To browse the internet is to subject oneself to sophisticated and unceasing techniques of attention-capture, of which the pop-up advertisement is only the most crass and vexatious example. This paper describes the development of Nightingale, a web browser extension that fights distraction with distraction. It does this by injecting the web with pop-up ads consisting of semantically-relevant fragments of the poetry of Keats. Nightingale represents an attempt to engage in “noöhacking”—that is, repurposing the cognitively-destructive aspects of contemporary digital media in order to care for one’s own mind.’
In this article, Kelsey Cameron and Jessica FitzPatrick propose attunement, a conceptual intervention that returns lived experience to critical making. They argue for attunement in three areas: disciplinary recognition of making, labs and other university maker spaces, and campus-community engagement. Attunement helps bring equity into critical making, highlighting how larger systems shape individual acts of making.
River: Forking Paths, Monsters, Simultaneous Timelines and Continuity over 25 Years of Creative Practiceby Caitlin Fisher
FEATURED ARTIST: In this essay, Caitlin Fisher reflects on the ideas, processes, and approaches that have shaped and influenced her work in digital storytelling and electronic literature for over 25 years. She invokes theorists like Borges, Haraway, and Aristotle and critical concepts of hybridity, string theory, hypermedia, and spatial narratives to illuminate readers about the simultaneous timelines, continuity, and forking paths that run through the river of her work.
In this conversation and accompanying "How to Not" guide, Drs. Lai-Tze Fan, Kishonna Gray, and Aynur Kadir consider responsible theories and methods towards racial equity, racial justice, and anti-racism in game design. Their main focus is on how games can provide a platform for helping people understand and learn about these issues.
This essay explores intersections among queer theory, critical making methodology and inclusive design through a research creation piece that aims to problematize normative video game controller schemes.
Jin Sol Kim and Lulu Liu interview the Decameron 2.0, a Canadian collaborative made up of professors and artists who are inspired by Giovanni Boccaccio’s plague narrative The Decameron (1348-1353) to develop creative works during and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Burdick situates the speculative software prototypes of Trina: A Design Fiction as design-theory hybrids that can expand our understanding of critical making and critical design. The essay offers four readings of the Trina prototypes, designed as research into speculative writing technologies that are situated and embodied. The essay concludes with the introduction of an “Indexical Reader,” a design concept for close and distant reading in the Humanities.
Nacher, Rettberg, and Pold offer a curatorial statement about the COVID E-Lit Exhibition--one of the many exhibitions held at the ELO 2021 conference. This Exhibition in particular, they explain, focused on reactionary, reflexive, and recovery-based art in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stanfill and Salter reflect on conferencing amidst their organization of the 2020 ELO Conference in Orlando, Florida that had to change to due a global pandemic. Sharing their experiences and wisdom, they discuss the strengths and weaknesses of various virtual platforms for conferencing, coupled with the contexts of concurrent politics, co-location, and lessons for the future.
Wright explores the digital manifestation of an orihon manuscript style for how it can expand how we think of the novel's form. He considers how digital versions of J.M. Coetzee's Diary of a Bad Year and his own print novella make use of the concept of the fold as identified in the orihon style.
This except from Twining: Critical and Creative Approaches to Hypertext Narratives explores the popular and open-source digital storytelling platform Twine. Authors Anastasia Salter and Stuart Moulthrop discuss the history of Twine as well as existing works and possible projects.
Nick Montfort discusses two of his computer-generated texts that manifest as print-on-demand books, websites and gallery installations. Though distinct in form and content, Autopia and The Truelist were guided by the author's self-imposed constraints and programmed with minimal code to produce predetermined, "novel-size" outputs. Montfort intends these texts to engage the imaginations of readers with the combinatory aspects of language in culture as well as invite them to a deeper reading of the generating code.
Leah Henrickson explores the contexts surrounding the publication of The Policeman's Beard is Half Constructed, advertised as “the first book ever written by a computer” at the time of its release in 1984. Drawing from contemporary reviews, personal correspondence with the book’s creators, and analysis of the book itself, Henrickson offers insight into precisely how this book was produced, and by whom. Although a computer program called Racter is listed as the author of The Policeman’s Beard, this attribution does not accurately reflect the human labor driving the book’s development and dissemination. This essay illuminates these networks of human labour that ultimately led to Racter and The Policeman's Beard.
The lively dialogue among the contributing authors, ebr’s longest-serving and newly appointed editors, and the engaged and interested audience, which accompanied the Post-Digital / Dialogues and Debates book launch in September 2020, is an interesting insight into the recent debates on the multifaceted ramifications of digital disruption and the ways in which it has transformed our society, culture, and aesthetics. The discussion throws some light as well on the always fascinating history of the early electronic literature initiatives which had laid the groundwork for what eventually turned out to become the whole new field of intermedia literary practice and the sub-discipline of trans- and interdisciplinary academic inquiry. The authors of the mammoth 2-volume anthology recruit from the variety of contexts and offer diverse looks at the post-digital condition of our contemporaneity.
Renren Yang insightfully reveals the rarely (if ever) explored domain of cover designs for Chinese Web novels. Tracing their evolution from a print format that enables the tactile and sensual pleasures of opening the actual book to its supposedly more immaterial digital incarnation, Yang reimagines the very idea of a book cover in the digital age. This closer look reveals how serialized novels’ cover design frames the reader's experience, demonstrating as well the fact that the already well established periodization of the First, Second, and Third Generation e-literature are culturally and geographically specific, and dependent on the local histories of computing technology beyond Euro-American context. Analyzing the conceptual tension and fusion between book cover as a “mixed medium” and digital cover as “intermedium,” and drawing upon Chinese pictorial tradition, Yang defines the ontology of the digital book cover as an attempt at reconfiguring “flatness” on the digital screen.