Third Hand Plays: An Introduction to Electronic Literature

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

The first in a series of columns about electronic literature and digital literary art written by Brian Kim Stefans for the SFMOMA's Open Space blog.  Here, Stefans explains the premise behind his column: each installment describes what he dubs one of the "simples" of digital literature, that is, "some element in the deep structure of the text/alogrithm interaction" that the author deploys to produce aesthetic effects. In digital literature, Stefans proposes, these formal elements are akin to poetic features, such as assonance, alliteration, and rhyme, that can be identified as a poem's basic components. Critical terminology provides readers and critics a tool for describing how a work of literature functions, and Stefans' "simples" are intended to enable readers to not only identify techniques used to produce digital literary art but also to better understand how authors deploy these poetic effects meaningfully. (Source: Eric Dean Rasmussen)

Pull Quotes: 

The usefulness of these simples is that I can use one or two of them to describe relatively simple works of digital literature — the word-movies of YHCHI I link to above — or use a bunch of them to describe something more technologically complex, such as the magisterial work by David Clark called “88 Constellations for Wittgenstein (to be played with the left hand),” which has moments of text animation like in YHCHI along with other features that require a different simple to describe

Ironically, more theory about hypertext was produced in the days before the web, when one had to work one’s way back to the one computer in the computer science department reserved for creative efforts... than now, when hypertext is a way of life.

Contents (Creative Works):

Work title Author
Out of Touch Christine Wilks
STRUTS J. R. Carpenter
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Patricia Tomaszek