by Nick Montfort
Digital Language: Poetry Beyond the Printed Page
Immersed as we are in digital media, we often overlook the centrality
of written language in our experience of the world -- not only as
the 'content' of digital media, but also in the processes that facilitate
it. In digital literature, the written language of code generally
operates on several interconnected levels. Though we tend to focus
on its role as a container for displayed 'literary' content, code
also exists as a static and legible 'text', in addition to its active
function as instructions for the computer. Which of these levels
is most relevant to our aesthetic experience of digital literature?
Can we 'understand' any one level without exploring the others?
With these questions in mind, we will present examples from recent
work that leverages computational techniques to explore new possibilities
in digital literature; from procedural recombinations, to dynamic
physical interfaces, to three-dimensional environments for literary
Daniel C. Howe is a digital artist and researcher
at NYU's Media Research Lab. His interests include generative systems
for artistic practice (specifically for digital literary production)
and the social/political aspects of technology design. In addition
to a background in creative writing, he has Masters degrees in both
Interactive Media Art and Computer Science and has exhibited and
performed his work internationally since 1997.
Aya Karpinska is a digital media artist and interaction
designer. She creates interactive experiences through installation
art, digital text, sound, and game design (but not all at the same
time). Aya is the 2006 recipient of the Brown University Fellowship
in Electronic Writing; she splits her time between Providence and
New York City.
Nick Montfort is assistant professor of digital
media at MIT. Montfort has collaborated on the blog Grand Text
Auto and projects Mystery House Taken Over, Implementation,
and 2002: A Palindrome Story. His interactive fiction includes
Book and Volume and Ad Verbum. Montfort wrote
Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction
(The MIT Press, 2003) and co-edited The Electronic Literature
Collection Volume 1 (ELO, 2006) and The New Media Reader
(The MIT Press, 2003). With Ian Bogost, he is now at work on the
book Video Computer System: The Atari 2600 Platform.