276 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2015
    1. literary works

      We talk about e-lit being a contested term, but so too then is even the idea of something being "literary" and also thinking about authorial intent. Should that matter? And really, these two debates intersect, in terms of self-definition, intent, academic definitions, and exclusionary practices. Does it absolutely need to be "literary" to be e-lit?

    2. Before the Web, self-publishing was more complicated than it is on the Web, because authors had to make physical copies on diskette and distribute these.

      While this process does not sound ideal, was it better? With the advent of these new technologies, we're bombarded my more media than is necessary (and some of the quality is suspect). Is this a responsible use issue? Or, has the technology caused some rifts or shifts in the quality expectations for published work?

    3. How did we come to accept afternoon as the unequivocal “granddaddy” of electronic literature (not just full-length hypertext fictions, as Coover in fact wrote)?

      What we're talking about is a good, old-fashioned "debate" around canon formation. I know that Kathi Inman Berens has looked at how gender has intersected with the formation of community and canon around e-lit (at least I remember seeing a talk she gave about it). http://kathiiberens.com/2013/07/19/dh-2013/

      Regardless, this is one of the issues I have with distant reading (as fun as it is) is the potential to de-politicize events around canon formation and the rise of a certain genre or mode.

    4. Emerson writes in her blog-post “On e-literature as a field” that “what did not exist until the founding of the Electronic Literature Organization in 1999 (thanks to Scott Rettberg, Robert Coover, and Jeff Ballowe) is a name, a concept, even a brand with which a remarkably diverse range of digital writing practices could identify: electronic literature.”

      The founding of ELO seems a very important event in the histiry of e-Lit.

    5. this term and definition in itself brought together genres that in many ways were seen as separate in the early years

      So here we're using the ELO's definition, but with the added insight that this definition has acted to consolidate diverse types of e-lit.

    6. important literary aspects

      This key phrase in the definition is very puzzling. I am still not quite certain what aspects can be defined as important and who makes that specific judgement. (The reader? The academic? The peer?) I'm very keen to work it out though.

    7. this term and definition in itself brought together genres that in many ways were seen as separate in the early years.

      This is a fun example that seems to suggest that blending technology frameworks with literary value creates a mash-up of the unexpected, and genres evolve almost to break through the definition.

    8. we lack a reliable way of filtering out current uses of “electronic literature” that do not refer to literary works using computation. It is also likely that many books that use one term also use another

      The point Ms. Rettbers is trying to make is that there is no common agreement regarding what electronic literature stands for. Other terms are equally used to describe the same practice, as defined by ELO, whereas the term electronic literature itself gets used to denote other practices (e.g. digitized print books). The danger also sits in almost arbitrary usage of genres/terminologies which all fall under the core electronic literature practice (hyper text fiction, digital poetry). This also means that numerous works of e-lit art are in danger of not being recognized as such due to the fact they do not get picked up in the 'tagging' process and might fall between the cracks

    9. literary environments in LambdaMOO  in the early 1990s

      Oh man, I miss LambdaMOO. So much time spent there in college ...

    10. Fig. 1. Google's Ngram Viewer allows us to graph the frequency with which different terms for electronic literature were used in books published between 1985 and 2008. The blue line shows hypertext fiction, the red electronic literature, the green digital literature, the yellow digital poetry and the purple line (flat against the bottom of the graph) is for e-poetry.Click the image to see at full size.

      Here's a link to the same chart in google to play with yourself. I Added "Interactive fiction" to the list since it seemed notably absent, but otherwise has the same items. ngram doesn't go any more current than 2008, sadly.

    11. But we can make some assumptions. In 2011, certainly there were new works of electronic literature published at least every week, and probably far more often. In January 2012, the ELMCIP Knowledge Base had 58 records of creative works of electronic literature published in 2011, and there are records of more than 30 creative works every year from the year 2000 onwards.

      The list mentioned here is good. If you consider Interactive Fiction in addition, the ifdb is another good resource for new works.

