Video of my #! reading, which I did at Google Boston on December 2, is now online.
An upcoming exhibit, a group show here in town, features a work of mine…
Collision21: More Human
The exhibition Collision21: More Human will be at the Boston Cyberarts
Gallery September 13-October 26, 2014, with an opening on Friday, September
12th from 6 to 9pm. This is a group show dealing with two closely-related
concepts: human self-modification and the human modification of our
environment. Formed by artists and technologists, the COLLISIONcollective is
premised on the sometimes abrupt intersection between art and technology.
Art Technology New England (ATNE) will be hosting a salon which will feature
COLLISIONcollective artists from this exhibition discussing their works and
the show. The salon will be held on Wednesday, September 24th at 7:30pm at
the Boston Cyberarts Gallery. The gallery is located at 141 Green Street in
Jamaica Plain (inside the Green St T Station on the Orange Line). The salon
is free, but please register for it by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Matt Brand, Ben Bray, Alicia Eggert, Joseph Farbrook, Antony Flackett, Rob
Gonsalves, Hwayong Jung, Gloria King Merritt, Georgina Lewis, Robin
Lohrey, Mark Millstein, Nick Montfort, Andrew Neumann, Sarah Rushford, Fito
Segrera, John Slepian, Sophia Sobers
My piece in the show is “From the Tables of My Memorie,”
documented at nickm.com. It’s an interactive video installation.
MIT, room 14E-310
Monday 4/28, 5:30pm
Free and open to the public, no reservation required
This Monday (2014-04-28) Purple Blurb is proud to host a screening and discussion of narrative video art work done in collaboration with Roderick Coover, including _The Last Volcano, Cats and Rats, Three Rails Live,_ and _Toxicity._ (The last two are combinatory pieces; _Three Rails Live_ is a collaboration between Coover, Rettberg, and Nick Montfort.) These pieces deal with personal and global catastrophes and are written across languages, with one of the voices in _Cats and Rats_ in (subtitled) Norwegian. They continue Rettberg’s work on novel-length electronic literature projects and his frequent collaboration with others.
Scott Rettberg is Professor of Digital Culture in the department of Linguistic, Literary, and Aesthetic studies at the University of Bergen, Norway. Rettberg is the project leader of ELMCIP (Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice), a HERA-funded collaborative research project, and a founder of the Electronic Literature Organization. Rettberg is the author or coauthor of novel-length works of electronic literature, combinatory poetry, and films including _The Unknown, Kind of Blue, Implementation, Frequency, Three Rails Live,_ and _Toxicity._ His creative work has been exhibited online and at art venues including the Chemical Heritage Foundation Museum, Palazzo dell Arti Napoli, Beall Center, the Slought Foundation, and The Krannert Art Museum.
More about Purple Blurb …
If you, like Ian Bogost, manage to attain Titanium Medallion status on Delta, you too can influence the content of the company’s safety videos.
“Lance Olsen is at the center of every discussion I have about the contemporary landscape of innovative and experimental writing.”
April 7, 5:30pm
MIT’s Room 14E-310
Experimental writing & video
Including a reading from his recent book _[[ there. ]]_ and video from his _Theories of Forgetting_ project.
Lance Olsen is author of more than 20 books of and about innovative writing, including two appearing this spring: the novel based on Robert Smithson’s earthwork the _Spiral Jetty_, _Theories of Forgetting_ (accompanied by a short experimental film made by one of its characters), and _[[ there. ]]_, a trash-diary meditation on the confluence of travel, curiosity, and experimental writing practices. His short stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in hundreds of journals and anthologies. A Guggenheim, Berlin Prize, N.E.A. Fellowship, and Pushcart Prize recipient, as well as a Fulbright Scholar, he teaches experimental theory and practice at the University of Utah.
Purple Blurb takes place on MIT’s main campus in Building 14, the same building that is the home of the Hayden Library. 14E-310 in in the East Wing, third floor, across the courtyard from the library entrance (do not enter the library to get to 14E-310).
Purple Blurb is free and open to the public, no reservation required.
