Moderated 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 experimentation.

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.

Daniel C. Howe
Aya Karpinska
Nick Montfort