    12. The Words We Use to Describe the Field

      As part of a paper on the emergence of electronic literature as a field of study and practice, this section serves the purpose of distinguishing how the varying terms used have changed over time, while addressing how difficult it is to pinpoint the usage of terms (especially ones that are so non-specific). The author's argument comes down to how the term 'electronic literature' itself is elusive and an understanding of the divergent terminology is helpful in understanding the growth of the field.

    13. It may seem surprising that the term “electronic literature” grows in popularity well before the establishment of the ELO in 1999. However, almost all uses of the term “electronic literature” before the late 1990s refer to research literature that happens to be in electronic form[1], not to literary works.

      The internet became regularly accessible. I think this is why. Using the internet for studying and research became huge. Now that it's not just for work and for leisure, things are shifting.

    1. works with important literary aspects that take advantage of the capabilities and contexts provided by the stand-alone or networked computer.

      I agree with the others that these works don't need to be provided or looked at on a computer, but can be looked at on a smart phone, tablet, smart watch, etc.

    2. Kinetic poetry presented in Flash and using other platforms

      I have a basic understanding about Kinetic poetry, but I would like to learn more. It is a concept that intrigues me and that I would like to explore. I like the idea of taking poetry to new places. There are lots of interesting possibilities here.

    3. some of which are

      I am wondering if adaptations or transmedia storytelling would be considered a part of e-lit. I would imagine yes, but it's not exactly explicit. What if a piece of e-lit interacts with other forms of media, text, literature, etc? Or is transmedia it's own thing?

    4. The confrontation with technology at the level of creation is what distinguishes electronic literature from, for example, e-books, digitized versions of print works, and other products of print authors “going digital.”

      It's not quite clear for me what does mean "confrontation with technology". By the way, understanding difference between e-lit and literature "going digital" is the most important

    5. works with important literary aspects that take advantage of the capabilities and contexts provided by the stand-alone or networked computer.

      It's the relationship implied here between "literary aspects" and the "capabilities and contexts provided by the stand-alone or networked computer" that I find most interesting in this definition. Which literary aspects are uniquely positioned to do this work? What literary questions is e-lit best positioned to answer?

    6. The field of electronic literature is an evolving one.
    7. Interactive fiction

      "Interactive fiction" is something that I have created/been a part of before. I still do it every once in a wile. There is a particular site that I go on for this called Gaia Online. There are a lot of forums threads and clubs dedicated to online role playing. Someone will set the scene with a writing prompt/small story and anyone can join in with their role playing character. It's pretty much improve. It's a lot of fun when you connect with another character and then the story writes itself out.

    8. Electronic literature often intersects with conceptual and sound arts, but reading and writing remain central to the literary arts.

      I find this statement interesting as there are those who believe that sound art can itself be a type of electronic literature. Sound art at its most basic level is narrative. Our human ancestors needed sound to survive, and the first traditions of storytelling were aural.

    9. Wondering where data-scraped pieces fit in all this? Thinking of Jonathan Harris's We Feel Fine http://wefeelfine.org/ and similar pieces. He just released a new one that pulls key words from Twitter and other sources and aggregates them into navigable narrative snippets that are real-time and dynamic, mixed with video and audio clips. The experience is one of "story"(true ones) and could only happen electronically.... how to define? what category here would that fit in?

    10. These activities, unbound by pages and the printed book, now move freely through galleries, performance spaces, and museums

      So interesting to see how the "literariness" of the literature is challenged here. It goes from books and words to a more syncretic view of the creative work. Made me think of comparative studies.

    11. , “born digital” works are created explicitly for the networked computer

      As my comment of which I have had no reply asks is propellerhead music software the same kind of thing, where you create music on the web, share, and people can add to it or do whatever they want to it to make a new piece of music. I'm sorry for being naive, but is this kind of what we are talking about by "born digital"?

