While looking for more sources I stumbled on a rather good article by Scott Rettberg, about the future of E-lit within academic study. He is a professor at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. Late in the post he says that it’s more likely to end up in the domain of studio art programs as opposed to creative writing. He offers a good argument for the issues facing e-lit and where and why it may end up fitting into the academic world. He mentions a few of the pieces and some of the others we dealt with in the ELC1. Although it isn’t totally on topic for my paper, it was a good read none the less and may be of use to someone else. Rettberg actually has quite a few good articles online about digital literature and video games among other things. Here’s the link if anyone is interested, First Person, Games, and the Place of Electronic Literature. If you go up a level to the posting board there are a lot more articles on similar subjects too.
Every time a new communication form is created, culture inevitably shifts, and E-literature’s effect on culture will surely change the way we think about poetry, animation and programming. While it has great potential to challenge the dominant poetic medium, great improvements must be made to the way in which E-literature is produced. One can criticize the current offerings for consisting of primarily “look what I can do” qualities, however it is important to recognize that without innovation, change does not occur, and that these are the beginnings of what could be a revolutionary movement in visual culture. Because of the unprecedented access to software that allows for artists to create animations and upload for anyone in the world on the internet, this art form has the potential to spread its use to political and social movements across cultural boundaries.
Yet still, the general consensus seems to be that we cannot appreciate this art form. Perhaps our gaming culture has given us unrealistic expectations when viewing these works, or perhaps the creators of such works should be listening more to the desires of their potential audience. In the past ten years alone, the capabilities of graphical technologies has changed drastically, and perhaps in another ten years, the look of E-literature will have changed so drastically that we will put more importance into the way we regard this medium. (more…)
Since prehistory human beings have used one method or another to record information; mediums as simplistic as charcoal and ochre smudges on cave walls to quantum computing by reading electron spin. The longevity of storage has become an issue with newer recording mediums. Writing either on or in stone has obviously stood the test of time, though logistically impractical. Recordings on printed paper (papyrus) stretch as far back as 2000BCE in the Prisse Papyrus, though in admittedly atrocious condition. Storage on paper does not have an indefinite life span, but given ideal conditions this medium can last millennia. More modern mediums, especially digital ones, have made dramatic improvements, most notably improvements in size. Today entire multivolume dictionaries can be stored on the head of a pin. Unfortunately there is a draw back to digital recording mediums; with newer mediums longevity has taken a back seat to size. The most obvious problem with the longevity of digitally stored media is that even under ideal conditions information will disappear. Magnetic storage (cassette tapes, hard disks, etc.) only lasts a few decades; even compact disks cannot last indefinitely. This however can be averted in much the same way it is with books, with reprinting. There is another issue that has already started to arise with modern storage methods, that is obsolescence of a medium. The transition from stone to clay to paper took hundreds of thousands of years and examples of each remain to this day, yet in the past fifty we have go from vinyl to magnetic tape to compact disks and beyond none of which are likely to last a century. The ability to access information is already an issue and will only get worse with time. How many of us still have access to a working 3.5” floppy drive? How many even care if they do? However if the only accessible form of Van Gogh’s or Oscar Wilde’s works were stored on floppy disks, we certainly would care. The idea of just letting go of great works is inconceivable. Unfortunately this is a possibility with some newer works which are designed in and bound to a digital medium. Electronic literature could suffer a sad fate if steps are not taken. Just as floppy disks have fallen by the wayside, the technology used to read e-literature could suffer a similar fate. All of the pieces in the ELC require a program to be accessed. If Quicktime, Flash or Gargoyle became obsolete and no longer available, almost all e-literature would be lost to us. The preservation of art, literature, science and philosophy; all the best of human culture is invaluable. The ability to access, use and enjoy this wealth should be available to everyone including future generations. Libraries, archives and museums need to begin taking measures to prevent the loss of digital culture in all forms. Whether by keeping all programs needed to access digital art forms or by transcribing them into newer technologies as they come. Measures must be implemented to prevent the loss of digital culture before it disappears.
By Owen Stewart
In a contemporary sense, literature must be read, and while it might not necessarily be difficult to understand, it must involve some form of interpretation. This interpretation can often be difficult, which lends to the idea that writing must be difficult to understand for it to be literature. (more…)
On this autumn morning in Vancouver, the sky is stripped of colour. The only brightness in this landscape is synthetic and man-made. Surrounded by dull greys and greens, it is not almost not jarring to enter into the muted world of Donna Leishman’s “Deviant: The Possession of Christian Shaw”. We click, and begin exploring. But no, the images (and the provocative use of colour) are as disquieting this time as they were last time. And so we begin to consider Donna’s posting on “Deviant”, nudging towards the generation of our questions for her to chew. After a general discussion, the students begin to work in small groups. Here are their final questions:
1) In your blog post, you state that you often start with what you do not want to achieve. This implies that you possess a primary objective. Is this the case?
2) In your blog post you state that the reader is supposed to feel like a “child protector”, however everything the reader does seems to push the protagonist deeper into his/her possession so where does the feeling of the protector come from within the story? How does it come about in the beginning?
3) In the conclusion you make explicit mention of how you go about including the “real story” through the use of invisible rules of engagement and shapes. Does the reader require prior knowledge of the events surrounding Christian Shaw in order to aquire an understanding of the work?
4) Is all history a kind of folklore “possessed” by the perversions/predilections/preferences of any given community (of readers)?
5) “Deviant” is an incredibly visceral piece: how do you feel your sense of colour plays into creating an intensely physical response to the work?
By Jamie Cue
In a time when it is a rarity to see someone without a cell phone glued to their fingertips and headsets cemented into their ears, it is even more rare to see an adolescent with a book in their hands. Most adolescents may not even be able to tell you the last book they read, other than maybe the stack of textbooks laying by their bedside. However, unlike cell phones, video games and mp3 players, books offer things that these technologies can’t: from expanding the imagination to helping kids become socialized into the world around them.