-for-word transcribing of “the masters” from print to screen. Longinus himself would have approved of this method, which also describes how I learned HTML, “stealing” code from the web pages of others. This writer shows us, if only we were willing to pay him heed, that another way (beyond anything we […]
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Perloff on Pedagogical Process: Reading as Learning

[…]transposition that views literature itself as history – the position of contemporary cultural studies, which is committed to the demolition of such “obsolete” categories as poetic autonomy, poetic truth, and formal and rhetorical value. (9) Whether or not one agrees with Perloff’s representation of cultural studies, her arguments for treating poetry (in the largest sense of the term) as itself worthy of close study on its own terms, of practicing what she calls poetics, are interesting and valuable. By pointing to examples of the kind of criticism she admires (some of the early studies of Ulysses, The Pound Era, for […]
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Reading the Conflicting Reviews: The Naysayers Gerald Graff overlooked in Clueless in Academe

[…]again to her main quarrel with a book she “admire[s] very much”: her claim that composition studies has tilled Graff’s field. However, instead of regretting the neglect of “the extensive body of contemporary work in composition studies on the social construction of knowledge” (Bizzell 322), I wish a spirit of generous collegiality rather than petty turf wars could govern critical readings of our colleagues’ scholarly endeavors. Bizzell could have focused on the wide range of scholars and bodies of research Graff does not neglect such as Robert Scholes, David Damrosh, Howard Gardner, Mike Rose, Joseph Harris, Deborah Meier, Kurt Spellmeyer, […]
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The Gesture of Explanation Without Intelligibility: Ronald Schleifer’s Analogical Thinking

[…]and pre-Kantian and post-Kantian. Which parts of these structures are which? What those of us working in the humanities might learn from contemporary scientific disciplines is that knowledge can be collaborative even when a chemist works by himself in his laboratory, or when a philosopher reflects on the problem of time, if, after one has reflected, one assumes the responsibility of communicating what one has observed. It is sometimes necessary to introduce new terms, to employ figurative language, and to write in a way that is not immediately completely comprehensible to readers of any and all backgrounds. Readers must therefore […]
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Letters That Matter: The Electronic Literature Collection Volume 1

[…]from his theory-building project in Cybertext, as well as the important contributions to our critical discourse from the textual studies of Jerome McGann and Matt Kirschenbaum. For a compelling argument on the value of textual studies to the criticism of electronic literature, see Kirschenbaum’s “Materiality and Matter and Stuff: What Electronic Texts Are Made Of.” To some extent, Hayles’ command of the fields of cybernetics and information science, which she brings to bear with such panache in her critical writing, has also steered our focus toward pragmatic concerns, despite Hayles’ repeated plea that we strive for balance. To give requisite […]
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Literature from Page to Interface: The Treatments of Text in Christophe Bruno’s Iterature

[…]emergent structure, but still everybody can propose tags and groups, decide on the openness of the group, and, in the open groups, join and post what they wish. Nonetheless, the open folksonomic taxonomy potentially leads to heterogeneous collections and impossible classifications like Borges’s Chinese encyclopedia, which opens Foucault’s The Order of Things – classifications that are not ordered with stable relations and categories . As in language, semantics, and culture, the categories and their relations are dynamic, emergent, and created by context, contiguity and poetic plays on words, as well as on hierarchy, similarity, and the preconceived, lexical meaning of […]
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How to Think (with) Thinkertoys: Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 1

[…]– an intuitive grasp of algorithmic operations; to watch Giselle Beiguelman’s “Code Movie 1” is to begin to appreciate code as it operates in the construction of digital meaning; to engage the playable space of Donna Leishman’s “Deviant: The Possession of Christian Shaw” is to start to grasp the weird, uneven transitions between sovereign, disciplinary, and control societies and the mutating subject positions available to the players within them. “History,” Wark suggests, “is the virtual made actual, one hack after another” (009). What seems to matter most to the poets and programmers who constructed the Electronic Literature Collection‘s thinkertoys and […]
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Biopoetics; or, a Pilot Plan for a Concrete Poetry

[…]each of which positions Kac as a bio artist (be it in the fields of art criticism, cultural studies, science studies, or, most recently, in animal studies).. But I would argue that Kac’s work actually has very little to do with biological life or the life sciences. Certainly my position goes against what appears to be the impression that Kac himself is fostering. But a glance at Kac’s earlier works reveal another set of concerns: telematics, robotics, and communication broadly speaking. Telepresence and Bio Art offers a trajectory of Kac’s artistic evolution through texts, images, and documents pertaining to Kac’s […]
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Writing Façade: A Case Study in Procedural Authorship

[…]the media artifacts they study as a black box, losing the crucial relationship between authorship, code, and audience reception. Code is a kind of writing; just as literary scholars wouldn’t dream of reading only translated glosses of work, never reading the full work in its original language, so new media scholars must read code, not just at the simple level of primitive operations and control flow, but at the level of the procedural rhetoric, aesthetics and poetics encoded in a work. New media practitioners without procedural literacy are confined to producing those interactive systems that happen to be possible to […]
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Fretting the Player Character

[…]modes of play are not always part of a D&D session, such play is undertaken at times, and some groups of players value making decisions that are “in character” even more than they do successful progress through a story, environment, or series of puzzles. A single character is typically played over the course of many adventures, and the players typically have some freedom to define their character’s traits, although randomly determined abilities provide a basic idea of what the character is like. Also, a player character’s relationship to other characters in the party is quite important. Similar sorts of play […]

Prismatic Play: Games as Windows on the Real World

[…]and John Tynes; Pagan Publishing. 1997. Dungeons & Dragons. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson; Tactical Studies Rules. 1974. Empire of the Petal Throne. M. A. R. Barker; Tactical Studies Rules. 1975. Kuma\War. Kuma Reality Games. 2004. Max Payne. Remedy Entertainment. 2001. Millennium’s End. Charles Ryan; Chameleon Eclectic Entertainment. 1993. Oregon Trail. Paul Dillenberger, Bill Heinemann and Don Rawitsch; Carleton College. 1971. Power Kill. John Tynes; Hogshead Publishing. 1999. Unknown Armies. Greg Stolze and John Tynes; Atlas Games. 2002. Unreal. Epic Games. 1998. Waco Resurrection. Mark Allen, Peter Brinson, Brody Condon, Jessica Hutchins, Eddo Stern, and Michael Wilson; C-Level. […]
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The Puppet Master Problem: Design for Real-World, Mission-Based Gaming

[…]out of sight while the players attract the limelight. This off-stage design team is composed of a group of shadowy, often anonymous figures working behind the scenes as the writers, programmers, directors, and stage managers of the live gameplay. They are the first real-time digital game designers, and they are called the puppet masters. The Rise of the Puppet Master If you’re the puppet masters, what does that make the players? Your little puppets? – Anonymous audience member at the Game Developers Conference lecture, “I Love Bees: A Case Study” (McGonigal 2005) This essay is a response to two sets […]
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Video Games Go to Washington: The Story Behind The Howard Dean for Iowa Game

On December 16, 2003, popular Web magazine Slate published an article by journalist and author Steven Johnson (2003). Reviewing simulation games that engage problems of social organization, Johnson posed a question: “The [2004] U.S. presidential campaign may be the first true election of the digital age, but it’s still missing one key ingredient. Where is the video-game version of Campaign 2004?” Upon reading this article, we smiled at its perfect timing: at that very moment we were developing The Howard Dean for Iowa Game, the first official video game ever commissioned in the history of U.S. Presidential elections. Former Vermont […]
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Communities of Play: The Social Construction of Identity in Persistent Online Game Worlds

[…]anthropology that build on non-Western concepts of the relationship between the individual and the group (Jackson 1998). Not only was the group part of the individual identity and vice versa, but the individual persona was further articulated and differentiated over time through an emergent process of social feedback. Players enacted individual agency for the benefit of the group or as a means of personal expression. Positive social response prompted further actions, ad infinitum. Various players emerged as leaders and creators through this process of improvised emergent identity formation, and many discovered and developed new talents and abilities as a result. […]
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Postmodernism Redux

[…]that has given way to an as yet undefined post-postmodern sensibility. For this reason, new studies of postmodern fiction face an enormous burden – the need to establish new categories, different strategies for grouping together and reading postmodern texts in an already crowded disciplinary field. This is a challenge that two recent studies – Gerhard Hoffmann’s From Modernism to Postmodernism and John McClure’s Partial Faiths – confront in different ways and with varying results. Hoffmann’s book provides a totalizing account of literary postmodernism, systematically charting the similarities and differences between it and its modernist predecessor. McClure’s study, by contrast, grapples […]

Brain Drain Against the Grain: A Report on the International Pynchon Week 2008

[…]of pathos and curiosity. If Pynchon’s is a prose that goes against the grain, and if these critical examples likewise overtly or covertly oppose the prevailing standards of literary studies, the Munich conference saw astoundingly many scholars backlashing and falling back into speculation about possible sources (or intertextual connections) and biographical criticism. This may sound like the outbreak of a new era, or a (re-)turn in Pynchon criticism. Yet one needs to differentiate, and admit that the tactic of seeking shelter under the roof of established and well-known models, if not always entirely fruitful traditions, may be perfectly in order […]
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Global Warming, Globalization, and Environmental Literary History

[…]Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2005. Myers envisions an interdisciplinary effort to use “critical race studies and ecocriticism” to “make ecology a site upon which an egalitarian racial paradigm can be grounded” (8). He critiques the alienation of the individual from nature that he sees in Jefferson, Thoreau, and other Euro-American authors, arguing that this “human/nature duality [lies] at the root of ecological and racial hegemony.” He goes on to celebrate the antiracist, egalitarian ecocentricity that he sees in the works of such writers as Charles Chesnutt, Zitkala-Sa, and Eddy Harris. Outka, Paul. Race and Nature: From Transcendentalism to the […]
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Gaming the System

[…]academic disciplinary formation: here, the intractably cultural First Worldism of digital media studies. Where the appeal of McGurl’s critical persona rests in its attentive modulation of the polemics attending its topic, that of Golumbia’s lies in its more elementally mercurial access of rhetorical double writing, in the directed embrace of diplomatic intemperance. Where McGurl’s graceful balance of point and counterpoint reconstructs the plausible equipoise of the object-model he takes as his own, Golumbia’s hyperbolic entrainments enact the epistemic violence just as plausibly providing that model’s symbolic foundation. Golumbia argues programmatically that computers are cultural “all the way down,” and that […]

Against Digital Poetics

[…]Is there a process or algorithm at work? I know you are thinking this: can this book be called “codework” and fit in a genre and practice that applies code processes to text? Does this genre even exist, which I doubt? Can we discover the pathology at work here, the underlying complex? Can we analyze the text and distinguish machine and author? Can we read the clever complex of the author in the wash of writing? Can we presuppose a semiotic that bookends and references the partially-sourced emissions at work in Meatphysics. [Figure 1] How about this: Jake Chapman, of […]

Glass Houses: A Reply to Loren Glass’s “Getting With the Program”

[…]giving him too much credit. Let Glass sit down and work through The Program Era with a seminar group of ten M.F.A. candidates in creative writing, for two weeks – then tell me again about its non-reductive and ideology-free use of systems theory, in rendering critical illustration. II For me, Glass’s “Getting with the Program” confirms that McGurl’s and Golumbia’s perspectives map a productively sustained conflict in the discipline, which not one of us is yet genius enough to dissolve. In the dialectic of contemporary criticism, McGurl’s book needs Golumbia’s, and Golumbia’s book needs McGurl’s: and both of them need […]
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Between Play and Politics: Dysfunctionality in Digital Art

[…]Research Report.” De Montfort University, April 24, 2008. Web. Montfort, Nick. “Obfuscated Code.” Software Studies: A Lexicon. Ed. Matthew Fuller. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2008. 193-99. Print. Mateas, Michael. “Weird Languages.” Software Studies: A Lexicon. Ed. Matthew Fuller. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2008. 267-75. Print. Raley, Rita. Tactical Media. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009. Print. —.‘Interferences: [Net.Writing] and the Practice of Codework.’ Electronic Book Review 2002. Web. Rettberg, Scott. “Dada Redux: Elements of Dadaist Practice in Contemporary Electronic Literature.” Fibreculture Journal. 01/01/2008. Web. Ryan, Marie-Laure. “What Has the Computer Done for the Word.” Genre XLI, 2008. 33-58. Print. Schechner, […]
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Dead Trees, or Dead Formats?