    12. created in 2006 and with some entries from 2010

      The digital landscape moves extremely quickly. Entire digital mediums have evolved, become everyday experiences for millions of people then collapsed and been superseded by a new digital standard many times over between 2010 and today. It will be interesting to analyse whether entirely new literary experiences have risen and evolved during this timeframe or if they are iterative experiences on some of the older showcases. Has any brand new E-Lit been created? It's a fun question to ask and it also impacts the definition in my view - as defining it with definite platforms would lock it to an 'era' of digital mediums and it will become out of date.

    13. The confrontation with technology at the level of creation

      I like the meshing of these terms, this is one of the clearest sentences for me when trying to define E-Lit. It's not creatively restrictive, not platform specific, not holding back an experience or a 'reader interaction' and gives an immense space to work within - as long as that work is technically deliberate.

    14. “born digital” works are created explicitly for the networked computer

      I find the choice of the word 'networked' changes the categorisations under which e-lit could be considered, and is a very specific term. Networked implies that the literary experience must be shareable, or connected or sent or easily accessed. This is not defined in other possible definitions - and makes me wonder whether it's a requirement for a definition, or a restriction.

    15. Electronic literature often intersects with conceptual and sound arts, but reading and writing remain central to the literary arts.

      This note, to me, opens up a particularly complex issue of defining electronic literature. With some bordering fields fairly close to the practices of electronic literature, what is the essential thing that defines electronic literature? Is it the act of reading that is essential in literary art and should we, then, leave out works that are meant more to be thought about than read, like texts that are just too long for any human to ever finish reading?

      On another note, does this act of reading imply that there must be a human as the audience of the work of electronic literature?

    16. works with important literary aspects that take advantage of the capabilities and contexts provided by the stand-alone or networked computer

      In general I think it would be good to define a bit more precisely what is understood here under the term 'computer' in order to avoid confusion. I think a computing device would be more appropriate as it would allow more comprehensive elaboration.

    17. created in 2006 and with some entries from 2010

      So ... not a modern showcase? I hadn't heard of ELO before this, and the concept of a group like this is intriguing, that their showcase stopped being updated five (going on six) years ago doesn't speak positively. Some really amazing things have come out in that time, and will continue to. Is this group frozen in time? I checked the actual showcase and this page is right - the last update is January 2010.

      I'm sure there are other things being done here, but for the first section to highlight "hey, we're way out of date" seems like an odd first impression.

    18. Electronic literature often intersects with conceptual and sound arts, but reading and writing remain central to the literary arts. These activities, unbound by pages and the printed book, now move freely through galleries, performance spaces, and museums. Electronic literature does not reside in any single medium or institution.

      Whenever I think of the "literary arts" I think of writing. I think of how technology is forever shifting and yet writing will always be needed. Where I am personally naive is how this passage states that there is more to it. This is where I grow curious, and where I realize that there is a bigger picture than I think we all tend to see. Should be interesting to delve further into this.

    19. I love this line - "the confrontation with technology at the level of creation" - as I think it evokes such a wonderful image of how we can approach the idea of electronic literature.

    20. The confrontation with technology at the level of creation is what distinguishes electronic literature from, for example, e-books, digitized versions of print works, and other products of print authors “going digital.”

      This seems reasonable, though it might be worth adding "digital" or something similar before "technology" (to make it more of a standalone quote / definition).

      One could argue that a pop-up book involves "confrontation with technology at the level of creation", for example. It's just a different kind of technology.

    21. This is our first stop on our tour of electronic literature definitions. Highlight passages here that you find provocative, unclear, or simply interesting! Be sure to add a #d004x tag to your comments.

      After you've finished marking up this page, you can go to the next stop on our tour: http://dtc-wsuv.org/mla2012/scholarship.html

      Be sure to open the hypothes.is sidebar again on that page!

    22. works with important literary aspects that take advantage of the capabilities and contexts provided by the stand-alone or networked computer

      I think that this is the central point of the question. E-lit is a literary piece that take advantage from the capabilities and contexts of computers. To be more precise I think that is literature that can't exists without this conditions

    1. It seems, Danny Cheesums likes Scott Walker. :)

      But, really, this is very interesting. Our preferences are being guessed and we're bombarded with things that we might find interesting. I would like to see a study of the efficacy of this particular technology.

