Programming Literary Flow

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

"Flow" is the movement of eyes and bodies through museums or city traffic, through instructional diagrams or branching narratives, through hypertexts or games. What is flow in electronic literature? While comics scholars have theorized linear flow (e.g. closure, trails) and hypertext scholars have theorized multilinear flow (e.g. transclusions, links), this exploration of flow in elit considers flow as a total experience or simultaneous visible landscape, beginning in the visual design tradition of flowchart art. Bill Barker or Martijn Englebregt's beaurocratic infographics, Jason Shiga or Chris Ware's narrative diagrams, and Simon Patterson or Dorian Lynskey's subway map art remixes all posit narrative as an experience occuring within a visible landscape of controlled traversals. In digital arts, this situated experience is best exemplified by performers using flow-control programming. How might the metaphors and software tools of flow-control used by audio livecoders and video jockey mashup artists (e.g. PD, Max/MSP, Quartz Composer) serve electronic textualists (e.g. Yahoo! Pipes)? What sort of eliterature and epoetry aesthetics emerge from flow-controlled textual landscapes?

(Source: Author's abstract, 2008 ELO Conference)

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Scott Rettberg