Purple Blurb, MIT’s digital writing series organized by Prof. Nick Montfort of the Trope Tank, powers on, thanks to the four excellent writers/artists who will be presenting in Spring 2014. All events this semester will be held Mondays at 5:30pm in MIT’s room 14E-310.
March 10, 5:30pm in 14E-310:
Short Perl programs that are also artworks, presented for viewers to read, download, and execute. Thayer will trace some key steps showing how he went from his background in painting and drawing to presenting code as his artwork.
Páll Thayer is an Icelandic artist working primarily with computers and the Internet. He is devout follower of open-source culture. His work is developed using open-source tools and source-code for his projects is always released under a GPL license. His work has been exhibited at galleries and festivals around the world with solo shows in Iceland, Sweden and New York and notable group shows in the US, Canada, Finland, Germany and Brazil (to name but a few). Pall Thayer has an MFA degree in visual arts from Concordia University in Montreal. He is an active member of Lorna, Iceland’s only organization devoted to electronic arts. He is also an alumni member of The Institute for Everyday Life, Concordia/Hexagram, Montreal. Pall Thayer currently works as a lecturer and technical support specialist at SUNY Purchase College, New York.
April 7, 5:30pm in 14E-310:
Experimental writing & video
Including a reading from his recent book _[[ there. ]]_ and video from his _Theories of Forgetting_ project.
Lance Olsen is author of more than 20 books of and about innovative writing, including two appearing this spring: the novel based on Robert Smithson’s earthwork the _Spiral Jetty, Theories of Forgetting_ (accompanied by a short experimental film made by one of its characters), and _[[ there. ]],_ a trash-diary meditation on the confluence of travel, curiosity, and experimental writing practices. His short stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in hundreds of journals and anthologies. A Guggenheim, Berlin Prize, N.E.A. Fellowship, and Pushcart Prize recipient, as well as a Fulbright Scholar, he teaches experimental theory and practice at the University of Utah.
April 28, 5:30pm in 14E-310:
Videos & combinatory videos
Produced in collaboration with Roderick Coover, Nick Montfort, and others, including: _The Last Volcano, Cats and Rats, Three Rails Live and Toxicity._
Scott Rettberg is Professor of Digital Culture in the department of Linguistic, Literary, and Aesthetic studies at the University of Bergen, Norway. Rettberg is the project leader of ELMCIP (Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice), a HERA-funded collaborative research project, and a founder of the Electronic Literature Organization. Rettberg is the author or coauthor of novel-length works of electronic literature, combinatory poetry, and films including _The Unknown, Kind of Blue, Implementation, Frequency, Three Rails Live, Toxicity_ and others. His creative work has been exhibited online and at art venues including the Chemical Heritage Foundation Museum, Palazzo dell Arti Napoli, Beall Center, the Slought Foundation, The Krannert Art Museum, and elsewhere.
May 5, 5:30pm in 14E-310:
Jill Walker Rettberg
With examples from her own work as well as from photobooths, older self-portraits, and entries from others’ diaries, in her talk “Seeing Ourselves Through Technology: How We Use Selfies, Blogs and Wearable Devices to Understand Ourselves.”
Jill Walker Rettberg is Professor of Digital Culture at the University of Bergen in Norway. Her research centers on how we tell stories online, and she has published on electronic literature, digital art, blogging, games and selfies. She has written a research blog, jilltxt.net, since October 2000, and co-wrote the first academic paper on blogs in 2002. Her book _Blogging_ was published in a second edition in 2014. In 2008 she co-edited an anthology of scholarly articles on _World of Warcraft._ Jill is currently writing a book on technologically mediated self-representations, from blogs and selfies to automated diaries and visualisations of data from wearable devices.
Mr. William S. Burroughs:
Although if you live in the United States, this is my favorite version of that video:
A remarkable hypertextual video essay, Parallelograms, has been posted by Jeffrey Scudder. It is composed of an intriguing collections of clips, and includes some fascinating video quotation of (e.g.) Marshall McLuhan, Douglas Rushkoff, Ted Nelson, Alan Kay, and Chris Crawford. Not to mention my colleague Hal Albelson in a wizard hat. Also, I couldn’t help but notice that it shows the 10 PRINT program executing and features a shot of the book A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates.