    2. the book is dead, long live the link

      Really nice and funny quote :)

    3. the deep structure of the text/algorithm interaction inherent in all digital textuality — those places where the mathematical underpinnings of text as it appears on the screen (since there is always something at work keeping the text you are reading now visible) and how artists exploit them to create unique effects.

      This, again, seems to be getting at the why of the medium, which is what I find most interesting in trying to define e-lit as a genre/canon.

    4. to curate

      This is an interesting one, it seems like there is an entire curatorial process/practice behind the digital forms of art. It's also curious that he does not refer to that process as "editing". The visual and literary arts terminology is mixed up again.

    5. creating programs that themselves write “original” works of literature

      Quite odd, the idea of a non-human individual applying faculties and cognoscitive tools which can't even be approached by other beings, very cyborg-ish, this definetely goes beyond simple relations between bits and electronic devices.

    6. I will be writing about a series of concepts I’ve been developing called the “simples” of digital literature. Each of these simples describes some element of the deep structure of the text/algorithm interaction inherent in all digital textuality — those places where the mathematical underpinnings of text as it appears on the screen (since there is always something at work keeping the text you are reading now visible) and how artists exploit them to create unique effects.

      I rate this a lot. This removes the technology-platform-specific nature of other definitions and looks underneath the literary work itself. I really rate the reference to 'underpinnings' - it strongly speaks to how intensely integrated both the literary experience is alongside the mechanics of that digital experience.

    7. the deep structure of the text/algorithm interaction inherent in all digital textuality — those places where the mathematical underpinnings of text as it appears on the screen (since there is always something at work keeping the text you are reading now visible) and how artists exploit them to create unique effects

      I find this, as well as the whole concept of a simple, to be much more precise a way of defining electronic literature through its own nature and not through the concept of literary arts and its translations. As many electronic literature artists are not necessarily good traditional writers, it seems that the definition of the field should focus more on the technological underpinnings of the practices rather than their relations to literary arts. This depiction of artists exploiting and pushing the envelope of text/algorithm interaction captures this aspect quite well.

    8. the book is dead, long live the link

      I think this is an interesting way to express the evolution of electronic literature, but link is quite possibly dating as fast as 'computer' in the ELO version. Perhaps 'long live the code'?

    9. neither naively celebratory, presuming that computers will change writing the way DNA testing has changed crime television, nor overly technical, branching off into deep theoretical territory

      This covers some of the complexities in trying to interlock creative arts with rigid technology, all within a single description. It calls out how fast technology dates and platforms change while noting how literary creativity will not be tied to those boundaries.

    10. simple

      Very useful tool to underline the essence of the e-literary artifact and its forms of expression

    11. The problem is that the artist/writers who can be said to be “electronic writers” are coming at it from different angles.

      I like the fact that this definition comes at the very end because it finally tackles electronic literature for what it is - work of art. It is also interesting that it opens to door to giving credit to artists who do not necessarily need to be good 'traditional' writers to be good electronic literature artists. In that electronic literature is significantly different from the traditional literature as the art of word and storytelling.

    12. The problem is that the artist/writers who can be said to be “electronic writers” are coming at it from different angles

      I think that this synthesizes the difficulties with defining 'electronic literature' quite well. Attempts to define it act as limitations. Stephans clarifies the discussion in the previous link about the divegant terms used and the difficulties in identifying how people are talking about the field. Without a common purpose in the act of creation, I find it hard to see it has a field per se. It feels more open than that.

    13. which is now, unfortunately, largely illegible due to the inability of Eastgate Systems, her publisher, to keep up with OS upgrades

      For anyone in #d004x, Patchwork Girl has a version available for modern systems if you want to check it out.

    14. Other artists have come at it from the more familiar (at least in the community) angle emerging out of the flurry of interest in hypertext as a next step in the evolution of written language — the book is dead, long live the link

      This article definitely tackles the definition as a true new wave. I try to view older technology too, but I think they might have a point.

