(See what I did there?) The last couple of months have seen an uptick in published commentary on Strange Rain, much of it owing to notice the app received at this year’s Modern Language Association conference in Seattle. Strange Rain was included in a wide-ranging electronic literature exhibit curated by Dene Grigar, Kathi Inman Berens, and Lori Emerson, and was also the topic of a paper presented by Mark Sample for the panel ”Reading Writing Interfaces: Electronic Literature’s Past and Present.” Also featured in the e-lit exhibit were Ruben & Lullaby and Blue Velvet at dedicated stations, and Chroma and Public Secrets indirectly as part of the Electronic Literature Collection 2. I feel very fortunate to see such a variety of projects garnering interest, and in such good company to boot—a Storify archive has been posted that captures some of the who, what and when.
Below are links to the two MLA-related essays which discuss Strange Rain, along with another piece from a recently-launched Tumblr called The Chimerist (they don’t love my writing, but I find it somehow inspiring when folks tweet critical reviews of their own work, so I’m following that example!).
”Toward a Mobile and Geolocative E-Lit Aesthetic”, by Kathi Inman Berens
”Strange Rain and the Poetics of Motion and Touch”, by Mark Sample
”Strange Rain”, by The Chimerist
Moderated by Freewaves founder Anne Bray, the Digital Studies Symposium at USC (open and free to the public on Thursday evenings) has been hosting weekly conversations between pairs of digital designers about the myriad, ever more swiftly flowing currents of the digital humanities. Anne was kind enough to invite my Vectors collaborator Craig Dietrich and myself down to the Zemeckis Center to speak on February 11th, and video of the talk has been posted to Vimeo (see below). There’s also a video archive of all the prior speakers on the DSS site.
Just wanted to share a few snapshots taken just prior to the opening of the installation of Blood Sugar at the UCLA Art | Science Center (the exhibit runs through February 20). The event went quite well—people seemed to really be engaging with the content of the piece, and we got lots of positive feedback about the use of the Wii remote and nunchuk as controllers. “Feels like Minority Report,” one visitor commented.
One interesting tip that might be of use to other folks wanting to create Wii remote-driven installations using the sensor bar: we found that stacking two sensor bars one on top of the other resulted in significantly more reliable pointer control.
This Thursday, January 29 from 5:00 - 7:00 pm, UCLA’s Art | Science Center & Lab [directions] is hosting an opening reception for a three-week exhibit of two documentary projects by Sharon Daniel: Public Secrets and the forthcoming Blood Sugar—any interested Angelenos are welcome. I worked with Sharon designing and programming both projects. Here’s a description of Blood Sugar:
Blood Sugar is a “new media documentary” that examines the social and political construction of poverty, alienation, and addiction in American society through the eyes of those who live it. Blood Sugar provides an interactive interface to an audio archive of conversations with 24 current and former injection drug users recorded at the HIV Education and Prevention Program of Alameda County and in California state prisons. Since addicts must fear encounters with regimes of enforcement, they are afraid to be seen-but they do want to be heard. Theirs are the most important voices in the discourse around addiction, public health, poverty and belonging in America. Through the stories of those most affected by addiction, Blood Sugar challenges us to address question such as, what is the social and political status of the addicted? Is the addict considered fully human, diseased, possessed or wholly “other” and thus rendered ideologically appropriate to her status as less than human?
Barring technical issues, you’ll be able to navigate Blood Sugar with a Wii remote and nunchuk at the opening, which makes for quite an immersive experience. We’d love to see you there.
Last week’s event at LA Flash was a lot of fun; thanks to all who attended. I promised while I was there that I would make Swing 2.0 available for download—at the moment this is proving more difficult than I hoped, mainly because as soon as I take the project files out of their Flex project folder, they stop working. It’s not a matter of files being missing or anything, and I’ve seen this with other projects, where the project files must be in the folder FlexBuilder has blessed as the official project folder to work. I’m sure there must be something really simple I’m missing here, but I’m stumped at the moment. Any suggestions would be welcomed!