[…]a work of sociology…[ranging] from literary theory and criticism to political economy and critical legal studies” but “proper to none of these fields” (13). When Striphas declares his work to come from the cultural studies tradition, it seems, however, that he means this more in terms of a Marxist theory of commodification than defending – what David Parry calls – “the place of ‘justice,’ that which is beyond critique.” In fact, the title of Late Age itself indicates this point, adopting Jay David Bolter’s phrase with a nod to Frederic Jameson, “the late age of print.” More than arguing for […]

For Thee: A Response to Alice Bell

[…]or Books without End? U. Michigan Press, 2003. Eskelinen, Markku. “The Gaming Situation.” Game Studies 1:1. http://www.gamestudies.org/0101/eskelinen/. Accessed 01-12-2010. Eskelinen, Markku. Travels in Cybertextuality: The Challenge of Cybertext Theory and Ludology to Literary Theory. Doctoral dissertation, University of Jyväskylä, 2009. Grusin, Richard. Premediation: Affect and Mediality After 9/11. Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. Holeton,Richard. Figurski at Findhorn on Acid. Eastgate Systems, 2001. Jackson, Shelley. Patchwork Girl. Eastgate Systems, 1995. Johnson, Steven. Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today’s Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter. Riverhead, 2006. Joyce, Michael. afternoon, a story. Eastgate Systems, 1987. Manovich, Lev. The Language of New […]

All in the Game: The Wire, Serial Storytelling, and Procedural Logic

[…]as well as the comments by this volume’s editors. What is most interesting to me about the critical praise deservedly lavished on The Wire is not how it may or may not yield an increase in viewership but how the critical consensus seems to situate the show distinctly within the frame of another medium. For many critics, bloggers, fans, and even creator David Simon himself, The Wire is best understood not as a television series but as a “visual novel.” As a television scholar, this cross-media metaphor bristles – not because I don’t like novels but because I love television. […]
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Lynne Tillman and the Great American Novel

[…]dialectical promiscuity seems at times to chime with her own ambitions as a writer. In “Critical Fiction / Critical Self,” a 1991 essay outlining her aesthetic principles, her “House of Fiction,” Tillman explained her attraction to the novel and story in terms that evoke Warhol even as they name Bahtkin. one of the reasons I choose to write fiction is that . . . ambiguity and ambivalence can find its way into a story or into that complex cultural unit called a novel, where, as Bakhtin put it, a “struggle between one’s own and another’s word is being waged,” and […]

How to Write the Present Without Irony: Immanent Critique in Lynne Tillman’s American Genius, A Comedy

[…]and critique. As Helmling puts it, “A chronic ambition of critique has been to get outside the critical object, to achieve ‘objectivity’ about it, or ‘critical distance’ from it. Both in its Kantian and its Marxist senses, critique has turned on issues of inside/outside; and the pursuit of the inside track has largely belonged to ‘hermeneutic,’ as opposed to ‘critique'” (99 original emphasis). In contrast, “‘[h]ermaneutic’ sanctions the interpreter’s sympathy, or even identity with the object – precisely the stance ‘critique’ rejects as imperiling objectivity” (99). Unlike transcendental criticism that insists on the “outside” as the only legitimate vantage point […]
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See the Strings: Watchmen and the Under-Language of Media

[…]– can do full justice to the under-language of Watchmen. As indicated, this comic delivers not a working timepiece but something more like a catastrophe simulator, an open-ended experiment that the reader is invited or expected to perform. Understanding Watchmen in this light makes it seem distinctly avant la lettre, something impossible to describe in traditional terms. More than the relic of an older, spatial way of seeing, it prefigures and perhaps inaugurates the next thing in sign systems. In this century we are beginning to build on our technologies of recording and inscription new media and new language that […]
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Where Are We Now?: Orienteering in the Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 2

[…]on a remediated world literature, Emily Apter asserts that “ideally, one would redesign literary studies to respond critically and in real time to cartographies of emergent world-systems” (581). Insofar as every work of electronic literature represents a creative and often critical appropriation of our unevenly globalizing society’s most powerful means of meaning production, it more than deserves a place in such a revitalized and, I would argue, now unavoidably comparative discipline. For our part, we should think more about electronic literature’s engagements (and complicities) with monolingualism and with the operations of global capitalism not only out of a high-minded sense […]
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Watching Watchmen: A Riposte to Stuart Moulthrop

[…]rejecting the claim that only computer software and hardware are covered by the term – platform studies might show us a new way of engaging in the dense analysis that gives us everything media studies once gave us (that is, retaining Moulthrop’s many insights) but within a richer framework. One challenge facing the new approach is that the metaphor of a “platform” has already accumulated multiple valences that are, as Tarleton Gillespie has shown, quite complex, but still primarily associated with hardware and software systems. But a platform studies perspective on Watchmen and its many fearful symmetries would account for […]
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New Media: Its Utility and Liability for Literature and for Life

[…]copyrighted and write-protected: the notes, the links, the generous, freely offered historical and critical scholarship with which we had meant to begin, are all stripped from the commercial versions. Nietzsche discussion groups abound. I have tried to describe a feeling which has often enough tormented me: I take revenge on this feeling when I expose it to the general public. For this work is to set down why, in the spirit of Goethe’s words, we must in all seriousness despise new media textual production, knowledge which enervates activity, and new media as an expensive surplus of knowledge and a luxury, […]
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Digital Manipulability and Digital Literature

[…]of print are indistinct, one can perceive a relative desire for manipulability at the level of the codex, the verse, the word, and the letter.  While it is critical to note the integral role of computation in the restitution of the digital text, it is difficult to dispute the embedded ideal of analytical manipulation present, for instance, in this relatively conventional scholarly format. Citations and references, arranged and controlled, performing the work of analysis in a manner that aspires towards its hypothetical restitution in the minds of others. And it would, perhaps, be a mistake to overlook the function of […]
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Galatea’s Riposte: The Reception and Receptacle of Interactive Fiction

[…]I might use to explicate our relationship. Within a spectrum bounded at one end by the New Critical emphasis on textual autonomy and at the other by the “virtual” text that emerges necessarily as a correspondence between author and audience in reader-response theory, I do not know where I stand. With Galatea’s invocation, I am aware that I have been identified and can therefore no longer maintain the convenient illusion of being, as a reader, either ideal or implied. I have been specified. The “text,” such as it is, has called me out. The spectrum I have identified here is, […]
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Against Information: Reading (in) the Electronic Waste Land

[…]and the annotations and commentary surrounding it.  Such a discourse remains especially vital to critical studies of electronic literature, since most works composed for digital distribution present themselves simultaneously as two very different types of linguistic structures: as programmable code, and as a separate media object or interface. The significant, if underemphasized, gap between these two levels of writing and production is especially apparent in any electronic or programmable literary work, allowing authors and users alike to view each respective project as a working database of related functions, processes and media events. Arguably the relatively new, but growing study of critical […]
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At the Time of Writing: Digital Media, Gesture, and Handwriting

[…]Literature in Europe. Bergen: September 11-13, 27 Oct. Retrieved October 2012. http://elmcip.net/critical-writing/aesthetics-materiality-electronic-literature. Bronowski, Jacob (1973). The Ascent of Man. Boston: Little, Brown and Co. Carter, Paul (2004). Material Thinking: The Theory and Practice of Creative Research. Melbourne University Publishing. Cayley, John (2006). “Lens: The Practice and Poetics of Writing in Immersive VR.” Leonardo Electronic Almanac, “New Media Poetry and Poetics” Special Issue, Vol 14, No. 5-6. http://leoalmanac.org/journal/vol_14/lea_v14_n05-06/jcayley.asp. –, (2005) “Writing on Complex Surfaces.” dichtung-digital 35 (2/2005) . Originally given as a paper at the 6th DAC (Digital Arts & Culture) Conference, IT University, Copenhagen, 1-3 December. de Certeau,  Michel  (1984). The Practice […]
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Condors’ Polyphony and Jawed Water-lines Catapulted Out: Gnoetry and its Place in Text Processing’s History

[…]successive patterns of letters and spaces and making a “frequency table” for each character group in a document’s source text (Hartman 55).The successive patterns of letters and spaces are called “character groups” by Kenner and O’Rourke.  This connection is not only aesthetic (e.g., that the output of Gnoetry and similar programs can resemble those of TRAVESTY), but also social because the two programs influenced small communities of experimental digital writers whose practice benefited and expanded due to camaraderie resulting from use of common programs; they have become mileposts for the discipline. TRAVESTY scrambles (or permutes) text by replacing each character […]
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The Abdication of the Cultural Elite

[…]and conservatives. Works Cited Bellow, Saul. Mr. Sammler’s Planet. New York, NY: Penguin Group, 1977. Print. —. The Adventures of Augie March. New York, NY: Penguin Group, 1984. Print. Bourdieu, Pierre. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. Harvard University Press, 1984. Print. DeLillo, Don. White Noise. New York, NY: Penguin Group, 1986. Print. Ellison, Ralph. Invisible Man. New York, NY: Random House, Inc., 1952. Print. Hoberek, Andrew. The Twilight of the Middle Class: Post-World War II American Fiction and White-Collar Work. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005. Print. Le Guin, Ursula K. The Dispossessed. Harper & Row, 1974. […]