    1. I think that the cultural difference here is interesting. This is a nice example of how terms can change based on culture. It's good to know that in Europe, we'd be discussing different things when using the term "digital literature."

    2. fast-changing field of electronic literature, artists, designers, writers, critics, and other stakeholders

      Are we chasing something or attempting to articulate a definition of something that is always going to be obsolete (or at least incomplete) the moment we put proverbial pen to paper?

      This course and these attempts, to be sure, will continue to evolve. But I appreciate the important direction towards a history and, dare I say it, a tradition. Or, knowing a lot of the people involved, a community might be more appropriate.

      So maybe "field" is the wrong word. Maybe this becomes a narrative instead about a community seeking to define itself. But if that's the case, what is our role, as relative outsiders, working to enforce a definition on it?

    3. Put simply, Electronic Literature is considered a "born digital" art form with unique approaches to thinking about and working with digital technologies for the purpose of creating literary art.

      This is the best and the simpliest definition.

    4. "literary works created with the use of a computer for the electronic medium such that they cannot be experienced in any meaningful way without the mediation of an electronic device"

      This definition seems more concerned with how works are made and experienced, rather than why they are uniquely suited to this form.

    5. academic field

      It's interesting that we are taking an academic course on an emergent literary form and academic field and are interacting in a digital medium and experiencing this in a way that would not be meaningful (or possible) without the mediation of our electronic devices.

    6. "literary works created with the use of a computer for the electronic medium such that they cannot be experienced in any meaningful way without the mediation of an electronic device"

      This, to me, is the most important aspect in what makes e-lit, e-lit. It can't be fully experienced and understood outside of the digital medium.

    7. While in Europe the term "Digital Literature" is used to refer to Electronic Literature, in the U.S. digital literature is generally seen as print-based literary work digitalized for the web and stand-alone technologies like a CD-ROM.

      It would be interesting to see how the current range of technology have added more perspectives from other places about the meanings of e-lit .

    8. they cannot be experienced in any meaningful way without the mediation of an electronic device

      I think my biggest curiosity here is the variable nature of the word 'meaningful' - it says to me 'it must be moving, be changing, be something bigger, it is an experience' so seems directly mismatched against the real specifics of 'electronic device'. Others may not agree with my definition of 'meaningful' however, which is half the fun of trying to define something in the first place.

    9. provides a historical context for what she identifies as "generations" of works of electronic literature, identifies some of its genres, and cites examples of important works.

      The historical context and generations of work references are fascinating. It implies that cataloguing previous works is almost archaeological in nature. This makes me think that the more popular and interlocked E-Lit becomes with technology, especially in places where the old definitions do not necessarily work as well as they used to, the more there will be to catalogue and showcase. Does this mean it is about storing stories, technology applications, experiences or all three?

    10. While in Europe the term "Digital Literature" is used to refer to Electronic Literature, in the U.S. digital literature is generally seen as print-based literary work digitalized for the web and stand-alone technologies like a CD-ROM.

      I wonder if this distinction is changing as there are more and more US schools also starting to teach an research the field of digital humanities where digital means not only the digitised works but also born-digital materials (as notes also on Wikipedia)

    11. academic field

      Interesting to differentiate electronic literature as a literary from the meta language of the electronic literature as an academic field

    12. literary art.

      It seems like this definition is more focused to the experience of the electronic literature, whereas the previous one was more based around the production. I like the notion that the experience is tightly connected to a literary device. In this regards important are the notions of literariness and the literary art. As even in e/lit there can be something which is a literary work and a literary work of art. It would be interesting to see if the differentiation between the two gets the same kind of notoriety as in 'traditional' literature

    13. they cannot be experienced in any meaningful way without the mediation of an electronic device

      Does this then eliminate stories made by computers? The Policeman's Beard is Only Half Constructed was entirely written by a computer (among other stories, later). This definition would seem to disqualify it as electronic literature. If disqualified, what category does "traditional stories generated by computers" fall?