If these matters at all interest you, do read/watch this video meditation on digital media, society, materiality, matter, the body, and (as I read/watch it) how the computer, whatever its limits, may have still-untapped potential for empowerment and change.
You can now watch a 26-minute supercut of all the instances of staring in all the Twilight movies.
I recommend it.
Yes, the framing is a bit corny, as if it were a video game or an educational video made to inform you about how much staring there was. Less could have been more.
There are earlier video art projects that do similar things, and more of them. One of my favorite precursors is the brilliant Every Shot, Every Episode by Jennifer & Kevin McCoy. Housed in a suitcase, it is an interactive installation that allows access to 10,000 clips from Starsky & Hutch which have been categorized in 300 ways — every extreme closeup, every yellow Volkswagon, every affirmative response, and so on.
In fandom there seems to be less interest in exhausting every shot of a certain type, but I think each of the individual parts of 21 Vidlets about Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a bit like this.
I liked the video because it raises questions about movies in general (is this amount of staring too much? What’s typical? Which directors have the most staring?) and about staring (how can it be different? What counts as staring?). And, of course, the movie or YouTube viewer’s activity, in the most stereotypical case, is nothing more than staring.
Noah Wardrip-Fruin was an organizer the Media Systems workshop at UCSC just over a year ago, August 26-29, 2012. It was an extraordinary gathering about computational media and its potential, with famous participants from a variety of disciplines and practices. The workshop’s sponsors were also remarkable: the National Science Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, Microsoft Research, and Microsoft Studios. Now, Noah is working to put high-quality videos of talks from this event online, and to offer some very useful framing discussion of those talks.
This month, three have been posted. The first of these is a talk by Ian Horswill: “Interdisciplinarity is Hard.” I’m collaborating with Ian now to edit a special issue on computational narrative and am looking forward to seeing him at AIIDE. In addition to his talk, I recommend (and assign) his short but rich article “What is Computation?,” which discusses some of the fundamentals of computation as a science along with its intellectual and cultural importance. Those with access to ACM content can also get the later version of the article that was published in Crossroads.
The second talk posted is from the inestimable production designer Alex McDowell: “World Building.” McDowell (The Crow, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Fight Club, Minority Report, Watchmen, etc., etc. ) describes how the development of movies is no longer a storytelling process driven by a single person or idea, but is becoming a process of world building in which a variety of concepts, including design and in some cases engagement with urban planning and spaces, influence each other. McDowell made his points with some of the most beautiful and byzantine diagrammatic slides since David Byrne was doing work in PowerPoint.
The most recent talk is mine – Nick Montfort: “The Art of Operationalization.” I spoke about my experience implementing humanistic ideas (in my case, about narrative) in computational systems, ones that not only can produce narrative results, but which can advance our understanding of the humanities and arts. Prof. Janet Kolodner (now serving the National Science Foundation) seemed to be uncertain about the value of this work, and questioned me about that during my talk – in a way that surprised me a bit! But looking back, I see that our discussion was one of the benefits of having a diverse yet fairly small in-person gathering. I seldom have these discussions either on this blog or in larger, multi-track conferences.
I think of Curveship and even the development of small-scale programs such as Through the Park as research activities (in the humanities, but potentially also in computation) that as connected to narrative and poetic practice. While some people (such as Ken Perlin, who was also at workshop and whose video will be up next week) work in this sort of mode and see the value in it, the benefits are not obvious. The result may not a direct educational outcome, an incremental advance that can be directly measured and evaluated, or a work of art or literature that is recognizable in a traditional way. So, whether I was able to answer well at the time or not, I appreciate the questions, and hope to get more of those sort in other workshops such as these.
In this episode of Poetry Corner with Guido, Guido the python shares a Gertrude Stein poem titled Sacred Emily.