I Am the Cosmos

[…]Moraru’s argument amounts to little more than labeling Iran “totalitarian” and Nafisi’s group thereby politically subversive for the very act of holding a reading group in Iran. This argument seems simplistic and decontextualized compared to the more nuanced positions taken by Rowe (whose essay Moraru briefly cites and dismisses) and Hay. Rowe points out that Nafisi gives the “impression that the Islamic revolution occurred in a political vacuum,” omitting that the shah’s regime was backed by the U.S. (258). Moreover, Nafisi completed her book in the U.S. with a grant from a the U.S.-based Smith-Richardson Foundation for a primary audience based in the […]

Karl Steel’s How To Make A Human: Animals and Violence in the Middle Ages

[…]cultural studies (292). Steel’s book participates in an exciting movement to “bring medieval studies into mutually beneficial critical relations with scholars working on a diverse array of post-medieval subjects, including critical philosophies that remain un- or under-historicized” (Joy 292). Such critical philosophies include posthumanisms and new materialisms of various stripes, affect, thing, and object oriented theory, ecocriticism and critical animal theory, and theories of sovereignty and biopower. Steel’s book certainly brings the Middle Ages into intimate relationship with contemporary critical philosophies, particularly those philosophies devoted to deconstructing the sovereignty of the human and elaborating an ethics of co-constitution and co-existence. […]
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Visualising Networks of Electronic Literature: Dissertations and the Creative Works They Cite

[…]English and other national literatures), computer science, digital culture, communications, media studies, performance studies, art, and education. This is a cross-disciplinary field where methods may vary considerably, and the shared subject matter is, largely, the discussion of creative works “with important literary aspects that take advantage of the capabilities and contexts provided by the stand-alone or networked computer,” to quote the Electronic Literature Organization’s definition. In this paper, I present an analysis of 44 PhD dissertations on electronic literature published from 2002 to 2013. I used the open source network analysis software Gephi to visualise the citation networks and patterns […]
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Just Humanities

[…]it was because they did all of these things in a way that maintained a balance between creativity, criticality, and working with emerging technology. The ELO is a place where philosophical, political, and scholarly inquiry maintain a fine balance with critical making and aesthetic experimentation. And that’s not easy to do. Perhaps in another article, I will take up Stephanie Strickland’s call for criticism more directly, but what I want to advocate for in this piece is not a new or radical change to the ELO’s mission, but rather a re-affirmation of what I have already witnessed: a continued and […]

Speculative Aesthetics: Whereto the Humanities?

[…]Demon” recounts Drucker’s theoretical understanding of signs and of reading. “Graphesis and Code” applies this argument to the realm of images. The case studies discussed are both theoretical and practical explorations realized through drawings, rhetoric, and software. Ivanhoe, the ‘Patacritical Demon, Temporal Modeling, Subjective Meterology, and the structure of the artists’ books digital archive ABsOnline, are all examples of outcomes from Speclab‘s work. With her main collaborators, Jerome McGann and Bethany Nowviskie, Drucker designed these projects to examine the foundations of humanities research as it encountered electronic environments, particularly seeking to understand how the “interpretative task of the humanist is […]
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Beginning with “The Image” in How It Is when translating certain processes of digital language art

[…]Athens and London: University of Georgia Press, 1970. 184-202.  Marino, Mark C. “Critical Code Studies.” Electronic Book Review (2006). Perloff, Marjorie. Unoriginal Genius: Poetry by Other Means in the New Century. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2010. Place, Vanessa, and Robert Fitterman. Notes on Conceptualisms. Brooklyn: Ugly Duckling Presse, 2009. Portela, Manuel. Scripting Reading Motions: The Codex and the Computer as Self-Reflexive Machines. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2013. Raley, Rita. “Interferences: [Net.Writing] and the Practice of Codework.” Electronic Book Review  (2002). Ricardo, Francisco J. The Engagement Aesthetic: Experiencing New Media Art through Critique. International Texts in Critical Media Aesthetics. New York: […]
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Undead Letters and Archaeologies of the Imagination: Review of Michael Joyce’s Foucault, in Winter, in the Linnaeus Garden

[…]he detected some primal relationship between writing and madness” (Macey 97). While Foucault was working on Madness and Civilization, another intellectual force of the twentieth century, Gregory Bateson, was also rethinking the role of language in mental illness, exploring how common, everyday communication patterns factor into the development and manifestation of schizophrenia. Although Bateson was working with an overbroad and now somewhat outdated notion of “schizophrenia,” his ideas were revolutionary, recasting schizophrenia not as something inaccessibly and “abnormally” puzzling, but as something that should be considered, instead, in relation to familiar acts of communication and logical impasses that, on a […]
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Precarity or Normalization? Yes, Please! A Review of Isabell Lorey’s State of Insecurity: Government of the Precarious

[…]of production for many in neoliberal economies, then in what sense can we legitimately say that a group can mobilize in the public sphere without having to rely solely on a discourse of precarious work conditions? In other words, are there other factors or elements that can function to ameliorate working conditions without having to recourse to strict economic demands? Lorey draws on Hannah Arendt’s concept of the virtuoso, or performing artist, who exposes herself to the gaze of the other. The act of performing does not have an end (tangible) product in mind but it is the performance itself […]
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The Peripheral Future: An Introduction to the Digital and Natural Ecologies Gathering

[…]9 Sept. 2015. Web. 22 Nov 2015. . DiCaglio, Joshua. “Ironic Ecology.” ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment 22.3 (Summer 2015): 447-465. Print. Ferrara, Mark S. “Blake’s Jerusalem as Perennial Utopia.” Utopian Studies 22.1 (2011): 19-33. Print. FWC Developer. Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission’s “Florida Gopher Tortoise.” Google Play. 2015. Web. 22 Nov. 2015. . Geocaching.com. “Beneath the Pines.” Geocaching.com. 7 Nov. 2010. Web. 22 Nov. 2015. . ——”Mr. Turtles Last Stand.” Geocaching.com. 12 Feb. 2013. Web. 22 Nov. 2015. . Gibson, William. The Peripheral. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2014. Print. Grusin, Richard. Premediation. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, […]
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Intersectional Ecologies: Matt Kenyon’s “Useful Fictions,” an interview

[…]part of system. Like a salt marsh that cleans the toxic chemicals out of water. LS: What are you working on right now? MK: I’m working on Giant Pool of Money and Tap, a project about fracking. LS: You’ve done a lot of traveling in the past year. How has it influenced your art? MK: Right now I split my time between Ann Arbor and New York City. I was on sabbatical this year, so I went to the ASA on Giant Pool of Money. I went to Russia (and was there the week their currency lost a third of […]
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The Historical Status of Postmodernism Under Neoliberalism

[…]clustered around those whom Matthew Arnold had heralded as “alien,” that is, detached from the working class, the middle classes, or the aristocracy by virtue of their aestheticized and critical sensibilities. Admittedly it was an event in philosophy, but mainly in the arts and literature. It had little or no economic or political stake. Philosophically its core figure was Nietzsche, who mounted the strongest critique of democracy and who presented a new biological philosophical anthropology against humanism. In the arts, as we know, it happened outside of popular and respectable bourgeois culture. Modernism made two key moves, each of which […]
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Thinking With the Planet: a Review of The Planetary Turn: Relationality and Geoaesthetics in the Twenty-First Century

[…]planetarity matters. To these important critics and theorists, one could also add the collective reworking of modernist literary studies by a diverse number of contemporary critics including but not limited to Jessica Berman, Laura Doyle and Laura Winkiel, and Susan Stanford Friedman, who have contributed to a significant rethinking of modernism from a geoaesthetic perspective. Friedman’s contributions, starting with Mappings: Feminism and the Cultural Geographies of Encounter (1998), a landmark essay on planetary modernism in Modernism/modernity (2010), and a new book published this year on that topic, are critical for humanities scholars contemplating the planetary in literary studies. Other scholars […]
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Digital Ekphrasis and the Uncanny: Toward a Poetics of Augmented Reality

[…]to my emailed questions, Sutu wrote of the “magical surprise” the AR gave him when they got it working right, and the feedback he has received from readers since then that describes a similar impression: “People are foremost drawn to the magical effect of it and inquire about the story later. Which sounds a bit gimmicky, but in the aftermath of a sale I’ve received plenty of emails from happy customers who have enjoyed the story too. So that’s a relief.” One of the most intriguing ways in which form and content are brought together in the comic partakes of […]
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Information Wants to Be Free, Or Does It?: The Ethics of Datafication

[…]doesn’t necessarily recognize those without equal access to virtuous circles, or the ability to code or without sources of income other than their code. Now let us return to the curious formulation that “Information wants to be free.” According to Roger Clarke’s web page on the phrase, this truism was coined by Stewart Brand in a discussion at the first Hackers Conference in the fall of 1984. It went on to be printed in different places including Brand’s book The Media Lab: Inventing the Future at MIT (1987). It is interesting that in the original formulation Brand contrasted the desire […]
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Forms of Censorship; Censorship As Form

[…]theatrical, or random like Trump (if we separate him from the power that will annihilate many working people who supported him), emerges in loitering movements, effect becoming cause – optic nerve phenomena seemingly reciprocal between eye and brain yet perhaps not – no less prohibition but a less overt ban, yet against publish, speak, write, think, see – so the censorship can be interior, secretly disturbed, as gripping as more constructive experiences just as it may drive toward the seeming opposite of complex. As censorship commonly must to disguise instinctively its intestinally wrapped logic. Precisely what Ai Weiwei witnesses being […]

Thirteen Ways of Looking at Electronic Literature, or, A Print Essai on Tone in Electronic Literature, 1.0

[…]Algorithms&oldid=1830 > [accessed 7 May 2016]. Hayles, N. Katherine (2008), ‘Traumas of Code’, Critical Inquiry, 33: 1, 136–57. Manurung, Ruli, Graeme Ritchie, and Henry Thompson (2012), ‘Using genetic algorithms to create meaningful poetic text’, Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence, 24: 1, 43–64. Ritchie, Graeme (2007), ‘Some empirical criteria for attributing creativity to a computer program’, Minds and Machines, 17, 67–99. Rosenheim, Shawn James (1997), The Cryptographic Imagination: Secret Writing from Edgar Poe to the Internet, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. XIII. Electronic literature is posthuman. ‘It’s not human.’ Literature’s gone to the pits – sorry, to bits (Callus […]
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Grammalepsy: An Introduction

[…]as such (other than as quoted strings) and, if they could be, then the code would no longer be code. “The Code Is Not the Text” asks language artists who work in programmable media to remember what they are working with. In common with many artists who have, at some point, identified themselves as writers, I am fascinated by the surface(s) on which we write. For most of us, this resolves to a fascination with the book and its culture, an extraordinary world, with no sign of ending any time soon. Jacques Derrida’s expansive notions concerning what “the book” and […]