      More precisely, I suppose, is why is "for the electronic medium" important to the definition? There are multiple stories that eventually become absolutely non-digital in the end, but I still think would qualify as e-lit. Take the Chooseatron or the Automatypewriter as off-hand things. They're electronic, but they can very much be experience in a meaningful way - in the end, both produce a story on a piece of paper, easily read and discussed later without any aid.

    14. Put simply, Electronic Literature is considered a "born digital" art form with unique approaches to thinking about and working with digital technologies for the purpose of creating literary art.

      Yes. It's sort of amazing how old stories that were previously only produced with a printing press can be transferred electronically. Just yesterday I read Pride and Prejudice on my tablet. So does that mean Jane Austen is part of eLit? So many opinions flying everywhere.

    15. differences in cognitive patterns between print and electronic works, assumptions of what constitutes the quality of "literariness," and even requirements for tenure and promotion contribute to its lack of presence in the academy

      This is an interesting avenue for consideration. The question of what is literary, of course, extends into solely print publications as well (and the discussion, for example, of genre fiction). In the case of electronic literature, the difference in the experience of the work adds a completely other dimension.

    16. "literary works created with the use of a computer for the electronic medium such that they cannot be experienced in any meaningful way without the mediation of an electronic device"

      That's a solid definition. Obviously "literary works" may lead to a broader discussion about what exactly constitutes "literature". But that aside, it seems to cover the essence of what electronic literature is.

  2. Jun 2015
    1. an emergent literary form and academic field

      (I'm going to play the role of the student interrupting your video lectures for a sec.) Oh so, Electronic Literature is also an academic field?

    2. they cannot be experienced in any meaningful way without the mediation of an electronic device

      this created more clarification for me than any other definition but that might be because I am using the reference point of books as a way to see this, which I am starting to realize may not be the best way to view e-lit.

    1. This could show that the new term “electronic literature” took time to gain general acceptance, or it could also simply be a by-product of the slow pace of scholarship and book publishing.

      In my experience, hypertext fiction was for a long time the catch-all term for any electronic literary text. And I agree! General acceptance (as seen in the N-Gram viewer) is likely reflecting writing beyond scholarly, "expert" studies of e-lit that gained its currency overtime. I also wonder, if this distinction continues outside of the e-lit writers and scholars community.

    2. This is a great essay! To the extent that definitions of e-lit are predicated on how tractable the term is over time, it would seem we're destined for largely unreliable, ahistorical accounts of what it is. Walker Rettberg shows that although we can certainly count occurrences of overlapping terms across decades, unless we understand the shifting semantics underlying those metrics, we really haven't made much progress (e.g., her observation that early uses of "electronic literature" often denoted research literature published in electronic form, rather than born-digital creative works).

    1. forms and threads of practice

      In this definition I've always been interested in thinking about the idea of "threads of practice" not just in terms of genre as it initially seems to be, but as aspects of the creation of works, their distribution, their consumption, and of course, their obsolescence.

    2. "works with important literary aspects"

      I found that to be an interesting phrase, specifically the use of the word important. Still delving into the definition, it is beginning to seem as if some of this literature could also be classified as digital art

  3. May 2015
    1. Here we are on the last stop of our Definitions of E-Lit Tour. How does Brian Kim Stefans' idea of electronic literature differ from other definitions we've encountered?

      When you're done here, return to our course on EdX and move on to the next activity.

    1. This is a long scholarly essay! You don't have to read all of it (but you can). For this activity, scroll down to "The Words We Use to Describe the Field" section. What is the argument Jill Walker Rettberg is making in this section? What's at stake?

      When you finish up here, you can visit the last site on our tour: http://openspace.sfmoma.org/2011/07/third-hand-plays-an-introduction-to-electronic-literature/.

    1. Here is our second definition of e-lit. What is the context of this definition? Does it account for other perspectives?

      After you finish up here, visit the next site: http://www.dichtung-digital.org/2012/41/walker-rettberg/walker-rettberg.htm