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  1. The Reader as Author as Figure as Text

    The paper takes a short look at the much discussed dismissal of the author in hypertext collaborative writing and discusses the role of authorship in three German collaborative writing projects. The results are: 1. Collaboration sometimes works like collaboration with the 'enemy.' The pleasure of some collaborative writing projects therefore comes not so much from the story itself as from what the text reveals about its authors. 2. The attraction of some collaborative writing project lies in the setting more than in the contributed texts. What fails as Netliterature may get a second chance as Netart. 3. If the program of a collaborative writing project automatically and randomly creates the links and develops the structure of the whole, it takes over the collaboration between authors and their texts. The conclusion is: As the text itself becomes more and more part of a technical setting, and as the program moves more and more into the center, the project of collaborative writing increasingly dismisses the reader. To a user who accidentally stops by and starts to read, the text itself doesn't say all that much.

    Patricia Tomaszek - 14.09.2010 - 12:19

  2. Teaching Digital Literature: Didactic and Institutional Aspects

    Digital media is increasingly finding its way into the discussions of the humanities classroom. But while we have a number of grand theoretical texts about digital literature we as yet have little in the way of resources for discussing the down-to-earth practices of research, teaching, and curriculum necessary for this work to mature. The book Reading Moving Letters, edited by Roberto Simanowski, Jörgen Schäfer and Peter Gendolla, addresses this need and provides examinations by nine scholars and teachers from different national academic backgrounds. While the first section of the book provides definitions of digital literature as a discipline of scholarly treatment in the humanities, the second section asks how and why we should teach digital literature and conduct close readings in academia and discusses institutional considerations necessary to take into account when implementing digital literature into curricula. The following text is the introduction to section two.

    Patricia Tomaszek - 14.09.2010 - 12:33

  3. A Clash between Game and Narrative

    In this paper presentation I'll be making a simple point. That computer games and narratives are very different phenomena and, as a consequence, any combination of the two, like in "interactive fiction", or "interactive storytelling" faces enormous problems.

    Patricia Tomaszek - 14.09.2010 - 13:08

  4. Digital Poetics or On the Evolution of Experimental Media Poetry

    The academic and literature critical discussion on new media poetry or about digital texts swings to and fro, in method and conception between two poles: one is the 'work immanent' approach of structure description and classification, and the other the deduction of abstract media esthetics. At a tangent to this the communication on media, culture and media art has been more or less committed to the priority of technological reasoning since the nineties at the latest. The concern with technology remains a dilemma: Technology has to be taken into account when dealing with concrete structure analyses of works of digital poetry, but some traps lie in wait. Is the knowledge accounted for here really sufficient? I would say that few of those taking part in the discussion who do not actually work in the specific area artistically are capable of programming digital texts (the same may be said of some artists). Another problem is something I have casually termed a new techno-ontology: a ‘cold fascination’ for technological being (also of texts), which flares up briefly with each innovation pressing for the market in the respective field.

    Patricia Tomaszek - 14.09.2010 - 14:16

  5. From Concrete to Digital: The Reconceptualization of Poetic Space

    It has almost become self-evident in the critical discourse on digital poetry to assess digital poetry as a continuation of an experimental tradition with its origins in the historical and the neo-avant-garde. Critics such as Friedrich W. Block and Roberto Simanowski in particular read contemporary digital poetry explicitly as extension and continuation of concerns of the avant-garde and concrete poets.

    Block points out that almost all vital concerns of digital poetry can be traced back to its historical predecessors. He names the reflection upon the concrete language material, the transgression of genre boundaries, multilinearity and the exploration of spatial structures, movement and interactivity as key strategies which are vital concepts in historical avant-garde, concrete and digital poetry. Digital poetry is frequently, and I believe correctly, assigned to the wider trajectory of experimental/avant-garde poetry in many other studies as well. It is often considered as a third stage, contemporary continuation and further development of earlier experiments.