Always Inside, Always Enfolded into the Metainterface: A Roundtable Discussion

[…]business is also the economy of sharing, the sharing economy. And if you look for instance at studies of Uber drivers—you could say that they were completely non-alienated to this sharing ecology. But actually what the studies show is that they work for limited time periods. They work for only one year as an Uber driver. And while they’re doing it, they develop very different strategies of circumventing the system. If they are categorized as a certain kind of laborious subject they can for instance turn off, reset the system. (Munn, 2018) They constantly develop tactics to deal with this system. […]
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[…]to translate these non-electronic literature works to forms that now include some remnants of code, networking, programmability. Let us ask: how should we, how could we remediate these works? Escrita [Writing] could perhaps be remediated (or better, recontextualized) in the Kimchi Poetry Machine, by Margaret Rhee (2014), where she uses tangible computing: when the jar is opened, “poetry audibly flows from it, and readers and listeners are immersed in the meditative experience of poetry.” Small paper poems are inside the jar, with invitations to tweet a poem to the machine handle, and eight original feminist “kimchi twitter” poems were written […]

Third Generation Electronic Literature and Artisanal Interfaces: Resistance in the Materials

[…]Jessica Pressman, Mark C. Marino and Jeremy Douglass braid together media archeology, critical code studies and visualization as they exfoliate William Poundstone’s Project for Tachistoscope {Bottomless Pit} (2005). Attribution matters in Project, but the authorial divisions are deliberately, productively messy. Identifying who wrote what discloses the edges of expertise and allows readers to chart the progress of the authors’ mutual influence. Writing very much for each other, such openness requires emotional “vulnerability” (140) as discoveries “reroute individual interpretive efforts and [lead] to group epiphanies” (138). The result is a suspenseful book of literary criticism. Chapter one teaches the reader how […]
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“The Effulgence of the North”: An Introduction to the Natural Media Gathering

[…]theory to explore what a planetary imagination might look like when conceived with and through critical race studies in general, and black studies in particular.” Because the collection’s essays provide an overview of Margulis’ impact on the life sciences and what might be called philosophies of life, they provide Leong with an opportunity to explore how and why certain visions of life become attached to projections of the future. It is with this goal in mind that she examines how Margulis’ scholarship mediates the various scales of our ecological imaginations – from the very small (i.e., genes and microbes) to […]
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Between Plants and Polygons: SpeedTrees and an Even Speedier History of Digital Morphogenesis

[…]Duty, because more of us are familiar with the quotidian experience of managing a household than working as military operatives. Acknowledging that realism often carries a social edge in other media, Galloway ultimately suggests that game scholars “turn not to a theory of realism in gaming as mere realistic representation, but define realist games as those games that reflect critically on the minutia of everyday life, replete as it is with struggle, personal drama and injustice.” In the context of this essay, we might speculate whether Galloway’s theory of social realism could encompass non-player-centered or non-social aspects of gameplay, from […]
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At a Heightened Level of Intensity: A Discussion of the Philosophy and Politics of Language in John Cayley’s Digital Poetics

[…]they don’t, they shouldn’t accept my critique. If an idea within or an aspect of my work is critical or critical art practice, like I’m trying to get at something, then it seems unlikely that I actually know what it’s really important to get at. But I hope that my students will continue to look for the art or critical art practice that is most important to them. Scott Rettberg And maybe do both at the same time. John Cayley And maybe do both at the same time. They should. And I hope that some of them will actually figure […]
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Pitching the Poem-essay: Subversive Argument in the Work of Charles Bernstein

[…]behind the essay would usually emanate from a particular type of theoretical framework or critical stance — either one that is pre-existing or constructed by the author — the backing would be theoretical/critical literature that related to that framework. The presence of backing for the warrant would vary quite considerably from essay to essay, since any essay would be underlined with assumptions, some of which would be taken for granted as commonly understood by the academic literary community, others that would be strongly questioned. Here I suggest, using Bernstein as an example, that creative criticism may be most effective when an […]
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Introduction: Electronic Literature as a Framework for the Digital Humanities

[…]one excellent digital humanities documentation and preservation project. Mark Marino’s Critical Code Studies (The MIT Press, 2020) proposes a humanities-driven research method of analyzing code of particular relevance to electronic literature. Perhaps with the exception of the forthcoming volume Electronic Literature as Digital Humanities: Contexts, Forms and Practices (Bloomsbury, 2020) edited by Dene Grigar and James O’Sullivan, none of these publications extensively place electronic literature among DH debates or practice. Here we do so in a free online open access forum that takes advantage of the multimedial affordances and discursive environment of the Web. With a clear and focused field […]
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Gardening E-literature (or, how to effectively plant the seeds for future investigations on electronic literature)

[…]moment and inspired by them. Granted, clearly visible Rettberg’s inspirations by the platform studies to some extent allow for acknowledging the role of the audience, as does the reader-response theory – the usual suspect when it comes to finding the proponents of audience-based approaches in aesthetic and literary theory. Also, it was Scott Rettberg who brilliantly pointed out a decade ago that if electronic literature is to thrive and develop (speaking in terms of its infrastructure and practicalities), it should communitize rather than monetize. Speaking from the perspective of 10 years after, to a great extent, we can see how […]
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Appealing to Your Better Judgement: A Call for Database Criticism

[…]and research groups have the opportunity or desire to implement these methods in the same way. Critical Data Studies applies different strands of critical theory across stages of collection, analysis, storing, and dissemination when engaging with data. Jen Jack Gieseking notes that: “big data must be sized up through its mythos, measurements, and the pace of its accumulation” (2). Gieseking not only provides an alternative that makes doing data research more attainable, but also better as “new insights can be gained by accounting for multiple, nested, and imbricated scales of data” (3). How do we build this assertion into a […]
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Something there badly not wrong: the life and death of literary form in databases

[…]metrics are carefully designed to discern spending habits and time allocation. World views and critical evaluations are precisely what go missing in corporatized social media – not just from the uncritical inclusion of any and all literary writing in scholarly databases tagged for categorical distribution, but in the “digital humanities” generally, a scholarly emergence(y) that, for all of its “infinite ungraspable” canons of creative and scholarly work has yet to establish, in academia anything approaching a widely shared curriculum for literary studies of born digital writing and scholarship. In 2014, a “decade-plus” into “the emergence of digital humanities (DH),” David […]
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Unhelpful Tools: Reexamining the Digital Humanities through Eugenio Tisselli’s degenerative and regenerative

[…]breakdown of that chain of causality that brings forth text and images through the mechanism of code. By having code literally erase itself (more accurately, by having the PHP script erase or corrupt the corresponding HTML file) in response to user interaction, Tisselli precludes this digital erasure of word for action, making code, in its full, material thingness, apparent to its users. Viewing the works today and being presented the narrative of their respective processes of breakdown in this way obliges the viewer to confront obsolescence – the gradual wearing down of each work’s instrumental functionality – in a way […]
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Ethics and Aesthetics of (Digital) Space: Institutions, Borders, and Transnational Frameworks of Digital Creative Practice in Ireland

[…]Practice, vol. 14, no. 2 (2013): 147-160. Nacher, Anna. “Migrating Stories: Moving across the Code/Spaces of our Time”, Hyperrhiz: New Media Cultures, special issue “Other Codes / Cóid Eile”, no. 20 (2019). http://hyperrhiz.io/hyperrhiz20/. Accessed 30 Sep 2019. O’Sullivan, James. “Electronic Literature in Ireland.” Electronic Book Review, 11 April 2018. https://electronicbookreview.com/essay/electronic-literature-in-ireland/. Accessed 10 Jul 2019. O’Sullivan, James, Órla Murphy, and Shawn Day. “The Emergence of the Digital Humanities in Ireland.” Breac: A Digital Journal of Irish Studies, 7 Oct 2015. https://breac.nd.edu/articles/the-emergence-of-the-digital-humanities-in-ireland/. Accessed 10 Jul 2020. O’Toole, Fintan. The Lie of the Land: Irish Identities. Verso, 1997. Pagel, Walter. “The Paracelsian Elias Artista […]
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In Conversation with Bertrand Gervais at the Heart of the Digital World

[…]of research. DS: Canada has many research resources and labs dedicated to digital arts, media studies, and digital literary studies, including Caitlin Fisher’s Augmented Reality Lab in Toronto, Brian Greenspan’s HyperLab in Ottawa, Karis Shearer’s AMP Lab in Kelowna, Marcel O’Gorman’s Critical Media Lab in Waterloo, and your own NT2 Lab in Montréal. Are there other Canadian labs or resources you’d like to foreground in particular? BG: I think we could add to this list of major projects, the Ex Situ Laboratory, led by René Audet at Université Laval, which focuses on digital literature and culture, as well as on […]
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The Visual Music Imaginary of 88 Constellations for Wittgenstein: Exploring Philosophical Concepts through Digital Rhetoric

[…]travels go from allusions to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (a research center that studies the Earth, the sun, the solar system and the universe, which was built in memory of physicist Dr. Robert Hutchings Goddard), to Marina Vlady’s scene shots and glimpses of the city of Paris in “Two or three things that I know about her.” Resembling the representation of Hydra’s twisting snake in the sky, the reader is caught in the twists of language that revolve within the constellations imaginaries: Godard? Goddard? God? Art? The process of “deconstructing” HYA shows that the voices of Wittgenstein, Derrida, Godard, […]
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Introduction: Decoding Canadian Digital Poetics

[…]or “commented upon” Carpenter’s work, but it is very rare that a literary scholar does the critical work of close reading it. Refreshingly, Watts does indeed give Carpenter’s work the critical attention it deserves, providing astute close reading and literary analysis throughout. Watts’s analytical approach to Entre Ville reveals, too, the strangeness of the critical neglect of new media writing in Canada because Entre Ville, like so many electronic literary works, is “specially positioned to explore the traditionalism inherent in mainstream conceptions of literature, literary culture, and cultural production–including most especially parallels between Montreal literature and new-media literature.” That mediated […]
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“A Snap of the Universe”: Digital Storytelling, as in Conversation with Caitlin Fisher

[…]that, I [wondered]: what would experimental poets of the [nineteen] twenties be doing? They’d be working in hypertext, they’d be working in these areas. Then there was kind of no turning back. I thought electronic literature is actually sort of the end game for where all of that was going. It was super fun! I’ve written about it elsewhere, but the dissertation itself I was enormously proud of. Writing it changed me. Image from Fisher’s dissertation. Source: Caitlin Fisher. There were really no readers for it at the time I produced it. It wasn’t even archived. The electronic literature piece […]
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Why Twining?

