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Handwritten Calendar

I thought this was pretty cool:

What We Will

Here’s a really successful electronic writing piece that takes great advantage of 360 degree photography, sound and interface. It’s a collaboration between John Cayley, Giles Perring, Douglas Cape, and others – they call it “broadband interactive drama.” Definitely worth checking out.

What We Will

Jeffrey Jones, 70 Scenes of Halloween


The following is from the Village Voice review of the original production of 70 Scenes of Halloween in 1980:

Jones’s deadpan farce with intellectual aspirations ends long after it should, but on the other hand it could end anywhere. Time in the play is out of joint, non-continuous, as fragmented as a series of television programs. It does not flow forward with the certainly of out-and-out narrative; events follow one another in a series of near repetitions, so that you feel they are overlapping.

Unlike most plays, 70 Scenes does not seem to be taking place in time at all, but in space. It is as if each scene were a discrete sketch traced onto the thinnest of translucent paper, and then all 70 of the tracings were juxtaposed one on top of the other in order to create a complex, multilayered drawing in which the lines were sometimes a little fuzzy but the total image was deep and singular and memorable.

It is also possible to interpret the play with old fashioned Freudian tools. Then you would say that the Beast and the Witch personified the sexual underminds of Jeff and Joan, although I would prefer them to remain the separate creatures they so palpably are on stage.

Although he gently needles them, Jones seems to have an affection for the characters he created. One thing I take him to be saying is this: In a sexual age which rightly relegates D. H. Lawrence to a dim time of prerevolution, the dominion of the libido is finally populated with likable citizens.

Jopes’ website has complete editions of other plays of his, as well as his provocative manifesto against mainstream drama, “Geezer Theater”:

Christian Bok, Eunoia

I forgot to mention in class that all of Eunoia, and a bunch of other (weirder) stuff by Christian Bok is online:

I recommend some of the sound poetry, like “ubu hubub,” to clean your ears out.

John Cage’s Mesostics

Here’s a good introductory essay on John Cage’s Mesostics, a form of writing that he invented based on chance operation and the use of letters to determine the flow of an algorithm. A mesostic is like an acrostic, except that rather than having the letters appear in the front of a word, they go down the middle (see the mesostic on “James Joyce” that is treated in this article).

Cage was primiarly known as a “musician,” but as the image below shows, he moved around literature and visual art (he’s done chance operated paintings and installations) pretty easily. He’s a really good one to have in the back of your mind as you think of your projects.


This is not a reading assignment, by the way, just something I thought interesting. Perhaps we’ll discuss it down the line.

Picture People

Here’s a project that can get pretty engrossing.

I can see this as a form of “electronic writing” because of its dependence on the web, its flitting between genres in the writing – from poetry to other forms of discourse – and its use of “text/image” in a weird and fascinating way.

Read the introduction to get a sense of what they’re after.

Word Disassociation

This is brilliant and weird, courtesy Adam White:

Project Proposals

I’ve uploaded a few proposals that I’ve written for the Cave that I thought you could use as references. Another good place to research how artists write about their own work is the Rhizome ArtBase (look in the Archives menu item at the top).

BKS Cave Project Proposal1.pdf

Ouija Poems1.pdf

This proposal exercise is a chance for you to work through your ideas, perhaps clarify things to yourself, and a chance to show me how you are thinking about electronic writing and offer suggestions for your project before you get into the creation of it. The sooner you give me a proposal, the sooner I can give you feedback.

Things to think about:

  • text/image/audio, where they are coming from (will you create them or steal them)
  • nature of the interaction, the programming (even if you don’t know how to program these bits)
  • general experience of the user
  • general issues you think this project addresses (don’t need to be too theoretical)
  • other art works or ideas that you see as references or inspirations

Flash Exercise

Some of you are really moving forward with your tutorials and have requested some additional work, and of course some of you already know Flash quite well so don’t need to do the tutorials.

I’ve put together the following exercise for you to do that I think not only gives you some Flash practice but introduces you to concepts I think are important to electronic writing, such as “recombinant” text (text that can be reordered while reading), the use of text/image, navigation, and ways of writing particular for the computer.

You don’t have to do this exercise if you don’t have the time, but I’d love to see some of you try this, even if only in part. Just writing the text and describing the potential piece, even if you don’t create it, is quite a lot.

Here is what I want you to do:

  • Create a “stanza” form (it doesn’t have to be verse, it can be a paragraph or one sentence, etc.) which has a visual element to it. For instance, your stanza could be a single line of exactly 40 spaces in Courier font. Or it could be a sentence in which the first letter of each line is in a much larger typeface. It doesn’t have to be a strict form, just something to give you a soft constraint. Your stanzas could also be anagrams – the photos on this site, for example, were made out of the phrases “Van Helsing” and “Man on Fire,” the last two movies to show at this theater. Other rules, such as rhyme or letter-based constraints (words have to be in alphabetical order), are good. Content-based rules, such as each stanza must contain a historical figure or a type of sport or something, are also interesting.
  • Write at least five verses in this stanza form (again, the “stanza” can be prose). You can write as many as you want, of course, but at least five.
  • Create a navigation system that moves the reader through these stanzas. It can be a simple button, but try to integrate the navigation into the piece. For instance, if the button is an image (or images), make it somehow link thematically or conceptually with the text. Navigation can also be replacing parts of the text with other parts – it doesn’t necessarily have to be like flipping pages in a book, it can be like moving pieces around a board, etc.

That’s it! Audio components are optional, but if you want to give that a shot, feel free. But they should be integrated into the final concept of the piece as well. If you have any questions about this let me know.

Here is something that I did for Eunoia that relates to this exercise. I took the “e” chapter and created a little reader for it. Rolling over the buttons causes each paragraph to fade into the next; clicking on the dot sends the paragraph into fits (you can hit “reset” to bring them back).

Christian Bok’s Eunoia

Here’s a little teaser review to start off from the website MadInkBeard:

Eunoia is probably best served read aloud, the assonance and rhyme are more clearly heard, but it is also interesting visually as text. The repetitive vowels make the page appear strange, abnormal. Chapter O is round while Chapter I is sharp.

As narrative the chapters aren’t all equally interesting. The retelling of the Iliad in Chapter E goes on a little too long, while Chapter O holds no real coherence at all, semantically. These failings are made up for with the inherent interest of the linguistic acrobatics and the sonorous writing. “Eunoia” is a unique work, of a different order than Perec’s similar texts (his “Les Revenentes” and “What a Man”), and a great example of what a constraint can do for linguistic virtuosity, if not necessarily for rich narrative.

In this case, the very difficult constraint perhaps limits a little too much what can be said. Personally I do get more pleasure from a text that is narratively interesting and less constrained (a fine balance).

The creator of this site also has some interesting conceptual stuff on there, such as pictureless comics.

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