electronic literature

Water, poetry, and the Transborder Immigrant Tool

Transborder Immigrant Tool on a Nokia Phone
Transborder Immigrant Tool on a Nokia Phone

Today, creators of the Transborder Immigrant Tool announced the release of their book containing the code and poems that power this inventive and potentially life-sustaining tool. Developed by the Electronic Disturbance Theatre while in residence at B.A.N.G. lab at University of California, San Diego, the Transborder Immigrant Tool is a mobile app developed for use on inexpensive phones that offer immigrants crossing the U.S./Mexico border on foot navigation to water stations in the desert using visual and sound cues. Once a traveler activates the app, the phone locates the nearest water cache using GPS and begins guiding the user towards the water using a compass and poems.

Your tweets, now with more poetry

Poetweet transforms users' tweets into sonnets, rondels, or indrisos
Poetweet transforms users' tweets into sonnets, rondels, or indrisos

Ever wonder what tweets would look like remixed into poetic form? This question, which few people were probably asking, is the premise behind the application Poetweet. Simply type in a Twitter handle, choose between sonnet, rondel, or indriso, and the application generates a poem.

"Divya Victor" is one such poem generated through Poetweet, using the Jacket2 Twitter account:

The poetry of unexecutable code

An unexecutable code poem by Mez Breeze
An unexecutable code poem by Mez Breeze

Along with the growth of executable code poetry, code poets are writing poems that draw on the aesthetic, formal, and visual dimensions of computer code without focusing on the executability of the code itself. The work of Mez Breeze, is one such example. Breeze is an Australian net.artist who uses the internet as a primary medium for her work. Her digital multimedia work combines sound, image, text, and code, and her writing includes electronic literature and code poems.

The poetry of executable code

An executable code poem by GreyLau
An executable code poem by GreyLau

In recent years, growing interest has emerged in the relationship between poetry and computer code. A higher brow version of ASCII art, code poems draw on programming languages like Java or C++ for their formal inspiration. Since 2013, Stanford University has been running code poetry slams to explore the poetic potential of code. Participants in these competitions have explored the broadest definitions of code poetry.

Loving e-poetry

Banner from the I Love E-Poetry project

Do you ♥ e-poetry? Leonardo Flores certainly does. Flores, an associate professor of English at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, is the driving force behind the I ♥ E-Poetry project, an online scholarly compendium of electronic poetry. E-poetry is part of a growing genre of creative writing known as "electronic literature" or "e-lit." According to the Electronic Literature Organization, e-lit includes literary texts that embrace the affordances of computing or networked technologies in their composition. Examples include hypertext fiction, poetry bots, and literature composed collaboratively online.

'Three rails live': Coover, Montfort, Rettberg

November 1, 6 PM eastern time, view live video stream

An example of the Montfort-Rettberg sticker project

Digital artist Roderick Coover (Temple University), e-poet Nick Montfort (MIT) and e-fiction writer Scott Rettberg (University of Bergen) present an evening of works created through intercontinental collaboration and across media forms. Coover and Montfort will present Currency, a series of 60 second video poems created through writing and image-making constraints and filmed in Puerto Rico, Switzerland, London, Brooklyn and Philadelphia. Montfort and Rettberg will read from Implementation, a novel published on stickers, stuck and photographed around the world; and, Coover and Rettberg will premiere works from the Norwegian Trilogy, a set of video narratives concerning legend, love, plague, volcanic dust and a great flood.

On November 1, starting at 6 PM eastern time, click here and view the live video stream of this event. Or attend in person at 3805 Locust Walk, Philadelphia.

Listen here to an audio announcement about this event.

Collecting digital literature in Europe

Donna Leishman, RedRidinghood, Electronic Literature Collection Volume One
Donna Leishman, RedRidinghood, Electronic Literature Collection Volume One

Digital Literature. It’s out there, I swear. The question is where? The answer is everywhere. Over the past twenty years or so, a diverse international community comprising a combination of independent and institutionally affiliated authors, academics, researchers, critics, curators, editors and non-profit organizations, has produced a wide range of print books, print and online journals, online and gallery exhibitions, conferences, festivals, live performance events, online and DVD collections, databases, directories and other such listings of creative and critical works in the field.

 Collecting is key to the promotion and preservation of any genre. Collecting digital literature is a complex undertaking. Authors are dispersed, works are disparate, and platforms are unstable. The task of bringing together works as divergent as Donna Leishman’s ultra-graphic audio-visual Flash re-“writing” of the RedRidinghood fairy tale and Netwurker MEZ’s entirely textual code-work _cross.ova.ing ][4rm.blog.2.log][_ written in MEZ’s own digital-creole "mezangelle", to cite two examples from the Electronic Literature Collections Volume One and Volume Two respectively, is made all the more unwieldy by the as yet amorphous definitions of what it electronic literature is and what it is not. And there remains, the pesky problem of the name. How what and why do we call this thing we do?

Voice of the poet programmer Jörg Piringer

abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz || Jörg Piringer, Machfeld Studio, Vienna 2010
abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz || Jörg Piringer, Machfeld Studio, Vienna 2010

For most of us, our first act in life is a speech act. We are born, we inhale, and then some of us sneeze, but most of us scream. For the next few months we make sounds, which we’re repeatedly told are letters. Somehow a song called The Alphabet gets stuck in our head. We can’t stop humming it. Eventually someone hands us a pen.

 Viennese poet, programmer, performer, musician, composer, lecturer and researcher Jörg Piringer works operate in the moments human voice, machine language and letter forms meet.

 Piringer uses his voice as an interface and as a medium. In his electronic visual sound poetry performance frikativ, Piringer generates visual sound poetry in real-time by speaking and vocalizing into a microphone. Fricatives are audible frictions, consonant sounds produced by forcing breath through a narrow, constricted, or partially obstructed channel. In frikativ, the channel of the vocal tract is appended to that of the microphone, which is further extended by cables to a computer wherein live and pre-recorded voice sounds are modified through signal processors and samplers. Piringer’s custom software then analyzes these sounds to create animated abstract visual text-compositions.

 Through a long, ongoing, iterative, and intrinsically performative writing process, Piringer has created a massive custom-written computer program with which he builds his performance works. Similar to the way one game engine can be used to create a wide range of different games, Piringer can now drawn on his own code base to create new behavioural logic sets for each new performance.

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