[…]projects. Its concerns range from autoethnography to close reading to something like critical code studies, from the abstractions of Wallace Stevens to the polychrome delights of “trash spinning.” It is both a critical study and a guide to creative practice. The mixed nature of the work flows from our subject, which is both a tool for making and a made thing. Twine is an unlikely proposition—a software platform crafted entirely by volunteers, some of whom have never met in person, and a worldwide community of creators who explore and expand the platform. To understand this phenomenon, we do a kind […]

In Conversation with the Decameron 2.0

[…]Hi, everyone. I’m Jin Sol, I’m also a Co-Editor on the special issue of tdr and ebr, “Critical Making, Critical Design”. I am currently going into my fifth year of the PhD at the University of Waterloo. I’m in the department of English and I am studying the cross sections of critical race theory and digital photography. LL: Cool. Thank you, Jin Sol. So let’s start off with a land acknowledgement. So based in [00:01:00] Canada, the electronic book review would like to acknowledge that this land is made up of more than 630 First Nations communities representing more than […]

Executable Landscapes: Speculative Platforms and Environmental E-Literature

[…]systems and other materials—entangling cameras, satellites, drones, web graphics, esoteric code, academic writing, and the printed codex, exploring what their contingent exchanges can reveal about the structures, dynamics, and possibilities of sensing across the contemporary environment. The hybrid art-texts generated by these activities are thus better understood in light of their complex origins, deriving their creative and critical force as much by encouraging reflection on these varied aspects and processes, as the actual markings left behind. Landform An artistic gesture that I am presently exploring is the use of image generating technologies for producing creative textual outcomes. Specifically, I am […]
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Electronic literature as a method and as a disseminative tool for environmental calamity through a case study of digital poetry ‘Lost water! Remains Scape?’

[…]Scott and Roderick Coover. “Addressing Significant Societal Challenges Through Critical Digital Media”, Electronic Book Review, August 2, 2020, doi:10.7273/1ma1-pk87. Silva Pereira, Paulo. “Greening the Digital Muse: An Ecocritical Examination of Contemporary Digital Art and Literature”, Electronic Book Review, May 3, 2020, doi:10.7273/v30n-1a73. Svensson, Patrik. “The Landscape of Digital Humanities.” Digital Humanities Quarterly, vol.4, no.1, 2010. http://digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/4/1/000080/000080.html#drucker2009a T., Shanmugapriya and Nirmala Menon. “Infrastructure and Social Interaction: Situated Research Practices in Digital Humanities in India.” Digital Humanities Quarterly, vol. 14, no. 3, 2020. http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/14/3/000471/000471.html “Vision of Digital India.” Digital India. N.d. […]
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Language |H|as a Virus: cyberliterary inf(l)ections in pandemic times

[…]Søren Pold and Scott Rettberg. 2020. “E-lit Pandemics – Roundtable”. https://elmcip.net/critical-writing/e-lit-pandemics-roundtable  Nacher, Anna, Søren Pold and Scott Rettberg. 2021. “COVID E-LIT: Digital Art from the Pandemic curatorial statement”. In Electronic Book Review. https://doi.org/10.7273/kehh-8c36  Newman, Jane O. & Hatch, Laura. 2013. “Panel 70 – Introduction. The Baroque as the Renaissance?”. In Mnemosyne: Meanderings through Aby Warburg’s Atlas. https://warburg.library.cornell.edu/image-group/panel-70-introduction-1-5 Parikka, Jussi. 2016. Digital contagions: A media archaeology of computer viruses. Second Edition. Peter Lang. Rettberg, Jill. 2021. “Speculative Interfaces: How Electronic Literature Uses the Interface to Make Us Think about Technology”. In Electronic Book Review. https://electronicbookreview.com/essay/speculative-interfaces-how-electronic-literature-uses-the-interface-to-make-us-think-about-technology/  Thacker, Eugene. 2004. Biomedia. Vol. 11. […]
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Gastropoetics

[…]specifically coordinated) range of combinations that are bound within the artifact that is the code base. Similarly, the initial iteration of Montfort’s Taroko Gorge (2009), while it builds stanzas randomly in real time as the work runs in your browser, is also a bounded object whose entirety can be understood by examining its code. Or can it? A work like Taroko Gorge, as elegant as it is as a standalone work, has achieved widespread attention thanks to the wave of remixes that it has inspired. The ever-growing list includes works of varied quality, some of which could stand alone as […]

On Reading and Being Read in the Pandemic: Software, Interface, and The Endless Doomscroller

[…]How Did Public Health Guidance Get So Muddled?” NPR, 4 Aug 2020. Fuller, Matthew. Software Studies \ a lexicon. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2008. Grosser, Ben. The Endless Doomscroller, endlessdoomscroller.com. 2020. Hassan, Robert. The age of distraction: Reading, writing, and politics in a high-speed networked economy. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers. 2012. Hou Je Bek, Wilfried. “Loop.” In Software Studies \ a lexicon, edited by Matthew Fuller. Cambridge: MIT Press. 2008. Kimball, Whitney. “Presenting The Endless Doomscroller.” Gizmodo, 4 Aug 2020. Knueven, Liz and Avery Hartmans. “Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth has grown over $40 billion in the last year alone. Here’s how […]
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Critical Simulation

[…]of their designer and players. Pennyís and Frascaís approaches could be characterized as Critical Technical Practices (CTP) ñ procedures incorporating the working methods of both technical research and cultural critique ó though neither essayist uses the term. Phoebe Sengers, in this sectionís final essay, characterizes her work explicitly as CTP. Sengers attempts to formulate new designs for AI agents; such agents, although central to much AI practice (and to many cyberdramatic visions), have customarily engaged in intricate internal behavior that can be difficult for an observer to interpret. Sengersís solution to this problem may be viewed as the inverse of […]

Ian Bogost’s response to Critical Simulation

[…]in First Person in the first person, trying to make sense of what happens when simulation becomes critical, and trying to make sense of it in the sinewy suspensions of First Person. What does it mean for simulation to become critical? In Penny’s conception, it relates to how criticism becomes embodied, how it encompasses and accounts for physical interactions with a work. Penny rightly points out that if embodied involvement in military simulations trains soldiering, then embodied involvement in desktop shooter games must also train something. Another way to frame this idea is like this: if we want to claim […]
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Where do we find ourselves? A review of Herbrechter’s “Critical Posthumanism”

[…]Repair: A Reply to John Bruni, by Stefan Herbrechter   Works Cited Badmington, Neil. “Cultural Studies and the Posthumanities.” New Cultural Studies. Ed. Gary Hall and Clare Birchall. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2006. 260-72. Biskind, Peter. Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-and-Rock ‘N’ Roll Generation Saved Hollywood. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998. Emerson, Ralph Waldo. “Experience.” The Portable Emerson. Ed. Carl Bode and Malcolm Cowley. New York: Penguin, 1981. 266-90. Harvey, David. Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism. Oxford and New York: The University of Oxford Press, 2014. Herbrechter, Stefan. Posthumanism: A Critical Analysis. London and New […]
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critical ecologies

[…]the editorship of Stacy Alaimo, who encourages inquiry and debate on new materialisms, animal studies, posthumanism, and science […]

What is Queer Game Studies?

[…]framed by Ruberg and Shaw’s comprehensive introduction, which bears inclusion in any queer studies, games studies or even cultural studies class. The authors establish the significant academic contributions to the study of queerness in games, in tandem with broader queer developments in the industry and the emergence of distinct queer game cultures. Tracing the developments of queer theory and games studies, and stressing their points of intersection, their introduction expands queer game studies beyond investigations into explicit LGBTQ content in games. Queer Game Studies makes its case by sheer accretion of ideas. Cumulatively, the contributions suggest the liberatory possibilities of […]

Critical Making, Critical Design

[…]writing, est. 2020) are proud to announce their first collaboration: a special double issue on “Critical Making, Critical Design” that pairs digital works of making or design with critical and scholarly mediation. See the Table of Contents of The Digital Review issue as well. From prose and art installations to craftwork and video games, creative works are often released without giving artists the opportunity to explain their processes, contexts, and motivations. Else, creative works may be examined through through separate forms of static, print-based scholarly publishing that risk isolating works from their creative impulses and taking works out of their […]

Julius Greve

[…]Superpositions: Laruelle and the Humanities (forthcoming; with Rocco Gangle). Greve is currently working on the concept of nature in the novels of Cormac McCarthy and on nineteenth- and twentieth-century philosophies of nature, in particular those of Friedrich W. J. Schelling, Lorenz Oken, and Gilles Deleuze (including the ideas these thinkers have spawned in contemporary philosophical speculation). His further research interests encompass the tradition of intermediality in American cultural practices and the history of critical […]

Perloff in the Nineties

[…]for that matter (Perloff’s example) architectural theory. The essay compares two reviews as case studies, both from the Times Literary Supplement. One review is devoted to four fairly complex studies of recent trends in architecture, and the other review covers eight unrelated volumes devoted to contemporary poetry. This comparison allows Perloff to demonstrate an important point about poetry and public spheres. The TLS, a review from a major cultural capital with the word “literary” as its middle name, treats books on architecture more seriously and thoughtfully than it treats poetry. Turning to recent years in the New York Times Book […]

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

[…]twenty four hours. American Online shut down the site, but in that time, hundreds of copies of the code were made by computer geeks around the world. This code is being been collaboratively updated and improved by freelance programmers, much as the Linux operating system has been developed. I suspect that there soon will be Gnutella sites for various types of music, and the program, which I understand is tricky and far from bug-free, will become increasingly user-friendly over time. Gnutella will ultimately be worse for the record companies than Napster ever could be, as Gnutella can grow and develop […]
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The Language of Music and Sound

[…]States to play. Despite our language barrier, I feel an unspoken cross-cultural alliance with this group. Our collective desire to reach beyond the parameters of music, the language we actually do have in common, has brought us together to this rare occasion in Kyoto, and although none of our shows have garnered an audience of over 50 people so far, this little tour feels oddly important, as if we are members of a larger cultural movement in the process of forming. I always find it strange when people say that music is the most “abstract” of art forms, not because […]

Telling Tales: Shaping Artists’ Myths

[…]of taking something apart and putting it back together directly relates to Wenk’s method of working, and therefore complements Wilson’s insights into the artist’s work. Additional documentary photos of multiple uses of tape in the real world – duct tape holding broken windows together – offer graphic reinforcement of Wilson’s observations, “The tape, as viscous, is dangerous, for it threatens to stick to one like glue or like honey…” A smart group of texts, Wilson’s writing reveals the complexity of Wenk’s seemingly innocuous actions and prosaic material. In his next publication, Wenk would be better served in attempting not to […]

The Affective Interface

[…]address of social and kinesthetic intelligence. In Sage Walker’s novel Whiteout , a group of friends run a virtual company described as: a mosaic….an interactive group of ideas and personalities,…a collection of disparate talents that can define answers and then come up with questions for people to ask about them. We want to work with the psychology of attractions, with the science of spin-doctoring, with virtual realities that can compact and condense amounts of information that would have staggered us in our childhood. ^2 Walker, Sage. Whiteout. (New York: TOR Books, 1996): 83. Of course, science fiction isn’t the only […]

Great Excavations

[…]“language writing.” Writes Bob Perelman in The Marginalization of Poetry, one practitioner’s critical account of this movement: “language writing is best understood as a group phenomenon…whose primary tendency is to do away with the reader as a separable category.” Creeley’s collaborations offer various points of entrance: through artist or poet; in gallery, text, or internet; with one or the other exchanging the roles of artist and reader/viewer and offering ways we can do the same. They break down the disciplinary boundaries that define how we regard the arts, that herd us into singular designations as “readers” or “viewers” or “practitioners” […]