Jared Nielsen, thanks to his schooling in Modern and Contemporary American Poetry, his ability as a programmer, and his recent creation of a puppet, has developed an amazing conflation of Gertrude Stein, the Python programming language, and the Wonder Showzen episode “Patience.”
His project parallels that of Páll Thayer along two dimensions: Thayer, in his series Microcodes, presents short programs in Perl (not Python) that often recreate famous artworks (not poems), for instance Vito Acconci’s Seedbed and Jasper Johns’s Flag.
We must admit, however, that Thayer does not employ a puppet named after Larry Wall.
Mark Saltveit, palindromist and comedian, delivers a compelling “CHAD” talk on the e-levels of palindromes and his new approaches of Palindromics and its natural cultish extension, Scinegenics. In his talk, he covers some palindrome history and the development of weaponized palindromes. Although Mark is a letterist, he mentions a classic word-unit palindrome from the book of Exodus, “AHYH ASHR AHYH,” or “ehyeh asher ehyeh,” or, to rend it into a Popeye-esque English, “yam whaddaye yam!”
As filmmaker Brett Neveu explains in his video about Christmas Bytes, he’s aiming to make the resonant Christmas movie for our (or at least my) generation, when the coveted item was not an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle, but rather the Atari Video Computer System.
Ian Bogost and I donated a signed copy of Racing the Beam to the campaign, and there are a raft of other 80s-related enticements. For instance, I tend the judge the wisdom of my actions by whether anonymous San Francisco band The Residents are doing the same, and in this case, I am pleased to say that they also have contributed CDs — and are lined up to do the original soundtrack for the film.
Until tomorrow you can also vote for Christmas Bytes as the movie of the week on Indiewire.
It’s not bigger and longer than _Star Wars,_ but it is more uncut: “Death of the Author [Psycho Shower Scene RECON]” by Dick Whyte. This, somewhat like the later famous Star Wars video, is a “reconstruction of Alfred Hitchcock’s famous shower scene from Psycho using amateur YouTube remakes.” 57 of them.
If you got that and you’re ready to increase the avant-garde, see also “John Cage – 4’33” [May ’68 Comeback Special RECON]” and “Andy Warhols Eat A Hamburger [38 Scenes From YouTube RECON].” All from 2010, but recalled here for your enjoyment.
Here’s an effective remix: Every space shuttle launch. The audio, as well as the difference in that one cell of video, draws attention to most memorable one, and the array of all of them drives home that the space shuttle launches _can_ be presented in their entirety – the program is over. The video is by McLean Fahnestock.
Un file de Machine Libertine:
Star Wars, Raw? Rats!
… is a videopoem by Natali Fedorova and Taras Mashtalir. The text is a palindrome by Nick Montfort that briefly retells “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope,” making Han Solo central. The soundtrack is a remix of Commodore 64 music by Sven Schlünzen & Jörg Rosenstiel made by Mashtalir.
The palindrome is a revised version of the one Montfort wrote in 75 minutes for the First World Palindrome Championship, held in Brooklyn on March 16, 2012:
Solo’s deed, civic deed.
Eye dewed, a doom-mood.
A pop …
Sis sees redder rotator.
Radar eye sees racecar X.
Dad did rotor gig.
Level sees reviver!
Solo’s reviver sees level …
Gig rotor did dad!
X, racecar, sees eye.
Radar rotator, redder, sees sis …
Pop a doom-mood!
A dewed eye.
Deed, civic deed.
Solo’s sagas: wow.
Machine Libertine: http://machinelibertine.wordpress.com/
The big-screen premiere of Star Wars, Raw? Rats! will be at MIT in room 32-155 on Monday, April 30, 2012. The screening, which includes a set of films made by members of the MIT community, will begin at 6pm.
was making a movie starring
Robert “can’t stop sparkling” Pattinson
based on a novel by
Don “say the word” DeLillo
about a fantastically wealthy guy trying to cross Manhattan in his limo to get a haircut
(Thanks to Mark Sample for alerting me to the trailer.)