    Patricia Tomaszek - 14.09.2010 - 14:43

  6. Writing on Complex Surfaces

    Writing in programmable media is theorized in relation to the surface of writing.[1] Within the framework of currently dominant cultural and technological formations, the surface of writing is conceptually simple, and this overdetermines practices of writing. As it is typically conceived, the surface of writing is a flatland plane, a 3rd-dimensionless scroll (however segmented or, indeed, fragmented) on which linguistic symbols, similarly dimensionless, are arrayed. Once language has come to rest on this simple surface, any qualities it may possess of temporality or material depth are bracketed. Programmable media problematize this dominant but simple model, and yet, arguably, its depthless, timeless surface misdirects the composition and publication of writing, even writing that is instantiated in programmable media. In the field of poetics, there are traditions for which the surface of writing is complex. Although rarely made explicit, such approaches to the writing surface have enriched the practices of important writers, particularly poetic writers.

    Patricia Tomaszek - 14.09.2010 - 17:21

  7. A Four-Sided Model for Reading Hypertext Fiction

    I will not pursue the issue of a hypertextual competence (or a multimodal hypertextual competence) here. Rather I would like to take a closer look at literary hypertext and electronic literature itself, and the fact that electronic literature, just like print literature, prefigures different modes of reading. I will insist on the necessity of examining what mode of reading and what kind of responses are prefigured in hypertexts when we make conclusions about hypertext reading. I want to approach the topic by putting weight on how Megan Heyward’s Of day, of night (2002) prefigures the reader's response. The aim of this article is to explore some of the preconditions for reading Of day, of night, and to identify three modes of reading in this hypertext fiction. In addition to these three modes I will argue for a fourth mode of reading hypertext fiction. This mode can be identified in several literary hypertexts, but is less relevant for describing the preconditions for reading Heyward's text. Consequently I will make use of other work to exemplify this mode. Four modes of reading are identified and described. These are semantization, exploration, self-reflection and absorption.

    Patricia Tomaszek - 17.09.2010 - 11:09

  8. Beyond the Screen: Transformations of Literary Structures, Interfaces and Genres

    While literature in computer-based and networked media has so far been experienced by looking at the computer screen and by using keyboard and mouse, nowadays human-machine interactions are organized by considerably more complex interfaces. Consequently, this book focuses on literary processes in interactive installations, locative narratives and immersive environments, in which active engagement and bodily interaction is required from the reader to perceive the literary text. The contributions from internationally renowned scholars analyze how literary structures, interfaces and genres change, and how transitory aesthetic experiences can be documented, archived and edited.

    Patricia Tomaszek - 17.09.2010 - 17:19

  9. An ethnography of a networked community as emergent creativity

    This paper presents the methodological toolkit that will be used at the ELMCIP project to investigate creativity as expressed and experienced by online creative communities. Whilst creativity is often perceived as the product of the individual artist, or creative ensemble, it can also be considered as an emergent phenomenon of communities driving change and facilitating individual or ensemble creativity. The ELMCIP project will gather valuable information on the interpretation and the performativity of ‘creativity’ by electronic literature practitioners – both professional and amateur – within a transnational and multicultural context. To acquire an understanding of how such a community interacts, communicates and exchanges knowledge, within a transnational context, the research will adopt online ethnographic methods, involving multiple sites of observation, which are intended to cut across the dichotomies of the ‘local’ and the ‘global’.

    Jill Walker Rettberg - 18.09.2010 - 22:09

  10. Distributed Authorship and Creative Communities (conference paper)

    In its requirement for both an author and reader art can be considered a participatory activity. Expanded concepts of agency, such as in actor-network-theory (Latour 2005), question what or who can be an active participant, allowing us to revisit the debate on authorship from a new perspective. We can ask whether creativity might be regarded as a form of social interaction rather than an outcome. How might we understand creativity as interaction between people and things, as sets of discursive relations rather than outcomes? Whilst creativity is often perceived as the product of the individual artist, or creative ensemble, it can also be considered an emergent phenomenon of communities, driving change and facilitating individual or ensemble creativity. Creativity can be a performative activity released when engaged through and by a community and understood as a process of interaction. In this context the model of the solitary artist who produces artefacts which embody creativity is questioned as an ideal for achieving creative outcomes. Instead, creativity is proposed as an activity of exchange that enables (creates) people and communities.

    Simon Biggs - 21.09.2010 - 10:49