Shopping for Truth

[…]Allegory, Benjamin argues, is exactly the right mode for an age of commodities. While working on the never completed Baudelaire book, Benjamin continued to take notes for the Arcades Project. What was recovered after WWII from its hiding place in the Bibliotheque Nationale amounted to some 900 pages of extracts, mainly from 19th century writers but from contemporaries of Benjamin as well, grouped under headings, with interspersed commentary, plus a variety of plans and synopses. The history of the Arcades Project, a history of procrastination and false starts, of wanderings in archival labyrinths in a quest for exhaustiveness, of shifting […]

Outcast Narrative

[…]and strike and spit and refuse to shop. As official culture promotes bumper stickers for the working class, it promotes the Internet with its commercial websites, bulletin boards, chat groups, and subscriber lists for the middle class. The idea is: displace your anger and passions onto the Net so that you won’t be inclined to actualize them in real time in a context that might conceivably effect change. Moreover every communication we make on the Net is subject to monitoring, and in the process these communications make money for computer, software, and online corporations, as well as profiting paid Net […]

Talking Back to the Owners of the World

[…]for Powers’s kidnapped American to cast himself in the role of the victim. Although the group that has abducted Taimur Martin, “Sacred Conflict, a unit fighting for God’s Partisans” (150), proves itself to be just another contender for geopolitical clout – “the terrorist group of the hour, just now enjoying their moment on the geopolitical stage, their suicidal, scene-stealing walk-on” (151) – it has nothing on its declared enemy, the United States of America, and everything it represents. Plowing the Dark, like Powers’s earlier novels, shows a sense of moral outrage at the price exacted by whatever historical force dominates […]

The Cybernetic Turn: Literary into Cultural Criticism

[…]of America offered from these mostly European critics, the collection poses a local problem for critical writing: Under circumstances of simulation, working in the nonspace of Baudrillardís hyperreal and the virtual reality of cybernetic media, what’s left for criticism itself to do? When literature’s most compelling historical fictions have “long given up the binary concept of fact versus imagination” and when mass media imagery has made “the very concept of ‘representation’…problematic,” it makes little sense to think of criticism as a mediation between fiction and reality, or as a guide to the imaginative life of great and distant authors. Close […]
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Constrained Thinking: From Network to Membrane

[…]the process whereby initially undifferentiated neurons cluster into functionally specialized groups. Early interaction with the environment induces neurons to link up in circuits, and these circuits link up in groups. This process continues up several different scales: selection processes determine nascent neural patterns or configurations that take shape over time; such emergent configurations on one level become components in a substrate at the next level, from which another emergent configuration is selected, and so on. Each successive layer/loop of selected patterns results from what Edelman calls the “recursive synthesis” of prior patterns into more complex neural mappings. Neuronal groups connect […]
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When Romanticism is no Longer the National Avante-Garde

[…]of this structural and historical threshold may be debatable, but an acknowledgment of some such critical point facing Polish poetry now must be made. This threshold is generational, political (or rather geo-political), social, and certainly, in terms of the trade itself, technical and formal. The alliance of the poets and the poetics of the oppressed-the proximity of the leading Polish poets to the poetics of Seamus Heaney and Joseph Brodsky – illustrates the historical context in which these factors are aligned. This ethos is characterized by personal sensitivity, high lyricism, vatic pretension, and obsession with empirical history. This obsession, which […]
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Further Notes From the Prison-House of Language

[…]of poststructuralism’s shortcomings with respect to technology, reads like a working-through. The book’s structure has a quest romance quality where each of the philosophical trajectories Hansen covers looms up to be defeated by the sword of technology ITSELF, that is, by an agent exterior to culture and cultural inscription. Science studies, deconstruction, psychoanalysis and (I know no appropriate label) Deleuze and Guattari all loom up, only to be beaten back, beaten down by a very similar series of strokes. The hero proves himself in trial with a serially returning repressed. For the reader, as for the psychoanalyst, the scene seems […]
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More Pixels to the Inch

[…]This our gospel, go(d)spell, good news. We all know that the Torah was written in Secret Divine Code, God’s Code. Accordingly, the language in Mosaic Man is densly gnomic, i.e., salted with gnomes, i.e., short, pithy expressions of general truths, aphorisms. A gnomic writer, Reb Suk rewrites the “wisdom” poetry of the Bible. You know: “the only gospel / the hand writing” (38). After the creation of the world and the word, what does it mean to be Jewish? What does it mean to be a Jew and a writer? A Jewish writer? A writing Jew? Reb Suk doesn’t need […]

Lessons in Latent History

[…]of DeLillo’s preceding novel Mao II, and his obsessive chronicle of bodily decay and infirmity. Working on his “great novel,” the book to transcend all the inadequacies and miseries of his personal life, Gray becomes morosely preoccupied with the failing of his own body. He picks dandruff and hair out of his typewriter’s keyboard, discusses the symptoms of internal bleeding after a car accident with a group of strangers, revels in his own slow physical decay. Meanwhile, there is the transcendent purity of the text he is trying to transform himself into – the book that will never get finished, […]

Exposed

[…]of both professions is the need to mask the truth from outside observers. Or, more bluntly, both groups are paid to lie. This is what journalism has come to: the messengers, at the most, are converts to the straight and narrow, repentant sinners, asking for our trust. (And print journalism is only marginally better, as these books all attest. Isikoff, who in a more tawdry way than Woodward has become part of the story [his subtitle: “A Reporter’s Story”]. Which is why we are reading his story. Isikoff understands the difference between print and television all too well. Given the […]

The Medial Turn

[…]nonlinear novels, the implications of a self-conscious, networked aesthetic for the practice of critical writing. If, after twenty years of formalized science-and-literature studies, critics in North America have remained partial to a set of major texts, the cause may be in part a tendency, understandable in excursions into the unmapped territory between disciplines, to let the borrowed disciplinary structures and terminology serve a normative function. Strehle, for example, arranges counterintuitive elements from the new physics alongside their experimental analogues in fiction, in order to distinguish the offbeat realism of her chosen writers from “the intentionally aesthetic narratives of metafiction.” She […]

Are We Posthuman Yet?

[…]Institute assembled a program of codes to replicate themselves in the environment of a computer, codes with a built-in mutation element. The codes both altered and replicated at a spookily unanticipated rate, producing in the lab what cyberpunk produces in novels: a sense of life “out there” in cyberspace, beyond the control of its human inventors. Given this general scenario, speculation on the relation of organic life to putatively silicon-based life splits in two directions. One, represented by Hans Moravec and his book Mind Children, sees the potential of computers as much more oriented to artificial intelligence – to AI, […]

Alire: A Relentless Literary Investigation

[…]pathways located at the heart of the journal, and this project will be realized by publishing a critical edition of our back issues alongside Alire 11 on CD-ROM. But here, one could offer an initial statement about the past ten years, a statement which will complete an earlier French article published in 1994 as “Poésies et machinations” (Revue Larousse #96), and which was reprinted in English as “Poetic Machinations” (Visible Language 30:2, 1996). Though the journal has always been a site for perfectly out-of-the-ordinary, independent creation circulated instantly everywhere, one could nonetheless single out the following characteristics of the Alire […]

Poetry@The_Millennium: A Conversation with Jerome Rothenberg and Pierre Joris

[…]with the cover image (unlike the inside of the book) we were offered full-color reproduction. In working that out with the designer we were digging out various images and I think we had it narrowed down to three… Joris: There was an [Guillaume] Apollinaire, there was a [Kurt] Schwitters, and I think there was a [Max] Ernst. Clearly we were looking for someone from that part of the century in whose work intersections happened, specifically where art intersected with poetry. We didn’t want an “illustration,” just a nice picture on the cover to sell the book. We wanted it to […]
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Whither Leads the Poem of Forking Paths?

[…]reading depends, therefore, upon how effectively the writer’s artistic impulses and vision are encoded in machine language – quite a different matter from encoding the products of these in verbal form. Needless to say, the poetics of programming are less developed than those of the more familiar variety. As an expressive medium, executable binary code has managed to reach a state of development roughly equivalent to writing when it was preserved on unwieldy clay tablets, understood by few, and incapable even of representing the entire vocabulary of spoken language. Just as no one could have foreseen the full flowering of […]

Hollywood Nomadology?

[…]organized body, recapitulated in the hierarchical organization of each of its members, nomads, a group to be sure, a body to be sure, are not organisms, not organizations, neither as a whole nor in terms of individual components. They comprise a field rather than a set of individuals. Members of the state have “feelings,” nomads have “affects;” members of the state “communicate,” nomads “signal” – all of which is to say that members of the state, like the state itself in its executive dimension, have a complex interiority whose nature is, in the process of state function, made manifest, the […]

The Haunting of Benjamin Britten

[…]or Crozier. Crozier, not only a librettist, but a founding father of both the English Opera Group and the Aldeburgh Festival, felt that Britten always had “a particular favorite upon whom he would lavish affection, while foreseeing with a grim kind of pleasure the day when that special friend would be cast off.” Britten told Crozier that Montague Slater was “one of [his] corpses,” adding that Crozier himself would “be one, too, one day.” Even Auden, to the end of his life, referred to Britten’s break with him as “a permanent grief.” Instead of the sense of generous inclusion that […]

Feminism, Nature, and Discursive Ecologies

[…]both cultural feminism and poststructuralist feminism, Plumwood proposes a feminism of “critical affirmation” that treats “woman’s identity as an important if problematic tradition which requires critical reconstruction” (64). She criticizes the “dissolution of gender identity through destabilization and the definitive act of parody recommended by poststructuralists” because it “amounts to the formation of anti-identities which become further identities. But these identities are not independent. They are still defined essentially in relation to the objects of parody which originate in the problematic of colonisation” (63). In a footnote, Plumwood misreads Butler’s concept of performative identity as assuming a great deal of […]

Wiring John Cage: Silence as a Global Sound System

[…]ecology would seem a particularly debased version of this failure. Such a reading echoes in the critical backlash to Cagean eco-politics, focused on the reactionary fetishism in claims “to let sounds be themselves rather than vehicles for man-made theories of expressions of human sentiments” (Silence 10). From this point of view, Cage’s claim to non-intentionality is a happy-face elitism of the avant-garde. The chance compositions appear naive decontextualizations, and in the resulting inertia and insistent banality is read the citation of former contexts. De-crypting and animating a specter of media’s historical sediment is the commonplace of new media studies. It […]
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enGendering Technology: a review

[…]studies of bodies, bodiedness, and gender with a cultural assessment of the meanings and workings of technology. And despite its critical sophistication, Balsamo remembers to tie her observations and insights to the real world and to social and political movements for change. Thus she succeeds in showing us the following: As is often the case when seemingly stable boundaries are displaced by technological innovation (human/artificial, life/death, nature/culture), other boundaries are more vigilantly guarded. Indeed, the gendered boundary between male and female is one border that remains heavily guarded despite new technologized ways to rewrite the physical body in the flesh. […]

