(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
See below—an interview by Andrew Jakubowicz of the University of Technology Sydney with David Theo Goldberg, author of Blue Velvet, the Vectors project we collaborated on last year with Stefka Hristova. David has some kind things to say about my work, but more importantly the two engage in a rather deep, lengthy and wide-ranging discussion about the piece. If you’re interested in this project and the process by which it was created, give this clip a play.
In related news, we recently launched The Threat of Race, a companion site to David’s new book of the same title. The site includes a blog, as well as an interesting interactive feature called the ThreatMap—a Google Maps-based reference that locates concepts and media related to the book in both geographic and conceptual space.
Since the iPhone 3G was released and the developer program opened to the general public, I’ve been cramming—learning the ins and outs of the SDK (not to mention C, Objective-C and Cocoa) in the hope of developing an original application by year’s end. Progress has been good so far, in that wonderfully frustrating way that happens when you’re really stretching your skills. Painful happiness!
I’ll be releasing more info about the project as time goes on, but there’s two things I can report now: the first is that I’m working again with comic artist Ezra Claytan Daniels, who is doing some really wonderful illustrations for the piece. The second is that I’ve finally caved and started a Twitter account for the purposes of keeping a micro development diary on the project. So, if slightly vague descriptions of programming tasks and other minutia are up your alley, then you’ve come to the right place. Must remember not to violate NDA…
I’ve had peripheral contact with the Electronic Literature Organization over the years (including a public reading of unpublished chapters of Chroma at the Hammer Museum which was a blast), but never attended one of their conferences until this year. Blue Velvet was accepted in to the Media Art Show at this year’s Visionary Landscapes conference at Washington State University Vancouver, which afforded me the opportunity to attend. I’m glad I did—it was a wonderful experience.
Having so many luminaries in the field in one place was enlightening in and of itself, especially because the attendees were a mix of both scholars and artists, making for a lively interplay between theory and practice. In many cases, I ended up meeting people for the first time whose names I’ve been aware of for years. Gratifying as well was the chance to connect with a number of folks who were early fans of The Lair of the Marrow Monkey and Chroma. New faces were abundant as well—people excited by the potential of the medium who were either taking their first steps in this world or doing important research to push the form ahead.
I was particularly impressed by the work being done in generative narrative by D. Fox Harrell, Kenny K. N. Chow and Jichen Zhu at Georgia Tech. The GRIOT system originated by Harrell and Joseph Goguen takes what I found to be a very refreshing approach to dynamic narrative—I can’t say that I have a strong grasp of the technical aspects of the engine, but there was a kind of fluidity of scale and affect involved in the formal elements the system generates that felt far less “brittle” than other generative approaches I’m familiar with. The fact that GRIOT immediately appeared in my mind to be well-suited to cinema, poetry and comics simultaneously was an intuitive whisper for me that Harrell and his collaborators are moving in a very productive direction.
The recent release of the Electronic Literature Collection: Volume One also seemed to mark a milestone for the field, being the first of a proposed series of collections of seminal e-lit works. Each volume is published on DVD and online under a Creative Commons license to encourage the widest dispersal possible. The conference at times felt like an implicit celebration that e-lit has managed to survive long enough to make such collections possible. While the boundaries defining exactly what e-lit is remain porous and will rightly continue to be so, the fact that a gathering dedicated to the field could engender the sense of cameraderie that it did is certainly something to celebrate. Thanks to Dene Grigar and John Barber for putting on such a great event.
Page 1 of 1 pages