The Cybernetic Turn: Literary into Cultural Criticism

[…]of America offered from these mostly European critics, the collection poses a local problem for critical writing: Under circumstances of simulation, working in the nonspace of Baudrillard’s hyperreal and the virtual reality of cybernetic media, what’s left for criticism itself to do? When literature’s most compelling historical fictions have “long given up the binary concept of fact versus imagination” and when mass media imagery has made “the very concept of ‘representation’…problematic,” it makes little sense to think of criticism as a mediation between fiction and reality, or as a guide to the imaginative life of great and distant authors. Close […]
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Sleepless in Seattle

[…]the metalanguage’s quest is defined at the last possible moment as a new language object” (Critical Essays). For academic readers, the presence of an intellectual, scholarly register in IN.S.OMNIA discourse marks its difference from most iconoclastic groups seeking to bring writing out of its ivory tower of babble. (Invisible Rendezvous dog-ears pages from Influential French of the ’70s (Derrida, Barthes)) and aligns itself alongside hypertext champions from within the institution (Jay Bolter and George Landow), but it also differentiates itself from either set of writings by its joyful pragmatism and savvy. For instance, while they embrace the Derridean aphorism that […]

A Third Culture

[…]Sokal accuses the humanists and social scientists who populate the burgeoning field of science studies – scholars who tend to be critical of contemporary technoscience and its effects – of ignorance masked by the jargon of fashionable theories. He claims that this ignorance allowed his original article, filled with obviously erroneous scientific claims, to be passed unchecked into the pages of Social Text. Stung by his criticisms, the editors of Social Text, Bruce Robbins and Andrew Ross, responded swiftly with a broadside questioning Sokal’s change of heart, his ethics, and his understanding of his target. One gets a certain illicit […]

Stanley Fish and the Place of Criticism

[…]Fish finding it easier to say why the proffered solutions – e.g., new historicism, cultural studies, interdisciplinary studies, and so on – are not the answer. Here, his most forceful rebuttals are offered in lectures three, “Disciplinary Tasks and Political Intentions,” and four, “Looking Elsewhere: Cultural Studies and Interdisciplinarity.” In the first of these, Fish stresses the need to “distinguish between the general (and trivial) sense in which everything is political – the sense in which every action is ultimately rooted in a contestable point of origin – and the more usual sense of ‘political’ when the word is used […]

Hypertext ’97

[…]agents for generative hypermedia and interactive editing, and Jean Pierre Balpe, a poet and editor working on generative fiction, who missed the panel itself but made the conference later – and one researcher from the MIT media labs, Kevin Brooks, working on the automatic generation of filmed storytelling. On the same panel, I spoke of writing as programming, where the process of writing itself (which may include the readers’ interactions) may be seen as a ‘prior writing,’ as inscription prior to performance (in codexspace or cyberspace or anyspace). An emergent theme of the panel was the convergence of ‘engineered and […]

Designing Our Disciplines in a Postmodern Age – and Academy

[…]written book as a reference and a starting point for undertaking some of the more particular case studies I mention above. Ah, but who will these “other scholars” be? Philosophers? Specialists in the computer sciences? Renegade literary critics? Students trained in newly formed media studies departments? In a slightly different context, Coyne writes: [I]n spite of the deeper understanding promoted by Heidegger that to think is to contemplate things without asking why, without looking for causes, and that we are not in control of technology, the rhetoric of our disciplines indicates an unashamed concern with intervention. It may be a […]
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Getting the Dirt on The Public Intellectual: A response to Michael Bérubé

[…]project them in inadmissible ways. Representatives of the political system always tie the power code to the moral code and stylize themselves as representatives of the common interest. In aesthetic discourse, it is a favorite rhetorical strategy to promote oneself as the mouthpiece of authentic experiences which are then generalized across systems.” Indeed, Bérubé would seem to admit as much – and thereby recognize the fact of functional differentiation – when he quite rightly observes that “The 104th Congress is going about the business of dismantling social programs despite the fact that one radical conservative claims natural, biological sanction for […]
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The Godfather Seen Through The Lens of Elite Criticism (and Vice Versa)

[…]is the bella figura, “the attention to form of presentation governing social situations and the code that expresses an individual’s public utterance and social script.” Bella figura “governs oral communication and shapes its social pragmatics while providing its theatre” and, coincidentally, looks a lot like what elite critics might call professionalism. Most important is the maintenance of an impeccable coolness in the eyes of others, “especially in public appearances where indirectness and forms rule over frank exchange. For a Corleone to become impetuous, imprudent, impatient, to ‘not get the message,’ is to place the family at considerable risk and its […]
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Attacked from Within

[…]Trade Center as figures for the dominance of a binarism that includes digital culture, the genetic code, and the duopoly of liberal capitalist states. Developing this analysis, Baudrillard, in “Requiem for the Twin Towers,” suggests that the towers suffered two attacks and two deaths that constitute a critical extension of such binary logic: the effect of the attacks is to suggest the possibility of the overthrow of the power embodied in the towers. As well as physical destruction, Baudrillard states that the towers endured a symbolic collapse that was due to their inability to sustain the image of contemporary capitalist […]

Materiality and Matter and Stuff: What Electronic Texts Are Made Of

[…]of older textual forms is a misplaced gesture, symptomatic of the general extent to which textual studies and digital studies have failed to communicate. If we acknowledge that printed texts do not “stay themselves,” we should also ask what it means for electronic texts to “replace themselves.” The critical discourse surrounding digital technologies – often taking its cues from post-structuralism – has embraced their putative ephemerality, as if we must surrender ourselves to the eventual loss of our most precious data in order to realize the medium to its full potential. I want to suggest that there is a kind […]
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The Selling of E-The People

[…]search by job title, search by location, search by a menu of political issues, even your own zip code, and find the right official to e-mail your suggestion or grievance. As an afterthought, we decided to add interactive petitions, a suggestion of our 19-year-old Russian programmer. (Max was an Ayn Rand fan: his version contained one Darwinian feature we later dropped: the Bad Idea Pile, a section of the site where all the weak petitions that couldn’t get signatures would go to die of ridicule.) When we started, I thought the job was relatively simple and would take Max a […]

The Materiality of Technotexts

[…]treatment of Lexia to Perplexia is at its most rewarding when she deals with the computer-code-laden Creole discourse, the way the computer code “shines through” the English language, like “cell…f (and cell.f), homophones for self that conflate identity with a pixilated cell and the notation for a mathematical function.” It is, however, not quite as convincing when Hayles concludes that Lexia to Perplexia tells “new stories about how texts and bodies entwine.” Her skillful interpretation of the linguistic and intertextual aspects of the work seems to fight against her own conclusion: even a work like Lexia to Perplexia still mainly […]

The Question of the Animal

[…]as thoughtful critique of the “faux posthumanism” of postcolonial theorist Homi Bhabha. After working through these chapters, the reader might be wondering what the ethico-political purchase of this volume is. If Wolfe is critical of the limits of current animal rights theory, does he have anything to offer in its place? In short, the reader might ask, what is the ethics and politics of a posthumanist thought of the other animal? Wolfe attempts to answer these questions in his conclusion, “Postmodern Ethics, the Question of the Animal, and the Imperatives of Posthumanist Theory.” As we have already seen, Wolfe is […]

Words and Syllables

[…]us something that only the novel form could tell us?” (“Traffic” 32). The acerbity of these critical attacks is startling, given the strong connection between Cosmopolis and other works by DeLillo, some of which have received euphoric critical praise. DeLillo’s mega-novel Underworld, hailed by many critics as a contemporary American classic, begins its haunting Epilogue with a meditation on the sublime shaping powers of technological capitalism: Capital burns off the nuance in a culture. Foreign investment, global markets, corporate acquisitions, the flow of information through transnational media, the attenuating influence of money that’s electronic and sex that’s cyberspaced, untouched money […]

Sim Capital: General Intellect, World Market, Species Being, and the Video Game

[…]just the accumulation of “fixed capital” with advanced machines. Some of the writings of this group can be found in the collection edited by Paolo Virno and Michael Hardt, Radical Thought in Italy: A Potential Politics (University of Minnesota: Minneapolis, 1996). Rather, it is the variable potential of human subjectivity that continues to be critical for the creation and operation of this high technology apparatus – although often as indirect and heavily mediated, rather than direct, hands-on, labor. This subjective element they variously term “mass intellect” or “immaterial labor.” See Paulo Virno “Notes on the General Intellect,” in Marxism Beyond […]
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Resisting the Interview

[…]fragmentation is produced. Yet, the interview holds together with snippets of linearity, code, idiosyncratic vernacular, enjambment, the human voice, and what seems to be non-sequiturs – if viewed from the perspective of print conventions. The interview does not explain who is the interviewer and who is the interviewee: readers confront uncertain attribution. The medium is the message. Form follows function. The play is the thing. Amerika says, “I am intrigued with the idea of exploding the standard model for narrative construction.” New Media demands its own aesthetics of Informatics situated in the political to disturb complacency about artistic production, distribution, […]

Social Worlds of the Information Society: Lessons from the Calumet Region

[…]and product/advertisement/community as complex chains created for a given purpose by one set of groups are adopted and modified over time by other groups. Planned urban streets no longer separate social classes; here relevant social categories may be as explicit as the data fields coded into marketing databases or as implicit as the global audience for a popular World Wide Web site. This analysis is sympathetic to and complements media studies efforts that trace the multiple, ongoing ways that the cultural technologies of media situate audiences. The forms of life congruent with the adoption of the printing press, highways, and […]
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L’Affaire PMC: The Postmodern Culture-Johns Hopkins University Press Conversation

[…]of PMC, as Moulthrop says. But PMC ‘s (and ebr ‘s along with any other provider of independent critical thinking) contents have a meta-role as critical information, in my view, whether it take the form of hypertexts which dis-order and restructure the role of reader/writer, content/form, and in doing so resist commodification (as Moulthrop sees it) or traditional leftist critique. In either case (and there are other forms available), content needs free dissemination as counterbalances to totalizing corporate control, as much as bug patches need distributing, and are distributed freely. Think of it as tips on how to use the […]
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On ®TMark, or, The Limits of Intellectual Property Hacktivism

[…]independent essay “Writing as Hacktivism: An Intervening Satire”) draws attention to the group’s status as cultural producers, the media generally represent ®TMark as political pranksters or innocuous saboteurs. In other words, the media have focused on ®TMark’s anti-corporate content. At rtmark.com, the group provides its own statement of goals, a rhetorically complex statement fusing and confusing the claims of activism and art. In answer to the FAQ “What is ®TMark, anyhow?,” for instance, we find the following definitions: “®TMark is a brokerage that benefits from ‘limited liability’ just like any other corporation; using this principle ®TMark supports the sabotage (informative […]
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Before and After the Web: George P. Landow (interviewed by Harvey L. Molloy)

[…]1993) both of which he edited with Paul Delany, and Hypertext: The Convergence of Contemporary Critical Theory and Technology (Johns Hopkins UP, 1992), which has appeared in various European and Asian languages and as Hypertext in Hypertext (Johns Hopkins UP, 1994), a greatly expanded electronic version with original texts by Derrida, reviews, student interventions, and works by other authors. In 1997, he published a much-expanded, completely revised version as Hypertext 2.0. He has also edited Hyper/Text/Theory. (Johns Hopkins UP, 1994). Harvey L. Molloy is an Assistant Professor in the University Scholars Programme at the National University of Singapore (NUS). His […]
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Michael Milken and the Corporate Raid on Education

[…]to the company, “Nobel Learning Communities’ programs are targeted towards the working families of America.” Why do America’s working families need private schools? “Analysts believe the opportunity to build an education company into a significant and profitable business is huge and is fueled by the Nation’s need to reform a system that is getting failing grades.” Are the “Nation’s” schools really in need of reform or are only some of the nation’s citizens’ schools in need of reform? Certainly Nobel is not targetting the larely white suburban schools populated by the children of the professional class. Nobel schools could certainly […]
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From Utopianism to Weak Messianism: Electronic Culture’s Spectral Moment

[…]organized labor in the United States. Yet the voice of these workers has perhaps never been more critical than today. This group, as one of the largest and most highly educated segments of the work force, is uniquely suited to challenge the rhetoric of technological determinism that passes off choices based on expediency as inevitable consequences of the new economy. Although computer networks and high-speed telecommunications technology have made it easier for decision makers to restructure how labor is defined, deployed, and compensated at the turn of the millennium, as Manuel Castells points out, “technology per se is not the […]
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Next Generation Student Resources: A Speculative Primer

[…]MOOzymandias. The Ivanhoe Game was developed ‘to use digital tools and space to reflect critically on received aesthetic works (like novels) and on the process of critical reflection that one brings to such works’ (McGann, Ivanhoe). Players of The Ivanhoe Game not only engage with aesthetic works in performative ways, but intervene in them within an environment which puts their ‘critical and reflective operations on clear display’. In playing the game, the players in effect, perform the novel, making critical and aesthetic decisions about the text which, in fact, creates a new and evolving narrative. The Ivanhoe Game thus becomes, […]
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Bataille’s Project: Atheology, Non-Knowledge

[…]that matter. The significance of this piece also lies in its being representative of a number of group discussions that Bataille, much like the Surrealists, pursued on a regular basis. Participating in the discussion on sin were the usual suspects associated with Bataille – Klossowski, Blanchot, Leiris, Paulhan. Also there were Sartre, Camus, de Beauvior, Merleau-Ponty and Hippolyte. A third group was comprised of priests such as Father Danielou and Father More, who hosted many such meetings at his home, and Gabriel Marcel. The “Discussion” not only presents “propositions” from Bataille’s lecture, but also a response from Father Danielou, as […]
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Hypertext Markets: a Report from Italy

[…]classes. Hypertext is making its way into the law school at the University of Trento, in literary studies at the University of Modena, and in social studies at the University of Urbino. A Professor in occupational medicine at Modena has recently published a hypertext essay on his discipline. These are but a selection of examples meant to show that, despite a general atmosphere of resistance, a vital component within academia is already pursuing possibilities opened by hypertext. These people have to overcome enormous difficulties, including lack of funds and the chronically shortsighted attitude of our Ministry of Education. Nonetheless, judging […]

Janet Murray responds in turn

[…]has proven to be an extremely productive approach, and the successes and near-misses of this group are worth serious attention from ludologists and game designers. It is significant that this group has again discovered that computer glitches can be unintentionally expressive, sometimes more expressive than explicitly programmed behaviors. In his seminal article on emotion in believable characters, Joe Bates described an earlier character who elicited sympathy by a programming glitch that caused him to twitch in a way that viewers interpreted as frustration [Bates, 1994]. The issue here is one that can be found in other computationally ambitious, agent-driven projects, […]

Victoria Vesna responds

[…]early game genres (Multi-User Domain, and MUD, Object Oriented, respectively) were successful in working with the player’s imagination, allowing for identification to happen on the basis of world-building and interaction with an online community. MUDs and MOOs are excellent examples of using words and stories that come from conventional literature in such radically different ways that an entirely new form of literature, if it can be called this, emerged. Games are intrinsically different in their mode of address and almost always lose their magic when trying to assume the narrative rules of movies. Equally, movies are rarely able to give […]

On the Globalization of Literature: Haruki Murakami, Tim O’Brien, and Raymond Carver

[…]subconscious is invented by a genius scientist called the Professor, which makes it possible to code and decode information through one’s brains while its owner is unconscious: birth of the ultimate cryptology. Yet, among the twenty-six on whom the new system is experimented, the hero of the novel is the only survivor, which is the governmental secret. No one can find the reason the rest have died; suggested is that the hero’s fitting to the system concerns the contents of the rearranged story of his subconscious. Its title “The End of the World” – a quote from the song, “Don’t […]
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On Materialities, Meanings, and The Shape of Things

[…]be the case that Buffalo, where I’m presently writing this essay, is the home of a significant working-class identity that is not necessarily defined by income; the moment any one of my Buffalo-bred undergraduate students speaks up in class I’m immediately aware of how much more than simply money informs their thinking. On a less mundane level, Hardt and Negri are hardly simply proposing to ontologize poverty in the way that de Man seeks to ontologize texts – they are proposing, at the very least, that there is a new proletariat (distinctly different from the industrial working class who were […]
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Phoebe Sengers responds in turn

[…]matter ” (Agre, p. xiii). Important to note here is the primacy of the technical over the critical in a critical technical practice. One must first start with a technical problem, then one can take a critical or philosophical approach, by which one finds a technical solution. This is, in fact, true of SS-AI, at least the work on expressive agent architecture which I describe in First Person. It is not, however, true of Expressive AI. In Expressive AI, the opposite situation holds: the technical problems that the artist chooses to tackle are a consequence of the artist’s vision of […]

Fingering Prefiguring

[…]definition of future studies’ goal echoes the general goals of academics engaged in cultural studies and critical theory. However, this futurism, both “optimistic” and “realistic,” is undercut by the collection’s coda, Mark Dery’s “Memories of the Future: Excavating the Jet Age at the TWA Terminal.” Reviewing the shabby remains of JFK ‘s TWA Terminal, Dery pronounces that the Jet Age “is well and truly gone, and with it the belief that we are cleared for takeoff to a brighter tomorrow, master-planned by social engineers and watched over by technocrats who will ensure that the monorails run on time” (300). His […]

Celebrating Complexity

[…]and anti-systemic thought. As he explains in his introduction, the challenge of contemporary critical theory is to imagine “a nontotalizing structure that nonetheless acts as a whole” (11). Taylor’s critique of deconstruction and other forms of “post-structuralism” is that they have failed in this task. Deconstruction, he argues, has focused exclusively on the Kierkegaardian critique of totalizing systems, demonstrating the ways in which systems presuppose but cannot contain the unpredictable, that which is wholly other. The problem with this position is that it assumes that all systems aim for perfect self-closure and thus repress difference. Hence, deconstruction can never imagine […]

Optical Media Archaeologies

[…]in their dramatic fight” (108). The panorama thus suspends the viewer’s ability to reflect critically on what they are seeing, as “the picture was designed to arouse, or even create, nationalistic and patriotic feelings in the audience” (112). Because virtual image spaces produce even more powerful immersive effects, Grau adds that they exercise an even greater degree of control over the observer: “In virtual environments, a fragile, core element of art comes under threat: the observer’s act of distancing that is a prerequisite for any critical reflection” (202). This is most clearly illustrated in Grau’s discussion of Charlotte Davies’ Osmose […]

The Pleasures of Immersion and Interaction

[…]Press. —. (1997a). “Nonce Upon Some Times: ReReading Hypertext Fiction.” Modern Fiction Studies 43, no.3 (1997): 579-597. —. (1997b). Twelve Blue. http://www.eastgate.com/TwelveBlue/. Landow, George P. (1992). The Dickens Web. Watertown, MA: Eastgate Systems. —. (1997). Hypertext 2.0: The Convergence of Contemporary Critical Theory and Technology, 2nd edition. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Langer, Suzanne (1953). Feeling and Form. New York: Scribner. Larsen, Deena (1994). Marble Springs. Watertown, MA: Eastgate Systems. Laurel, Brenda (1991). Computers as Theatre. New York: Addison-Wesley. Lynch, Kevin (1960). The Image of the City. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. Marshall, Catherine C., and Frank M. Shipman (1993). […]

Literal Art

[…]of literary phenomena is trivial and that “digital” is a redundant term (in cultural studies at least). It is used for media that would be better characterised as “literal.” This may present itself as a ironic circumstance. I may appear to be proposing that we apply critical tools and criteria from a world of relatively conservative cultural authority, from print culture, from alphabetic minds, and attempting to use them to overdetermine our brave new world of networked and programmable media. However, it should be clear from what I’ve said so far that I am concerned with addressing the materiality of […]

Approaches to Interactive Text and Recombinant Poetics

[…]machine of perfectly definite form. (Hodges 1983, 104) The varying symbolic properties of computer code become compressed, and function in a pun-like manner, inwardly enabling the functionality of a code-driven conceptual machine within specific hardware environments, while outwardly presenting media and physical process variables. The body becomes enmeshed experientially. A participant exploring such media-spaces becomes structurally coupled with the authored artifacts of computational media elements and processes. Maturana describes this as a linguistic domain. Yet we are just beginning to experience the fruits of how someone uses this potential functionality of computer-based authorship, when they draw upon a cogent field […]
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What Does a Very Large-Scale Conversation Look Like?

[…]need a map of the group in order to find their current or desired position in the group. Groups need a map to reflect on their limits and internal structure. This map can be either a metaphorical or a literal map. Maps have historically been very important for geographically circumscribed groups. On a country’s map, citizens can find their homes, their proximity to the capital, their range of travel experience, and so forth. Maps usually incorporate several kinds of information; e.g., political boundaries, roads, and elevations might be included on one map of a region. No map can incorporate all […]
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Phoebe Sengers responds

[…]that provides for a potential point of agreement between the participants; is it likely that newsgroup posters using the Conversation Map to read their newsgroup come to the same conclusion? I don’t know. It does seem that this perspective could be fruitful for continuing work – how can the Conversation Map be restructured and extended to serve as well as possible the goal of helping to make very large-scale conversations more self-reflective? And, to share in Sack’s refreshing optimism, I hope that critical technical practices like his may make such cultural changes possible. Rebecca Ross responds Warren Sack […]

Metaphoric Networks in Lexia to Perplexia

[…]creole is not, however, made up from two natural languages but rather from English and computer code. Code erupts through the surface of the screenic text, infecting English with machine instructions and machine instructions with English, as if the distinction between natural language and computer commands has broken down and the two languages are mingling promiscuously inside the computer. In addition to these linguistic strategies are rewritings of myth. Drawing on a range of classical references from the story of Echo and Narcissus to Minoan funeral practices, Memmott reenvisions this material to make it enact narratives about how human subjects […]